2023 Honda Accord Touring – Still Daily Driver Perfection

There’s something comforting about an old favorite that’s familiar to us. It could be going to a local restaurant that hasn’t changed its menu in thirty years. It might be heading out on the same family vacation to the same spot you’ve gone to for twenty years. Good and simple things that make us happy don’t always need to be reinvented. The tried and true can be exactly what we need most. This reminds me of the 2023 Honda Accord. It feels like throwing on your favorite pair of sweatpants and rewatching your favorite movie you’ve seen time and time again.

The 2023 Accord takes no risks, it didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It just stuck to what works, refined it, and gave the world a simple companion that’ll make driving a breeze. 

Along with the all-new exterior, the 2023 Accord rides on the most updated Honda global architecture, making the chassis stiffer than the previous 10th generation which helps in both ride comfort and handling. The 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine that is part of the revised hybrid system has been updated heavily to include direct injection and better thermal efficiency that should help with fuel efficiency, power, and long-term reliability. Direct-injection turbo motors have been known to be plagued with issues regarding oil blow-by but being a naturally aspirated engine, that problem is negated as the hybrid motor helps provide the desired power and torque. Speaking of power, this powertrain makes a total system output of 204hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty of power to push the roughly 3,500-lb curb weight. The 0 – 60 mph is irrelevant but, around 6 seconds which isn’t bad at all. 

Looks are subjective and there has been a lot of criticism for this car being too boring. In the current automotive space where it seems like some car makers are in a race to the bottom for the ugliest new car design of the year, the Accord is a breath of fresh air. It’s simple and clean. The laser brazing for the roof and other design elements make it a very clean look in person, more than the photos online would like it to appear. Considering some automakers are coming out with controversial designs that seem to swing and miss more than not, this Honda feels right. Once you see that a Lexus RX looks like a beluga whale, you can’t unsee it. If you’ve seen a BMW XM in person, you may be entitled to compensation. Just like growing a 6th toe, being different isn’t always better. This car looks fine. Stop complaining, otherwise, you might end up with more Toyota Crowns. 

For a car like this, the most important part is the interior. Much like the rest of the car, what you will find here is comfortably familiar, but brought into the modern era. It may sound odd, but that makes this one of the best interiors I have ever sat in. Is it opulently luxurious? No, but for a sub $40,000 car, it’s ergonomically perfect, usable, and comfy. The previous generation had seats that felt uncomfortable over long road trips. This version is much improved, and the heated and cooled leather seats in the touring trim will make any road trip a joy. The center console is massive. There is lots of storage in the door pocket. There is only one flaw I could find and that may be an easy fix for Honda: Piano Black Plastic. This is tragic. It looks bad the moment you touch it, scratching easily. The Honda Civic comes with a new type of faux metal or carbon fiber-looking plastic that was specifically designed to be scratch resistant. If that were in this interior it would get a perfect score. 

There is one area where the Accord is a masterclass for the rest of the automotive industry. The user interface (UI) and infotainment system are just about as perfect as you can get from a functionality standpoint. There are enough buttons and knobs for the important HVAC and music functions that are laid out in a clean and easy-to-use manner there is no learning curve. I knew what to do within a minute of sitting in the car. Compared to other automakers (Mercedes MBUX) you don’t need a two-week class to learn the infotainment system. This is as easy as it gets. The new 12” touch screen is snappy and responsive and bright enough for any lighting. Any actions you need to complete through the screen require only one to three taps, no chasing through submenus.  

Available on the Touring trim is a Google Assistant with built-in google maps. This replaces Honda’s native navigation system seen in previous generation Accords. If you connect your Google account, it is simply one of the best navigation systems I have ever encountered. By saying “Ok Google” and telling the car your destination, you’ll be on your way in just a few seconds. The Google guidance will appear on your 12” center infotainment screen, your 10.3” central gauge cluster, and your head-up display. If you get lost with this much direction assistance, abandon all hope. It’s fantastic. The Google Assistant will also help you with almost any other function typically reserved for buttons and knobs. Want to change the temperature or turn on your cooled seats? Just ask Google. It’s wonderful. That’s all I can say about it. Oh, before I forget the Bose Audio system in the Touring trim is great for the money. Audiophiles will tell you it may be flawed, and it won’t hold a candle to the greatness of Acura’s ELS Audio [Editor’s Note: Truth… No highs, no lows, must be Bose-JG]. For a $39,000 car though, you’re getting a borderline luxury car audio system combined with a borderline Acura quiet interior. It makes you wonder why you might want to get a TLX. 

