Honda Accord Hybrid Review – For the commuting James Bond
Being Hybrid is one factor to it, being the new generation model has a lot to get acquainted with. Not often do we see a 25-odd page briefing material for a car that hasn’t come from Germany, when we realised that that 28-page text document listing the features was printed on both sides, we were thrown!
‘Exciting’ was our feeling to read through all the content which explained the plethora of features the new Honda Accord Hybrid is packed with; ‘Puzzled’ was the media crowd, at least those who didn’t come from engineering background, upon reading the technical information generously revealed by Honda in the paragraphs of every feature offered on the car. And then we knew ‘Oh buoy, we would barely have the time to check out the bells and whistles during the short test drive schedule much less experience the different driving modes.’
Saving the features-list for later down the page; the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is based on the ninth generation model that was launched globally in 2012. The particular generation of Accord has sold over 1.9 million units worldwide. In India, the nameplate was introduced in 2001 and discontinued in 2013, by when around 27,000 units were delivered. Now, the Japanese brand is testing the prototype of the tenth generation Accord.
Launched last week at a price of INR 37 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) and at INR 40 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the new Accord Hybrid is available in only one variant that is imported as CBU from Thailand. It was unveiled in India at the 2016 Auto Expo in Greater Noida in February this year. The model is now available for purchase across the country, with four colour options – Crystal Black Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and White Orchid Pearl.
The 2016 Honda Accord Hybrid is noted for its latest in onboard technology, a new design language and a host of driver/passenger conveniences.
For a Japanese car the new generation Accord does look a lot American except for the super-stylish 18-inch alloy wheels that we never got tired of clicking. The all-LED headlamps, fog lamps and taillights capture what’s left of the attention to grab after the striking chrome accents at both the ends. Overall, the sizeable sedan maintains a slender longitudinal profile that warrants an executive appeal.
The interior is easily recognisable as a Honda, and is simply rich! Buttons here, buttons there, display here, controls there; the steering alone has a lot! There are three displays on the centre console – one for general information and LaneWatch, one for multimedia player and the third for AC status; and there is a fourth in the car, the instrument console. The colour theme is also elaborate since it includes almost every possible kind of trims offered in a car including leather, chrome, faux wood and piano black. One thing is for sure, the cabin will make the owner feel that the car is worth every penny. If he/she is still not convinced, they can try counting the features!
Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior features
Chrome treatment on front grille, rear number plate and bumper regions.
Chrome Beltline and Window line Garnish
Chrome door handles
Hybrid Signature Blue appliqué on front grill, in Headlamp and Taillamp clusters
Automatic full LED Headlamp with Auto Levelling feature
LED Fog Lights
LED Day Time Running Lights
Taillights with LED Light Bars
18-inch multi-spoke Aluminium alloy wheels
Side Turn Indicator on Body Coloured Outside Rear View Mirrors
LaneWatch Camera integrated into left-side outside mirror console
Boot lip spoiler
Body-colored Side Sills
Shark Fin Antenna
Hybrid badging on trunk lid
One Touch Electric Sunroof with Tilt function
Honda Accord Hybrid Interior features
Ivory Leather seats and cabin upholstery
Chrome coated inside door handles
Wooden trims on dashboard & door panels
Piano Black accents on centre console
Leather, Piano Black & Wood-finished steering Wheel with 4-spokes
Leather wrapped gear knob
Driver & passenger side seat back pockets
8-Way Power Adjustment for driver’s seat with power-controlled Lumbar Support
Two Memory functions for driver seat
4-Way Power Adjustmentable co-driver seat with rear passenger accessibility
Adjustable Front Seat-Belt Anchors
Honda Accord Hybrid Infotainment system
7.7-inch (19.6 cm) colour TFT i-MID (intelligent Multi-Information Display)
7-inch (17.8 cm) High-Resolution WVGA (800×480) Capacitative Touch-Screen display for multimedia
Bluetooth Audio Handsfree Telephone facilities
DVD/CD, AM/FM, WMA/MP3/AAC Playback
Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System
In-built Wifi Receiver for Internet Browsing
2-USB Audio Interface with a 1.5 A Charging Port at the front and a 1.0 A Charging Port at the center console
HDMI Port on the centre console
Surround Sound System with Speakers, Tweeters & a Subwoofer
Customisable Settings for Display, Sound, Clock, Language and Touch Sensitivity
Honda Accord Hybrid Instrument cluster
Advanced Combimeter with Multi-information Display Screen
Multi-Info Display showing the readings of Odometer, Dual Tripmeter, Outside Temperature, Average Fuel Consumption, Instantaneous Fuel Consumption, Distance to Empty, and Elapsed time
Realtime Power and Battery Charge indication
Battery level and fuel level meters
Energy Flow Display on MID screen
Eco Assist System
Indication for ECON / Sport / EV Modes
Honda Accord Hybrid Convenience features
Smart Entry System
Push Button Engine Start
Remote Control Engine Start
Steering mounted controls for Audio, Hands Free Telephone, Voice Command, i-MID information display, Multi-information Control Switch and Cruise Control
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
i-Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control System with automatic adjustment of temperature and blower based on direction and intensity of sunlight entry
Plasma Cluster for cabin air freshness
Rear AC Vents
All power windows with Auto Up/Down & Anti-Pinch features
Power Door Lock Switch
Power Adjustable and Retractable Outside Mirrors with Auto Fold function
Auto Tilting outside rear view mirrors during Reverse
Tilt and Telescopic Adjustable Steering
One Touch Turn Indicators for lane changing
Remote Trunk Release
Remote Control Operation for Power Windows, Outside mirror & Sunroof
Customizable Vehicle Settings – Door Lock, Outside Mirror Auto fold, Headlamps, Meter, Keyless Access, and Interior Lighting
12-Volt Power Outlets on Front and Centre Console
Center Console with Armrest and Storage Compartment
Rear Centre Seat Armrest with Cup Holders
Lockable and illuminated glove compartments
Sunvisors with Illuminated Vanity Mirror and Ticket Holder on Driver Sunvisor
Interior Illumination Package – Foot Lights, Door Courtesy Lamps, Front Map Lamp and Rear Reading Lamps
Cargo Area Light
Front Cigar Lighter
Front and Rear Ashtrays
Tire Repair Kit
Honda Accord Hybrid Safety features
Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) Chassis Structure
Front Dual i-SRS Airbags
Side Curtain Airbags
Front Seat Belt with pre-tensioner & Load Limiter
3-Point Seat Belts for all occupants
Front Driver & Passenger Seat-Belt Reminder
ISOFIX and Anchor for Child Seats
ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA)
Vehicle Stability Assist (with Off Switch)
Hill Start Assist
Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS)
Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Dynamic Guidelines
Active Cornering Lamps
Hydrophilic Outside Mirror
Rear Window Defogger
Front & Rear Parking Sensors
Auto Dimming Day Night Inside Mirror
Programmable Auto Door Lock/Unlock
Immobiliser & Security Alarm System
Honda Accord Hybrid Engine, Transmission & Mileage
The Honda Accord Hybrid powertrain comprises of a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle i-VTEC petrol engine with an inline four-cylinder configuration, and two electric motors – one for propulsion and another for generation. The driving motor is powered by an Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) located behind the rear seat, that has a DC-DC converter and a 1.3 kWh Li-Ion battery pack.
