2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Long-Term Update: Comfort
The hybridization of the family car is continuing apace as manufacturers look to wring the highest possible fuel economy out of their vehicles as a way to meet increasingly stringent federal fuel economy standards. While many of the most popular hybrids are smaller compact hatchbacks, there are plenty of sedans like our 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid to choose from. A recent trip to Palm Springs over the Thanksgiving holiday underscored how practical and comfortable this technology is when applied to a class leader like the Honda.
Unlike some plug-in hybrids or full EVs that require huge battery packs, which in turn, affects trunk space and interior comfort, the Honda’s array fits neatly out of sight beneath the rear seat. The trunk has plenty of room—easily accommodating a full set of golf clubs along with several overnight bags and other assorted packages. Inside the cabin, there’s plenty of room for full-size adults front and rear. Like the standard Honda Accord, which is Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy in the Midsize Car class, the Hybrid also has a comfortable ride and impeccable road manners.
The Hybrid difference
Where the Accord Hybrid comes across differently is primarily in both low-speed operation and highway cruising. While the dynamics are similar to the conventionally powered Accord, in low-speed EV operation, the Hybrid is quiet, smooth and quick off the line, thanks to the abundant torque available from a stop. The steering is light, making the car easy to maneuver, and because of the seamless blending of EV and traditional gas power, transitions from the engine’s stop/start system don’t seem to be as intrusive as we’ve experienced on other cars employing this technology. So the Hybrid is the perfect in-town commuter and errand runner.
On our cruise over to Palm Springs, another side of the Hybrid’s personality came through, though it was not as pleasantly surprising as the car’s in-town behavior. Because of the continuously variable transmission, the engine drones when pushed hard. The noise sounds far off, thanks to the good cabin isolation, but it’s there nonetheless. And the Hybrid seems to labor a bit in mid-range passing, lacking some of the snap that we appreciate from its off-the-line quickness.
But the payoff comes in excellent fuel economy. We averaged over 42 mpg on our 180-mile round trip to the desert, which is an impressive number when you consider the size and comfort of the Accord package. While gas isn’t exactly $4 per gallon, there is definitely something to be said for a car that can go 500 to 600 miles between refills, saving both gas and time.
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