Updated: Jul 10
Cadence is everything. While some carmakers let their products go six years between generations, with a refresh at the three-year point, Honda has the Accord on a five-year cycle. The last refresh of the previous-generation Accord was just two years ago.
Reading that review (you did click the link, right?), you might not think there was much for the Honda team to do---the last Accord was pretty wonderful. But in its 47 (!) years on the market, the Accord has always been about consistent improvements, so the engineers and designers had a list of stuff they wanted to accomplish this time, as usual.
This time, the Accord is sleeker, with better-integrated styling elements front and rear. It's 2.7 inches longer overall, with a 0.4-inch wider rear track, which gives the car a broader stance visually but also improves stability.
Under the hood, the big news is that Honda has discontinued the 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four, which itself was a replacement for the 272-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 available in 2017 and earlier models. Also gone is the six-speed manual available with the turbo four in last year's Sport model. Now, the Honda is powered one of two ways---a 192-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo four or the 204 total system horsepower two-motor hybrid.
You'll notice no mention of transmission. That's because Honda's current-generation two-motor hybrid -electric system doesn't use one. It's direct-drive. Explanation here: https://hondanews.com/en-US/releases/release-1503019bd8a757ea08267d7944378955-honda-two-motor-hybrid-electric-system
The Accord Hybrid's EPA fuel economy estimate is eye-popping---44 miles per gallon, combined city/highway. The Accord Hybrid models like our tester, also offer one-pedal driving and four selectable drive modes. Hybrids also get an all-new motion management system that controls deceleration in corners to reduce understeer and improve traction. Body stiffness, ride comfort and steering feel have all been improved, but the Accord was so good before, you'd likely need instrumentation to detect the changes.
If the trunk looks big, it is, by modern standards---16.7 cubic feet.
And rear seat legroom is among the most generous of any vehicle we've tested---40.8 inches.
The instrument panel is all-new, spreading the hidden dashboard vent design from the Civic, where it debuted last year, to the Accord.
If you're not familiar with it, the vents are behind an intricate metal screen that runs the length of the dashboard from the steering column to the passenger door. Toggles control the direction of the air flow. The base price of the 2023 Honda Accord Touring (the top-of-the-line model) is $38,985 including destination. That includes a lengthy list of standard features including leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Bose Premium audio system with 12 speakers, a 12.3-inch color touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, illuminated USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, driver's ten-way power seat with memory (four-way power seat for front passenger), heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a comprehensive suite of active safety features, rain-sensing wipers, a moonroof and 19-inch alloy wheels.
There's also three years of unlimited data for in-vehicle apps, which Honda values at $540, but charges zero. It's an all-in-one package, meaning the $38,985 base price (with destination) is also the as-tested price.
This is also the debut year for Android Automotive in Honda products. Honda's not alone in switching to this operating system---Volvo,Nissan, Mitsubishi, GM, Stellantis (Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram), Ford, Lucid and BMW have all signed deals to license the system, which allows carmakers to embed a series of services from Google, including Maps, Play Store, and Assistant. Apple users, don't fret---it does accommodate CarPlay. Volvo had what can best be described as a bumpy rollout for its Google-based infotainment system, and there were some glitches in our Accord Hybrid Touring, too. Although I set it to recognize my iPhone 14 as the primary device, it did not. Never. Not once. Every time I got in the car, I had to punch "Smartphone Projection", select my phone and tell it I wanted Apple CarPlay. Once I did that, it worked---except that two minutes in---again, every single time---the screen would go black for five seconds and then return. This could have been a glitch in just this vehicle (its's all worked flawlessly in Volvos since they got Android Automotive and Apple CarPlay to work together), but, especially since Honda has only recently gotten its infotainment act together, it's a little concerning. From Android's own release about Android Automotive: Android Automotive is not a fork or parallel development of Android. It is the same codebase and lives in the same repository as the Android shipped on phones, tablets, etc.
Quick reality check: As of January 2023, Apple's iOS has 57.77% of the US mobile operating system market and Android has 41.85% (down from its high of 45.2% last fall). Considerably more than half of smartphone buyers choose something other than Android. Most choose Apple. Android Automotive needs to work flawlessly with iPhones, or a huge percentage of buyers won't be happy (Apple is working on its own automotive iOS and is expected to release a list of committed automakers later this year).
Set all that aside and my response to the 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring is an unqualified "yes". As it always has, the Accord checks every box, overachieves on expectations and---somehow---improves on what we had thought was perfection.