The combustion engine offers 143 bhp of maximum power at 6,200 rpm and 175 Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The combined power output of the Honda Accord Hybrid’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system is 213 bhp.
A Power Control Unit (PCU) acting as the brain of the i-MMD determines and dictates the power management strategy of the entire hybrid system. It is a complex system in its switching between the two motors and the petrol engine, yet brilliantly simple in terms of its purpose and goal.
The PCU has the capacity to boost up the electric voltage to 700 V when there is a pressing demand, which can spike the power output of the propulsion motor to 184 PS and peak torque to 315 Nm. The ARAI-certified mileage of Honda Accord Hybrid is 23.1 kmpl.
How Power is delivered to the Wheels
The power is sent to the wheels via an Electric Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT) system, which is not to be confused with the mechanical CVT that is widely known and used in Honda City automatic. The E-CVT is a software system that in conjunction with the IPU governs the electric motors and the fuel-engine to deliver predictable acceleration. It also takes care of the seamless switching between the drive modes namely – EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive.
The powertrain of the Accord Hybrid has a unique schematic which is the key contributing factor to the high fuel economy. The engine is connected to the generator motor which is coupled to the drive motor via a clutch coupling. In EV mode, the engine is shutdown and the generator is not in use; just the battery powers the drive motor directly. In Hybrid mode, the engine runs the generator motor and the same is decoupled from the drive motor; hence the drive motor alone runs the wheels with the power from the battery pack which is charged continuously by the generator motor and the engine.
In Engine Drive mode the battery does not power the drive motor. The engine runs the generator motor and the clutch coupling is engaged so that it transmits the rotation through the drive motor to the wheels. So in this case both the motors act as shafts passing the engine rotation to the wheels. All these three modes are continuously switched between one another to achieve best mileage during any trip. The pure EV range of the Accord Hybrid is hardly 2 km, but because this is not a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) this parameter is not a concern.
While the above are the physical drive modes, there is a Sport mode for the driver to turn ON using a button when outright performance is required anytime. The driver can also instruct the car to run on pure EV mode by the push of a button, at which time the car will run as silent as its parked to passersby. When the battery starts to reach its discharge limit the engine will be automatically started by the generator motor and the car will run in hybrid mode.
From our brief experience with the car, we learnt that the shift between the modes is unbelievably seamless without any lag or jerk. The centre console has a colourful illustration that shows which mode the car is currently running in. Upon acceleration, cruising and deceleration the driver will be able to notice the switching between the EV, hybrid and engine drive modes from this visual. Upon gradual or sudden stop, the graphic also shows the propulsion motor changing its function to brake energy regeneration thereby charging the battery from a second source.
Going hand in hand with the smooth flow of power from various sources, is the commendable suspension that seems to influence sharp handling characteristics and luxurious damping of road-irregularities. The electric steering that is very well weighted even at low speeds offers a sense of precise control and inspires sporty driving.
Another role that the electric propulsion motor plays in the 2016 Honda Accord Hybrid is braking. When the brake is slightly pressed the actual brakes are not engaged, but the drive motor acts as a generator which induces deceleration. Upon harder pressing of the brake pedal the real brakes kick in to supplement the stopping force. This process is also very smooth without the driver having to compromise on the bite of the brakes.
On such functions in the Honda Accord Hybrid we couldn’t find any downside or sacrifice to be made.
Simply put, its a sophisticated driver’s as well as passengers’ car all in one; something that might suit James Bond if he ever commutes.
Fuel Economy of 23.1 kmpl
Two screens on the centre console
Plenty of features
The Active Noise Cancellation feature didn’t seem to be working at all, but the sound-proofing of the cabin is impressive.
The boot space is eaten up by the battery pack by 57 litres, so one would certainly be surprised to look in the trunk the first time. Also, the rear seat doesn’t fold for extended storage space. But compared to the previous generation Accord Hybrid, the boot volume of 382 litres is a bit higher courtesy of a more compact lithium-ion battery set.
Don’t tell your neighbours you bought the Honda Accord for 40+ lakhs, they may judge without realising the countless features.
Honda Accord Hybrid – Photos
Honda Accord Hybrid Launch Presentation