We’re fast approaching a half-century since Honda brought the original Accord nameplate to market. It’s gone through a number of changes over the years. But lately, the market has changed around the Accord.
By the millions, American motorists have been migrating from sedans, coupes and hatchbacks to SUVs, CUVs and pickups. That’s led more than a few of the Japanese automaker’s competitors to abandon the passenger car market. For its part, Honda hasn’t ignored those market trends. It’s expanded its line-up of utility vehicles, last year alone rolling out updated versions of the HR-V, CR-V and Pilot. But it’s not planning to give up on sedans — or coupes or hatchbacks, as it’s demonstrated with updated versions of the Civic and, now for 2023, the flagship Accord line.
The 11th-generation Accord I spent time with in San Diego this month is more than just a modest update. It’s an all-but-ground-up makeover of the familiar midsize sedan.
The 2023 Honda Accord grows larger, roomier, sportier and is more lavishly equipped. There’s plenty of useful technology, including a larger infotainment display which, on the top trim Touring package adopts new Google maps and apps, as well as the Google Assistant voice tech. The new Accord also introduces a new hybrid powertrain that delivers a once seemingly impossible blend of improved performance and impressive fuel economy — as much as 51 mpg in around-town driving.
The new sedan is more expensive — though that shouldn’t come as a surprise these days when the average U.S. buyer is paying more than $45,000 for a new vehicle. And, for what you get, even in the base 2023 Accord, it seems more than a fair price.
The 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.
While clearly more lavish, on the whole, the 2023 Honda Accord picks up on some of the smaller Civic model’s interior design cues. That includes the diamond-pattern instrument panel which hides away the climate system’s air vents.
The 2023 Accord also introduces the largest touchscreen ever offered on a Honda model, a 12.3-inch display that rises above that new instrument panel. The new sedan also adopts a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster. And a head-up display comes with the Touring trim.
There’s something old and something new when it comes to drivetrains for the 2023 Honda Accord. Sedan buyers have the choice of a turbocharged inline-four carried over from the old Accord, or a new hybrid package.
The turbo-four is a 1.5-liter design that makes a reasonably quick 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.
But the star is the new twin-motor hybrid. One of those AC synchronous motors is used solely for regenerative purposes — among other things, recapturing energy normally lost during braking and coasting. The other pairs up with a 2.0-liter internal combustion engine to produce a combined 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. That’s actually nine hp less than the hybrid in the 2022 Accord mustered, but the new package punches out 15 more pound-feet of torque, 247 in total.
And it delivers some impressive mileage numbers at 51 mpg in the city and 48 on the highway. The turbo-four delivers a reasonable, but hardly stellar 30 mpg city, 38 highway. (And, yes, the figures are correct. Because you make frequent stop-and-go maneuvers around town, hybrids tend to do better in the EPA city test cycle than on the highway.)
There was speculation Accord might get a plug-in hybrid option. That’s a “no” for 2023 and doesn’t look likely to happen anytime soon. A bigger disappointment comes with the lack of an all-wheel-drive system for the eleventh-generation Accord.
Safety and Technology
The base Accord comes with a 10.2-inch digital touchscreen, though higher trim levels — and hybrid models — jump to 12.3 inches, the largest display Honda has yet offered. The automaker learned its lesson a few years back, and both infotainment displays now feature physical volume knobs.
In the top-line Accord Touring models, Honda migrates to the Google-powered infotainment system which includes Google Maps and apps, as well as the Google Assistant technology. It features a more powerful voice assistant that makes it easier to do everything from checking the weather to programming the onboard navigation system. Accord Touring now comes standard with a 6-inch head-up display and a 12-speaker Bose audio system, as well.
You’ll find wired versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Honda switching to wireless versions on the upper Accord trims, And all versions of the sedan feature smartphone-style over-the-air updates technology which works virtually all onboard software.
The eleventh-generation sedan comes standard with Honda Sensing, an extensive suite of advanced driver assistance systems. It includes features like collision warning with automatic emergency braking, active cruise control and lane departure warning, carry over. The 2023 model adds functions such as traffic sign recognition.
I started my day overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the northern San Diego enclave of Encinitas, launching out on a circuitous route that took me up into the eastern hill country with a stop at the popular Julian pie company. For the first half of the journey, I lined up a 2023 Honda Accord Touring Sport model, swapping that out in Julian for the more lavishly outfitted Hybrid Touring package.
The new hybrid powertrain is a big improvement over the prior gas-electric system: smooth, torquey and confidence-inspiring. Under normal driving, you’ll barely notice its presence, the package spending much of its time relying on the electric half of the package to power you along. Kick down the throttle and it’s more than happy to show what it can do, however, especially in Sport Mode.
The system introduces a digitally created soundtrack designed to enhance the sense of power and performance. It is a bit artificial and some folks might find it intrusive.
Along the coast and onto the I-5, the hybrid drivetrain was more than up to what I demanded of it. It’s able to blend into freeway traffic and, if needed, easily execute a pass at 80 mph. The new powertrain’s muscle was equally obvious as I worked my way up into the Laguna Mountains towards Julian, at 4,200 feet.
The upgraded suspension stayed firmly planted as I zigzagged through sharp mountain turns, with far less body roll than the prior generation Accord was wont to deliver. The steering was a little vague in Normal Mode but tightened up nicely when switched to Sport.
If I experienced any surprise it was how well the Touring model handled things on the return trip. It wasn’t quite as taut in the corners, but it remained poised and confident, adding a little more compliance to the suspension to soak up bumps and potholes.
Unfortunately, Honda only had a pair of turbo models on hand for our media drive and, with so many folks asking for time behind the wheel I had to limit myself to a 30-minute loop closer to the coast. As with the hybrid, the powertrain offered a more refined feel than I recalled from driving the old ’22 Accord. It was reasonably peppy and responded quickly to whatever my right foot demanded.
For those on a budget, the turbo package is a reasonable option. But there’s no question that the Accord Hybrid, whatever the trim, is the powertrain of choice.
New vehicle prices have risen sharply since the COVID pandemic began and that’s readily apparent in the 2023 Honda Accord’s base price of $28,390 — including delivery fees. Add another $3,505 for the entry Accord Hybrid. A well-equipped Accord Hybrid Touring will set you back around $40,000.
The sedan is one of the more expensive models in a crowded segment. That includes the likes of the Kia K5, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry, all carrying starting price slightly lower than the Honda entry.
That said, the 11th-generation Honda Accord is a well-executed package that is pleasing to the eye, satisfying to drive and comfortable to take on long trips. There’s enough equipment to justify the price tag. And the complete package has the sort of appeal that could get many potential SUV buyers to rethink their options. I’d be surprised if the 2023 Honda Accord doesn’t also make inroads by winning over buyers from competing brands that have walked away from the sedan market.
2023 Honda Accord — Frequently Asked Questions
Will the Honda Accord be redesigned for 2023?
Honda’s flagship sedan gets a near ground-up makeover for the 2023 model year that sees it grow larger, roomier and more powerful. It also gets a new hybrid powertrain, along with a carryover turbo gas engine.
How much is a fully loaded 2023 Honda Accord?
The 2023 Honda Accord will carry a base MSRP of $28,390. The Accord Hybrid starts at $31,895. And you’ll push up to $37,890 for 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring model.
What is the gas mileage for the 2023 Honda Accord?
The 2023 Accord Hybrid delivers 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The turbo package gets a still-decent, but far less compelling 30 mpg city, 38 highway. (Note that hybrids tend to deliver better city mileage because of their ability to regenerate energy during stop-and-go driving.)