2023 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid: A Promising Start to a Year-Long Test
The introduction of the 2023 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid signals Honda’s bullish approach to hybridization. This model not only replaces the previous generation’s turbo 2.0-liter engine but also powers four of the six available trim levels. Car and Driver magazine recently embarked on a yearlong, 40,000-mile test of this hybrid vehicle, and the initial impressions have been positive.
The 2023 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid comes with a price tag of $38,985, with no additional options available apart from the choice of exterior color and a few dealer-installed accessories. The test car featured a classy Canyon River Blue paint, which is offered at no extra cost.
The Touring trim level stands out from the rest of the Accord lineup by including several premium features as standard. These include front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, wireless charging, rain-sensing wipers, and Low-Speed Braking Control. The latter is especially noteworthy as it can alert the driver and assist in mitigating low-speed collisions using sensors located on the front and rear bumpers.
While the absence of a heated steering wheel was a disappointment, the presence of heated front and rear outboard seats, as well as ventilated front seats, is appreciated. However, Car and Driver notes that they would trade the heated rear seats for a heated steering wheel, echoing the sentiment of many Canadian customers who enjoy this feature.
During the initial phase, Car and Driver followed Honda’s recommendation of avoiding sudden acceleration and hard braking for the first few hundred miles. This allowed them to appreciate the simplicity of the interior layout, which stands out in an era of touch-sensitive controls dominating the industry. The Accord’s climate control buttons, volume dial, and traditional shift lever offer a refreshing change from the mass of touch-sensitive switches found in other vehicles.
Car and Driver also discovered an option in the menus that allows users to disable permissions from third-party applications built into the car. This feature is particularly valuable in an age where digital privacy is increasingly difficult to maintain. Disabling these permissions does not affect the functionality of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ensuring privacy while still enjoying the benefits of smartphone integration.
The driving experience of the Accord Touring Hybrid matches the simplicity of its interior layout. The hybrid powertrain seamlessly switches between its 146-horsepower engine, a 181-horsepower electric motor, or a combination of both. This powertrain allows for all-electric driving at lower speeds, with energy recuperated from braking stored in a 1.1-kWh battery. Remarkably, the Accord hybrid feels like it has a traditional transmission, despite being primarily driven by the electric motor. The transition between power sources is almost imperceptible to the driver.
At higher speeds, the Accord Touring Hybrid operates silently, with the engine switching off and on seamlessly. The 2023 Touring model achieves an EPA-rated highway fuel economy of 41 mpg, offering an impressive theoretical road-trip range of 520 miles with its 12.8-gallon fuel tank. In city driving, the Accord achieves an EPA-estimated 46 mpg, resulting in an excellent combined rating of 44 mpg, which will be closely monitored over the course of Car and Driver’s long-term test.
The only noticeable indications that the Accord Touring Hybrid operates differently are the exterior pedestrian alert sound in EV mode at low speeds and the shift paddles that control the level of regenerative braking. The six settings for regenerative braking adjustment may be more than necessary, but Car and Driver appreciates the ability to contribute to reduced traffic congestion by dialing up more regen braking.
Car and Driver tested the Accord Touring Hybrid’s performance at a track after the break-in period. The vehicle achieved a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds at 91 mph. While these figures are slightly slower than the previous turbo 2.0-liter Accord, they are still considered impressive. The 0.90-g skidpad grip surpasses that of the old Acura Integra Type R, further showcasing the Accord’s capabilities.
With just one month on the road, the Accord Touring Hybrid has already shown promise in its year-long test. As a repeat 10Best winner for Car and Driver, the Accord faces heightened scrutiny to maintain its seamless performance throughout the 40,000-mile test. Stay tuned for future updates and to see if the absence of a heated steering wheel becomes a cause for jealousy compared to Canadian-market Accords.