2023 Honda Accord Hybrid First Look Review: The Sedan Is Not Dead

First Look

Honda revitalizes its efficient Accord Hybrid both inside and out.

We caught the first glimpse of the new 11th-generation Honda Accord back in July 2022 when design drawings were leaked and in October, Honda teased the final design with images of the front, rear, and interior. Now the Accord is here in all its glory and the sharp new suit may be the most dynamic we've yet seen on the Accord. The lines are taut and the refreshingly simple front end loses the multi-plane fussiness and chrome unibrow of its predecessor. It follows several design cues laid down by the latest CR-V and Civic but has its own distinct personality.

Besides the base 1.5-liter turbocharged engine on the LX and EX trims, a new and improved hybrid powertrain already in use in the CR-V Hybrid is fitted to the other four trims. The previously optional 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine falls away completely. Honda expects the Accord Hybrid to make up half of all Accord sales and has structured the range in such a way to steer people away from the base non-hybrid trims by making some desirable equipment standard on the hybrids only. The world might have gone SUV-crazy and domestic automakers might have abandoned the sedan, but the latest Accord reboot revitalizes what has become the best-selling car in the USA over the past 50 years.

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When Is The 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Coming Out?

Honda USA has not provided an exact release date for the new 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid sedan, so we can't tell you when it will be coming out, but the order books should open soon. All we know is that it was officially unveiled on November 10, 2022, but Honda has not provided a configurator on its website yet, or a date when deliveries will commence. As a 2023 model, not a 2024, we expect the Accord to go on sale early in 2023.

Honda Accord Hybrid Price And Competition

We are still awaiting the starting price of the 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid, but we don't expect it to be much more than that of the old car. A direct comparison is not possible, as the new Accord Hybrid is no longer marketed as a separate product with its own trims, so there is no longer a baseline hybrid model. Rather, the base LX and EX trims are normal gas-powered 1,5-liter Accords and the lowest hybridized trim is now the Sport-L, which we expect will cost somewhere between $31,000 and $32,000. This is more than last year's cheapest hybrid, but this year's hybrids are significantly better equipped. The flagship Touring should top out at an MSRP just shy of $40,000.

The mid-size sedan segment is shrinking and the Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Maxima, and Volkswagen Passat are all on their way out. The Accord Hybrid's main rival will be the Toyota Camry Hybrid, since the newly revamped Nissan Altima is not offered in hybrid form. The old Accord already had everything it takes to take class honors and the sharpened-up new model should cement its leading position. It already had the best ride-and-handling combination in its class and Honda says the stiffer structure and additional fine-tuning have improved both metrics even further. We'll know when we drive it.

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New Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior And Colors

The 2023 Accord Hybrid looks a lot different than the 10th-generation car and with cleaned-up styling and a strong horizontal body-side crease, it looks toned and sporty. The headlights are slimline LED units with DRL brows and if the rear end looks vaguely familiar, it's because it's reminding you of the first-gen Audi A7. The sloping roofline and pert rear have a coupe-sedan vibe, punctuated by a duckbill decklid spoiler. The rear LED taillight arrays are particularly striking, with the upper red line almost forming a full-width light bar, were it not for the center-mounted Honda logo interrupting it. The EX-L runs on 17-inch alloys, while the rest of the trims get 19-inch wheels. The Sport trim gets blacked-out exterior details and the Touring gets black wheels and two-color silver-and-black contrasting exterior trim.

Honda has disclosed that there will be a list of eight exterior paint colors for the Honda Accord Hybrid, of which three are new colors, namely Urban Gray Pearl, Meteorite Gray Metallic, and Canyon River Blue Metallic. Depending on the trim, last year's Accord Hybrid had access to seven colors, namely Crystal Black Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Platinum White Pearl, Radiant Red Metallic, Still Night Pearl, Sonic Gray Pearl, and San Marino Red, so presumably, five of these will be retained, but we don't know which five. We'll only know when the final specs are released.

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Honda Accord Hybrid Dimensions

The 11th-generation Honda Accord Hybrid's exterior dimensions are similar to that of its predecessor because it's essentially just a major update and reskin of the old car. Both sit on exactly the same 111.4-inch wheelbase, but the new car is 2.8 inches longer, taking its overall length to a full 195.7 inches, which is surely at the outer reaches of what can be described as a mid-sized sedan. The rear track width has been increased by 0.4 inches but otherwise, the remaining dimensions, such as the width of 73.3 inches and the height of 57.1 are said to be unchanged from last year's model. Curb weights have not been disclosed but should be similar to the old car's and fall within the 3,300-3,500-pound range.

