The old Honda Accord only managed a ‘Marginal’ rating in the IIHS side crash test.
For 2023, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is upping the ante for new models to earn the coveted Top Safety Pick accolades. To qualify for the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles must have ‘Acceptable’ or ‘Good’ scores in the headlight test, but there’s another caveat: They must also score a high rating in the updated side crash test. The 2023 Honda Accord has no worries there, though, as the organization notes it aced the new tests.
As a point of reference, the 2022 Honda Accord managed ‘Marginal’ — the second worst score — in the side crash test. The IIHS noted elevated risks of torso and pelvic injuries to the driver and passenger, while the new model fared far better.
Technically, a car can win Top Safety Pick (without the plus) with just an Acceptable rating in the new side crash test. This year’s version uses a heavier test rig crashing into cars at a higher speed, so those vehicles need to effectively mitigate the added forces while preventing injuries to the occupants. To get a “plus” rating, cars must score a Good rating, which the new Accord did.
New 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick criteria also includes a high rating in nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention. The 2023 Honda Accord scored an ‘Advanced’ rating in that area, the middle of three evaluation tiers. Vehicles can still earn Top Safety Pick without earning the nighttime rating and just getting an Advanced or the top ‘Superior’ rating in the daytime tests.
At the moment, the only other midsize sedan to manage a 2023 Top Safety Pick+ rating is the Toyota Camry. The Hyundai Sonata and Subaru Legacy do manage Top Safety Pick (scoring Acceptable in the updated side crash test), though the Subaru Outback nets a Top Safety Pick+ nod from the organization.