by: AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, INC. - Yes, that's actually a Honda Accord - the redesigned 2013 Coupe.By now reviews of the 2013 Honda Accord coupe are turning into clichés. Many joke that husbands can fool their wives into thinking they’ve bought a responsible family car when, in fact, the two-door version of the Accord is practically a sports cars.

There’s actually some truth to that old gag, however. Equipped with the optional V6 engine and six-speed manual transmission — like the combination in our test car — the Accord coupe is a blast to drive. With a healthy 278 horsepower on tap, it’s fast off the line. The transmission is a joy to shift, with short throws and a light feel. And the suspension is firm enough for hard cornering.

But no one is gong to be fooled into thinking that the coupe is a staid people mover. It hardly even looks like the four-door Accord. Although the front end is the same, the rear end is radically different — shorter and much sportier looking, with a spoiler integrated into the trunk lid.

Of course, the bright red paint job on our test car didn’t help hide its potential. It practically screamed irresponsibility. No wonder some reviewers have listed its competition as Mustangs and Camaros.

Few manufacturers make both coupe and sedan versions of the same car these days. Two- and four-door versions of both midsize and full-size cars used to be pretty common, however. Although the coupes were supposed to be sportier, most weren’t mechanically all that different from the sedans, however. They came with front bucket seats to ease entry into the back and had hints of fastback styling, but that was about it.

Honda has taken a different approach with the Accord coupe, though. It is over 2 inches shorter and more than 150 pounds lighter than the sedan version. And as all hot rodders know, shorter and lighter means more agile and faster.

Of course, shorter also means less legroom, less cargo space or both. Honda has chosen to make most of the reduction in the rear seat area, which means it is now primarily suitable for children. But that has always been true of coupes. Just ask any adult who’s ever tried to squeeze past a front bucket seat into the back of a two-door.

Honda has received well-deserved kudos for its overhaul of the Accord for 2013. After years of growing larger and softer, the company shrunk both the sedan and coupe, sharpening the exterior styling while upgrading the interior materials. Power was increased in all engines without reducing fuel economy. And prices were kept in check, at least on the lower trim models.

Our fully-loaded test car checked in at more than $32,000, which seems a little high until you understand everything in came with — heated front leather sport seats, navigation system with rear view camera, sun roof, premium stereo system and connectivity for a wide range of personal electronic devices. It also had a camera built into the passenger side door-mounted mirror that activiates whenever the right turn signal is switched on. The view is shown on the same display screen in the center console where the rear view appears. It is excellent for spotting bicyclists zooming up from behind at intersections.

Our test car also has an Eco button for improving mileage. They usually work by dampening the throttle response, resulting in poorer performance but better fuel economy. Even in the Eco mode, our Accord coupe was plenty fast, although mileage was a little worse when it was turned off.

So don’t plan on buying a 2013 Honda Accord coupe to fool anyone. Buy it because it is a sporty car that will make daily driving and weekend excursions much more fun. That way you’ll have nothing to apologize for.

Facts and figures (all models)

• Model tested: Accord coupe.

• Manufacturer: Honda.

• Class: Midsize.

• Layout: Front engine, front-wheel-drive.

• Styles: Two door car (as tested); four door car.

• Engine: 2.4-liter inline 4 (185 hp, 181 lb-ft); 2.4-liter inline 4 (189 hp, 182 lb-ft); 3.5-liter V 6 (278 hp, 252 lb-ft as tested).

• Transmission: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic with manual shift mode; Continuously Variable Transmission.

• EPA estimated city/highway/mileage: 26/35/29 (4/auto); 24/34/28 (4/six-speed); 21/34/25 (V6/auto); 18/28/22 (V6/manual – as tested).

• Price: Beginning at approximately $21,680 ($32,000 as tested).

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