Overall the new Accord has grown. It’s a big car now. While it is technically classified as a mid-sized sedan, it feels and acts more like a full-sized one. The rear seat has a massive 40.8 inches of legroom, which is borderline limousine good. Anyone up to 6ft 4in will fit just fine with headroom, too. The front seats offer more adjustability than you’ll ever need with plenty of shoulder and elbow room with a comfortable center console padded leather covering. The shift lever may not be as sleek as the previous generation’s row of buttons, but the more traditional shift lever offers a nice ledge to rest your elbow when operating the touch screen. 

Now we get to the driving experience. Want a quick summary? It’s ok. It’s one area this 11th generation accord is a step down from the 10th generation. The previous generation Accord had a reputation for being an economical mid-sized sedan that moonlighted as a sports sedan. It genuinely had great feedback through the steering and a wonderfully calibrated chassis that made it a little bit fun to drive over six-tenths. This car is sadly more numb. There’s almost no feedback through the steering, and the brake pedal feel is oddly weighted. It may be due to the blending of the regenerative brakes, but sadly it does not inspire much confidence and takes some getting used to. 

Driving the car on the road reveals a relatively smooth ride. The Accord no longer offers the adjustable dampers from the 10th-generation car, but they find a nice balance between reducing body roll when cornering and still allowing for decent compression and rebound over bumps. The noise isolate is fantastic. The NVH while driving is remarkably quiet for a car under $40,000 and competitive against cars nearly twice the price. This car is one of the best vehicles to take on a road trip on the market today. 

The powertrain is fairly unremarkable to speak about but commendable for its effectiveness. Compared to other hybrid powertrains, this is buttery smooth. Unless you bring up the power flow meter on the infotainment, it’s imperceptible when the electric motor or gas engine is the propulsion source for the car. There is plenty of immediate low-end torque to pull you quickly up to speed from stop lights. However, power for highway passes or trying to accelerate past 60mph is where the power drops off and the disparity between a lot of low-end torque and a lack of high-end horsepower becomes glaringly apparent. Is this a bad thing? Not really. It’s a commuter car. If you’re looking to do highway pulls every day in your accord hybrid you probably bought the wrong car. Buttery smooth power delivery for daily driving is exactly what you’d expect from a car like this. 

Honda offers its latest suite of HondaSense driver assistance tech that has been refined in this generation. This includes Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and traffic sign recognition. New for this generation is Traffic Jam Assist which extends the use to adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist to stop and go traffic on the freeway. The older system had a bad habit of ping-ponging around your lane and was too conservative. It would not intervene enough to make a noticeable difference. This newly updated lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control is calibrated to be more aggressive and truly useful in traffic. A two-hour commute in Los Angeles traffic no longer feels stressful. In fact, this car might be a nice substitute for therapy to help relieve stress (you should still go to therapy though). 

I kept trying to find major faults with the car while I drove it for a week. I couldn’t. The car is boring but I can forgive it for that. This was never meant to be an exciting car. This is an appliance. There is nothing wrong with that. For getting you around from point A to B at legal road speeds, this does everything right. It’s quiet and comfortable. The tech takes out much of the stress of traffic jams. Road trips are done in supreme comfort at an affordable price. The fuel economy for a car this big is exceptional. I saw over 50mpg in LA traffic and on a road trip I saw over 42mpg on the highway. With a 14.2-gal gas tank, this car easily lets you cruise for 500-600 miles between fill-ups. Although, a plug-in hybrid option would be nice. The international market is receiving a CR-V PHEV next year, and if that powertrain were to be found in this car: I’d be running out to buy one for myself. 

With everything you need being delivered to you at such a great price for 2023, what’s not to like? This is the daily of all daily drivers. You might not fall asleep dreaming of your next drive in it, but that’s fine. This car will give you no stress. The ownership experience isn’t filled with compromises or drama. For something that’ll fit the budget of so many people, it does the job of blending into the background of your life to support you in what you need. It’s pragmatic and easy to live with. It’s a good car. Nothing more, and nothing less. If you buy one, you won’t be disappointed. 

[Images copyright 2023 Hooniverse/Matt Eugenio – https://www.instagram.com/matt_eugenio/]

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2 responses to “2023 Honda Accord Touring – Still Daily Driver Perfection”

  1. Sjalown Avatar

    Wait, did you dis the Toyota Crown? The 16th generation crossover desaster aside, this is what I think of when that venerable name appears in writing:

  2. salguod Avatar

    Our 2021 Accord Hybrid EX-L has been fantastic over 40K+ miles. 50+ mpg if you keep it in econ and steering feel that rivals my old E46 coupe. Our lease is up soon and we now have a 70 pound chocolate lab, so next will probably be a CRV hybrid, but if it weren’t for the dog we’d get another.