2017 Accord Hybrid

The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid has been officially unveiled, and makes its return to the United States after a one-year hiatus. Unlike the outgoing model (2015 MY), production of the hybrid vehicle now takes place at Honda’s Sayama plant near Tokyo, after the the company stopped making Accord Hybrids in Marysville, Ohio, last year.

Boasting a more powerful and fuel efficient hybrid powertrain, the new Accord Hybrid has some pretty big numbers attached to it. The focal point here is of course its fuel economy ratings. Under the more stringent ratings requirements put in place by the US EPA, the Accord Hybrid manages 20.8/20/20.4 km/litre (city/highway/combined), a best-in-class result, according to Honda.

Based on the new EPA requirements, Honda estimates the 2015 Accord Hybrid ratings would be 20.4/19.1/20 km/litre, indicating a 0.4/0.9/0.4 km/litre increase for the 2017 model over the previous version. So what has Honda done to achieve these increments?

2017 Accord Hybrid

Under the hood, the 2.0 litre four-cylinder i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle petrol engine has been revised. The re-engineering of the powertrain, which doesn’t use a conventional transmission, also includes new electric motors for its two-motor i-MMD hybrid system. Put together, Accord Hybrid’s powertrain has a peak output of 212 hp. Three operating modes are available here.

In “Hybrid Drive” mode, the petrol engine powers a second motor/generator to recharge the more compact lithium ion battery pack, while an electric propulsion motor actually drives the wheels. “Engine Drive” mode brings the combustion engine into play, using a lock-up clutch mechanism to connect the engine and propulsion motor, the front wheels are driven by both the motor and petrol engine. Finally, “EV Drive” mode allows for all-electric driving for very short distances (engine switched off).

So, how do you tell an Accord Hybrid apart from a non-hybrid one? You’ll have to look at the details. The new model adopts the same design found on the facelifted Accord. However, unique wheels and blue accents on the LED headlamps and tail lamps are clear indicators, along with Hybrid exterior badging. Less obvious indicators, which you can’t tell just by looking is the aluminium hood.

It’s much the same case on the inside. The Accord Hybrid gains the same trim and equipment upgrades including a 7.7-inch MID, 7-inch touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink for smartphones and WiFi hotspot. The only new addition here is the “EV Mode” button on the right side of the centre console. On the US-market Accord Hybrid, there is a standard handbrake, while the Japan-market sees the use of a electronic parking brake instead.

In the US, the 2017 Accord Hybrid will be available in three variants (no pricing yet) – Hybrid, Hybrid EX-L and Hybrid Touring. All will come as standard with a wide angle reverse camera, remote engine start and Honda Sensing. The latter is a safety suite of systems that includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW).