On the road
No matter how you slice it, the Hybrid’s powertrain is slick. The car sets off decisively, gliding on abundant electric-motor torque. Transitions between electric-only and gas-assisted power are barely perceptible. And unlike other hybrids, the brake pedal feels natural and linear despite its regenerative-braking duties. No learning curve needed. On my 160-mile commute, the trip computer registered 38 mpg overall, which puts it right in line with the hybrid versions of the Camry or Fusion.
In typical driving, it’s quite easy to loaf around town on electric power alone, so long as you keep your speed below 35 mph or so. There is also an EV button that lets you lock in electric-only mode; the car’s brains overrule that if you dare to be in a hurry or when the battery charge level is not full enough.
The cabin is quieter than in a normal Accord four-cylinder. The difference is partly because the gas engine runs less often and doesn’t need to rev as high. Ride comfort is about on par with the regular Accord, meaning that it’s compliant enough but not entirely settled with choppy ride motions unbefitting for a $30,000 car. Handling is responsive, but steering feel is not terrific.
Maybe the biggest drawback to the Accord Hybrid is that the battery pack robs about a third of the trunk space, and since it sits right behind the rear seats, those seats can’t fold down to increase cargo room. There isn’t even a modest pass-through. While the Camry Hybrid has a good-sized opening to the rear cabin, the Fusion Hybrid wins here with fold-down seat and regular pass-though provision.
As with other Accords, the roomy cabin is nicely furnished. However, the double-screen infotainment system shared with most other Accords is a bit frustrating, since even basic radio functions require multiple steps. On this car, the fussy on-board computer bombards you with multiple fuel economy figures, including those from the last drive, the best ever, and whatnot.
Consumer Reports' take: Overall, marrying its slick hybrid technology to the already capable Accord and at a reasonable price is good news. It would be great if Honda were to use this system for its other so-called hybrid vehicles.
We’ll be buying our own Accord Hybrid soon, at which point we’ll be able to give more precise information on how it stands up to the competition from Ford, Toyota, and others.