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2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Overview
Honda is an industry leader in hybrid technology. Back in 1999, when gas was still cheap and cars were getting bigger and bigger, Honda introduced the bold and quirky little Insight hybrid. While Toyota has become the manufacturer most associated with hybrids, thanks to the Prius, Honda hasn’t let up either, with ever more electrically assisted powertrains coming into its lineup. The company has a goal of electrifying two-thirds of its model range by 2030, but for now cars like the Accord Hybrid and Civic Hybrid are leading Honda's eco-friendly charge.
The Accord Hybrid has been around for a little over a decade, but it has only recently become a popular model. With the 2017 model, Honda has also made an ambitious goal of doubling sales numbers from only a couple of years ago. Aside from the numerous “Hybrid” badges adorning the car’s bodywork, the Accord Hybrid can be visually distinguished by its blue-tinted LED headlamps and unique alloy wheels. The 2017 model also has numerous changes under the hood to make it both more powerful and more efficient. Production of the car has moved from Honda’s Ohio plant to Japan, where there is more hybrid expertise and manufacturing capacity. It is unclear whether that will have an effect on pricing, but expect the base 2017 Accord Hybrid to start well over $30,000 when it hits dealers later in the spring.
Under the hood of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle motor paired to two AC electric motors, one of which serves as a generator while the other is used for sending power to the front wheels. Both, however, can be used for propulsion under certain circumstances. As for what an “Atkinson” motor is, it’s basically an internal combustion engine in which the intake valve opens longer than in a normal engine, with the effect of increasing efficiency at the expense of outright power. Many modern hybrids use this type of internal combustion engine.
Peak horsepower in the Accord Hybrid is 212, a significant bump over the 2016 model’s 196. Honda claims the car is more efficient as well: its supposed 49 mpg city/49 highway/48 combined is actually a lower figure than last year, but Honda says this is due only to the more stringent testing procedures that the EPA has adopted for 2017. It’s also over 10 mpg more than you’ll get in a normal 4-cylinder Accord. Like many hybrids, the Accord Hybrid can also run on fully electric power for light driving around town, but will revert back to gasoline power under heavy loads or during hard acceleration.
Unfortunately, the benefit of added power and efficiency brings with it a larger lithium-ion battery pack, which means trunk space is reduced to 13.5 cubic feet. It also means trunk capacity can’t be expanded into the rear passenger area anymore.
All 2017 Accord Hybrids come with the “Honda Sensing” suite of safety technology, while the mid-level EX-L and range-topping Touring trims get leather seating and an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda’s Display Audio system is also available. As with the previous Accord Hybrid, the 2017 model features a 7-inch touchscreen display that takes a lot of the knobs and buttons out of the equation.
The “Honda Sensing” technology suite that comes on the 2017 Accord Hybrid includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, brake mitigation and lane-keep assist. The 2017 model hasn’t been officially crash tested, but the Accord has long been one of the safest cars in its class, and the 2016 model got a 5-out-of-5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as top Good ratings across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Changes to the Honda Accord Hybrid for 2017 aren’t all that drastic, but they represent a notable improvement to a model that is becoming increasingly important as hybrid powertrain technology gets better and better. It’s not a game-changer, but the Accord has never been a game-changer. It’s a competent all-rounder that gives you everything you need, even if it isn’t all that flashy or interesting. The appeal of the Accord Hybrid is that it’s a normal, familiar-looking, roomy sedan that also happens to have the added benefit of hybrid efficiency, and Honda hopes that more people will see that appeal in 2017.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a 1969 Lynx Formula Vee. After receiving two degrees in history, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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