Honda's vision of the future is more structured than some give it credit for.
The deafening burble of Acura's new NSX supercar is audible from blocks. 573 angry horses are being force-fed to the tires via two electric batteries, a six-cylinder engine, and an advanced drivetrain. To put it plainly, the NSX is a marvel in engineering. But none of that impressive technology would have been possible if it weren't for a certain four-door hybrid.
Though it might seem unlikely, finding parallels between the Honda Accord Hybrid and Acura NSX isn't difficult. Two Ohio-built (or at least formerly Ohio-built, as the Accord Hybrid moves to Japan), Honda hybrid products utilizing the patented "Power of Dreams," and propelling us—rather quickly—into a more efficient future.
Honda's vision of the future is more structured than some give it credit for. A network of hybrid vehicles, both performance and non-performance oriented, is a good start. But did you know that the only two grid neutral dealers in the country are Hondas? Or that a self-sustainable house built by Honda engineers sits smack dab in the middle of the University of California Davis? And that's just the beginning. It's these accenting properties, along with Honda's very visionary team, that make the Accord Hybrid less about itself, and more about where the industry is and should be heading as a whole.
The updates made to the 2016 Accord Hybrid are small, but noticeable. Rated at 49 mpg city, 47 highway, and 48 overall, the efficiency is upped just marginally over the previous generation, taking into account the EPA's new standard rating system, says Honda. The 2.0-liter hybrid setup not only gets better mpg than before, but is able to give you more power to play with at 212. That's a pretty significant 14 horsepower and 6 lb-ft torque increase over the last generation. Both figures are managed by three driving modes: pure EV, hybrid, or gas, and vary depending on what kind of driving you're actually doing.
Everything previously standard on the Accord Hybrid remains, except the addition of Honda Sensing, which makes things like a blind spot camera, lane mitigation, and front-end collision warnings available without the premium. And that's all for just $29,605 (ie: cheaper than two of the fully-loaded gas trims). The design remains understated and luxurious, an evolution from the previous generation. Inside follows the same thinking; quality materials and thoughtful storage, now featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to appeal to the younger, more tech-savy buyer.
But how does it drive? Surprisingly well. Few details about the Accord Hybrid driving experience will leave you feeling underwhelmed. Steering is tight and precise for a sedan of its size, while the suspension soaks up corners and curves without so much as a shrug. The only niggle being the engine tending to wheeze a bit when you really put it under pressure, no thanks to the continuously variable transmission, and as tested with myself behind the wheel, returned gas mileage well below what Honda and the EPA rates it at.
And here's where I put a big disclaimer: With only a few hours behind the wheel, there was no way to fully assess the mpg. Keep in mind that both Honda and the EPA test these vehicles on the dyno and in the most optimal conditions, so it's obvious that these 'not-so-real-world' test figures would fluctuate. Not just on this vehicle, but on all vehicles. Varying road conditions, engine condition (ie: brand new), altitude, and driver oomph all act as contributing factors. Yours truly will be doing a more detailed mileage analysis in the near future. Whatever the case, Honda's new Accord Hybrid is a sedan worth seriously considering for your next purchase. It's an important piece in Honda's sustainable puzzle, and with upcoming vehicles like the Clarity fuel cell and EV to further add to that green initiative, things are only bound to get better.
Specs Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder Hybrid Horsepower: 212 Torque: 232 lb-ft Price: $29,605
Positives Handsome, subtle styling Comfortable, sporty drive Efficient
Negatives CVT feels disconnected