2023 Honda Accord Hybrid – More Than Repackaging


We can’t ignore the popularity of an SUV, as they are great family haulers, and also bread and butter for most manufacturers. However, not everyone wants to drive an SUV or a crossover. For many years, the Honda Accord has been one of the few options that comes to mind when it comes to large, affordable and reliable sedans.

With the departure of other sedan entries in the market, the importance of Honda Accord is more important than ever. We have had a chance to test drive the all-new Honda Accord with the hybrid drivetrain to see if it can compete with the other hybrid entries in this segment.

The Looks – Exterior and Interior

The new Accord took the newest corporate Honda design language, especially in the front fascia. You will see a lot of similarities with the other latest Honda models, including the new CR-V we reviewed earlier this summer. The front fascia has a grumpy look due to the sleek headlight design and a large front grille, but overall I think the new design looks cleaner than the outgoing model.

Moving along the side, that is when you feel the new Accord is a very long vehicle, it is significantly longer than its biggest rival, the Toyota Camry. Just like the front fascia, you won’t be able to see a lot of sharp lines, it has a very long hood line and a big rear quarter panel, which makes it look even bigger. Our tester comes with 19″ aluminum-alloy wheels that give the Accord a sportier look, at the expense of worse ride comfort.

As we make our way to the back, the rear end design looks a little more unique with a one-piece giant headlight design that goes across the trunk. This is also the only place you would find a hybrid badge or any sort of indication about the hybrid drivetrain. There are no fake vents, fake exhaust tips or anything offensive. Unlike the previous generation Accord, the new one has more premium looks and you feel the difference from all angles.

The new Accord comes with a completely new interior design that doesn’t look completely new especially if you are coming from another Honda model like the latest Honda Civic. Honda did a great job choosing the right materials in the right places, it does not feel cheap or flimsy anywhere in the interior. Despite the similarities, this is a very well-laid-out interior with the right amount of physical controls and digital screens. Honda did not make the mistake that they had done with the latest Pilot and decided to put a much bigger 12.3-inch horizontal screen with the latest Google infotainment system.

The interior not only looks similar to other Honda models, but some parts are carry-over from the previous generation and other Honda models. On the other side, the front seats are completely new, both seats are heated & ventilated and the driver seat offers a memory function with the top Touring trim. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable and at 6’1″, I had absolutely no issues with the headroom and the legroom in the front seats.

Due to the length of the vehicle, the Accord offers a great amount of rear legroom. You don’t even have to move the front seat forward to accommodate the rear-facing child seat. Getting in and out is relatively easy, and rear-seat passengers get creature comforts like air vents, USB-C charging ports, and heated seats. The most surprising part is there is no map pocket behind the driver’s seat, which is an interesting cost-cutting measure.

The new Honda Accord has 16.7 cubic feet (473 L) of cargo space, which is one of the best in this segment. There is no compromise if you choose the hybrid drivetrain, as it offers the same amount of cargo space. The batteries are located in front of the gas tank, and it does not affect the rear headroom negatively. However, it means the Hybrid version comes with a smaller gas tank.

The Powertrain – Specs & Features

Honda has been offering the Accord with a hybrid drivetrain for several years, but this is the first generation that Honda prioritized the hybrid platform over the non-hybrid versions. There are two different drivetrains, the base trim comes with the corporate turbocharged 1.5 liter engine, and the top two trims come with the 2.0 liter Atkinson-cycle naturally aspirated inline-4 engine matched with an electric motor that puts out 204 combined horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid drivetrain can be found on other Honda models, including the new CR-V except the all-wheel-drive option.

With the newest generation, we haven’t seen the 10-speed torque-converted automatic transmission. The base trim comes with the traditional continuously variable transmission, and the hybrid powertrain is matched with the direct drive, meaning that the electric motor that sends power to the front wheels is located in the transmission case. The 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack won’t offer a lot of pure EV driving, but the feature is available in case you want to shut off the gas engine.

Driving Impressions & Experience

As soon as you start driving the new Accord Hybrid, it offers the premium feeling you would find in much more expensive entries. The noise, vibration and harshness levels are quite low especially at low speeds, simply because the hybrid drivetrain offers an extremely silent driving experience. Honda also fine-tuned the drivetrain, the internal combustion engine offers a much more refined character, and the transition from EV to gas is almost unnoticeable at higher speeds. Thanks to the electric motor, the Accord feels quite responsive when you accelerate.

Just as expected from a hybrid drivetrain, the Accord offers great fuel economy numbers. In our tests, we were averaging around 5.3L / 100km, which is right where it should be. However, if you are not patient enough to drive a hybrid the way it’s supposed to, the gas-powered engine can get loud, and ultimately much worse fuel economy numbers. The direct drive that sends power to the wheels feels more like a traditional CVT, but Honda decided to set fake shifting points to give it a more traditional automatic feeling.

As expected from a comfort-oriented mid-size sedan, the suspension is softly sprung and you will have to deal with an acceptable amount of body roll. Since the battery pack is located at the very bottom and right in front of the gas tank, the Accord feels very balanced and predictable when you take the corners in a spirited fashion. There is not a lot of steering or chassis feedback, but it should not be a deal breaker if you are shopping for a hybrid vehicle.

The only gripe I had was the 19″ wheels with a thin tire profile which looks great from a distance, but the suspension can’t hide the harshness happening due to the tire and wheel setup. I like the fact Honda does not want to make the hybrid version look different than any other Accord, but I wish it came with a smaller wheel and tire combination to make it more comfortable, and more efficient. Even the lower hybrid trim comes with the same 19″ wheel setup with different looks, so there is no other option for the audience.

The Verdict

The Honda Accord has always offered a solid formula to its audience. It has been traditionally comfortable, offered a lot of space, it is a reliable and accessible sedan for the masses. The new generation will not change what it has been already good at. It looks and drives a lot different than the outgoing model, as it prioritizes offering a premium feel without having an Acura badge, and that’s how it stands out against the competition.

Engine2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 + AC motor
Transmission & DrivetrainDirect-drive & Front wheel drive
Max power (combined)204 hp
Max torque (combined)274 lb-ft
0-100 km/h6.8 sec
Curb Weight3525 lbs – 1598 kg
Fuel Economy (Combined)45 MPG – 5.3 L/100 km
Starting at (MSRP)$47,264 CAD

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