Honda hasn't pumped the brakes on the midsize sedan just yet. In fact, its corporate foot is gingerly easing onto the gas with the debut of the new 2023 Honda Accord. Now entering its 11th generation, the Accord steps out with a new, minimalist exterior design, the biggest dashboard display in the brand's history, Google-powered tech and an increased focus on its hybrid models.
12.3-inch screen with Google built in
One of the biggest changes to the Accord can be found in the dashboard of the hybrid models where the engineers have fitted the sedan with a massive 12.3-inch infotainment display -- Honda's largest screen yet. The big screen features wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The top Touring trim goes even further, switching to new software with Google built-in. Google Maps serves as the primary connected navigation software with offline storage for longer trips. Google Assistant with "Hey Google" hot word recognition takes over for enhanced voice command, while a curated version of the Google Play Store serves up dashboard-friendly media apps. All of this functionality is powered by the Accord's standard onboard 5G connection. The Touring also features a 15-watt wireless phone charger and a 6-inch head-up display.
Non-hybrid models step down to a 7-inch screen with wired Android Auto and CarPlay. Hybrid or not, the Accord features over-the-air updatable software and comes standard with a 10.2-inch full-digital instrument cluster just ahead of the steering wheel. All Accord cockpits are also home to two 3-amp USB Type-C ports on the first row. EX-L and Touring models add a second pair of 3-amp USB-C ports for the backseat.
Updated interior, simplified look
Surrounding the Accord's new screen is a simplified dashboard design that is similar to what we've seen recently in the new Civic, CR-V and HR-V models with strong horizontal elements and a sporty honeycomb pattern. Front passengers sit in new "body stabilizing" seats that claim improved comfort and reduced fatigue. Honda points out that it has even angled the Accord's shifter 5-degrees towards the driver, a weird flex in a car that comes standard with either a CVT or -- in the case of the Hybrid -- technically no transmission at all.
Overall, the 2023 Accord is 2.8 inches longer than before at 195.7 inches from bumper-to-bumper, which is reflected and accented by the longer hood, the stretched proportions and an even more fastback-style roofline than the previous generation. Despite the reshaped silhouette, the Accord is still a true sedan with a discrete trunk holding around 16.7 cubic feet of capacity.
The new exterior plays it safe with a simplified design. The minimalist look includes angular, low-lidded headlamps that flow into a more upright grille. Both the grille and the lower air intake feature long horizontal slats that emphasize the sedan's width. Around back, the horizontal theme is echoed by the LED tail lights that share a wraparound, gloss black housing.
Overall, the smoothed-over design is a much more conservative evolution of the Accord's already close-to-the-vest style. It's handsome enough and will almost certainly age better than, say, the Hyundai Sonata's catfish face, but I think this new aesthetic is a smidge too safe and, worse, a touch anonymous -- sort of like a version of an Accord. I suppose I'd better get used to looking at it; If the Accord's past success is any indicator, Honda's will likely be selling these by the boatload.
Hybrid powertrain updates
The Accord's Hybrid powertrain features the same efficiency and performance updates that I was recently able to experience on the. The fourth-gen, two-motor hybrid system benefits from a 15 pound-foot boost to torque thanks to a reconfiguration of its traction and starter/generator electric motors. Peak torque now sits at 247 lb-ft, while the combined system output remains unchanged at 204 horsepower.
The Hybrid's 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle combustion engine has also been revised for quieter, more efficient operation. Meanwhile, a feature called Linear Shift Control alters the engine's speed to mimic the revving of a conventional transmission during acceleration. That sounds a bit like a superfluous feature given the gasoline engine's primary role as a generator for the electric traction motor and Honda's stated goal of positioning the Accord and CR-V Hybrids as stepping stones preparing customers for its fully electric models like, but I can see why some drivers might prefer a more natural sound.
Honda expects around 50% of 2023 Accord sales to be hybrid-powered examples, which includes the Sport, EX-L, Sport-L and Touring trim levels. Base LX and EX models will make up the other half, powered by a conventional 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline four-banger. This engine also sees 2023 model year updates aimed at quieter operation and improved efficiency. Mated to a standard continuously variable transmission -- which has its own Step-Shift gear change simulation programming -- the 1.5T makes 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque.
All 2023 Accord drivers will have a choice between Econ and Normal drive modes at the push of a button, but Hybrid operators will also be able to toggle Sport and Individual settings.
Honda Sensing driver aid tech
The Accord's standard Honda Sensing driver aid suite boasts new and enhanced features for the 2023 model year. Up front, new wide field-of-view camera (90 degrees) and radar (120 degrees) sensors and software improvements power better recognition of pedestrians, vehicles, road lines and curbs, bicycles, motorcycles and road signs. The blind spot monitor's radar sensors can also see further now, covering an increased range of 82 feet.
As a result, the adaptive cruise control, lane keeping steering assist and pre-collision brake assist features should all now behave more naturally on the road. Additionally, traffic sign recognition and Traffic Jam Assist join the 2023 Accord's standard driver aid suite. At the Touring trim level, low-speed braking control adds forward and reverse automatic braking at parking lot speeds (below 10 mph).
The new 2023 Honda Accord debuts alongside the newthis week, both of which should begin production later this year. Pricing, packaging and fuel economy estimates should be announced closer to the on sale date.