With fuel prices at their all-time lowest in the 21st century, the hybrid community is slowly becoming obsolete. However, in today’s world where 15 is going on 30 and 50 is the new 40, we like to pinch our pennies anywhere we can so we can arrange our next Botox session. And speaking of 50, that’s where hybrids fuel economy needs to be in order to catch our attention, because let’s face it, 40 mpg was sooo 2016.
After being on hiatus for over a year, the new Accord Hybrid has come back for a fighting chance. With an increase in power, efficiency and new tech, it should leave the competition nervous. Power now increases to a combined 212-horsepower from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor. Fuel efficiency also increased to an EPA rated 49 mpg making it more powerful and more fuel saving than the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Available in three well equipped trim levels, the Accord Hybrid starts at $29,605 and climbs to the top-spec’d Touring for an all-inclusive price of $35,955 before destination. It’s a price that includes all the standard comfort features we’d expect like a leather appointed interior with heated front and rear seats and touch screen navigation infotainment system with back-up camera. New for 2017 brings in all the latest safety gizmos under Honda Safety Sensing naming convention. With lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert with active braking and a blind spot monitoring camera – it comfortably assures the driver that any mistake can be corrected.
Hybrid technology has never been something to win us over due to its driving characteristics – even with its high efficiency output. Not to say we don’t understand their place. The Accord Hybrid however is something a bit unexpected. With a combined 212-horsepower output, it’s the kind of Hybrid that certainly knows how to scoot when called upon – it takes just over 7 seconds to achieve highways speeds and does it in such a manner that feels confident. Transitions between gas and electric is seamless when it comes to pushing the go pedal. And when we need to sneak through the night, EV mode can be activated at 65 mph allowing to cruise along for a couple of miles.
Unlike other hybrids that are as interesting to drive as a golf cart, the Accord Hybrid feels competent and rewarding. The steering is accurate and responsive – there is a sense of road awareness and feedback to the driver. The ride quality is sublime on our low-resistant 17-inch wheels that provides excellent feedback and feels solid in the corners. The brakes are a bit touchy and require very little play – not that we’re complaining.
Honda provides three modes to control how the Accord Hybrid can perform, ECON, SPORT and normal. Upon start up, the Accord defaults to ECON that limits its performance and becomes hesitant in request for acceleration. However, it can default to Normal mode by simply disengaging ECON and can become a slightly more enjoyably car to drive. With our without ECON mode engaged we managed to see a slight return investment of 45 mpg. That figure is still lower than its EPA rated 49 mpg, but considering it’s rewarding driving demeanor and over 700 miles of driving range, I think this is one item we can forgive on.
Honda’s design team executed the Accord quite well with this attractive interior. They used tons of soft touch materials through and a healthy amount of handsome wood trim that all ties together very well. Everything is laid out in a user friendly fashion, even the busy steering wheel is easy to navigate. Unfortunately not everything can be as simple. We like the concept of the dual screen display – one screen displays the cars functionality such as trip information, radio stations and fuel economy, while the main touch screen display becomes the main source for navigation, radio controls and use of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Despite the continuous complaint of the knobless system, that’s something over time we’ve gotten used to – however it’s a very complicated system to navigate while driving that requires us to look at the screen and figure what we need to do before we do it.
It goes without saying that Hybrid sedans already have tough competition when their normal gasoline siblings can achieve high 20’s to low 30’s mpg fuel figures. But not all hybrids are as entraining to drive. The Accord Hybrid is more than just another fuel sipping eco-box – it goes to show you can have something enjoyable to drive and maintain high efficiency numbers – we even believe that those mpg numbers can get higher if we tried a lot harder. But as far as this comeback tour is concern, this one you wouldn’t want to miss.
|2017 Honda Accord Touring Base Price:||$35,995|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$36,790|
|2.0-liter DOHC 4-Cylinder & Electric Motor – 212 Combined Horsepower, CVT Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±7.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 49/47/48 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 45 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 700 Miles|