|Positives: Surprisingly strong power delivery, styling doesn't scream hybrid, good steering and comfortable seats.|
|Negatives: Finicky infotainment controls, lower-rent interior materials and excessive engine noise.|
|Bottom Line: Honda has made an Accord Hybrid that's enjoyable to drive. The car doesn't suffer from the lackluster acceleration that many hybrid models are known for. It shoots off the line quickly and has enough power to pass on the highway without issue. It's not perfect, though, and has too much piano black plastic and other poor-quality interior materials as well as a lot of engine noise when compared to other cars.|
Where the Prius screams and shouts “I’m a hybrid!” every chance it gets, the Accord Hybrid is happy to just be a car that happens to have both gas and electric power beneath its skin. It’s more subtle, and because of this will likely attract a different kind of hybrid buyer than the Toyota Prius does. We got to spend a week with Honda’s hybrid Accord and returned the car with more than a couple notable takeaways. Here’s what we found.
Having driven many different hybrid cars this year, we weren’t expecting much in terms of acceleration and handling. Some of the previous hybrid cars we drove handled fine but almost all of them were less than impressive when it comes to increasing speed. The Accord Hybrid, however, surprised us. It feels eager to go faster. This is true whether you’re tooling around town or cruising down the highway. The car handles at least as well as competing hybrid models do, too. It’s actually a pleasure to drive, which is more than we can say for some hybrid cars.
Ride Quality: Comfort seems to be the main concern for the Accord, though it’s not like riding on clouds. The car soaks up the bumps but has enough stiffness to not feel like your grandma’s Buick.
Acceleration: Strong, surprisingly. The Accord Hybrid feels a lot peppier than other hybrid cars we’ve driven. The engine is a little noisier than expected.
Braking: You do have to push a little ways down on the brakes before they really grab, but once they do, they’re strong and progressive.
Steering: Good, though not great. There’s little road feel although it is well weighted and reasonably responsive.
Handling: The Accord Hybrid has a little body roll but it doesn’t lean too badly. The car inspires some confidence in the corners.
Honda packs a lot of technology into their cars with its suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver assistance technology as well as the infotainment system and all of its features. Unfortunately, the controls for these systems aren’t great. They take some getting used to and the infotainment ones still aren’t very good once you’re acclimated. The driver assistance controls are a lot easier, but still take some getting used to.
Infotainment System:The operating system is fast and smooth. The split screen display doesn’t work as well as we hoped it would, and we wish Honda would go with one large touchscreen instead.
Controls: There are no buttons for the infotainment controls on the dash. It’s all touch-based, which was annoying and frustrating. This led us to use the buttons on the steering wheel more than we usually would.
Bluetooth Pairing: Connecting a phone proved to be extremely easy and reconnecting upon re-entry automatic.
Voice Call Quality: Calls were clear and crisp on both ends with no connectivity issues.
When you first look at the Honda Accord Hybrid, you might not notice the pretty blue badges and think the car is just another run of the mill Accord. That’s a good thing if you don’t like the polarizing styling of many hybrid cars. If you want to be economical but don’t want to fly your environmentalist flag high, the Accord Hybrid is for you. It features the same simple and subtle styling of other Accords while delivering hybrid car performance.
Front: The front of the car is dominated by a chrome grille that stretches all the way between the pair of attractive LED headlights. This paired with the low LED running lights makes for a good-looking but not very aggressive front end.
Rear: The rear features a similar motif to the front of the car with a chrome bar stretching between the LED taillights and mimicking the subtle curve of the rear bumper.
Profile: From the side, you can see the how the few character lines make their way down the car and interact with both fenders.
Cabin: The cabin is well-laid out and attractive upon first glance, but look a little closer and you can see the cheapness of the materials. We get annoyed with a lot of piano black plastic and the Accord has plenty of the fingerprint magnet material. Some textured plastics or aluminum would work better in this cabin.
While the cabin isn’t exactly a work of art, it is comfortable. There’s tons of space to stretch your legs and everything is within reach. Although the materials in the cabin aren’t of the highest quality, Honda did a good job of keeping the cheap-feeling stuff to areas of the cabin that you don’t always touch. The steering wheel, seats, floor, gear shifter and interior door panel are pretty nice. It’s the stuff you don’t touch all the time that’s clad in cheap looking plastic.
Front Seats: Well-padded with plenty of adjustment to get comfortable. While the seats were nice, they could use a little more bolstering as they felt too flat.
Rear Seats: The rear seats feature plenty of leg room, and supportive cushioning but once again are pretty flat and don’t cup passengers very well.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Aside from the excessive rumbling of the gasoline engine beneath the hood, the Accord Hybrid feels stable, sturdy and pretty quiet. There is some tire noise on the highway, but not much.
Visibility: Seeing out of the Accord Hybrid is easy. Visibility is good all-around, and what you can’t see, the sensors and cameras pick up.
Climate: The controls for temperature heat or cool the cabin quickly. The model we tested came with heated seats, which was an added bonus for brisk mornings.
The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid has not been tested by the IIHS but the NHTSA awarded the car five stars overall in its crash test ratings. The IIHS will likely award the Accord Hybrid high marks as the 2016 Accord Sedan received a Top Safety Pick+ rating and the 2017 model has not changed very much.
IIHS Rating: Not yet rated by the IIHS.
Standard Tech: Monroney not provided, but our car had the Honda Sensing Technology package on it.
Optional Tech: Monroney not provided.
The Accord Hybrid, being a family car, came equipped with a reasonable amount of storage and cargo space. The car featured several cup holders, a couple small storage bins in the center stack and a space beneath the arm rest.
Storage Space: The car featured several cup holders, a couple small storage bins in the center stack and a space beneath the arm rest. It also featured generous door pockets and a sizable glove box.
Cargo Room: Trunk space is respectable. The Accord Hybrid has 13.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is less than the regular Accord and significantly less than other hatchback hybrids on the road, like the Prius.
The Accord doesn’t quite make 50 mpg according to the EPA, a feat that other hybrid cars have been able to achieve. Despite this, you won’t be using much gas in this car. The EPA estimates 49 mpg city and 47 mpg highway. We didn’t quite make the EPA estimated numbers.
Observed: We saw an average of 46 mpg during the time that we drove the car.
Driving Factors: We spent some time testing the acceleration of the car, which relied on the gasoline engine more so than the electric one. If you drove the vehicle carefully, we have no doubt that you’d be able to reach the EPA estimates.
The 360-watt premium audio system with 7 speakers including a subwoofer make for a great audio system. While it might not satisfy a stereo-system-obsessed buyer, it should be more than enough for most people. The issue we had with the audio system was the controls. The touch-based infotainment controls make getting to your music, talk show, podcast, or whatever you’re listening to a little difficult and increasing or decreasing the volume isn’t exactly easy either. This car needs a volume knob at the very least.