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2023 Honda Accord Review: More Refinement, Less Power

Now entering its 11th generation, Accord takes a big styling leap, which pairs nicely with beautiful driving behavior. It also looks to the future, leaning more heavily on its hybrid powertrain than ever before.

2023 Honda Accord(Photo/Robin Warner)
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We just reviewed the brand new, fourth-generation Honda Pilot TrailSport. Not only did it show Honda’s new direction of off-road legitimacy but it also underlined the importance of crossover SUVs in today’s automotive marketplace. Now, breathe a sigh of relief, fans of the sedan, and behold the 2023 Honda Accord.

Entering its 11th generation, we needed to know if the Accord still ticks the necessary family sedan boxes all while punching above its weight in the fun-to-drive department. That led us to Southern California for a test near the beach and up the mountains.

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

The 2023 Honda Accord offers two engine options, a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder and a 2.0L hybrid. The former delivers fuel economy well into the 30s, the latter, well into the 40s. They move along a spacious interior and swoopy exterior. The top trim includes plenty of whiz-bang gadgets. And, every single one rides on a rock-solid platform. The Accord rides smoothly and quietly. It also handles better than expected. Just don’t expect to win any drag races.

In short: Honda turned the power down on the Accord, which stings a bit for enthusiasts with a family. But driving dynamics continue to impress, as do cabin quietness and ride quality. The miserly among us will appreciate gangbuster fuel economy, which is available in four of the six trims.

2023 Honda Accord


  • Base engine Turbocharged 1.5L, I4, CVT, FWD
  • HP/Torque 192 @ 6,000 rpm / 192 lb.-ft. between 1,700-5,000 rpm
  • MPG 29 city, 37 hwy, 32 cmb
  • Optional engine 2.0L, I4 Hybrid, no transmission, FWD
  • HP/Torque 204 / 247 lb.-ft.
  • MPG (EX- trim) 51 city, 44 hwy, 48 cmb
  • MPG (other trims) 46 city, 41 hwy, 44 cmb


  • Rock-solid platform
  • Excellent ride and handling compromise
  • Premium car feel down the road
  • Plenty of legroom for the second row


  • Base engine fuel economy slightly worse than outgoing model
  • Wishing for more power in the top powertrain
  • Too many features exclusive to the top Touring trim

2023 Honda Accord: Dressed for Success

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Right away, the 2023 Honda Accord stands out compared to the outgoing model, with smooth, flowing lines, fewer contrasting angles, and a generally swoopy shape. Honda followed the fastback-style descending roofline started by the Mercedes CLS, and then quickly followed by Audi A7 and many more. It works here, quite well.

Not that the 10th-generation Accord looked bad. It was, you know, fine. But this? This is pretty. It’s a big departure from Accords of the past.

It’s also bigger. Honda stretched the Accord’s length an additional 2.7 inches to 195.7. Other dimensions hold steady: wheelbase at 111.4 inches, width and height at 73.3 inches and 57.1 inches, respectively. All in all, the 11th-gen Accord gets an additional 0.1 cubic feet of space inside — well over 100 cubic feet in total. Specifically, you get more legroom for rear passengers.

Proficient & Efficient Power

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

While Honda’s latest diet maintained the Accord’s waistline, strength training fell to the back burner. The outgoing Accord offered three powertrains. We’re now down to two. Honda pink-slipped the turbocharged 2.0L inline-four and all 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque that came with it. Sad face.

As before, the base engine displaces 1.5 L and calls on a turbocharger to help produce 192 horsepower and the same pound-feet of torque at its peak. It is not a carryover engine, however. Honda played with valve lift and engine tuning to improve efficiency. It also mounted a new catalytic converter that minimizes the use of rare earth metals.

Also as before, it attaches to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which received a new belt to reduce noise. To feign standard automatic behavior, the CVT does make step changes in ratios to pretend it’s shifting gears. I’ll call it a college-level improv class graduate for its efforts. 

The 1.5 L lies under the hood in the two least expensive of six trims offered: LX and EX Accords. Both variants return the same respectable fuel economy numbers: 29 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway, and 32 combined.

Go Where the Grass Is Greener

2023 Honda Accord
2023 Honda Accord Sport L Hybrid; (photo/Robin Warner)

The other four trims include “Hybrid” in the name. More specifically, Sport, EX-L, Sport-L, and Touring Hybrid. In those, Honda bolted up a 2.0L, Atkinson cycle engine attached to a two-electric motor, transmission-free hybrid system. 

Honda performed a thorough once-over on the engine, adding direct fuel injection, tweaking the cylinder head, and increasing the compression ratio, among other things. Total output increases to 146 horsepower from 143 and 134 pound-feet of torque from 129. Lovely.

Additionally, Honda updated both electric motors (one drives the wheels, and the other generates electricity). The drive motor continues to make 181 horsepower but gains 15 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid system now produces 247 pound-feet of torque in total. 

The engine assists driving the wheels on occasion via a clutch pack to pair it with the drive motor and wheels. But it largely focuses on working with the generator motor to produce electricity. That makes Honda’s hybrid effectively an EV with a built-in power station. That means there’s no need for a transmission. Pretty slick. 

