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Cooley On Cars
On the road: 2017 Honda Accord HybridIn the world of full-size sedans, almost all carmakers do a hybrid now. But they are not all made the same way, especially this Honda. Brian Cooley drives the 2017 Accord Hybrid and checks the tech.
[MUSIC] Well, just about everybody makes everything in a hybrid version these days. Especially in this, in the full size category where the Honda Accord lives. But, Honda has managed to do it differently. Let's find out how and why. As we drive the 17 Accord Hybrid, and check the test. [MUSIC] Honda's Accord hybrid is only based on the sedan model, not on the coupe and they're up against a slew of competition. You'll find hybrids from Fusion, Altima, Camry, Sonata, Optima, Malibu, who am I leaving out? Everyone's doing one. So how do you set yourselves apart? They start by doing some weird stuff under the hood. Your sort of proverbial mystery wrapped in an enigma powered by a battery. We start up with a two liter lean burn Atkinson cycle gas engine, 212 scrawny horsepower. 129 pound feet of torque. Very lean burn stuff, nothing too interesting there. [SOUND] But then, we have two electric motors attached to it. Interesting arrangement and it gets even weirder. They say it's got an eCVT, continuously verbal transmission. In fact, there is no transmission at all, it has a CVT in another sense. What I would call it, continuously virtual transmission, virtual. And then it's created by the interlace solely of the engine. And those two electric motors but you're not gonna find anything here with a gear box. You're not gonna find a CDT with those traditional belts and pulleys. So it's a very unusual power train. By the way, taking out a transmission just about accounts for the weight of adding a battery. Now inside the Accord hybrid, very familiar if you've been in any modern Accord. See our full review on the recent Accord for a more deep dive, but just a quick overview. Two screens, Down here you see that they continue to refine the Honda ma quality that I've always groused about. Getting better except why did they crowd it out with so much menu interface, it's like am peeping through a peep hole to see the thing. That makes me nuts and of course as I've groused about before, the only way to raise the volume is with a touch slider here, or a click, click, click, click, click on the wheel over there makes me nuts. Just give me a nob And the jury is out in general on Honda's dual full-screen situation. I mean, you can easily end up with stupid stuff like that. The same thing, the same size, two screens a few inches apart. The system now supports CarPlay and Android Auto as well, as something new And of course we have lane watch, which I've always loved. It's one of the smartest things Honda does with screens in the car. The 1.3kWh hybrid battery lives under the back seat for the most part, but just enough up so the seat backs don't fold. Bear that in mind before you head to IKEA. Your drive control interface is in four parts, you've got an EV mode button here to force electric mode, A sport button that is new on the 2017 hybrid, to force more electric umph. You've got a very garden variety looking shifter and of course, you've got an economy button over there which most Honda's have. Okay all that stuff we saw under the hood a minute ago comes into an interesting harmony But this is where the hybrid makers' work really does become an art. It's this sort of harmony of motors and modes that makes a hybrid great enough. I got to tell you, Honda is basically great. This car does not have any modes where it falls on its face, where it feels like a slug, or you feel it changing mode. Now, that's it. There are three going on. First of all, there's easy mode. All electric power engine off It works from a stop a low speeds, during light cruising, and when breaking the gas engine's often decoupled. Then you've got engine mode. That's a true hybrid when the engine is running the car and getting a fair amount of oomph from the electric motor when it needs it. Then in the middle you've got one called hybrid mode which is not the same as hybrid. Hybrid mode is when the car is running on electric and using the gas engine only to run the other electric motor as a generator to send more juice to the first electric motor that is dragging the car around as well as charge the battery while it goes. Bluh. Potentially confusing this pretty little symphony of modes is the bewildering combination of Buttons. EV. Sport. Econ. Drive in B selection on the shifter. Pretend they aren't there, just use the right pedal. Bottom line, that will get you to 49 city, 47 highway. Honda Sensing is the company's adaptive drive package that includes forward collision warning and braking, lane keep assist that is active and very well nuanced. Along with road departure mitigation, that kind of works the same way but keeps you from crossing solid lines. And adaptive cruise control. You know what's one of the nicest things about this car? When you're in town, stopping and going, coming to a full stop, restarting, You never feel the braking go from regen to break pads and back. A lot of hybrids get that bulky. This one doesn't. Dead smooth. [MUSIC] Now the Accord hybrid is gonna save you some money on gas but it's not gonna save you some money on initial purchase. This is not a stripper. In fact, Honda even goes so far as to say, hybrid is the pinnacle of the Accord line. You could get a basic Accord for as little as 23 grand, but this guy starts at 30 and then I'm going to add another 63 hundred to get an extensive list of technology features that are all package driven. And do add up to this thing being more CNET style. On the other hand, I get a hybrid, because I wanna see overall cost advantages. So I kinda want to go the other way and go non-CNET style. However you do it, this is a power train that's an oddball, but it works really well on the road. To get the best mileage of any Honda made today, you go here, not into a Civic. More cars driven CNET style, standing by now at CNETonCars.com. Click on the road.