A little back of the napkin arithmaticking suggests the 2023 Honda Accord should automatically be inferior to the 2022 model because a 204-hp hybrid powertrain replaces the Civic Type R–sourced 2.0T from last year and there are 48 fewer ponies as a result. “How car with less go powers gooder than car with more go powers?!” the scholars on r/Cars and YouTube will ask?
To be fair, they do have a point. The newly hybridized Accord less powerful than they were a year ago. But the performance on hand – the stuff that matters day in and day out (and not just when arguing with strangers on the internet) – is dramatically more accessible.
Electric motor torque is a helluva drug and it makes everyday driving far easier than the old 2.0T. And lest we forget, the Accord remains a family sedan. Accessible and ample torque paired to 44 miles per gallon combined in a plush $38,000 package is a tempting thing, indeed. Bemoan the absent 2.0T if you must, but the newly hybridized Accord is better for the people who buy it.
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|Quick Stats:||2023 Honda Accord Touring|
|Motors:||Two Permanent-Magnet Motors|
|Output:||204 Horsepower / 247 Pound-Feet|
|Efficiency:||46 City / 41 Highway / 44 Combined|
Gallery: 2023 Honda Accord: Review
- Exterior Color: Canyon River Blue
- Interior Color: Black
- Wheel Size: 19 Inches
I’ve been fairly vocal about my dislike of Honda’s current design language. But where it’s anonymous on the Civic and CR-V, there’s some low-key elegance to the Accord. The rear end, with the vehicle spanning taillight and a small and flowing decklid that terminates in a vaguely kammback design reminds me of the Audi A7 or Peugeot 508. The front end isn’t quite as impactful, though, and the profile is downright underwhelming. Not to reference the Pug again, but it hits similar design points as the Accord, but with more panache throughout, especially in the grille and lighting. Still, the Accord is the looker of the current Honda range.
The Accord’s cabin is as visually stimulating as a sensory-deprivation tank. Available in only black or gray, it’s relentlessly monotone – only the Civic-inspired three-inch-thick honeycomb, which runs door to door across the dash, provides any visual flair. I’m not suggesting Honda needs to offer purple Alcantara with neon-green contrast stitching, but guys, it’s a mid-size family sedan. The bar isn’t exactly high. Give us a splash of red or a black-and-tan job, because if what you produce is duller than the Toyota Camry (and this is), there’s a big problem. The one positive in the Accord’s cabin is the material quality: It’s exquisite.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Honda Accord
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Cargo Capacity: 16.7 Cubic Feet
Dull as the interior might be, it’s an incredibly spacious place. Open the door and it’s a fairly long drop onto the driver’s seat. The hip point is low and sporty and if, like me, you enjoy having your legs splayed out straight ahead like you’re in a sports car, the Accord will oblige. There’s a huge amount of space in the front chairs, and the second row is nearly as good, with a big door aperture and a generous roofline. Cargo volume is impressive too.
|Interior Dimensions:||Headroom, Front/Rear:||Legroom, Front/Rear:||Cargo Volume:|
|2023 Honda Accord:||37.5 / 37.2 Inches||42.3 / 40.8 Inches||16.7 Cubic Feet|
|2023 Hyundai Sonata:||40.0 / 37.4 Inches||46.1 / 34.8 Inches||16.0 Cubic Feet|
|2023 Nissan Altima:||38.0 / 36.7 Inches||43.8 / 35.2 Inches||15.4 Cubic Feet|
|2023 Toyota Camry:||37.5 / 37.6 Inches||42.1 / 38.0 Inches||15.1 Cubic Feet|
The Accord Touring’s ride quality is excellent, with impressive stability from the steering and a compliant suspension tune that takes the edge off the harshest bumps. Unlike other hybrid Hondas, the Accord’s dual-motor/2.0-liter combination is impressively refined. The Atkinson-cycle engine is smoother in tone and more restrained in volume here than in the CR-V Hybrid, and even under a boot-full of accelerator, the Accord’s powertrain rarely sounds unpleasant.
