The Honda Accord Hybrid may have skipped the 2016 model year, but it’s back for 2017 with a number of improvements. It gets all of the refreshed, 2016 model-year Accord’s new stuff – including a sharper exterior appearance, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – with a fancy new hybrid powertrain under the hood.
This Accord Hybrid uses Honda’s next-generation two-motor hybrid system, which pairs a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The result is 212 combined horsepower and fuel economy ratings of 49 miles per gallon city, 47 mpg highway, and 48 mpg combined. To put it in perspective, that’s 24 more total horsepower than the Ford Fusion Hybrid with fuel economy improvements of 5, 6, and 6 mpg in city, highway, and combined cycles. As for the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda’s got that one beat, too – the Accord Hybrid has 12 more horsepower, not to mention increases of 6, 8, and 7 mpg in the respective drive cycles.
Honda says the Accord Hybrid’s drivetrain works in three ways. There’s a traditional EV mode for very short distances under light acceleration, a Hybrid Drive situation where the front wheels are driven by the electric motor with the gas engine powering a generator, and finally, Engine Drive uses a lock-up clutch that connects the engine and propulsion motor, and both drive the front wheels. It’s actually not all that complicated. In simple terms, the car drives with the usual hybrid wizardry we expect for a 2017 model-year vehicle.
Visually, it’s your standard Accord, though the sharp-eyed will note the unique wheels, blue-highlighted LED headlights, and, of course, the Hybrid badging. Less noticeable features include a new aluminum hood and a smaller battery pack that doesn’t eat up so much cargo space.
Hybrid, Hybrid EX-L, and Hybrid Touring will be the available trim levels. As for a full-on plug-in model – something that sold in small volumes with the last-generation Accord – mum’s the word on that. Even so, Honda’s hoping this new Accord Hybrid will do substantially better than its predecessor – the company is estimating double its previous best of 14,000 annual sales. The 2017 Accord Hybrid goes on sale in the US this Spring.