“Sport” – An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, such as racing. So how did such a word slip into Honda’s description of its newest Accord and hybrid powertrain? To be honest, buggered if I know. Words such as “luxury”, “premium’ or even “loaded” would have been a better fit. Semantics and mixed feeling aside I’ve just spent a week in the green, tree hugging Honda Accord.
Variant: Sport Hybrid
Engine / Transmission: 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol combined with two electric motors, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Vital Stats: 146kW/307Nm
Honda Claimed Fuel Economy: 4.6L / 100km
EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: 5.8L/ 100km
Price: From $58,990
Wow Factor: The fuel sipping Accord is without doubt loaded with features, all standard given there’s only one specification level. The car itself looks smart and mixes well with some of the more premium European and Japanese efforts both inside and out. You score 18-inch alloy wheels, electric sunroof, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry with push button start, leather-appointed seats and satellite navigation.
Most Impressive: There are an array of driver assist aids that frankly are expected at this price point but are still worth taking into consideration. Thrown into the mix are Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, a multi-angle reversing camera, and adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation braking system, acoustic alert system and active cornering lights.
The new Hybrid powertrain involves the petrol engine, 124kW electric motor and as a point of difference over Toyota, an additional generator. It’s called Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive resulting in three drive modes: electric, hybrid and petrol. This allows for longer stints of EV mode driving with lower speeds and a discreet use of the throttle. It took me a while to score anywhere near the claimed 4.6L/100km, you really need to work with the car to save at the pump. Keeping your eyes on an array of graphical information helps keep you in the green.
Least Impressive: There’s no way Honda can claim the Accord Hybrid has any hint of sportiness about it. Sure it’s very accomplished as far as Hybrid technology goes but it also drives how most people perceive Hybrids drive. The suspension tune is skewed towards lazy, cushy comfort but unfortunately that’s only evident on newly sealed roads, of which there aren’t too many in this country. It’s a crashy, noisy experience on lesser roads and not worthy of the rather premium and Camry beating interior.
CVT transmissions and Hybrids go hand in hand, I’ve owned a Toyota Camry Hybrid since 2010 so I’m well versed in the typical powertrain drone produced. The Accord will send you cuckoo, if you have any degree of motoring enthusiasm pumping through your veins. The engine note is just that, one note. One looooong, continuous moan under throttle, and they said sport?
The Sweeping Statement: This is a premium, good-sized, well-made sedan. It out does the Toyota Camry alternative in just about every department and depending on your driving personality can drink extremely small amounts of unleaded. But it costs $58,990 before on roads, that my friends is crazy.