2023 Honda Accord Review and Test Drive

People who still want a car instead of an SUV will find plenty to like in the new sedan.

Capital One

Review QuickTakes:

Family cars are no longer the stars of the automotive industry. Crossover SUVs have taken center stage, the modern interpretations of the classic Brady Bunch-style station wagon but festooned with gray body cladding and simulated skid plates instead of fake wood paneling and reverse-facing jump seats.

Crossovers are typically more expensive, less efficient, and not as rewarding to drive as cars, but they can carry more stuff and make us look like we occasionally get off the couch and out into the wilderness. Some of them even have all-wheel drive, just in case it snows or something.

Ah, but I digress. This is a 2023 Honda Accord review, and the redesigned 2023 Accord is anything but a crossover SUV. The base starts under $30,000. Tick the right options, and it can get up to 48 mpg in combined highway and city driving. It offers an excellent blend of power, ride quality, handling, interior room, and cargo space. And it will never have a space-robbing third-row seat that you keep folded down except when your parents are visiting.

With Honda's rivals giving up on cars, you might wonder why the company would bother with a 2023 Accord redesign. Simply put, the Accord (and the automaker's smaller Civic model) bring younger, more diverse buyers to Honda showrooms. In addition, Honda claims the Accord accounts for nearly 25 percent of all sales in its segment, making it a dominant car in a shrinking class.

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With this redesign, Honda improves the Accord in most ways. Of course, styling is subjective, and you may prefer the looks of the previous 10th-generation model. In addition, the former car's satisfying turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is gone. But with the new 11th-generation 2023 Accord, Honda improves the car's interior, comfort, infotainment systems, and safety features while refining the driving dynamics. In addition, the company's next-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain is standard in most versions of the new Accord.

This year, the Accord LX and EX use an updated version of the previous standard engine: a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder matched with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All other Accords are hybrids, and they include the Sport Hybrid, Sport-L Hybrid, EX-L Hybrid, and Touring Hybrid. Across the lineup, prices range from the high $20,000s to the high $30,000s, including the destination charge to ship the car from the Marysville, Ohio, factory to your local dealership.

For this 2023 Accord review, I test-drove the Sport Hybrid in Southern California. It came with extra-cost Radiant Red paint, bringing the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $33,445, including the $1,095 destination charge. Honda provided the vehicle for this Accord review.

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2023 Honda Accord's Design refined with simplicity in mind

I thought Honda did a great job with the 10th-gen Accord's styling. Sure, some of the details weren't quite right. Still, the gently swelling fenders often filled with attractive 19-inch wheels, the blunt nose that expertly hid the visual mass sitting over the front axle, and the pulled-back cabin that masked its origins on a front-wheel-drive platform gave the previous Accord genuine appeal.

This time around, Honda has cleaned up the styling, and the 2023 Accord presents a crisp, conservative, tailored design with technical lighting elements and a serious, slightly mean face. As was true before, the Sport trim has the best-looking wheel design, with five chunky spokes and machined edges. Honda didn't go wrong with the restyle, even if I prefer the previous model.

Inside, the new Accord gets similar tidying up with more attention to detail. Digital instrumentation is standard, and the 2023 Accord is the first Honda to receive a new 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with available Google Built-in technology. The mesh metal trim hides the air vents, just as it does in other recent Hondas, and the automaker eliminates most seams on the soft-touch dashboard to reduce glare and reflections in the windshield.

Honda lays out the controls logically and intuitively, making it easy to find what you seek. Matte-black finishes, clear white markings, and refined operation are the rules within the Accord, and Honda employs a traditional transmission shifter instead of a knob, buttons, or a return-to-center controller. The simplicity is refreshing.

Sport Hybrid models have cloth seats, and the driver enjoys 10-way power adjustment to find a proper position behind the steering wheel. Honda redesigned the front seats for greater comfort, and I had no complaints, even after hours of driving. Also, though it was chilly during the evaluation week, the Sport Hybrid's cloth upholstery meant I didn't miss the absent seat heaters.

The front-seat passenger is not as comfortable as the driver. No matter which trim level you choose, the 2023 Accord lacks height adjustment for anyone riding shotgun. That's unfortunate because, though the seat cushion is comfortable, it positions people too low in the car. In addition, it lowers the hip point, making it more challenging to enter and exit the Accord.