But on the rare occasion the engine does directly intervene, horsepower peaks at 204 — two more than the outgoing Accord hybrid. Even with the engine’s help, peak torque remains 247 pound-feet.

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

If you looked at a 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid and saw 212 peak horsepower, well, that’s right. But Honda now measures its horsepower under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20762 standard, which uses a different way to calculate hybrid engine peak outputs. When using this new measuring method, 2022 models make 202 horsepower. 

Fuel economy improves as well. Sport, Sport-L, and Touring trims manage 46 mpg in the city, 41 on the highway, and 44 combined. And the EX-L weighs less and uses narrower 17-inch instead of 19-inch wheels and squeaks out 51 mpg in the city, 44 on the highway, and 48 combined. In a family sedan? Impressive.

Keep the Chassis Classy

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Stab the gas from a stoplight and the Accord Touring Hybrid that I drove willingly charged off the line. The engine quickly runs to its redline and stays there, furiously producing energy for the electric motor. In no time, you find yourself running interstate speeds.

Compared to the turbocharged 2.0L, the hybrid powertrain lets you down. But compared to other mainstream sedans, it’s right there. That’s in a straight line.

Honda built a new, stiffer platform to carry the Accord, using additional bracing around the front and rear bulkheads, as well as more liberally using high-strength steel. Moreover, Honda applied new bearings and bushings at critical pivot points to reduce friction in the suspension and steering.

As a result, the four-wheel independent suspension simultaneously manages bumps and heaves in the road with ease and minimizes body roll in the corners. In other words, it rides and handles fantastically well.   

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Handling Life’s Twists & Turns

Chuck the Accord into a corner and it darts right towards the apex with sport sedan response. The steering rack feels like it’s plucked from a BMW. If you first selected the sport driving mode (the other modes are Econ, Normal, and Individual), its steering weight is appropriate and feel is reasonable. High praise for a family sedan.

I found myself getting more daring with each new corner entry and enjoyed forcing the front end to slide. Yes, the Accord understeers, but not excessively, despite being front-wheel drive. It has an inherently good chassis balance, but Honda also added a “motion management system” for all hybrid trims that use braking and power reduction to keep understeer at bay and help the driver stay on track. You have to get really sloppy before you feel it intervening. Job well done. 

And, despite not having a transmission, I still had paddle shifters, as all hybrid-equipped Accords do. Honda calls them decelerator selector panels. With them, you choose between six different levels of off-throttle deceleration levels, which charges the battery

You coast in the first level. Press the “downshift,” or negative, paddle on the left and select progressively more brake regen. Level six gives near enough regen to almost feel like there’s nearly no need for the brake pedal — in normal driving conditions at least. The “upshift,” or positive pedal, will bring you back up to coast levels. 

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Keeping the Noise Out

The other benefit of the Accord’s new platform is excellent road manners and cabin isolation. Mind you, I drove the top Touring trim, which included all the goodies, like a 4.7mm-thick (0.19 inch) laminated windshield and front door glass. 

All Accords received thicker noise-insulating carpet and extra insulation in the dashboard, however. Altogether, the Accord stays premium-car quiet while traveling down the road. It’s noticeably better than the outgoing family sedan.

I did briefly drive a Sport-L trim Accord, without the thick glass, and it stayed nearly as quiet. 

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

Bells & Whistles

The Touring trim stands out in many ways. To start, cost. The Honda Accord LX starts at $28,390, including the destination charge. From there, you need to add a cool $10,000 and borrow money from a friend to afford the $38,985 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid.

But the Touring trim is the only Accord to include ventilated front seats (heated front seats offered on EX and up trims), heated rear seats, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, wireless smartphone charge pad, and a 6-inch head-up display. Not to mention Google Maps, Google Play Story, and Google Assistant.

It’s not totally barren on sub-Touring Accords, mind you. Honda installed a super-wide, 12.3-inch center console touchscreen on all four hybrid trims (Sport, EX-L, Sport-L, and Touring), which includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LX and EX make use of a 7-inch screen with wired versions of the above. And every single Accord gets a fully digital — and customizable — instrument cluster as well as at least two USB type-C charge ports.

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

2023 Honda Accord Review Summary

I admit it, losing horsepower bums me out. But not nearly as much as losing another sedan in order to make way for yet another crossover would have done. Especially a car that’s been with us since 1976 and in sedan form since 1979. In fact, the Accord sedan and I share a birth year!

2023 Honda Accord
(Photo/Robin Warner)

So, yeah, I’ll take the latest powertrain offerings as a sign of the Accord adapting to the times. It’s OK, as long as you don’t live life a quarter mile at a time. Critically, the Accord still shines in the twisty bits. After all, driving enthusiasts have families, too.

The Accord indeed continues to tick all the mainstream large sedan boxes: plenty of space, cupholders and charge ports for all, and nearly 17 cubic feet of trunk space behind. And yet, it allows you to crack a smile while blitzing down a mountain road, punching like a heavyweight.

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Robin Warner

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