Honda Accord Hybrid Engine And Performance

The 2023 Honda Accord's engine and hybrid system are the same as that in the latest CR-V Hybrid and the way it operates is rather complicated. It has two traction motors mounted side by side, one connected to the engine and producing 161 hp, acting as a starter/generator. The other one, which is connected to the wheels, produces a maximum of 181 hp and adds electric assistance to the gas engine. The gas engine is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine that gains direct fuel injection this year to optimize its efficiency. It produces 145 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque.

The system output is 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque and although it sounds less than the previous hybrid's 212 hp, it's actually not. The old one was measured according to an outdated measuring system and would have been 201 hp according to the new ISO standard, so the new system's ISO-rated 204 hp isn't less than last year's hybrid, it's 3 hp more.

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At lower speeds, only the traction motor powers the wheels and the gas engine acts only as a generator for it. At higher speeds, the gas engine is connected directly to the wheels via any of two gear ratios to increase efficiency (the previous system had a single fixed ratio). Under full-power conditions, the gas engine revs out to deliver maximum power to the traction motor, allowing the system to produce that maximum of 204 hp with additional help from the small lithium-ion battery, which we expect to have the same 1.1-kWh capacity as the one in the new CR-V Hybrid. There is no traditional transmission and no CVT - Honda simply calls the transmission a "two-motor hybrid system". We said it's complicated, okay?

Suffice it to say that the goal was both efficiency and avoiding the droning feel of a traditional CVT. Honda says it was important to create a powertrain that is in sync with how humans expect it to feel instead of purely what is efficient. The Accord must always remain fun to drive. Honda has not released performance figures or 0-60-mph sprint times for the Accord Hybrid yet. However, independent testing has shown that a near-4,000-pound CR-V Hybrid can reach 60 mph in around eight seconds, so at an estimated weight of around 3,500 pounds, an Accord Hybrid should be able to do it in closer to seven seconds - around the same as the base 1.5 turbo.

Even if the Accord retained its predecessor's ride and handling, it would top the class. Honda has stiffened up the body even further, revised the suspension, and used new front brace bars. These changes all aim to improve ride quality, handling, and refinement, and should ensure that the Honda remains the sweetest sedan to pilot in this class, aided by the responsive hybrid setup.


Gas Mileage

Keeping in mind that Honda tried to make the new Accord Hybrid fun to drive by not using a CVT and by varying the engine revs to simulate gear changes, the focus wasn't exclusively on efficiency. Though no EPA fuel-consumption or range figures are available for the 2023 Accord Hybrid yet, don't expect to improve much on the previous Hybrid's fuel economy, if at all. We consider this a fair trade for not having to listen to the CVT drone. The new CR-V Hybrid that uses the same powertrain is down 1 mpg from 38 mpg to 37 mpg compared to last year's hybrid. So, even if the new Accord Hybrid also loses a little of its fuel economy, it should still be able to achieve around 46 mpg combined. Whereas the 2023 CR-V Hybrid fares slightly worse than the 2022 CR-V Hybrid, Honda estimates that the 2023 Accord Hybrid should improve on the 2022 Accord Hybrid, so maybe they know something we don't. We'll have to wait for the official EPA estimates to know for sure.

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Honda Accord Hybrid Interior And Cargo

The interior of the new Honda Accord Hybrid borrows various styling cues from its latest Civic and CR-V siblings, including a full-width mesh grid over the ventilation outlets that mirrors the new front grille's pattern. The new Accord's material quality and assembly precision are beyond reproach, with a premium feel and solid fittings. The standard spec is also impressive and all Accords will come with a new forward-camera system with a 90-degree field of view and wide-angle front radar with a 120-degree field of view, both usefully improving the blind-spot monitoring system's accuracy and enabling an Accord first, traffic-jam assist.

Technology takes a step up and all Accords are fitted with a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster, while only the hybrids get the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen; the base gas cars get a far smaller seven-inch item. An extremely useful touch is the little ledge below the touchscreen where you can steady your hand while poking at the screen.


The new Accords are all compatible with over-the-air updates and get wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, but only the Touring gets a head-up display, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, and a wireless charging pad. The Touring also gets built-in Google integration, which should actually make the native navigation system worthwhile because it can show you the same recent destinations and points of interest that you would see on your phone.

The new front Body Stabilizing Seats of the Honda Accord Hybrid promise to be very comfortable on long journeys and we're looking forward to trying them. For a normal sedan, the second row is huge, with the 40.8 inches of legroom on offer half an inch up on the previous car's already generous figure and beating out the Camry by nearly three inches. Total passenger volume is now a class-leading 105.7 cubic feet. The trunk space of the 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid remains unchanged at 16.7 cubic feet and while it doesn't sound like all that much in a world of SUVs, it's generous cargo space for a sedan and also beats the Camry Hybrid's 15.1-cube effort.

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