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The rear seat is huge. Large door openings, a tall and supportive bottom cushion, a nicely angled backrest, and more legroom than you'll find in rivals contribute to class-leading comfort. However, headroom could be an issue for taller adults. In addition, it is worth noting that the quality of the materials in the rear seating area seems less impressive than what you'll find up front. Lastly, the Sport Hybrid did not have rear air-conditioning vents or USB ports, both significant omissions in a vehicle that is otherwise so thoughtfully accommodating of its rear passengers.

Storage space is generous for the people sitting in front, and a wireless smartphone charger is available for the tray located forward of the gear selector. In the back, the test vehicle provided a single seatback pocket, two cupholders in the center armrest, and small bins and trays in the door panels.

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Pop the self-opening trunk lid, and you'll find 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space, more than what other four-door family cars provide. The trunk is deep, too, making it easy to stow full-size suitcases on their sides. In addition, the test vehicle had small storage bins under the trunk's load floor, and an optional cargo net is available to help prevent groceries and other small items from careening around inside the cavernous trunk.

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Tweaking the Technology in the 2023 Accord

Honda takes an unusual tactic with the 2023 Accord's new infotainment systems. They don't offer access to SiriusXM satellite radio or an embedded navigation system, Honda evidently determining that most people prefer to pair their smartphones and stream music through apps, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto. But those two latter platforms also have native navigation functions that provide traffic data and plenty of rich cartographic detail and conversational digital assistants (Siri, Hey Google) that work pretty well.

With LX and EX trim, the Accord has a 7.0-inch touchscreen system with Bluetooth connectivity, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, HondaLink subscription-based services (including access to a Wi-Fi hotspot), and two USB ports. The LX has four speakers, while the EX has eight. Starting with Sport Hybrid trim, the Accord gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen display with Alexa Built-in and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. In addition, the Sport-L and EX-L hybrids add rear USB ports.

Only the Touring Hybrid gets an infotainment system equipped with Google Built-in, representing Honda's first application of the technology in one of its models. It includes access to Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play and comes with a complimentary three-year data plan. Additional features of this infotainment system include HD Radio, a wireless smartphone charger, and a 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint premium sound system.

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I had no trouble pairing my iPhone 13 Pro to the Sport Hybrid's Bluetooth, and streaming music through Pandora was easy. During the week, there were no glitches, and Siri behaved in a typical fashion with delayed responses that sometimes produced an “I didn't get that” or “I'm not sure I understand.” Did I miss having SiriusXM radio and an embedded navigation system? Not really, but since I'm an avid satellite radio listener, its omission could bother me beyond the week I spent driving the new Accord.

Nevertheless, don't be surprised if other automakers follow Honda's lead in dropping satellite radio and native navigation from their infotainment systems. With Apple and Google leading in connectivity and apps and consumers often preferring to use them in the car, it makes sense to leverage those technologies.

In addition to new infotainment systems, the 2023 Accord has a standard digital instrumentation panel that you can customize to display specific information. In the center is a small graphic representing the Accord, and it shows when the driving assistance systems are active; when the headlights, taillights, and brake lights are illuminated; and when the turn signal is blinking. In addition, Touring trim installs a head-up display that supplies vehicle speed, navigation directions, and driving assistance status.

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Moving on to the Accord's safety features, the new car includes an improved version of Honda Sensing, a collection of advanced driving assistance systems. It consists of the collision warning, collision avoidance, and adaptive cruise control systems you've come to expect on a modern vehicle, but you'll need to upgrade from the base LX to the EX or a higher trim level to get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Honda Sensing equips the new Accord with lane-centering assist and Traffic Jam Assist. These features provide semi-autonomous driving assistance as long as the driver continues to hold the steering wheel. Thanks to a new wide-view camera and improved sensors, the driving aids offer improved accuracy and refinement, and on my test-driving loop, the technology performed well. Other than displaying some indecision about how to steer in situations where the lane markings widened, such as when passing freeway ramps, and returning control to the driver on the sharper bends in the Pacific Coast Highway, the technology felt natural if not transparent to the driver.

Upgrades include parking sensors for the EX-L Hybrid and Touring Hybrid. In addition, the Touring has an exclusive low-speed automatic braking system that can prevent you from bumping into objects when parking. Unfortunately, Honda does not offer a surround-view camera system for the new Accord, a feature that I increasingly find to be indispensable.

Because the Accord is new, crash-test ratings were unavailable at the time of publication. Be sure to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety websites for updates.

