Honda has taken its share of quality lumps lately, but its also shown it makes terrific cars such as the Civic and Accord, which was named North American Car of the Year back in January.
Now Honda has rolled out the hybrid version of the Accord and it is also just as impressive in its own ways the Accord that runs only on gasoline.
But the 2019 Accord Hybrid’s blend of gasoline and electric motors make the car even more versatile particularly in urban driving where the EV mode and extra low-end torque from the combined powertrain give the Accord an added dimension that is both practical and pleasing to drive in heavy traffic.
Overall, the Accord Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road, which is probably one of the reasons that Honda corporate isn’t buying into the new proposals from Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to roll back the existing fuel economy standards, such as the current target of 54.5 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.
(Honda aligns with GM on fuel economy rules. Click Here for the story.)
With the Accord Hybrid rated at 48 mpg in city and 48 mpg on the highway, Honda is moving closer to the standard and really doesn’t care to see the goal posts moved for the benefit of other carmakers.
Throughout the years, hybrid vehicles have been criticized for being too expensive, too complicated and, for the lack of more precise word, too clunky as they utilize what power the motors might be driving to the wheels. However, I found that the Accord Hybrid with one-speed direct drive was actually very responsive.
I did not have an opportunity to drive it through a hilly countryside but it was perfectly adequate on daily driving in mix of city and city and suburban driving where the speeds can reach 50 miles per hour. It recovered its forward momentum quite nicely in stop-and-go traffic.
Nor did I notice any real degradation in the performance on the freeway where it got up to speed smoothly and efficiently without any evident strain or miscue. I know a common complaint about hybrids is the shifts are slower but the Accord, with its one gear, didn’t seem to have any problems in this area.
The powertrain in the Honda Accord consists of an Atkinson-cycle, port-injected 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine that yields 143 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque to turn a generator, while a 181-hp electric motor provides the majority of the power.
As designed by Honda, the combination of electric and gasoline motors delivers 212 horsepower. Both motors can drive the front wheels independently, which is helpful in the EV mode where the car can travel more than 20 miles using only its lithium-ion batteries, which are tucked away under the rear seat.
The two motors marry up to deliver more punch while passing and at higher speeds.
The overall driving dynamics of the Accord Hybrid are also very good despite the extra weight and equipment in the driveline. The steering is quite efficient and the regenerative brakes provide some extra stopping power, one of the side benefits in any hybrid layout.
Except for some badges, the exterior design of the Honda Accord Hybrid is identical to that of the gasoline version with its handsome profile and easily recognizable front fascia and grille and LED headlamps.
The interior features a digital instrument cluster and the version I drove also had a head up display with a digital readout for speed as well a screen in the center stack for navigation and infotainment. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard and the leather seats are optional. Heated seats are also available.
Like the gasoline version, the Accord Hybrid is equipped Honda Sensing, the company’s portfolio of automated driver assists such spot detection and lane-keeping assistance, which are nicely integrated into the car’s overall driving dynamics.
But the interior is quiet, nicely furnished with contrasting textures and a nicely ergonomic layout for the controls. The ambience of the cabin, which also has very good visibility, is particularly appealing when you’re driving at night.
Honda also has worked to make a vehicle that is loaded with technology affordable. Prices for the Accord Hybrid start at $25,320 plus an $895 delivery charge.
(To see more about Honda finally succeeding with the newest Insight, Click Here.)
Hybrids of all kinds have more or less struggled to win fans and overall seem to have a rather fussy image in the minds of some motorists. But the Honda Accord Hybrid is an example of how the hybrid vehicle has continued to improve as it delivers impressive efficiency wrapped in a bundle of technology.