By Eric Peters
Sedans, which used to be the bestselling vehicles, have become a harder sell since the early 2000s, chiefly because crossovers (and SUVs) offer the roominess and practicality that used to sell sedans, plus the usually available all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive that makes crossovers and SUVs better able to deal with poor weather.
So Honda decided to sell something most of crossover and SUVs lack.
Phenomenal gas mileage.
Plus, something every electric vehicle lacks.
What It Is
The Accord is Honda’s midsize sedan. It and primary rival Toyota Corolla were for many years the most popular, bestselling cars on the market.
Until crossovers and SUVs ate into their sales.
Unlike the Camry, which you can still get with a V6, the Accord is now only available with four-cylinder engines. One of them is combo’d up with a hybrid drivetrain — and that one that can go more than 50 miles on a gallon of gas (and more than 650 miles on a tank).
Prices start at $31,345 for the Sport, which comes standard with a 19-inch wheel/tire package, plus heated seats, an upgraded eight-speaker audio system and a larger (12.3-inch) LCD touch screen.
A top-of-the-line Touring trim with 19-inch wheels and shorter-sidewall tires, plus heated rear seats, coolers for the front seats, a premium 12-speaker audio system, rain-sensing wipers and Google voice-assistant stickers for $37,890.
What’s New for 2023
The Accord is heavily updated and the hybrid lineup expanded. In fact, only two of the Accord’s six available trims — the base LX and the next-up EX – aren’t hybrids.
Goes very far on a gallon — and very long in between refills.
Significantly more back seat legroom than Camry hybrid.
Quicker than Camry hybrid.
What’s Not So Good
Much pricier than Camry hybrid, which starts at just $28,655.
Under The Hood
The Accord’s standard 1.5-liter (turbocharged) four makes 192 horsepower and the same 192 foot-pounds of torque. It’s paired with a CVT automatic and the combo touts 29 mpg in city driving and 32 mpg on the highway.
This is the standard — and only — combination available in the base LX and next-up EX trims.
All the other Accord trims (Sport, EX-L, Sport-L and Touring) come standard with a larger 2.0-liter four — not turbocharged — that’s paired with a dual-motor hybrid system for a combined peak output of 204 horsepower, which interestingly is almost exactly the same power made by the 1.5-liter turbocharged four that powers the high-performance version of the Honda Civic Si.
It’s interesting because the Accord hybrid’s powertrain enables the larger (midsize) Accord to go 51 miles (in city driving, and 44 miles on the highway) on a gallon of gas whereas the smaller compact-size Civic Si only goes 27 miles on a gallon in city driving (37 miles on the highway).
Of course, the Civic Si is quick, being focused on quickness. It gets to 60 in about 6.6 seconds; but you might be interested to discover that the midsize Accord hybrid gets to 60 just as quickly.
And it goes a lot farther.
On a full tank of just 13 gallons of gas, the hybrid Accord can go 652 miles (in city driving, and 563 miles on the highway) before it needs more gas. The typical driver might only need to get gas twice a month.
On The Road
Driving the hybrid Accord is a lot like an EV in that it is extremely quiet until you decide to make some noise, the kind EVs can’t make — at least, not naturally: the sound of an engine revving when you floor the accelerator. Honda knows how to make engines that sound great when they’re revving, and that’s the case here.
The only downside regarding the Accord is you don’t get a tachometer to watch the progression of the revving. Instead, there’s a tach-emulating power-charge gauge in place of the tach, to the left of the speedometer. There’s also a novel take on the gas gauge that’s to the right of the speedometer: To the left of the power-charge gauge is a battery-charge gauge, though it’s kind of superfluous in that the Accord’s hybrid battery never reaches empty.
And it seems the tank never does, either.
At The Curb
The Accord is still considered a midsize sedan, but it’s a few inches closer to being full-size now. The prior model was 192.2 inches long. The ’23 is 195.7 inches long. That’s also several inches longer than the Camry (192.1 inches) and another contender in the class, the Kia K5 sedan (193.1 inches).
The additional length makes the Accord look like the larger car it is — and looks are more than just skin deep, too.
The Accord has the most rear seat legroom (40.8 inches) of the three and (once again) by several inches. The Camry’s got 38 inches of rear seat legroom, and the K5 — which isn’t available as a hybrid — only has 35.2 inches.
Another practical attribute the Honda boasts is a 16-cubic-foot trunk versus the Camry’s slightly smaller 15.1-cubic-foot trunk.
The fact that the Accord is roomier and so more practical than the Camry is an interesting historical turnabout in that, historically, the Camry has until recently been the more practical (and less of a looker) model in the class. It’s now more of a looker. But you may not like its more aggressive look — and by the numbers, it’s no longer the most practical model in the class.
With its family-friendlier back seats and trunk, that honor goes to the new Accord.
One thing Honda might have done but decided not to — at least for now — is to offer a lower-cost version of the hybrid Accord. As things stand, you get more performance (over the Camry hybrid) for your money, along with phenomenal economy. But Camry has the advantage when it comes to economy because it’s significantly more affordable.
The other thing Honda hasn’t done yet is offer AWD, which both the Camry and the Kia K5 do.
The Bottom Line
Honda knows what’s coming — and has already gotten ready for it. Come 2026, the federal government will require all new vehicles to average close to 50 mpg.
The ’23 Accord already does.
Eric’s latest book, “Doomed: Good Cars Gone Wrong!” will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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