- Center Display: 12.3-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 10.2 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: Yes
The top-end Touring makes a tech case for itself with its extensive Google integration, including Google Maps and Google Assistant. I’ve struggled with Google integration in some products, such as the GMC Hummer EV, but it worked perfectly during my week with the Accord. The graphics and response times on the standard 12.3-inch touchscreen are as good as anything else in this segment, too. Standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on hand if you’d rather avoid the Google interface.
Shortcomings? I’m not crazy about the Google tech demanding a subscription after the initial trial period or the relatively tiny head-up display (a mere 6.0 inches), and the lackluster Bose audio system is problematic in a range-topping offering.
- Engine: 2.0-liter I4 w/Two Electric Motors
- Output: 204 Horsepower
- Transmission: Two-Motor Hybrid System
The new Accord and its new optional powertrain are less powerful than last year. No ifs, ands, or buts there. But consider this: against the 290-horsepower Hyundai Sonata N-Line or 301-hp Toyota Camry TRD, the old turbocharged 2.0-liter and its 252 was also less powerful. The reality is that the Civic Type R-sourced engine was an awkward in-betweener on the spec sheet and rather than push a disadvantaged position or invest in a 300-hp Accord (which would be awesome), Honda built a hybrid arrangement with less power and torque that’s much easier to deploy.
The 247 pound-feet from the twin electric motors arrives immediately and while the 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine only produces 146 hp and 134 lb-ft, there’s enough grunt so that the Accord maintains its pace even when the motors run out of steam. And frankly, those sorts of situations aren’t likely to happen for the sorts of folks that buy mid-size sedans. Driven docilely, the Accord has all the oomph anyone could ask for.
It's a capable handler, too, although again not obviously so. The Accord’s comfortable ride and isolated but well weighted steering don’t immediately inspire confidence, but push this sedan through a corner and the verve here is entertaining. There’s little body roll and a surprising amount of feedback through the chassis and steering. Even the brake pedal, long a weak spot on HEVs, is predictable and easy to manage.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
- IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick Plus
Every Accord trim comes standard with an extremely compelling suite of active safety gear via the Honda Sensing suite. At the very least, there’s full-speed automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control with a low-speed follow function, along with lane-keep assist, traffic jam recognition, and automatic high beams. The Touring trim adds rear automatic emergency braking and front and rear parking sensors. And the integration here is among the best in the segment, with predictable behavior and just the right amount of assistance to keep the Accord centered in its lane.
- City: 46 MPG
- Highway: 41 MPG
- Combined: 44 MPG
- Base Price: $27,295 + $1,095 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $38,985
- As-Tested Price: $38,985
As the top-of-the-line Accord, the Touring is not a cheap proposition, starting at $38,985 (including a $1,095 destination charge). That’s nearly $6,000 more than the base hybrid-powered model (the Accord Sport) and $10,600 more than the $28,390 base Accord LX with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. Frankly, with excellent fuel economy and uprated performance, there’s no strong case for the standard powertrain in a $28,000 vehicle. But the Touring trim isn’t so superior to the Sport (let alone the EX-L and Sport L that sit between the two) that it justifies its price tag.
Aside from the head-up display, 19-inch wheels, Google integration, Bose audio, a wireless charge pad, and heated rear seats, there’s not much extra to recommend the Accord Touring over the Sport, EX-L, or Sport-L. With the lesser trims, you’ll get almost all the active safety gear, the super-efficient powertrain, and the same roomy cabin, while saving a few thousand bucks.
The Accord is a trickier sell against the competition, though. It’s either less powerful or less efficient than other hybrids in the class, and relative to their range-topping trims, it’s always more expensive.
|Value:||Trim Base Price:||Output:||Efficiency:|
|2023 Honda Accord Touring||$38,985||204 Horsepower||46 / 41 / 44|
|2023 Hyundai Sonata Limited Hybrid||$37,515||192 Horsepower||45 / 51 / 47|
|2023 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid||$34,890||208 Horsepower||44 / 47 / 46|
Correction: A previous version of this review said the Honda Accord Touring didn't have ventilated seats. This was incorrect and the story has been updated. We regret the error.
Accord Competitor Reviews:
2023 Honda Accord Touring