You would expect that with the current low fuel prices, automakers would slow down production of their hybrids and EVs. Far from it, almost every automaker is rushing to launch a new hybrid or release improved versions of existing hybrids. Honda is one such automaker. At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, the automaker showcased an upgraded version of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid.
The automaker claims that the new model is more reliable, more efficient and has a higher performance. Last year, Honda sold around 14,000 Accord Hybrids but the Accord Hybrid’s production was interrupted midway as the automaker moved its production base to Japan for more production efficiency. Particularly, the automaker experienced problems with batteries which were shipped from Japan. The automaker has now streamlined its production and hopes to double sales to 28,000 globally. There won’t be a plug-in model this time round as Honda plans to release a fully-fledged Hybrid Plug-in model in the near future. Read along to find out what the new Accord Hybrid is made of:
2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior
On the outside, you cannot tell the Accord Hybrid apart from its non-hybrid sisters. The design is as elegant as that of non-hybrids. The front features a bold grille. It headlights and fog lights, on the other hand, have a new blue highlight. The corner vents have been redesigned with a more dominant face. Overall, the Honda Accord has an aggressive front fascia.
Moving to the sides, the car features new side skirts which make it look sportier. Other features are similar to those of conventional models. At the rear, its designers have hooked it up with new taillights which feature long LED piping. A chrome strip runs between the taillights.
Its blue accenting on the headlights , taillights and the “Hybrid” badge are the only exterior design cues that tell it apart from non-hybrid Accords.
2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Interior
Inside the Accord, you will find a well arranged cabin with a wood grain trim and flat-black inserts. The Accord Hybrid comes with a 7.0-inch touch-screen mounted on the center stack. This screen is interconnected with another display screen mounted on top of the center stack. Unlike the non-hybrids, the Accord hybrid will feature a digital instrument cluster.
The new cluster features a huge speedometer at the center and vertical gauges on the sides. The instruments cluster is well lit with a combination of green, blue and white resulting in a captivating look. An “EV Mode” button has also been added on the right side of the center console.
On matters safety, Honda has equipped the three trim levels with adequate safety equipment as standard. They include a remote engine start, a wide-angle rearview camera and Honda Sensing. Honda Sensing is a suite of driving aids, it packs various driving aids such as lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, clash mitigation, and forward collision warning. The top trim will add front and rear parking sensors.
Engine Specs and performance
Honda has improved things under the hood to boost the Accord’s competitiveness in a world fast filling up with hybrids and EVs. The new drive-train combines a 2.0 L i-VTEC engine with the automaker’s 2-motor hybrid system. The combination produces 212 hp, 16 horses more than the outgoing model.
The engine is not paired to a conventional mechanical transmission system since Honda has used the two-motor hybrid system. The first motor acts as a generator and is used to recharge the battery pack while the second motor powers the front wheels. The system offers three driving modes i.e. EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. In EV Drive, the vehicle is powered by the propulsion electric motor and battery pack.
This means the model can go for short distances on Electric power alone. The range has not been confirmed. In Hybrid Drive, only the forward motor powers the front wheels. To supplement the current drawn from the battery pack, the petrol engine powers the second motor which in turn recharges the battery. Lastly, in Engine Drive, the engine is connected to the propulsion motor via a lock-up clutch and they both power the front wheels. The vehicle achieves maximum output in this mode.
The engine is EPA rated at 49 mpg in city 47 mpg on highway and 48 mpg on combined drives. Though this doesn’t seem much, it is an improvement of 1 mpg in city, 2 mpg on highway and 1 mpg on combined drives over the outgoing models were the 2016 Accord Hybrid models to use the new EPA testing formula. These figures place the Accord at the top of this segment.
Performance figures are not yet out but we believe improvements on the drive-train should translate to a quicker acceleration and a higher top speed. As such, expect the model to hit 60 mph from the standstill in around 7.3 seconds compared to the outgoing model’s 7.5 seconds. It will also have an improved top speed of around 119 mph or more compared to the outgoing model’s 117 mph.
Price and release date
Honda is yet to release official prices of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid. However, due to improvements in the drive-train, expect a slight price increase over the current models.
Currently, the base starts at $ 29,305 exclusive of a destination charge while the top Touring goes for $ 35,035. Expect a starting price of around $ 30,000 for the base model, $33,000 for the mid EX-L trim and around $36,000 for the top Touring trim. The Accord goes on sale this spring.
The hybrid segment is expanding as automakers look to reduce their vehicle’s carbon emission level. The 2017 Honda Accord hybrid will face competition from the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. The Accord has to do more to stand a chance of competing with the Toyota Prius which sold almost 5 times the units the Accord sold last year.