While a car platform that’s a decade old seems like a dinosaur in today’s tech-driven market, Honda’s Accord Hybrid Touring taps into the historical popularity and reliability of the 10th-generation traditional-powertrain Accord, adapting its virtues to a hybrid version while delivering today’s cutting-edge technology. It combines a 2.0-liter gas engine, twin electric motors, and a lithium-ion battery pack under the rear seat. This allows it to handle with the flow and silence of an electric car, but still deliver a smooth ride when the gas engine is accessed. It’s a terrific midsize sedan for daily commuters, and earns our Editors’ Choice.
Pricing and Design
The Accord Hybrid is available in four trim levels: Hybrid, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All come with an inline 4-cylinder engine producing 192 horsepower. The EX, EX-L, and Touring trims add turbocharging, upping the horsepower to 252.
The Accord Hybrid comes with three driving modes: battery-only EV Drive, Hybrid Drive that (which electricity to propel the car while the gasoline engine powers the generator), and Engine Drive (which exclusively uses the gasoline engine). The engine is paired with two electric motors—a propulsion motor and a generator/starter motor.
The electric motors are the first from Honda to use magnets containing no heavy rare-earth metals, a new Honda-patented design that the company says reduces cost and weight. All trim levels roll on 17-inch machine-finished alloy wheels equipped with low-rolling-resistance 225/50R-17 Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires.
The Honda Sensing suite of driver assist features is standard across all trim levels and includes collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, lane keeping assist, hill start assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and a traffic sign recognition system.
The entry-level Hybrid trim starts at $25,995 and comes standard with such interior amenities as push-button start, dual-zone auto climate control, and power doors with programmable auto-locking. In-cabin tech includes a 7-inch screen, voice activation, a single USB port, Pandora compatability, and Bluetooth for phone and audio. Honda is one of only a few automakers implementing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that allows for simple and quick Bluetooth smartphone pairing, and it comes standard in all Accord Hybrid trim levels. Standard exterior features include body-colored power side mirrors and door handles, variable intermittent windshield wipers, remote entry, and remote start and trunk release.
The EX starts at $29,785 and comes with all the features found on the entry-level trim plus blind spot detection with rear cross traffic monitoring, LED fog lights, heated and power side mirrors, a power moonroof with tilt, a 12-way powered driver’s seat with 4-way power lumbar support, and heated front seats.
The HondaLink infotainment system with smartphone integration comes standard in the EX, EX-L, and Touring trims and includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The EX-L trim starts at $32,335 and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a HomeLink garage door opener, an automatic-dimming rearview mirror, and leather-trimmed seats.
The Accord Hybrid Touring model we tested is priced at $35,605, including a destination charge of $895, and sports an exterior crystal black paint with black leather interior. The Touring trim looks identical to the 10th-generation Accord except for hybrid logos and different wheels. Other standard features include front and rear parking sensors, a rain-sensing wiper, heated power door mirrors with turn indicators, leather-trimmed seats, heated and vented front seats, heated rear seats, a wireless phone charger, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Accord Hybrid design is essentially identical to its non-hybrid counterpart, with the same bold new front fascia, which on our Touring tester is framed by sleek LED headlights and lines that elegantly taper to the vehicle’s tail for a fastback look. Hybrid badges on the fenders and decklid and the absence of an exposed tailpipe are the only changes to the Hybrid model.
Thanks to the 10th-gen Accord’s wider body and longer wheelbase, backseat passengers gain almost two inches of legroom compared with the previous version, while 2.5 cubic feet of additional interior volume make the cabin feel larger. Overall, the interior has a modern feel, with quality materials, but we prefer a traditional gear shift over the wonky push-button selector in the center console.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Touring trim we tested features Honda’s 8-inch Display Audio touch screen that’s augmented by physical power/volume, tuning, and shortcut buttons. The latest version of Display Audio adds a volume knob and tuning buttons in a welcome change from the all-touch display in older Accords.
The system is straightforward to use, with large icons that can be customized and reordered. We also like that the screen’s layout can be customized by rearranging feature icons and setting up shortcuts on the home screen. It features navigation with HD Radio traffic in select areas, but not connected search, which is why we prefer the Google Maps app offered by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto voice recognition.
The Touring trim also includes a premium audio system with 10 speakers, SiriusXM, HD Radio, and separate Pandora app, as well Wi-Fi capability that can connect to a stationary hotspot, one generated by a smartphone or a subscription-based data plan from AT&T.
A heads-up display (HUD) shows information on the windshield such as speed, tachometer, hybrid power flow, navigation directions, a compass, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, the lane keeping assist system, pop-up warnings, and phone call information. We like that the driver can adjust the HUD and the information it displays via switches on the dash or by a steering wheel-mounted thumb dial instead of having to drill down into a menu on the in-dash screen.
Performance and Conclusions
Under normal driving, the Accord Hybrid provides a solid and serene driving experience and the Honda Touring trim we tested sacrifices none of this while amping up fuel efficiency. However, the powertrain performs crudely when rapidly accelerating, creating a loud revving engine with occasional bottom grunting sounds coming from under the hood. Once you lift your foot, the Accord reverts to a calmer ride.
The four levels of regenerative braking accessed from the right hand steering wheel paddle are smooth, with the max-regen mode slowing the car while recapturing as much energy as possible to bolster the battery-charge level. Each additional tap dials back the regenerative power for a more freewheeling vibe. We found that on a fun stretch of roller coaster-style pavement, it can become addictive to attempt to recapture energy on long, steep descents.
While the $35,605 sticker price of Honda Accord Hybrid Touring is a grand more than the regular Touring trim, a similarly equipped Camry XLE Hybrid (our previous Editors’ Choice) tops off at nearly $2,000 more. Given the price difference, the Accord’s excellent mix of fuel efficiency and performance, it earns our latest Editors’ Choice award for hybrid midsize sedans.