This is not the first time that Honda will be getting a Hybrid variant of their car model to India. In 2008, the Civic Hybrid was their first attempt at this. It was a tad bit early introducing a Hybrid model in the country. Now is the right time, not only to introduce the Hybrid, but also to reintroduce a legendary model, the Accord badge, back into the country. The Accord really does not need any introduction here. The model has a very strong presence and a long fan-following since its launch, way back in 2001, until it was temporarily discontinued in 2014. Now, making a comeback in its greenest and eco-friendly form, the Accord Hybrid has to rival the other Japanese Hybrid, the Toyota Camry.
Food for thought: The Accord was first introduced in 1976. This is the best-selling model in its segment in many countries, including the United States. The latest Accord is currently in its 9th generation globally. The Accord that we’re getting is the latest generation that was launched in the American markets in June 2016. The Accord has been the face for Honda along with the Civic for long, being one of the well-known car models across the globe. In 2015 itself, Honda has sold 3.55 lakh units of the Accord in the US, which shows how well-accepted the model really is.
On the outside you get very neat and sporty-looking styling that looks typically Japanese and very Honda. The Accord’s face comes with the latest design Honda wing styling, with a thick chrome band running across the width of the face and two slim slats in blue color placed under the main band. The slats are in blue to signify the hybrid technology on this car. Large, swept-back headlights come with DRL in white LED strips and multi-reflector style detailing, all in white and a touch of blue, giving it a very unique and unseen styling.
The front bumper has a beefy design to it and houses strip style white LED fog lamps with chrome accents on the lip spoiler. The bonnet is a long one having sharp character lines on the corners. The side profile gets highlighted with jazzy looking multi-spoke alloys in a black-chrome combo, mounted on 235/45 R18 98W Michelin Pilot Sport-3 tubeless tyres. A strong waistline runs through the chrome door handles and ends on the rear door. Another bodyline runs across the sides on the lower section, just above the running board.
You also get body-colored side skirts mounted on the running board that enhance the visual appeal of the side profile. Large design wing mirrors with neatly integrated LED turn lights and chrome garnish around the door frame add some more glitz to the overall package. The chrome styling continues on the boot section as well. You get a thick chrome band running horizontally just above the license plate and another chrome strip running on the lower section of the beefy rear bumper, just above the slim reflectors.
The boot lid gets a large integrated lid spoiler. Tail lamps get LED glow in them and the designing reminds us a bit of the ones on the BMW sedans. Electric sun/moon roof and shark fin radio antenna on the roof. Overall the exterior styling is very stylish and the car looks huge due to the design lines and chrome inserts. Paint quality is excellent and the fit finish is next to none.
On the inside, the styling is dual tone with beige and black doing the most of it, along with some inserts of wood on the dash, door panels, center console and steering, to enhance the premium feel. The dashboard is made of the soft, rubbery material that is seen on premium German cars. The instrument cluster gets a large, round speedometer with a floating style needle on it and a color LCD screen in the middle that houses the trip meters and also displays the live current flow chart/generation between the battery, engine and tyres, as you drive the car. On the right, you have the battery charge and fuel meter, along with the drive mode indicator.
The steering comes with leather wrapping and wood inserts and gets on it all the multi-control buttons. The 4-spoke steering can be adjusted for height and reach manually. The indicator stalk gets a button on its end that activates Honda LaneWatch camera that’s placed on the left wing mirror corner. This camera displays live video of the left side of the car, hence the driver doesn’t have to be only dependent on the wing mirror, which also nullifies the danger of blind spot. The Honda LaneWatch activates automatically when the left turn indicator is activated and also can be set to always On mode if needed by the driver.
The center dash gets twin color display screens placed one above the other. The upper one is a 7.7-inch color screen that displays all the Multi-Info display or i-MID as Honda calls it, while the lower 7-inch screen is a color display for the infotainment system and also doubles up as the GPS display. You get a impressive 7 speaker audio unit which includes a subwoofer and tweeters that pump out 360 watts of audio. A dual zone climate control neatly sits below this.
The transmission shifter gets the normal drive modes (P R N D) along with a `B` mode. What “B” mode does is increases the regenerative braking feature of the vehicle charging the batteries while the car is coasting. You also have an all electric `EV’ mode (electric vehicle) activate button and a `Sports’ mode activate button. Both front drivers and co-driver’s seats come with full electric adjust for reach, incline etc. The driver’s seat also gets a memory function to it. Push button start is standard and you also have an `Econ’ mode (economy) button that further enhances the mileage on the drive.
