2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Road Test Review

 Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.

A better mid-size hybrid sedan in every way 

It doesn't seem like that long ago when I drove the 2014 Accord Hybrid and named it "one of the best hybrids yet" in a review that followed, and I must say they've gone and done it again with this 2017 Accord Hybrid thanks to more power and even better economy.

It starts out with an efficient Atkinson-cycle 2.0-litre four-cylinder making just 143 horsepower, but the 181 horsepower electric motor connected to it increases total output to 212 net horsepower resulting in 16 additional horsepower over its predecessor and, more importantly, more power than its rivals, while its 4.9 L/100km city, 5.1 highway and 5.0 combined fuel economy rating is also considerably better than its closest competitors.


One of the reasons the Accord Hybrid beats its challengers at the pump is its ability to drive on full EV power at higher speeds for longer. The power unit is dubbed "three-mode) for its ability to run in full EV mode at city speeds of up to 100 km/h, Hybrid mode most of the time, and Engine mode so you don't drain the lithium-ion battery when traveling at highway speeds. This allows you to drive from your house to the highway on 100-percent pure electric power, motor to work at high speed on gasoline-propulsion alone, and then get back into EV mode before arriving at the office.


Ultra fuel-efficient yet fun to drive too 

It uses an innovative electronically variable automatic transmission to sort everything out, allowing for smooth, linear acceleration even when pressed hard, or alternatively you can push the "SPORT" button on the lower console for more immediate thrust.

As has long been the case, the Accord is a more capable mid-size four-door through the corners than most of its challengers too, its agility revered since arriving on the scene in the late '70s and still amongst the best in its class. This poise under pressure continues with this hybrid electric version, which even includes a front strut tower brace to increase torsional rigidity so as to make the most of the fully independent MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, while it also delivers a nicely sorted ride with ample comfort over wayward city streets and long forgotten alleyways, while it's effortless on the highway.


Impressive interior refinement sets the Accord Hybrid Touring apart 

Most would probably agree the Accord Hybrid is finished to a higher degree than its nearest competitors too, from the outside where my $37,400 Touring tester was fitted with a gorgeous set of jeweled full LED headlamps for a near-premium look, to the interior where its glossy woodgrain trim has greater density for a more genuine feel. Overall fit, finish and materials quality is also good, the Accord getting plenty of high-grade soft-touch synthetic surfaces front to back, some even detailed out in stitched and padded leatherette. Likewise the Accord's switchgear is as good as in any premium car, while its bright and highly legible colour gauge cluster is eye-catching and highly functional thanks to various hybrid-specific meters substituting for the tachometer on the left and a useful display at centre, whereas its dual-display infotainment setup on the centre stack is very similar in design and execution to those found in top-line Acura models.


Top-tier infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

If you're new to this setup give yourself time to get acclimatized, as the top display is controllable by a big dial and set of buttons below the lower display, the latter a touchscreen that most should find easier to use. It gives you the benefit of showing multiple functions at once without splitting screens, and now comes well stocked with the latest features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone with audio streaming, Siri Eyes Free, Wi-Fi tethering, SMS- and text message capability, seven-speaker 360-watt audio, a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, Honda's (love it so much) LaneWatch blindspot display, and more in the $31,300 base model no less.


Additional standard kit includes 17-inch alloys on 225/50 all-seasons, auto on/off projector-beam halogen headlamps, LED fog lamps, LED brake lamps and taillights, a rear deck lid spoiler, heated power-adjustable side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, remote start, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, a sunglasses holder, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone auto climate control, a 10-way power driver's seat, heatable front seats, two USB ports, active noise cancellation, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, automated emergency response telematics, security and immobilizer systems, plus more.


Touring trim is worth every penny 

My Touring tester was further trimmed out with goodies like those LED headlights mentioned earlier with auto high beams no less, plus LED front turn signal indicators, side sill extensions, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, accurate navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, HD and satellite radio, wireless phone charging, supple perforated leather upholstery, a powered front passenger seat, a powered moonroof, heatable rear seats, front and rear parking sensors, etcetera.


All of this equipment comes in a large, accommodating, well-groomed interior that's capable of hauling five sizeable adults in total comfort. As for the trunk, it's abbreviated from the conventionally powered Accord's 447 litres to 382 litres due to having the battery housed in the rear bulkhead. Still, it should be large enough for most peoples' daily needs.


The best hybrid in the mid-size sedan class 

In the end, the new 2017 Accord Hybrid delivers an advanced, powerful, fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain that can travel much faster and farther in EV mode than most rivals, plus it manages up to 1,220 km between fills (that's class leading by the way), while providing entertaining driving dynamics, advanced LED headlights for superb nighttime visibility, an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating, a very refined interior, and particularly agreeable styling.

As you can probably tell, the new 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid once again has my vote for best in class.


Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press 
Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press 
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.