“They” say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. To that, I would add one more certainty—the existence of the Honda Accord.
Now in its 11th iteration, Honda’s flagship sedan is perennially one of the best-selling automobiles in the United States. What’s more, the model name has adorned hatchbacks, coupes and station wagons.
Along with this all-new model for 2023, Honda is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Accord production at its Marysville, Ohio plant. Sleek, spacious and engaging, this new Honda Accord also enjoys outstanding build quality.
Honda is also betting big on its hybrid powertrain with this new Accord, positioning it to account for 50% of the model’s sales volume. To that end, the system is fitted as standard equipment to all four of the Accord’s upper trim levels — Sport, EX-L, Sport-L and Touring. The two base models — LX and EX — stick with the turbocharged 1.5-liter, 192-horsepower 4-cylinder from the previous model year.
More evolutionary than revolutionary, the look of the 2023 Accord is being hailed by many as the most attractive design Honda’s largest sedan has ever had. Slightly longer than the 2022 model, the sleek styling also features thin pillars and plenty of glass, which makes for excellent outward visibility.
While the lines do flow gracefully, there’s a bit too much front and rear overhang for my sensibilities. Overall though, the design is quite fluid and Accord fans will find much to love, as scores of covetous glances from drivers of older Accords demonstrated during my time with the car.
That said, the Accord Hybrid Sport model I tested also wore a set of the black wheels that have seemingly become de rigueur for product planners trying to telegraph a model’s sporting intentions. While the 19-inch wheels did blend with the Accord’s chrome-free “murdered-out” look, black wheels make a car look like something’s missing to me. A silver lip around the wheel would have accomplished the planners’ intention, while focusing more attention on the handsome five-spoke design.
The redesigned interior treatment brings the front grille’s honeycomb pattern inside the 2023 Accord and cleverly employs it to disguise the HVAC vents. This gives the beltline of the dash an uninterrupted flow. A 12.3-inch infotainment screen, the largest ever fitted to an Accord, holds court over a tastefully minimalist interior design. Swathed in premium materials, the Honda’s passenger compartment illustrates the elegance that resides in simplicity.
Cup holders and cubbies are abundant, as is cargo capacity. According to Honda’s documentation, the 2023 Accord is the class leader in that regard, boasting 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space — before the rear seats are folded. While we’re on the subject of seating, the Accord’s front seats stabilize the body nicely, which goes a long way toward minimizing fatigue over protracted distances.
Electrification has come to the fore at Honda. Assisted by a pair of electric motors, a 2.0-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder engine anchors the hybrid powertrain. Total system output is 204 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. The system averaged an astonishing 41 mpg in a mix of city, highway and brisk back road driving. The EPA says to expect 46 in the city and 41 on the highway.
While it’s certainly respectable, power output could stand to be dialed up a notch or two. I counted six one thousands before the speedometer needle eclipsed 60 miles per hour from a standing start.
Safety and Technology
The 12.3-inch touchscreen is complemented by a 10.2-inch digital instrumentation display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the model range. However, LX- and EX-trimmed Accords with the 7-inch touchscreen, make do with a wired connection for those features. Only the big screen offers wireless connectivity. A wireless smartphone charging pad, a 6.0-inch head-up display and a 12-speaker Bose stereo system are also available.
On the safety side, the Honda Sensing collection of driver assists is standard. Features include traffic sign recognition, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning. Adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, traffic jam assist and lane-keeping assistance are part of the package too.
Driving the Accord reminded me of the neural link rider and horse enjoy in the film Avatar. I felt hardwired to the car. Steering, throttle and braking response were both direct and immediate. The relationship between the seat and steering wheel was precisely conducive to spirited driving and the road seemed to come right up to the base of the windshield.
Exhibiting crisp turn-in and abundant grip, the Accord deftly reassured me with its sheer and utter competence. Body roll was negligible and remarkably for a front-wheel drive car of this size and weight, understeer was not apparent — even when I was attacking canyon roads like Snoopy chasing the Red Baron. What’s more, the Accord’s ride quality was just as good as its handling. The harshness that typically rears up when a sedan of this nature is endowed with that degree of agility was completely missing from the experience.
2023 Honda Accord Sport Hybrid Specifications
|Dimensions||L: 195.7 inches/W: 73 inches/H: 73.3 inches/Wheelbase: 111.4 inches|
|Powertrain||2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder Atkinson and two motor hybrid; CVT, FWD|
|Fuel Economy||46 mpg city/41 mpg highway/44 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $31,895; As tested: $33,445, including $1,095 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Honda’s flagship sedan is exceptionally smooth, finished beautifully, and is a whole lot of fun to drive. However, if I absolutely had to find fault, it would be with the face of the car.
The Accord’s face lacks the intimidation factor the car needs to go along with its handling. As a result, the Accord doesn’t get the respect it deserves on back roads. I’m guessing it’s because Accords are so ubiquitous and perceived to be “family cars.”
Whatever it is, rather than getting out of its way, other drivers ignore it when they see the Honda suddenly looming large in their rearview mirrors. Still though, you’ll be hard pressed to find another four-door sedan that so competently delivers the 2023 Honda Accord Sport Hybrid’s combination of quality, driving pleasure, fuel economy, comfort and space — at any price point.
2023 Honda Accord Sport Hybrid – Frequently Asked Questions
What to expect from the 2023 Honda Accord?
Redesigned for the 2023 model year, the Accord offers sleek styling, a spacious interior and a broad array of desirable tech. According (no pun intended) to the EPA, the hybrid powertrain is capable of 46 mpg in the city, 41 on the highway and 44 overall.
How long can an Accord be expected to last?
Maintained appropriately, an Accord will easily go 200,000 miles or more.
Does the Honda Accord hold its value?
The average depreciation of a new car after five years is 40%. Accords experience a 21% depreciation rate after five years.