by: Mike Ginsca,
The Honda Accord is all new for the 2018 model year. It’s being offered with a 1.5L turbo and a 2.0L turbo engine which you can read about right here. This one however is the third choice, a hybrid.
Engine – The gasoline engine that does most of the work is a naturally aspirated 2.0L that produces 143hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. Mated to it is an electric motor which bumps the total system output to 212hp. In terms of outright performance, it feels like it’s lacking especially compared to the powerful 2.0L turbocharged sibling. It’s a little odd that it feels this way because normally electric motors are punchy and provide all of their torque instantaneously but this powertrain just doesn’t feel that way.
However in terms of efficiency, it is one of the best on the market for a sedan of this size. It is rated for 5.0L/100km in a city and 5.1L/100km on a highway and while I did not meet those claimed targets, I still managed 5.9L/100km with my heavy foot. Unlike the Honda Clarity, it is not a plug-in hybrid so you cannot go on multiple short trips without using the gasoline engine. The mild-hybrid system in this Accord is more like the one found in the Acura RLX where the engine and regenerative braking recharge the batteries.
Transmission – The new trend among hybrid vehicles seems to be to do away with the transmission altogether. This Honda Accord Hybrid uses a direct drive gearing system much like the Chevrolet Bolt to provide power to the wheels or to recharge the batteries.
Braking – As mentioned before, the Accord Hybrid uses regenerative braking to replenish some of the battery’s power. The paddles behind the steering wheel are used to change the amount of regenerative braking force that the system can provide. You can’t do one pedal driving like in the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt but the system can provide a fair amount of regen braking to slow down the car.
Handling – This Touring trim of the Honda Accord comes with adaptive suspension which firms up when it’s in Sport mode. It does affect the ride comfort of the car but the reward is a stable and planted feeling driving experience. It’s not a super sports sedan by any means but for a daily driver type of vehicle, it can bring out the inner 9 year old in all of us. Like many other vehicles on the market, the Honda Accord uses electro-assisted power steering which is precise but doesn’t have a lot of feedback to the driver. In a way it’s good because this car is not meant to be a sports car and it won’t make you tired by having a heavy steering feel.
Ride Comfort – So long as the adaptive suspension is in the normal mode and not in Sport mode, the Honda Accord is a comfortable day-to-day sedan. In Sport mode the suspension is a bit on the harsh side especially over uneven and cracked city roads. The seats of the Accord are superb. They provide good support with a lot of adjustability but they could use with just a bit more padding. Trunk space is also very good as the batteries don’t take up space like how they do in the Acura RLX.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – As hybrids go, this one is much the same. Silent when the gasoline engine is not running. But even when the gas engine does turn on, it has to rev well beyond 4,000 rpms before it becomes intrusive into the cabin. On a highway there is a bit more wind and road noise intruding into the cabin but for a mainstream vehicle, the noise is very acceptable.
Interior Design – The Honda Accord’s interior design is on the conservative side as it has physical buttons for the climate control, buttons all over the steering wheel, and a touchscreen for controlling the infotainment system and some aspects of the car. The materials used on the Accord feel top notch. Leather and soft touch materials are used throughout the cabin of the car and it gives it the feel of a more luxurious and expensive product.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – Like many other modern Honda vehicles, the Accord is packed with the same safety and convenience technology. Things like the lane keeping assist, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and emergency automatic braking are available on one trim or another on the Accord. However for some reason, Honda has not made a 360 vision camera system for the Accord. The Infotainment system received a huge update and is much better to use and also look at than the previous generation. And yes, there is a volume knob for the audio.
Exterior Design – The Honda Accord has shed its traditional sedan styling in favor of a more fastback shape. The rear window and roofline flow into the trunk for that fastback design. The rear tail lights have the new “crab claw” design that many other Honda vehicles are starting to adopt but the front seems a little flat nosed in my opinion. It somewhat looks like it was already crash tested into a wall and the designers just left it like that. Overall though the new exterior design of the Honda Accord looks fresh and thankfully when driving the car, you don’t have to look at that front end.
While the Hybrid version of the 2018 Honda Accord may not be quite as much fun to drive as the regular 2.0L version, it is a more comfortable and much more efficient sedan.
Thank you to Honda Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Honda.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.