Undergoing a complete redesign for the 2023 model year, the Accord showcases a sophisticated aesthetic that many find to be Honda’s most attractive design yet for a midsize sedan. The hybrid powertrain has become a significant aspect of the Accord lineup, now included as standard equipment on all but the two most affordable trims.
Equipped with a familiar 192-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine, the LX and EX trims are paired solely with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). On the other hand, the upper trims feature a new 204-hp four-cylinder hybrid system borrowed from the CR-V with minimal modifications.
The updated interior of the Accord borrows design elements from the newly redesigned Civic, CR-V, and HR-V. The infotainment system boasts several updated technologies, including a standard digital gauge display and an optional 12.3-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. The interior also features a honeycomb-pattern dash trim that conceals the air vents and a freestanding rectangular infotainment display that emerges from the top of the instrument panel.
Our tester, the Radiant Red Metallic Honda Accord, follows the recent trend of Hondas with a low front end and broad grille resembling the Honda Civic compact sedan. It’s a modern upgrade from its predecessor, with added length in the nose and a sporty profile from the fastback roofline and 19-inch black wheels.
The Accord’s grille features thinner bars that split it into upper and lower sections, and it appears wider under thinner LED headlights. Although it lacks the freshness and excitement of some other cars, the 11th generation Accord exudes a subtle sophistication reminiscent of German touring cars, without the ostentation favored by its rivals.
Featuring a modern design that incorporates design elements from other recent Honda models, the interior of the Accord establishes a cohesive familial aesthetic. A noteworthy feature is the honeycomb trim that conceals the HVAC air vents, which is also present in the new Civic that we reviewed earlier this year and the CR-V SUV. Honda has redesigned the front seats to provide better support for the torso and the trunk has been shaped meticulously to accommodate up to 16.7 cubic feet of cargo.
According to Honda’s estimation, the hybrid variant is expected to constitute at least 50% of the Accord’s sales. The Sport (which we tested), Sport-L, and Touring trims have received an EPA rating of 46 mpg city, 41 highway, and 44 combined. Alternatively, if you choose the Accord EX-L equipped with smaller 17-inch wheels, you can expect a fuel economy of 51 miles per gallon city, 44 highway, and 48 combined.
Equipped with a hybridized, Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine featuring multistage direct fuel injection for increased power and reduced emissions relative to its forerunner, the Hybrid Sport also benefits from Honda’s enhanced electric powertrain. This upgrade incorporates two separate electric motors that handle generation and propulsion separately, delivering superior responsiveness and efficiency. Producing a total power output of 204 hp, the Hybrid Sport’s performance is slightly below that of its forerunner, which boasted 212 hp. However, its torque has improved from 232 lb-ft to 247 lb-ft.
Replacing the previous turbo’s 10-speed automatic, the Hybrid Sport employs a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that operates seamlessly. Serving as the transmission, the electric motors charge the battery and propel the motor when the engine is in use. Although the engine directly powers the drive wheels in infrequent part-throttle freeway driving, it mainly functions as an onboard generator.
Honda’s fun-to-drive characteristic is evident in the Hybrid Sport despite it being a mid-size sedan. The compliant suspension expertly handles body roll and wheel motions, and the electric power steering provides a pleasingly hefty sensation in sport mode, although it may feel somewhat numb in other modes.
Passengers rarely experience head toss, even when driving over broken pavement, thanks to the suspension’s composure and stability. The Hybrid Sport’s cabin has noticeable tire roar, but wind and engine noise are well controlled, making long trips less fatiguing.
The friction brakes of the Hybrid Sport are adequate, but its regenerative system is exceptional. Drivers can control the system, which offers six different steps ranging from coasting to nearly one-pedal driving, using steering wheel paddles. The vehicle can be locked into one of these modes or allowed to revert to the path of least resistance when accelerating, making it ideal for on-demand deceleration when descending hills or for coasting immediately after reaching flat ground.
The mid-size sedan segment features several notable options, but the Honda Accord Hybrid and the Toyota Camry stand out as strong contenders. The Camry impresses with its broad range of trim levels and powertrain choices, including an excellent hybrid model that boasts exceptional EPA ratings.
The Hyundai Sonata is also worth considering for its hybrid option and sleek design, while the Kia K5’s GT trim provides some competition for the Stinger. Although the Nissan Altima may charm some buyers, its powertrains leave something to be desired. Overall, the Accord Hybrid and Camry remain the top choices in this competitive segment.
During our week-long test drive of the Radiant Red Metallic 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Sport, the vehicle we reviewed had an MSRP of $31,895, with the total price coming in at $33,445.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2023 Angel Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog