Honda is about to re-enter the luxury sedan segment with the new Accord, and this time it’s a Hybrid. We find out what this Toyota Camry Hybrid rival is made of.
The demand for entry-level luxury cars has always been erratic in India. Car makers have previously struggled to get the numbers that they would have liked. In fact, brands like Volkswagen and even Honda, were even forced to pull the Passat and the Accord off from the sales floor. And thanks to the entry of the German giants the segment has become even more jumbled. This year however, we have already seen Skoda introducing the Superb and Honda is now getting ready to launch the Accord Hybrid soon.
Now, Honda first introduced the Accord in India in 2001 and since then three generations of the car have been launched. This is the first time Honda is bringing in the Accord with a Hybrid powertrain. We take it for a short spin to tell you what it feels like from behind the wheel.
Honda announced its plans of launching the 2016 Accord Hybrid at the Auto Expo this year. Even when we saw it first, we loved the way the new Accord looks. Front three-quarter is probably the best angle to look at Luxury saloon from. The large bonnet smoothly leading into the bold chrome grille gives the Accord a muscular stance. Honda has gone berserk with LED lighting on this one using them in the headlights, Daytime Running Lamps, fog lamps and taillights. In profile the multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels make the car stand out. We loved the way the roof flows suavely from the c-pillar leading onto the boot. The rear however feels a lot understated in comparison to the rest of the design.
On the inside the dual tone dashboard is neatly designed and gets faux wood inserts. Quality of plastics is good but the overall finish in certain parts could have been better, especially considering the segment it falls into. Taking the centre stage is a large 7-inch central touchscreen infotainment system which responds to inputs well. Above it sits another screen that shows feed from the camera on the left ORVM. This unique LaneWatch feature can either be activated when the turn signal is engaged or can even be kept on permanently. Aside front this the screen also displays navigation and phone options.
The 2016 Honda Accord comes with leather upholstery that gives it an air of luxury. Finding the right driving position is easy thanks to the electrically adjustable driver seat with memory function. Co-pilot seat is electrically adjustable too with switches on the shoulder for the rear passenger. Seats are extremely comfortable and well bolstered. Rear seat is the best place to be in if you are the kind that is chauffeured around. That being said, the Accord can only seat 4 in ease.
Featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the infotainment is teamed up with a seven speaker 360-watt system. Other features include automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, keyless entry, button start, one-touch sunroof and more. Another extremely convenient feature the Accord Hybrid comes with is that the key fob allows you to remotely start cooling down the cabin. The cooling automatically shuts if you don't get to the car in 10 minutes. This, we thought was the coolest feature in the Accord Hybrid, well, quite literally.
Under the hood, the new Accord Hybrid is an intense piece of machinery. It sports an Atkinson cycle 2.0-litre petrol powerplant that makes 143bhp at 6,200rpm and peak torque of 175Nm at 4,000rpm. Aside from the gasoline powerplant, the Accord is fitted with a propulsion motor to drive the wheels and a generator motor to create electricity. Driven by Intelligent Power Unit, the propulsion motor is placed behind the rear seat. While the max power from the propulsion motor is 181bhp the overall output is 212bhp.
So how well does all of this power translate to the road? The Accord Hybrid comes with three different modes. In the Pure EV mode, as the name rightly suggests, the car runs on the electric motor. The Hybrid mode makes use of the propulsion motor to keep it going as the engine helps in charging the battery. There is also an EV button right next to the gear lever which allows the car to be driven only in the EV mode until it runs out of juice.
While the figures might not suggest much, the joint venture between the petrol powerplant and the electric motors helps the Accord in being sprightly. That being said, rev it close to its red line and the car tends to growl and show its discomfort. Like all other Honda offerings, the engine feels absolutely smooth and the E-CVT shifts seamlessly too. As you start the car and roll off, it is in the EV mode, it shifts to Hybrid mode in low-to mid-speeds. At high speeds the Accord Hybrid depends on the Engine mode. Transitions between these modes is smooth.
We sampled the Accord Hybrid on the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad. The route had some uneven surfaces and bumps which the car evened out with utmost ease. The route that was set for us didn't have any twisties so we will have to hold back our comments until we get the car for a detailed test. To ensure that the cabin remains silent, the new Accord features Active Noise Control (ANC) which helps in counteract engine noise.
Honda is all set to launch the Accord Hybrid in India. It quite an impressive car this – it looks the part, has enough space and more, comes loaded with gadgets and has a pretty refined powertrain. The biggest drawback for the Accord, however, is its entry via the CBU route when rival Toyota Camry Hybrid is locally assembled. With that in mind, and not to forget that this segment has representatives from the German houses, Honda will have to price it aggressively when they launch it later this month.
Also read: New generation Honda CR-V revealed