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How We'd Spec It: 2023 Honda Accord

Honda’s popular family car gets an overhaul for 2023. See which three we would buy.

2023 Honda Accord Touring in Canyon River Blue Front Quarter View
  • Honda has redesigned the 2023 Accord, making it more efficient without losing the car’s best qualities.
  • We recommend the trim level that will save you the most money in the long run.
  • There is a worthy alternative that brings style and value to the table.
  • If you want an emotionally satisfying version of the Accord, there’s one that works.

Americans don’t buy midsize sedans as often as they used to. The segment has lost several models over the last few years, including the Buick Regal Sportback, Ford Fusion, Mazda 6 and Volkswagen Passat. (The Nissan Maxima and well-regarded Volkswagen Arteon and Kia Stinger will also soon join their fallen comrades.)

Of the nameplates remaining, the 2023 Honda Accord is the freshest member of the family sedan clan, thanks to a near-complete redesign that has improved the car in almost every way. Highlights include improved efficiency, new technology and upgraded safety features.

If you’re looking for a car instead of a crossover SUV, the 2023 Accord is an appealing choice. But which version should you get? Edmunds has three recommendations for buyers seeking value, sportiness, or an upscale look and feel. You’ll learn more about them below and find out how we would spec them for duty in our own driveways.

The recommended spec

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2023 Honda Accord EX in Canyon River Blue parked on a road at sunset

2023 Honda Accord EX (looks identical to the EX-L, except it doesn't have a "hybrid" badge.)

When it comes to the 2023 Accord, Edmunds recommends the EX-L trim level. It isn’t the most affordable model, but it is the most efficient version of the car and includes the technology shoppers want when considering a new vehicle.

The Accord EX-L has a standard hybrid powertrain and a smaller set of 17-inch alloy wheels. The result is an EPA fuel economy rating of 48 mpg in combined driving, a 4-mpg gain over Accord Hybrid Sport and Touring trims with larger 19-inch wheels.

You’ll spend almost $4,000 more than the turbocharged gas-only Accord EX to buy the EX-L. But, in addition to a far more efficient hybrid powertrain, the Accord EX-L includes leather seats, nicer interior materials, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Alexa Built-in, parking sensors, and a handful of other upgrades.

In addition, the premium you pay for the Accord EX-L is a short-term expense. Compared to the Accord EX’s turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, the hybrid returns 16 more miles out of every gallon of gas in the EPA's combined fuel economy cycle and provides an additional 140 miles of driving range on a full tank. So, you’ll stop at the gas station less often, and, based on the EPA’s annual fuel expense estimates, you’ll save money in the long run.

Honda offers the Accord EX-L in several paint colors and with several packages and individual options. However, to keep costs down, we recommend sticking with the standard equipment and few, if any, extras. So we would get the car in Meteorite Gray with gray leather, add the package installing a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic warning, and install both a cargo net and a cargo hook in the trunk. Those upgrades would bring the car’s price to $34,705, including the destination charge.

The worthy alternative

A black 2023 Honda Accord Sport drives on a highway. View is from above the right front quarter corner of the car.

The Honda Accord Sport is a popular choice for its blend of style and affordability. This year, the trim adds a standard hybrid powertrain offering more power and better fuel economy than the previous-generation Sport model while retaining the appealing 19-inch wheels that draw people to it.

Unfortunately, the penalty for getting the stylish 19s is lower fuel economy. The Accord Sport returns 44 mpg in combined driving compared to 48 mpg with the Accord EX-L. In addition, though you’ll save around $1,650 by getting the Sport, it won’t have the EX-L’s heated side mirrors, parking sensors or leather seats.

Honda has a fix for that. It’s called the Sport-L trim. But we recommend sticking with the cloth-lined Sport, which saves you nearly $2,000 compared to the Sport-L.

If we’re spending our own money, we would upgrade the Accord Sport with the extra-cost Radiant Red paint. (Most of the other colors are shades of white, silver and black.) We'd also add the blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning systems and the cargo net (oddly, the cargo hook isn’t available, according to Honda’s website). Our Accord Sport would cost $33,501, including the destination charge.

The emotional choice

2023 Honda Accord Touring interior showing gray leather seats and the dashboard.

Let’s say you’re working with a generous budget and can afford the best Accord money can buy. In that case, get the Accord Touring, which pairs the car’s efficient hybrid powertrain with every amenity Honda offers on its four-door family sedan.

Like the Accord Sport, the Touring has 19-inch wheels, earning it an EPA fuel economy rating of 44 mpg in combined driving. But, in addition to the equipment found on the EX-L trim, the Touring includes a more sophisticated Google Built-in infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging, a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, and a head-up display.

In addition, the Accord Touring is ready for almost any kind of weather thanks to rain-sensing windshield wipers, ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats. It also includes a low-speed automatic braking system to help prevent light bumps while parking the car.

We would dress our ideal Accord Touring in Honda’s beautiful new Canyon River Blue paint, which matches this trim’s upscale appearance. Unfortunately, with this color, you can’t get the gray leather shown above, which makes no sense. So, you’ll be stuck with heat-attracting black upholstery. Add the blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning systems, the cargo net and the cargo hook, and the Touring would cost $39,055, including destination charges.

Edmunds says

Available with a powerful and efficient hybrid drivetrain and equipped with a roomy back seat, huge trunk, and helpful technology, the 2023 Honda Accord is a good pick in a family-sized sedan. Unfortunately, you can’t get an Accord with all-wheel drive. But otherwise, there is plenty to like and little to criticize about this popular Honda.