Rear seats get a foldable center armrest and 3 adjustable headrests. AC vent for the rear passengers is also on the equipment list here. Seats get beige leather upholstery. Front seating is very generous, offering excellent comfort levels. Rear seats offer good support and the seat incline angle is just perfect for those long journeys. Extra padding enhances the supportiveness on these seats. The front passenger seat has control buttons on its right shoulder side using which, the rear passenger can electrically slide that seat forward/backward or set the incline angle. This feature is best suited when you are seated behind and being chauffeured around, enhancing the legroom.
There are lots of storage places spread across the cabin area along with USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity options available for your devices. The infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity inbuilt along with inclusion of a browser and also a calculator integrated in it. The interior is very well laid out, the fit and finish feels premium and the quality is very good. The Honda Accord’s cabin comes loaded till the brim with gadgets, gizmos and tons of latest electronics, going with the Hybrid theme of the car.
Engine – Transmission – Drive:
The Accord Hybrid gets its power from a highly advanced 2.0-litre Atkinson Cycle i-VTEC 4-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors combined. The battery pack here is a 1.3 kWh Li-Ion unit with DC-DC convertor. All these power units combine and deliver a peak output of 215 BHP and hit out a strong torque of 315 Nm. This is a very advanced and intelligent Hybrid system which has a Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD). What this means is that this system has three different drive modes – EV drive, Hybrid drive and Engine drive, that work intelligently in tandem as per the inputs and need.
In the daily use scenario, the car drives both, on the petrol engine that works as a charger to the batteries, and the electric motor. You can also run the car in plain electric mode (EV) when needed for a short period till the charge remains. The engine automatically comes on once the battery charge falls, to charge it. The batteries also get charged while brakes are applied (brake regeneration). The pure engine drive mode comes On once you cross the 70 kmph speeds, up till the 110 kmph speed, mostly on highways, but even in this mode the batteries are being charged for further use. On the drive at standstill, it is the electric motor that takes over, once on the move there is seamless intelligent transition between the electric motor, engine and often both together, to balance a unique drive experience.
If you want the punch, then the all-engine mode takes over as you hard accelerate, offering maximum throttle response. You need to learn the tact to drive a Hybrid and as soon as you master this (which is quick to learn, seeing the charge/discharge flow pattern on the instrument cluster), you know really how to keep the batteries charged and how to extract maximum mileage from this pure, technological genius of a car. At slow speeds, the car is extremely quiet as its on pure electric mode, and the car can go for close to 2 kms on this mode, best suited to enter your area late at night, without disturbing anyone.
Performance is very good with the two power units at work. Bottom end power delivery is instant and mid range is also good. The transmission is taken care of by a e-CVT transmission unit that is tuned specially for the Hybrid driving style. The suspension setup is tuned well for a CBU (Full Import) car. On flat, good roads the Accord drives extremely well, when we took it over a bit of bad roads too, it behaved extremely well. You need to get used to the relaxed/Hybrid driving style of this car and once you do so, the car won’t fail to win you over. The rear seat comfort is extremely plush and cabin is well-insulated against any undulation and harshness, partly also due to the inclusion of Active Noise Control (ANC) system on it.
Safety features on the Honda Accord include 6 Airbags, Honda LaneWatch, ABS, EBD, Active Cornering Lamp, Active guide reverse camera, Reverse camera with multiple angle view, Hill Assist, Vehicle stability assist(VSA) with Traction control and Rain-sensing vipers to name a few.
Well, should you buy the Honda Accord Hybrid? This car uses one of the latest Hybrid technologies. If you are a environment-loving person, then yes, you should. If you are a typical Indian buyer, then there is one big reason for you too, the Accord Hybrid has an overall claimed mileage of 23.1 kmpl, so that should be reason enough. If you are a technology buff, then this car has features and gizmos loaded to the brim, so that should be your reason. And yes, there is this unique feature where one can start the car just using the key remote from outside so that the climate control in the cabin is perfect when you enter the car. Whatever your reason is, the Honda Accord Hybrid does make a good value buy, if you are looking out for that Premium Sedan that’s already into the future. We expect the Honda Accord Hybrid to be priced between the Rs. 38-40 lakhs price range ex-showroom, considering the fact that this is a full import CBU unit.
Honda Accord Hybrid Photo Gallery: