The 2023 Honda Accord has been completely redesigned, with significant changes not just to this midsize sedan itself but also how it’s marketed.
It’s been whittled down to three trim levels, and my tester, the entry-level EX, is the only one of them that runs strictly on gasoline. The Sport and Touring are hybrids, and since most shoppers tend to opt for pricier trims, it seems part of Honda’s plan for at least half of all Accord sales to be hybrids.
Looking at the gas-powered 2023 Accord specifically, it starts at $38,780 – including a non-negotiable delivery fee of $1,780 – while my tester further had a $300 coat of Platinum White Pearl paint, bringing it to $39,080 before taxes.
The new Accord is a looker, with a smaller grille, longer hood, and smoothed-out rear end with sleeker tail lights than last time. The interior is a bit plain but has some nice touches, such as the honeycomb mesh dash insert that cleverly conceals the climate vents. Despite the car’s swoopy profile, the new styling doesn’t affect trunk space. Headroom also stays the same, although as before, it can be tight for taller occupants.
The new Accord hadn’t yet been crash-tested by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the time of this writing, but it earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ award from the not-for-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
All trim levels come standard with such driver-assist safety features as emergency front braking, lane departure assist, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, along with the rearview camera required on all new vehicles.
The Accord EX includes such features like 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, sunroof, dual-zone climate control, remote starter, heated cloth seats, a power driver’s seat, and a seven-inch centre touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Being the base trim, if you want more you must move into one of the hybrid trims to get extra features. These include such items as a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, wireless phone connectivity, rain-sensing wipers, a wireless charger, auto-dimming mirror, or head-up display. Google Built-In is a new Accord addition for 2023, but it’s only in the top Touring trim.
The Accord EX is pretty basic, but that also translates into ease of use. The dual-zone climate control is handled with dials and buttons; the touchscreen is simple and intuitive, with hard buttons to bring up menus, and dials for volume and tuning; and the steering wheel controls are straightforward. The doors open fairly wide and it’s easy to get in and out, and the IIHS gives it the top rating for the simplicity of its child-seat tether anchors.
The 2023 Accord’s interior dimensions are similar to those of last year’s model, but with 11 mm (0.4 in) more rear-seat legroom. That rear-seat leg space beats rivals such as the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata, but those have more headroom – as much as 975 mm (38.4 in) front and 965 mm (38 in) rear, to the Accord’s 953 mm (37.5 in) and 944 mm (37.2 in), respectively. But Honda is advertising the largest trunk in the segment at a generous 473 L, and there are handy console cubbies and wide door pockets for stashing small items.
The Accord EX has heated cloth seats up front and power adjustment for the driver’s side, although you have to move up into the hybrids to get a heated steering wheel or power passenger seat. As noted, rear-seat legroom will be appreciated by those back there, and front-seat legroom is good, but taller passengers will long for a bit more height to the roof. The ride is firm and the suspension can be noisy over bumps. It shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but it can make the Accord feel like an older model rather than one that’s brand-new.
The Accord EX uses a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine that makes 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, mated to an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). It’s a good fit for everyday driving; acceleration isn’t blistering, but it’s brisk enough to get you through traffic and instill confidence during highway passing. The CVT works well and without any rubbery feel. The engine includes ignition stop-start, which shuts it off at idle, such as when you’re waiting for a light, and immediately restarts when you take your foot off the brake. It cuts down on emissions and can save a bit of fuel, but you can disable it if you prefer.
Driving Feel: 8/10
This new Accord’s driving characteristics are similar to that of the outgoing model – nothing is really a standout, but everything works well together. The steering is light and responsive, with a parking-lot-friendly turning circle. It’s not a sports machine but it’s smooth around curves, and the brake pedal feels strong and the car stops well. It basically does a very good job of being a mainstream family sedan.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
The Accord EX is rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at 8.1 L/100 km in the city, 6.4 on the highway, and 7.3 in combined driving. In my week with it, I averaged 8.0 L/100 km. It takes 87-octane gasoline.
Its fuel rating is within a fraction of the 2.5L four-cylinder engines in the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata, which rate 7.4 and 7.7, respectively. The real rival is the Accord’s hybrid sibling at 5.3 L/100 km in combined driving. NRCan estimates $500 a year in fuel savings if you pick the hybrid over the regular Accord.
The Accord EX starts at $38,780. That’s high compared to close rivals, where the Toyota Camry starts at $32,450, and its upgrade package adds more features than the Accord for $35,090. The Hyundai Sonata also tops the Accord’s features at $31,124. Within the Accord lineup, the Sport is $42,780 and the Touring is $46,280. All prices include delivery.
Honda’s decision to restrict the non-hybrid powertrain to the base trim may seem controlling for consumers, but for many it could be worth the $4,000 upgrade to the Sport’s extra features and fuel savings. If you’re determined to stay gas-only, have a look at some competitors. The 2023 Honda Accord is a good-looking and nice-driving car, but in many cases you can get as much – or more – for less.
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo I4|
|Peak Horsepower||192 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Peak Torque||192 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||8.1 / 6.4 / 7.3 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||473 L|
|Model Tested||2023 Honda Accord EX|
|Price as Tested||$39,180|
$300 – Platinum White Pearl Paint, $300