2023 Honda Accord: Hybrid Vs Gas, Which Is Better?

The Honda Accord may have been a mainstay of the sedan market for almost five decades now, but that doesn't mean making a decision in your local dealership is necessarily easy. For the 11th-generation car, the biggest head-scratcher is likely to be what engine you want under the hood. That's because the 2023 Accord comes in both gas-only and electrified hybrid versions, and both have their advantages. Pricing for the 2023 Accord kicks off at $27,295 (plus destination) for the Accord LX trim. The most affordable of the electrified models, meanwhile, is the 2023 Accord Sport Hybrid, which starts at $31,895 (plus destination).

Unfortunately for Accord Hybrid buyers, Honda's electrified sedan doesn't qualify for the U.S. government's tax incentive for EVs. Still, while you may not get a break on your annual tax return, you could see savings over the course of ownership. That's because, while the 2023 Accord Hybrid is more expensive to buy than the gas-only Accord, running costs offset that somewhat. According to the U.S. EPA, the annual fuel cost of the 2023 Accord is $1,600. That's based on a driver doing 15,000 miles per year, 45% of which is on the highway and the remainder in the city, and at current fuel prices.

More expensive upfront, but cheaper to run

A 2023 Accord Sport Hybrid is $4,600 more to purchase than a base Accord LX with the gas-only engine, meanwhile, but based on the same driving you'll spend $1,200 per year on gas instead, the EPA calculates. The 2023 Accord EX-L Hybrid is even more frugal at $1,100 in annual fuel costs. Depending on how long you keep your car, then, the gas savings from the hybrid will help offset the higher initial price. It's also worth noting that you're getting a more luxurious, well-equipped sedan with the Sport and EX-L trims.

The Accord Hybrid is also more rewarding from behind the wheel. As we found in our first drive of the sedan, the standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine in the 2023 Accord is solid but hardly inspiring. With 192 horsepower on tap, it has to work hard to get the Accord up to speed, and the soundtrack along the way isn't particularly sonorous, either.

Slip into the new Accord Hybrid, though, and things improve considerably. The combination of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a pair of electric motors doesn't do outrageous things to horsepower — that climbs to 204 hp — but the 247 lb-ft of torque is a considerable uptick from the 192 lb-ft from the smaller engine.

You pay for a more rewarding drive

The fact that the electric motors deliver their power so effectively from a standing start, meanwhile, helps leave the Accord Hybrid feeling perkier and more agile than its numbers might suggest. Better still, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that Honda uses has been programmed to act like a regular, stepped automatic, and manages to avoid the drone and rubber-banding that some CVTs suffer.

For new car buyers on a budget, the 2023 Honda Accord is a solid choice. Even in base LX and EX trim it's spacious, reasonably well-equipped, and boasts a stylish exterior. The 1.5T engine may not pack the punch of its hybrid cousin, but that doesn't mean it's a bad drivetrain.

Still, the real fun clearly comes when you step up to the hybrid. Honda's strategy of making electrified versions of its most popular models has resulted in few downsides, and though EV enthusiasts may be disappointed by the continued absence of a plug-in hybrid — never mind a fully-electric Honda, which will have to wait a little longer — the convenience and economy of the 2023 Accord Hybrid are difficult to argue with.