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The Accord Driving Experience Is a Smooth One

In the Accord LX and EX, Honda carries over the previous turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT, each boasting improvements to improve refinement.

All other 2023 Accord models have a new, fourth-generation version of Honda's unusual two-motor hybrid powertrain. It employs a new 2.0-liter gasoline engine, two electric motors, and a lithium-ion battery pack. There isn't a transmission. Instead, one of the electric motors performs that task. With this next-generation two-motor hybrid system, Honda successfully eliminates the incessant droning that previously accompanied acceleration, and as you get the car up to speed, engine revs rise and fall like they would if the Accord Hybrid had a traditional automatic powering its front wheels.

It is a satisfying drivetrain, making a combined 204 horsepower with the electric propulsion motor delivering 247 lb-ft of torque from zero to 2,000 rpm. The Accord Hybrid accelerates from a stop with authority, but as speed rises and engine revs climb, it does run out of steam. Don't worry because there still seems to be enough power to merge into fast-flowing freeway traffic. But passing power isn't as robust as in the previous-generation Accord 2.0T, which had a wonderful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder under its hood. Unfortunately, that engine is no longer available in the Accord.

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Honda offers Econ, Normal, Sport, and Individual driving modes. I set up the Individual mode with Sport powertrain calibration and Normal steering and found the Accord Sport Hybrid rewarding to drive. It was so enjoyable that I didn't come close to matching the official EPA fuel economy rating of 44 mpg (EX-L Hybrids, with smaller wheels and tires, get 48 mpg). On my evaluation route, the car returned 37.8 mpg. But had I driven with more care and less enthusiasm, I'm sure my real-world result would have eclipsed the 40-mpg mark.

I've long found the Accord enjoyable to drive, especially the naturally athletic 10th-generation version that this new design replaces. Since Honda builds the 2023 Accord on the same platform with structural enhancements, I did not expect this opinion to change. And it didn't. But the new Accord does feel smoother and more isolated than before while adding a measure of quiet to the cabin.

Honda continues to use a MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension in the new Accord, and the hybrids have thicker stabilizer bars and larger front brakes. In addition, all Accord Hybrid models except for the EX-L sit on 19-inch alloy wheels with wider, lower-profile 235/40 tires. Honda also refines the Accord's variable-ratio steering for 2023.

However, I attribute the added smoothness in the Accord's ride and handling to a new Motion Management System. Honda says it activates when you turn the car into a corner or a curve, using the braking system and powertrain to shift weight to the front tires. That makes the front tire contact patches larger, improving grip and cornering while reducing that bugaboo of front-wheel-drive vehicles: understeer.

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While driving undulating mountain roads at a good clip, the Accord Sport Hybrid tackles the pavement with a calm, cool, and collected demeanor. The car is seemingly unfazed by rumples and dips in the road or decreasing radius curves, behaving in a consistent, predictable, trustworthy manner. Crisp steering administered by a wheel that feels good in your hands, fade-free brakes attached to a pedal that feels good under your feet, and suspension compliance that soaks up the worst blows from the surface without muffling communication all bring a smile to your face.

But the Accord Hybrid is enjoyable to drive, no matter the situation. It may not be as fast as the old 2.0T model, but when you're traveling 450 miles between stops at the gas station and pumping only about 12 gallons in to fill the tank, you won't miss that extra power much.

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Is the 2023 Honda Accord a Good Car?

Compared to several years ago, few family sedans remain available, and soon the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Nissan Maxima will get the ax. Rumors suggest the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5 may not survive much longer, either. Should that come to pass, the Honda Accord will count only the Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, and Toyota Camry as direct rivals. And the real battle for retail instead of fleet customers is between Honda and Toyota.

The new Accord competes favorably with this collection of alternatives. However, at the as-tested price of $33,445, the Accord Sport Hybrid's lack of features makes a Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid seem like a real bargain. Plus, the Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota all offer an optional all-wheel-drive system and an available engine upgrade that makes more power than the Accord's dual-motor hybrid drivetrain. But only the Honda and Toyota come in hybrid models, and both offer complimentary scheduled maintenance for two years.

Where the Accord shines brightest is exterior styling, interior quality and layout, passenger room, trunk space, and driving dynamics. High marks in these areas make it a compelling choice for a family sedan and potentially worth paying the premium over the Camry.

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.