On paper the city figure is lower than the previous Accord Hybrid, rated at 50 mpg, but there's a reason. In 2017 the EPA is revising the fuel economy numbers downward to bring them more in line with real-world results. A similar adjustment happened in 2008. The new Accord Hybrid is certified for 2017, while competitors like the Chevrolet Malibu (47 city/46 hwy/46 combined) and Toyota Camry (43/31/39) use the current rules. Honda says the improvement is about four percent, so if the new car carried a 2016 sticker, the highway figure would be as high as 52 mpg.
Honda's reveal is light on other details about the new Accord Hybrid. The company stated only that the fuel economy gains come from a total re-engineering of the powertrain that includes new electric motors and a revised 2.0-liter Atkinson-cyline gasonline engine. A lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk eats up about two cubic feet of cargo space. The physical layout of the hybrid drive is the same as in the previous Accord, with two motors and a single-speed transmission for the gas engine. An explanation of the three drive modes is below. Honda engineers clarified that while the generator motor near the engine usually charges the battery it will also assist the drive motor in sending power to the front wheels at high speeds or loads.
Honda Sensing, the brand's name for its suite of autonomous and electronic safety system, is standard in the Accord Hybrid. That includes lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and blind-spot warning.
You can't tell that the Accord Hybrid has an aluminum hood by looking, but sharp eyes will pick up the unique wheel and blue accents to the headlights and taillights. Otherwise the 2017 Accord Hybrid looks and feel exactly like a conventional Accord, save for the "EV Mode" button on the right side of the center console. That's just fine with us, as the Accord is a perennial favorite here at Autoblog.
The Best Gets Better: More Powerful, Fuel Efficient and Technologically Advanced 2017 Accord Hybrid Launching this Spring
• Next-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain expected to receive class-leading EPA fuel economy ratings; including 49 mpg city
• Most powerful and refined midsize hybrid sedan with 212 total combined horsepower
• Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies standard
• Doubled production capacity for expected sales increase
TORRANCE, Calif., April 21, 2016 – Honda will bolster its Accord lineup with the launch of the 2017 Accord Hybrid this spring, featuring a more powerful and efficient second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain that has the highest EPA fuel economy ratings of any midsize hybrid sedan and delivers the most power. With improved production methods and supplies of hybrid components, Honda is anticipating significant growth in sales of Accord Hybrid and is targeting annual sales to be more than double its previous best of just under 14,000 vehicles in 2014.
"The new Honda Accord Hybrid is the ultimate Accord – the most refined, technologically sophisticated and, of course, most fuel efficient in the lineup," said John Mendel, Executive Vice President of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "With Accord already America's most popular car three years running and the best-selling midsize car to younger buyers, we think this new hybrid model will add considerable momentum for the Honda brand."
In addition to its more powerful and fuel efficient hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid carries the substantial upgrades made to the entire Accord lineup for model year 2016. This includes the latest technology Honda has to offer, including the available Display Audio with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, and the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, to be offered as standard equipment on all new 2017 Accord Hybrids. Hybrid-exclusive design features include a special aluminum hood and wheels, blue highlighted LED headlights and taillights and "Hybrid" exterior badging. A more compact hybrid battery pack increases trunk capacity to a midsize hybrid class-leading 13.5 cu.-ft.
Combining the next generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine, the 2017 Accord Hybrid powertrain will achieve peak combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan and up 16 horsepower over the 2015 Accord Hybrid. EPA fuel economy ratings of 49/47/48 (city/highway/combined) put the Accord Hybrid at the top of the class for ratings, making it the most powerful and fuel efficient midsize hybrid sedan in America. These EPA fuel economy ratings are based on new, more stringent ratings requirements enacted by the U.S. EPA for the 2017 model year. Based on the new requirements, Honda estimates the 2015 Accord Hybrid ratings would be 48/45/47 (actually rated at 50/45/47 under the previous method), indicating a +1/+2/+1 increase for the 2017 model over the previous version.
The Accord Hybrid's two-motor hybrid powertrain takes an elegant and innovative approach to hybrid power, eliminating the need for a conventional mechanical transmission. The Accord Hybrid's powertrain seamlessly transitions between three operations:
• EV Drive – using its electric propulsion motor and lithium ion battery pack drives the front wheels for short distances under light loads (with the engine turned off)
• Hybrid Drive – the electric propulsion motor drives the front wheels while the gasoline engine powers a second motor/generator to supplement electrical current drawn from the battery pack
• Engine Drive – using a lock-up clutch mechanism to connect the engine and propulsion motor, the front wheels are driven by both the motor and gasoline engine.
With its next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and Honda Sensing™ technology, the 2017 Accord is anticipated to receive the highest available crash safety rating from the U.S. government – a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA – and a similar top rating of TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2017 Accord Hybrid will be available in three trims – Hybrid, Hybrid EX-L and Hybrid Touring – and all grades will feature increased levels of standard and available equipment. New standard features include a wide angle rearview camera, remote engine start and Honda Sensing™, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). Available new features on upper trims include a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay compatibility, heated rear seats, and front and rear parking sensors.
The Accord has been named a Car and Driver magazine "10Best" an unprecedented 30 times and has been the most popular car in America with retail car buyers for three consecutive years. The Accord is on track to earn a fourth straight year as America's most popular car with sales up 12.3 percent through the first three months of 2016. Accord also is the most popular midsize car with Millennials and has been #1 with under-35-year-olds for four consecutive years and leads all other cars in America, except Honda's own Civic, in sales to under under-35 car buyers since 2010.
The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will make its first public appearance at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., as part of the aquarium's Earth Day weekend celebrations on April 23-24.
Honda offers a full line of reliable, fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive vehicles with advanced safety technologies sold through approximately 1,000 independent U.S. Honda dealers. The Honda lineup includes the Fit, Civic and Accord passenger cars, along with the
HR-V, CR-V and Pilot sport/utility vehicles, the soon-to-be-launched Ridgeline pickup and the Odyssey minivan.
Honda has been producing automobiles in America for 33 years and currently operates 18 major manufacturing facilities in North America. In 2015, more than 99 percent of all Honda vehicles sold in the U.S. were made in North America, using domestic and globally sourced parts.