2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
The Honda Accord is simply a really, really good car. (Yes, that’s not precisely a technical automotive description nor is it a highly sophisticated assessment, but when you get right down to it, normal people are in the market for midsize sedans like the Accord, and they are likely to be interested in the comparative levels of goodness of a car more than knowing about the 0 to 60 time or the way that it feels when carving through a curve.) We’ve already talked about it with another powertrain.
The Honda Accord is simply a really, really good car. (Yes, that’s not precisely a technical automotive description nor is it a highly sophisticated assessment, but when you get right down to it, normal people are in the market for midsize sedans like the Accord, and they are likely to be interested in the comparative levels of goodness of a car more than knowing about the 0 to 60 time or the way that it feels when carving through a curve.)
We’ve already talked about it with another powertrain. So pretty much what is said there stands here.
But this is the Accord Hybrid.
And while I could go on and on about the clever powertrain that Honda engineers have devised (e.g., there is a four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle two-liter engine that works with two AC synchronous permanent magnet motors and through an electronic continuously variable transmission), but it seems to me that hybrid technology becomes successful when it is transparent to the customer.
I would argue that most people—again, those who are looking for a midsize sedan because they have kids or the like something large without having to clamber into a truck—probably don’t know what they have under the hoods of their cars, and if they do know whether they have a four- or six-cylinder engine, they don’t have the foggiest notion of the horsepower. Sure, there are exceptions. And there are people who buy Hemis. But for the average customer and the average car. . .
So what someone needs to know about the Accord Hybrid is that (1) it has the sort of power that you’d expect from a midsize sedan (one of the things that the Honda people have done is provide a bit of oomph in the form of sportiness when you get on the accelerator, but I think that it largely mitigated by the performance at really slow speeds, which feels sort of lagging) and (2) you get really, really good fuel efficiency from the car (as in getting about 50 mpg without really trying—though that’s not the official number).
Now because this powertrain is more expensive than that found in other Accords, and because some people think that you can’t possibly want to spend extra money on a hybrid because gas is so cheap, there are some differences between this car and its brethren, like a special aluminum hood that you won’t recognize as an aluminum hood unless you carry a magnet with you and apply it to exterior body panels, and unique alloy wheels and blue highlighted LED headlights, both of which are discernable.
Also standard in the Acord Hybrid is the “Honda Sensing” suite, which includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), all of which are good for safety and comfort.
Here’s what I think is the big difference between, say, an Accord EX-L (the high-end version with an I4, which I choose because it gets better fuel efficiency than the two higher grades with a V6) and the Hybrid is the trunk space for the Accord Hybrid is more than two cubic feet smaller—13.5 cu. ft. vs. 15.8 cu. ft. You’ve got to put those extra batteries somewhere.
So here’s the thing: you weigh your cargo needs versus your fueling frequency preferences. (Or maybe you are actually considering the overall environment and have concluded that burning less gas is simply a good thing to do, yet you want (a) a sizable vehicle and (b) a boatload of amenities, so. . . .)
Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC, four cylinder
Material: Aluminum block and head
Horsepower: 143 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque: 129 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor
Total system horsepower: 212 @ 6,200 rpm
Transmission: electronic continuously variable
Steering: Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Wheelbase: 109.3 in.
Length: 194.1 in.
Width 72.8 in.
Height: 57.5 in.
Passenger volume: 100.8-cu. ft.
Curb weight: 3,536 lb.
EPA: 49/47/48 mpg (city/highway/combined)
The thing about the Wrangler Willys Wheeler: It is a toy for a grown-up boy.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
Lithium-ion batteries have become the technology of choice for EVs, and falling costs and rising energy levels could keep them on top for nearly two decades.