2023 Honda Accord Hybrid test drive

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A few months ago, when the new 2023 Honda Accord was revealed, many were disappointed, including me. The design just didn’t seem as modern as the 10th generation, and actually much more bland. The same thing happened with the current generation Civic also.

In real life, the new design is indeed pretty bland. It seems Honda was hard at work stripping every last drop of personality, and it worked.

It is not an ugly car by any means, it’s actually rather elegant from some angles. But it also looks like something that could easily have come out over 10 years ago.

Same thing inside, where it now looks almost exactly like the current Honda Civic (and all other current Honda interiors). It seems Honda made sure no original trim or shape got inside the car. I remember the 1st time I stepped into the 10th generation, being very, very impressed. By almost everything. The quality is still there but nothing is impressive anymore. Even that super solid sound the doors made isn’t there. Again, nothing really feels cheap, it’s just a step backward from the excellent previous generation.

The top-of-the-line Hybrid Touring model comes with a larger 12.3 screen and there is still zero attempt actually to incorporate it into the interior design. That screen also gets very hot pretty quickly for some reason. At least, the new “Google built-in” interface is very snappy and works great. It also looks much better than the standard Honda system. The Touring’s Bose system sounds very good, but there is no Sirius radio available. Which, IMO, is a very big mistake and there is no excuse for it.

I also noticed the USB plugs are only the USB-C kind. This means for many, adapters will be needed.

Another thing missing, especially in a top-of-the-line version is a height adjustment for the passenger seat. Not everyone is 6 feet tall and most passengers will feel they are riding in a bathtub. The driver seat has a memory setting, but it doesn’t get back automatically once you enter the car after moving the seat backward to facilitate entry. Weird.

The armrest is also not adjustable, which is a common trend these days… The Touring model offers cooling seats, but they don’t really work. The system is quite noisy and never really cools anything.

During my week with the car, I had a few people visiting and was actually driving a full car with 5 people (including myself) for at least 3 days. Thanks to my friends, we discovered another problem. While there is still plenty of legroom, the back seat is shaped weirdly with the edges being very curved, pushing the side passengers towards the middle part of the seat. Making the back seat very uncomfortable for 3.

The first thing I noticed when I first drove the car was the thickness of the steering wheel. Somehow, it feels quite a bit thinner than before. Another thing I miss from the previous generation. On the road, the whole thing just didn’t feel as substantial as before either. The steering is very light, more so than before, and for some reason, much lighter than the CR-V Hybrid I was driving the previous week. A very odd decision from Honda. I guess they are trying to make the new Accord feel more luxurious?

The drivetrain while similar to the one in the CR-V Hybrid, is actually smoother and quieter. Again, a weird variation between the Accord and CR-V. The suspension is not as smooth as before, and the new Accord is almost never comfortable. Even in Eco and Normal mode. The Sport mode mostly adds a little bit of weight to the steering, but it is still never as good as the standard setup in the CR-V and especially the previous Accord.

The 2023 Accord Touring Hybrid is rated at 46MPG City and 41 HWY. I was not able to drive enough on the freeway to measure real-world fuel mileage. ( I averaged 44/46 last December with the previous generation.) The 2023 model City MPG varied a lot, between 43 and 48MPG. While mostly using the Eco mode. The Accord Hybrid also comes with “deceleration Paddle Selectors” on each side of the steering wheel. They barely do anything and never brought the car to a full stop even at low speed. But I did notice a 1 to 2 MPG improvement when using them all the time (which can become annoying).

I was really hoping the new 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid would surprise me in a good way, but it didn’t. I think it is inferior to the previous generation in every way. The lack of steering feel and uncomfortable ride is really no excuse since these were excellent in the last model. The new Accord Hybrid is also basically not as good as the new CR-V Hybrid. Sure, the powertrain is a bit smoother and quieter, but the CR-V has a more comfortable ride and a much nicer steering feel.

If you really want a Honda Accord, I would really try to get a very slightly used 10th generation, which is a great car.

I think Honda could have a serious problem once the new Toyota Camry comes out (we will see it at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show). And a new Chevrolet Malibu is also rumored to be on its way.

Conversation 8 comments

  1. This feels exactly like Honda’s 2012 Civic debacle. Their biggest problem now is that Honda uses so many independent You-Tubers who are terrified of being left-out for the next release that they will always give Honda plenty of good press. All while they are minimizing the established professional press corps, who just aren’t as easily swayed by a free trip to Santa Barbara. They just might not realize its a problem until it becomes critical – with better looking, better driving, more frugal options debut… which was always Honda’s edge on the market. You can’t be more expensive and not as good in this segment.

  2. Did you notice whether the backseat’s backing (the board that stiffens the cushions) was flexible and flimsy? That was reported by someone in the first cars available, but oddly no one in the press mentioned it.

  3. Ok.

    It sounds like they did a ton of de-contenting a la 1997 Camry. Toyota did it with fairly mixed-to-midly-positive results. Honda seems to have failed.

  4. This Accord is just a heavy refresh of the tenth generation. It shares the same side mirrors, greenhouse (minus the tiny third window design) and platform. Maybe this is an indication that this Accord design won’t be around for a full five years or the next Accord will be an EV and Honda is saving money for R&D for that model.

  5. All they needed to do on the previous generation was fix the lobster claw taillights. Idk why they threw it all out. It was a beautiful car.

  6. Can we have views from someone who actually owns and lives on a daily basis with the darn thing? Otherwise some of these opinions are a dime a dozen. No?

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