~ A DriveWays Review ~
by Frank A. Aukofer
For 40 years since 1983, Car and Driver magazine has annually published its coveted “10 Best” choices for automobiles sold in the United States. Leading the pack with 37 star turns on that sparkling list, including 2023, is the Honda Accord.
It’s no small thing. Car and Driver is among a few publications that are highly respected among vehicle enthusiasts. Its forte is accuracy and fearless informed criticism by knowledgeable journalists, along with occasional snarky jibes. In 2017, the magazine chose the Accord over the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Japan’s Honda started in the United States in 1959, selling motorcycles. Its passenger car, the tiny 600 sedan, arrived in 1970, and eventually the company also sold outboard motors and other power equipment, including generators and lawn mowers.
The Honda Civic arrived in 1973 and spurred the company’s growth at a time when economy cars were gaining popularity during the oil embargo by members of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, against countries that had supported Israel against Arab nations in the Yom Kippur War.
But it was the Accord that eventually cemented Honda’s popularity. It arrived in 1976 as a high quality compact two-door hatchback, which eventually became the nation’s best seller. Later, Honda manufactured Accords in the U.S. and offered Accord sedans, coupes, station wagons and even a four-door hatchback, the Crosstour.
For 2023, Honda offers an all-new Accord with a new two-motor hybrid system, building on what it says has been America’s best-selling automobile over the last 50 years—a mainstay of Honda’s production of more than 30 million vehicles in the U.S. since 1982.
The hybrid system comes on four Accord versions, called trim levels in the industry: Sport, EX-L, Sport-L and Touring. Driven for this review was the Touring, which is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, along with two electric motors mounted side-by-side. The propulsion motor drives the front wheels while the generator motor charges the battery pack.
The system makes 204 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, or twisting force. There’s no conventional automatic transmission; power gets to the pavement via a single-speed direct drive system that relies mainly on electric power.
It also incorporates Honda’ Linear Shift Control, which mimics the feel of a conventional drive train shifting gears at wide open throttle. The company says it delivers a more exhilarating driving experience. Independent tests place the zero to 60 miles an hour acceleration in the six-second range.
With athletic moves and prompt steering, along with excellent support and comfort from newly redesigned seats, the joy of driving the Accord comes more from the responsive handling in all circumstances. This cookie reacts like a well-trained ventriloquist’s puppet, obedient to the driver’s slightest inputs. Moreover, it’s a long-distance silent runner on Interstates.
The Accord now features six levels of deceleration to enhance regeneration of the battery pack, controlled by paddles mounted on the steering wheel. It enables improved deceleration without using the brake pedal—akin to so-called “one-pedal” driving.
All of that helps enable the Accord’s city/highway/combined fuel consumption rating by the Environmental Protection Agency of 46/41/44 miles per gallon on regular gasoline.
Though it’s been a compact and midsize automobile at various times, the 2023 Accord qualifies as a large car by the lights of the EPA, which classifies vehicles as part of its monitoring of fuel economy.
Its definition of a large car is one with 120 cubic feet or more of interior space, including room for passengers and cargo. Never mind the length or weight. The new Accord has 106 cubic feet for passengers and a trunk of almost 17 cubic feet, a total just shy of 123 cubic feet.
With its sleek fastback styling and classy interior, the Accord belies its middle-class orientation, looking more like an upscale luxury Audi, for example. Moreover, the tested top-line Hybrid Touring, with identical base and tested prices of $38,985, including the destination charge, was uncommonly well equipped.
Standard full safety equipment heads the list: automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, head-up display, rear cross-traffic monitor, multi-view rear camera, vehicle stability assist and tire-pressure monitoring, among others.
Convenience features include dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, motorized glass sunroof, leather upholstery, color touch screen for infotainment functions, wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Bluetooth hands-free link and wireless smart phone charging.
- Model: 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring four-door sedan.
- Engine/Motors: 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with two electric motors; combined 204 horsepower, 247 pound-feet torque.
- Transmission: Single-speed direct drive with front-wheel drive.
- Overall length: 16 feet 4 inches.
- Height: 4 feet 9 inches.
- EPA/SAE passenger/trunk volume: 106/17 cubic feet.
- Weight: 3,532 pounds.
- EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 46/41/44 mpg.
- Range: 563 miles.
- Base price, including destination charge: $38,985.
- Price as tested: $38,985.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review. Photos ©Honda
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