CHATHAM, Mass. – It began as a small, two-door hatchback resembling something from a German automaker and now in its 11th generation the redesigned 2023 Honda Accord represents one of the most sought after family sedans in the United States.
I recently spent a week in a new Sport hybrid version, a roomy family sedan which was quiet, quick, responsive and squeezed 54.1 miles from each gallon of gas! These characteristics illustrate why the Accord has been both popular with buyers and those who hand out awards for excellence.
Ward’s Auto recently named the three-motor Honda hybrid configuration a Top 10 Powertrain award winner. As we discussed in last week’s review of the redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V Sport Touring, the Japanese automaker combines a 2.0-liter Atkinson-Cycle four-cylinder internal-combustion engine (ICE) with two electric motors for tis hybrid setup.
One of the electric motors provides primary power to the front wheels, while the second one is a generator for replenishing the battery, which is also the main role of the ICE.
The combined output of the powertrain is 204 horsepower (compared to 202 of the 2022 model) and 247 pounds-feet of torque (232 in previous one).
As far as performance, Car and Driver, which has put the Accord on its annual Top Ten list 37 times including the last 25 consecutive years, recorded 0-60 miles-per-hour times of 6.6 seconds.
This performance comes without sacrificing fuel economy. My 54.1 mpg was well above the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s rating of 44 overall (46 urban, 41 highway). Historically, I have found hybrid’s tend to produce better mileage results than the EPA ratings (unless highway driving has made up the vast majority of my time behind the wheel).
Sure-footed chassis underneath
Honda has continuously improved the Accord — the number one selling car in America during the last 50 years – since its 1976 introduction including refinements to its ride and handling.
Featuring MacPherson-type struts up front and an independent multi-link setup in the rear, both with stabilizer bars, the ride is smooth and comfortable over all but the roughest surfaces, without any stiffness.
But this does not mean the Accord’s suspension is soft or imprecise; handling is sporty and reassuring regardless of the roads’ twists and turns. This is a family sedan which can challenge many of the world’s best sport sedans in this area.
Bringing the Accord Sport to a halt are both friction and regenerative braking systems. The former features four-wheel disc brakes with a four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist. The rotors are 12.3-inches and ventilated at the front, 11.1 inches and solid in the rear.
The system utilizes a large-diameter master cylinder to achieve a short-travel, firm pedal.
Steering-column-mounted paddle shifters facilitate the regenerative-braking system. The driver can set the amount of regen with the paddles, arriving at a comfortable setting to use the engine as a retarding force (while simultaneously replenishing the hybrid’s battery).
Most advanced version of Honda Sensing® ADAS
The new Accord gets the most advanced version of Honda Sensing®, the company’s advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) featuring collision-mitigation braking; road-departure mitigation; lane-departure warning; forward-collision warning; adaptive cruise control; lane-keeping assist; traffic-sign recognition; traffic-jam assist; automatic high beams, and blind-spot information.
An interior filled with technology
Honda incorporated its largest touchscreen a 12.3-inch color display, as the heart of the Accord’s infotainment system. Sources for the system include AM/FM radio, Bluetooth-smartphone streaming and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The wireless CarPlay/Android Auto system worked seamlessly, always connecting and never dropping the connection; it was the best wireless version of this I have ever experienced!
My Apple CarPlay worked flawlessly, as mentioned, but I remain disappointed with Apple’s in-car mapping. Unless navigating to a specific location, the map does not show speed limits or the name of the road being traveled in a prominent box at the bottom of the screen. In addition, road names in non-navigation mode are too small for virtually all vehicle screens in normal settings. Generally, vehicle navigation/mapping systems are more precise than the one provided by CarPlay (but this is a good alternative to no navigation/mapping system).
The 180-Watts of sound comes through an eight-speaker audio system.
The driver’s seat has 10-way power adjustment (including two-way lumbar support) and heat (which is also found in the passenger seat). A dual-zone automatic climate-control system takes further care of the interior’s environment.
And further improving the interior environment on sunny days is a power moonroof with tilt feature.
Overall, the interior is inviting, comfortable and thoroughly modern.
The Honda Accord is a common site on America’s roads, the vehicle evolving from a small two-door hatch (smaller than today’s subcompact Honda Civic) into one of the most loved family sedans (and during some generations also offered in two-door coupe, four-door couple/hatchback and station wagon versions, this one limited to Japanese sales, though built in Ohio).
One major reason for the popularity has been value. In 1976, the original sold for $3,995, a terrific price for the time (and, to be transparent, my first new-car when I purchased one of the first five sold in Bergen County, N.J.).
The 2023 Honda Accord range starts at $27,295 for the LX and moves through six variants to the comprehensively equipped Touring at $37,890. The test vehicle, a 2023 Honda Accord Sport, carried a manufacturer suggested retail price of $31,895. The lone option on this well-equipped sedan was the Radiant Red metallic paint ($455) and with the $1,095 destination & handling fee brought the bottom line to $33,445 – a lot of car for the money.
The Honda Accord, regardless of trim-level chosen, provides a solid, safe, efficient and economical choice for anyone needing a mid-size family sedan.