Reflecting the shifting U.S. market, Honda focused on updating and upgrading its SUV line-up this past year — but it’s starting off 2023 by giving a complete makeover to one of its iconic products, the Accord.
The 2023 Honda Accord not only grows longer but adopts a sleeker look more in line with the latest-generation Civic family. It adds a number of new tech features, including an updated infotainment system powered by Google. And a more “responsive” hybrid system is expected to generate significantly more Accord sales going forward, the Japanese automaker said in a statement.
“The all-new 11th-generation Accord is essential to our line-up as a critical driver of brand loyalty, and with hybrid models representing 50% of sales, a key part of Honda’s electrification strategy.” said Mamadou Diallo, American Honda’s vice president of Auto Sales. “This is our best Accord ever, a true benchmark in its class, offering an unbeatable combination of style, efficiency, performance and connectivity.”
Honda hangs on to its sedans and coupes
There’s no question that Americans have been migrating to SUVs, CUVs and pickups at a rapid rate. That’s obvious when you consider the numbers for Accord. As recently as 2014, U.S. motorists purchased 388,374 of them. That plunged to a decades-long low of around 200,000 in 2020 and 2021. And the sales numbers are on track to drop by nearly a third for all of 2022.
But while many manufacturers — notably Ford — have slashed their passenger car lines, Honda remains committed to sedans and coupes. And the updated Accord shows it’s betting on not only remaining a key player but gaining ground as other automakers abandon the midsize segment.
More room, new design
Tthe 2023 Accord gets an updated version of the platform used in the outgoing model. And its overall length grows 2.8 inches, to 195.7 inches bumper-to-bumper. That translates into a roughly 6% increase in interior space, to 105.7 cubic feet.
Honda aimed to give the new sedan a “sleeker” and “more sophisticated” look, with a more upright nose, blacked out LED headlights, a longer hood, crisp character lines, and more of a fastback roofline. The rear track has also been widened which, Honda claims, improves stability.
There’s also more distinctive detailing between trims. The LX, EX and EX-L models, for example, get black grille mesh and body-color side mirrors. The Sport and Sport-L packages feature black seat mirrors and spoiler and 19-inch alloy wheels. The top-line Accord Touring features gloss-black alloy wheels and silver and black exterior trim.
Inside, the 11th-generation Accord features clean surfaces and a sportier layout, with more premium detailing, including Piano Black trim. New “Body Stabilizing Seats,” the automaker promises, help reduce fatigue on long trips. And, as with the exterior design, there are distinct features on various trims. The Sport model, for example, gets aluminum pedals and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Touring, meanwhile, gets ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
There’s also an increased focus on technology, starting with a standard 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster. On hybrid models, the 12.3-inch touchscreen is the largest Honda has ever offered – and it retains a physical volume knob. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, depending upon model. Even base trims have wired versions of those two features and are equipped with 7-inch touchscreens.
Significantly, the top-end Touring model migrates to a Google-powered infotainment system which includes Google Maps and apps, as well as the Google Assistant technology. The Accord Touring also comes standard with a 6-inch head-up display and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.
All versions of the 2023 Honda Accord will have the capability of receiving smartphone-style over-the-air updates. The OTA system will be able to update virtually all onboard software.
New hybrid system
From a powertrain perspective, the big news is the revised hybrid system. The fourth-generation technology uses twin electric motors paired with a new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 gas engine that now gets direct fuel injection. The combined output increases to 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 15 lb-ft. The hybrid control system now simulates the feel of a conventional step-gear transmission.
For non-hybrid models, Honda has gone with a 1.5-liter turbo-4 with upgrades including a cold-active catalyst and more rigid crankshaft. It’s paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission that also simulates step-gear shifts. The turbo engine produces 192 hp.
An updated airbag system now makes front knee and rear side-impact bags standard. That is part of a broader — and standard — safety package including the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance systems. It now features a new forward-looking camera that uses a broader field of vision to help prevent collisions.
The 2023 sedan comes to market just as the automaker marks the 40th anniversary of Accord’s production launch at Honda’s plant in Marysville, Ohio. It will continue to be produced at that facility.
Fuel economy numbers are yet to be released, along with pricing. The outgoing 2022 Honda Accord starts at $27,615 including delivery fees.