2017 Honda Hybrid Touring Review and Road Test
The most frugal Accord ever.
What is it?
This is the Accord’s foray back into the Hybrid space after taking a year off to regroup. Honda had a tough time meeting demand at its factory in Ohio, so production and final assembly has been moved to Japan. There’s some subtle improvements this time around, namely more power from the Integrated Motor Assist drivetrain. More importantly, Honda has even managed to make it more efficient- the Hybrid will achieve 4.9L/100km in the city, 5.1 on the highway and 5.0 combined. It’ll be a challenge to find a large sedan that will achieve better numbers than that, and even harder to find one that offers the comfort and polish that the Accord has in spades. We’ve never made it a secret how much we like the Accord- the last time we drive one we claimed “it’s the vehicular equivalent of a Golden Retriever- eager to please, loyal and extremely well liked by everyone…it’s better than it has to be.”
What’s it like to drive?
Let’s get this out in the open straight away…in its transition to a hybrid drivetrain, the Accord has traded in some its sporting pedigree we so adore for outright efficiency. For those shopping for hybrids, this won’t be an issue- sporting pretensions are not usually on their wish list anyway. What they will appreciate is the impressive engineering efforts that have gone into making the Accord use each drop of petroleum judiciously. Honda has done away with a conventional transmission- yes, you read that right- using a clever system of clutches, a 2.0 litre gasoline engine and electric motors instead to transfer power to the front wheels. Anyone but hardcore geeks who love complex engineering will have their eyes glaze over in boredom if we even began to explain how everything works, but suffice it to say everything comes together and works quite well in the real world. In a never-ending quest to get the trip computer to show the lowest consumption numbers as possible, we tried to keep the car in EV mode as long as we could, even putting the gear lever to the “B” setting wherever possible which allows for aggressive regeneration when coasting. Speaking of which, the brakes offer decent feel throughout the pedal’s travel and are some of the better stoppers we’ve sampled on hybrid cars. Without the gas engine engaged, the Accord is incredibly hushed. It’s such a refined experience that it bordered on the luxurious. We decided to see how much sportiness was sacrificed at the altar of efficiency, but even moderate cornering speeds were loudly protested by the low rolling resistance tires, so we didn’t push things any further. If your commute features straight roads and 90 degree turns at intersections, this will never become an issue.
Give me the pros.
Although we missed the fuel consumption figures Honda states for the Accord Hybrid, we were able to achieve 5.9L/100km over a week of mostly city driving. That’s among the best fuel economy we’ve achieved over the last year from any car, and that becomes even more impressive when you consider the Accord’s size and weight. Inside our Touring spec tester, all the seats are covered in leather and each passenger spot has a generous amount of head and legroom making it elastic-waist comfortable whether you’re running around town or taking a long trip. There’s a lengthy list of features, but among the most appreciated by folks we shuttled around was the heated rear seats during a recent cold snap.
What about the cons?
There isn’t much to complain about once you get over the fact that the hybrid model isn’t as fun to drive as some of the other Accords we’ve sampled. The huge trunk has been rendered smaller because of the battery pack so you won’t be able to transport as much stuff. And although Honda employs a drivetrain that lacks a transmission, the dance between engine and electric motors can sometimes feel like two left feet attempting to be graceful. It’s mostly very well integrated, but there are times where the gas engine zings to life while you’re just cruising to top up the battery a little. Instead of feeling linear, it imparts the feeling of an overzealous CVT. Happily, this doesn’t happen very often but is somewhat off-putting when it does. Lastly, the slider that works by touch in the infotainment system is, to put it charitably, dreadful. We’ve complained ad nauseum about this before in other Honda products and it’s no easier to use here. The engineers working on the soon-to-be-released CR-V have relented and given us back a volume knob. Note to Honda: make this change throughout the lineup as soon as possible.
Like we said earlier, if you’ve always thought of the Accord as a front-wheel drive Japanese BMW of sorts, you might be a little disappointed with the Honda Accord Hybrid. If your priorities lie in driving an efficient full size sedan that will carry you and your passengers to their destination in comfort while realizing some impressive fuel economy figures, you need to give the Accord a closer look-there’s not much out there that can deliver a similar experience.
2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring- Specifications
- Price as tested: $39,169
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger Sedan
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/front-wheel drive
- Engine: 2.0 litre inline-four, DOHC, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 143 @ 6,200 rpm
- Torque (lbs.-ft.): 129 @ 4,000 rpm
- Electric Motor Horsepower: 181 @5,000-6,000
- Electric Motor Torque: 232 lbs/ft. @ 0-2,000 rpm
- Combined System Horsepower: 212 @6,200
- Curb weight: 1,613 kg (3,556 lbs.)
- Observed Fuel consumption: 5.9L/100km (40 mpg)