Honda's all-new Accord Hybrid — Family values

By David Boldt


At an earlier time — and I should admit, in the late ‘80s it was another life — I was selling Hondas in the Dallas area for both Jim McNatt and Goode-Taylor. Having started 10 years earlier on a BMW showroom, this wasn’t the career ladder I had hoped to climb. But after abbreviated periods in management the Honda showrooms were a safe place to land and Honda products a safe brand to sell, helped in no small part by my affection for what Honda built; it was, at that point, what both my wife and I drove.

Some 35 years later I’m far removed from the showroom, but could still envision a Honda — perhaps the new Accord hybrid — in my garage.

As Honda begins its 41st year of Accord assembly in the U.S., the company introduces an all-new Accord — its midsize, 4-door sedan — to American consumers. And despite what our U.S. automakers think, Americans continue to buy sedans — and Asian and European carmakers are still building them. Honda’s Accord currently sits as the #2 midsize car in retail sales, and — according to Honda — its sales account for almost 25% of its midsize segment.

In introducing a redesigned Accord (its 111th generation!), the team at Honda are sufficiently smart to not screw it up. All-new sheetmetal retains what has become an almost classic Accord identity. In profile its semi-fastback proportions allow easy access to both front and rear seats, adequate head and leg room once seated and a decent amount of greenhouse. One guest – a Civic sedan owner – thought the driver’s seat should offer more front-to-rear travel, but this 29-inch inseam hadn’t noticed.

In the walk-up, the redesigned front fascia is perhaps the most notable difference between "now"and "then;" lacking the brightwork of the 2022, the Accord’s face aligns with that of the redesigned Civic and CR-V. The look, subjectively, is not unattractive, but neither will it knock your automotive socks off. And if I were signing off on the Accord’s design and proportion, I’d hope someone at Honda could reduce the front overhang. I know this is a front-wheel drive platform and there’s a lot to package under the hood, but other carmakers manage to reduce this overhang, at least visually; I wish Honda would.

Beyond that one nit, there’s a lot to like here — and unlike some of its competitors, the Accord doesn’t try too hard to make itself attractive; the overall appeal should be there throughout your 60 months (or hell…84 months!) of payments.

Inside, the Accord’s upgraded dash in our Touring trim includes updated tech, with a standard digital gauge display and 12.3-inch infotainment screen featuring – as you’d hope – wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For me the win was a relatively intuitive infotainment screen, an easy-to-find on/off switch for the audio and completely separate controls for heating and ventilation.

As noted, interior space for four is generous and competitive for five. Honda claims 103 total cubic feet provided to passengers, along with almost 17 cubic feet of trunk volume. That trunk offers you a low liftover height, and with a split folding rear seat you can accommodate most of a bicycle if able to easily remove the bike’s front wheel. There’s no spare tire – which is increasingly typical – but Honda does provide a flat fix-it kit…or use the Uber app.

Under the hood Honda steps up its hybrid game; all top-line trims come with Honda’s hybrid powertrain, a 2.0 liter normally-aspirated four supplemented by a two-motor hybrid system. Total output is 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the Accord from 0-60 — per Car and Driver testing — in just under 7 seconds. And that performance comes at no penalty to efficiency: EPA estimates are 46 City/41 Hwy and 44 Combined. I’d suggest a reasonable estimate of 40-plus, regardless of roadway or personal inclination.

Beyond the numbers is the satisfaction provided by Honda while behind the wheel. The car just works well, with its platform, steering and braking all coming together as one comfortable, cohesive unit. While wishing you could still get a 2.0 liter turbo or a 6-speed manual transmission, the market has moved on — and Honda’s team has moved with it. For a suggested retail beginning at $28K (for the non-hybrid LX) and topping out just $10K north of that, the Accord receives my Best Buy nod. Write it down.