The Honda Accord Hybrid was canceled after 2015 due to slow sales, under-performing both in the showroom and in sales. It’s back for 2017 with an all-new propulsion system that based on our test drive might just stick.
It’s a competitive game the mid-sized sedan. When you add in hybrid variation you’re up against heavy hitters like the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion just to name a few. And with gas prices at an all-time low, it’s a tough place to get traction.
Enter the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, now rated at 49 mpg city, 47 mpg highway and 48 mpg combined and you have a car that tops the class if it performs as advertised.
It all starts with a next-generation hybrid powertrain based on a 2.0 liter Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor CVT that’s been fully redesigned. The gasoline engine offers up a modest 143 horsepower but the electric traction motor brings an astounding 181 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque to the table.
When the computer summons them both the total system horsepower is 212. What makes this system unique in segment however isn’t its horsepower but the strong electric-only driving capability afforded by its powerful motor and lithium-ion battery.
In our testing the Accord Hybrid was able to belt out brisk bursts of power in EV mode around town without firing up the gasoline engine. Even at freeway speeds of 65 mpg the EV mode kicks in often such as when coasting or going down slight hills.
This is what contributes to its fuel economy performance which in our week of testing actually exceeded the EPA estimates at 51 mpg combined. While that’s good, better is the refinement level of the new powertrain. Engine starting and stopping is nearly imperceptible and its demeanor is much more refined that competitors by a long shot. It’s actually dare we say pleasant.
And pleasant is the rest of the package too. From behind the wheel it’s a comfortable place to be with the expected Honda high quality materials all around. Fit and finish is top of class here with switchgear that always feels good to the touch.
Our Touring trim grade was fully loaded with all things from heated leather seats front and rear to the top-end infotainment and audio system with two screens. The latter is very easy to read visually, sounds excellent and offers many great features. One addition we would welcome however is an actual volume knob instead of the touch sensitive sliders.
Storage is ample with cubbies in the center console, deep map pockets and a sizable space under the center armrest. The trunk however is slightly smaller than usual due to the placement of the hybrid battery behind the rear seat – an item also precluding a traditional fold down arrangement.
Handling in the Accord Hybrid is reminiscent if many Honda vehicles with a sharp and firm suspension along with lightly weighted steering. These qualities give it a sporting feel when thrown around but with its harder compound tires can be harsh over rough patches. On the highway, only tire slap mars what is otherwise a quiet existence.
Starting at just under $30,000 the Honda Accord Hybrid is our estimation a very good value. Even at the full tilt price of our Touring at $36,790 including destination it just isn’t that much more than you can spend on other trim grades. But here you get fuel economy that’s Prius-like, but without the Prius.