Why Many People Still Prefer Sedans – 2023 Honda Accord

July 14th, 2023 at 2:11pm

22.1 2023 Honda Accord Touring

Over the last decade it’s been stunning to see how much market share passenger cars lost in the American market. They once commanded over 50% market share, while today it’s under 20%. But that’s still a lot, about the same market share as full-size pickups.

A lot of people prefer sedans because they’re quieter than crossovers thanks to a trunk that is sealed off from the passenger cabin. With their lower center of gravity, they hug the road better. You get less side-to-side head toss on bumpy pavement and less forward pitch under braking. And the 2023 Honda Accord is a good example of why almost one out of five people prefer still passenger cars.

As almost always happens when a car company redesigns a car, it comes out quieter, faster, more efficient and more modern looking. That’s exactly what Honda did, and while you’ll instantly recognize the new Accord as an Accord, there are a number of design cues that give the new one away.

It has a shallower and less prominent radiator grille that is squared off at the bottom, with a rectangular lower grille underneath it. The sides of the car lose the upper “bone line” that ran just below the belt line from front to rear, in favor of a rounder, smoother look. It also loses the “tear drop” design cue at the rear of the ¾ window, and the stand-alone C-shaped tail lights are replaced with a light bar that wraps around the rear end.

2023 Honda Accord.

Inside, the cockpit has more of a tech look with a 10.2” driver’s gauge cluster and a 12.3” touchscreen, the biggest that’s ever gone into an Accord. It also has built-in Google services including Assistant, Maps and Play. Don’t worry Apple-philes, Car Play is standard, too.

One reason why the new Accord rides so well, and it does, is that Honda strengthened the body structure. It added stiffening braces to the front and rear bulkheads and made the center tunnel thicker. To make the steering feel more precise, a low-friction column bearing, low-friction damper mounting bearings, and low-friction ball joints are now part of the package. To reduce understeer at the limit, the car will reduce the torque going to the wheels and even apply the brakes.

Under the hood, customers get a choice of two powertrain packages depending on the model they choose. For the Sport, EX-L, Sport L and Touring models, there is a hybrid package with a new 2-liter Atkinson engine and traction motor that produce a combined 204 horsepower, 247 lb-ft. It gets an EPA combined 44 mpg fuel economy label. The LX and EX models get a 1.5 liter turbo four with192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft that is rated at 32 mpg.

23.1 2023 Honda Accord Tourning

Out on the road, the Accord performs admirably. At highway speeds the roomy cabin is quiet. On twisty roads it’s fun to hustle through the corners. On long drives the seats are comfortable. In parking situations it’s easy to maneuver. No wonder a lot of people still prefer sedans.

I haven’t driven the 1.5 turbo, only the hybrid. And I found that I preferred to keep it in Sport mode because it reacted more crisply to the way I like to drive. That isn’t to say it’s crisp. Honda is doing a great job with its hybrids, but as with all mass-market hybrids, the pedal response is kind of mushy. Look, if you put your foot into it, it gets up and goes. But it lacks that direct, linear response you get in the better non-hybrid powertrains.

So many automakers have dropped passenger sedans that I don’t get to test drive that many any more. It was genuinely a pleasure, and a bit of a surprise, to get into the new Accord. I found myself liking it more than I expected to.

–John McElroy

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