2.0 litre (1993cc) Atkinson cycle DOHC i-Vtec 16 valves
Automatic: Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission
Sport hybrid i-MMD (Intelligent multi mode drive)
2-motor hybrid system
Power-- Electric drive motor / Engine
181.48hp/ 5000-6000rpm / 143hp@ 6200 rpm (combined
Torque-- Electric drive motor / Engine
315Nm @ 0-2000
/ 175 Nm@4000
Lithium-ion battery (1.3 kWh capacity)
Front: MacPherson strut with coil spring
Rear: Multi-link with coil spring
Front: Ventilated Disc / Rear: Solid disc
235/45 R18 radial tubeless
Fuel Tank Capacity
4933 x 1849 x 1464
Electric power assisted rack and pinion
Automatic Drive Modes
EV drive, Hybrid drive & Engine drive
Selectable drive modes
Sport, EV, Econ
Let’s sing the birthday song first. The Honda Accord is into its 40th
year today, having been launched in 1976. The Accord has sold more than 21
million units all over the world. In these last 40 years the car has undergone
a lot of changes and its latest avatar, the 9th generation Honda
Accord, is a mix of high end engine technology wrapped so efficiently with
delicate green cover. Yes, this is the Honda Accord Hybrid and is powered by a
2.0 litre Atkinson cycle DOHC 16 valves i-VTEC engine along with an Intelligent
Multi-mode Drive (i-MMD) 2-motor hybrid system.
By offering an efficient hybrid system in this car, Honda is making
it clear that it is indeed pursuing its goal to make their vehicles as green as
possible. Moreover, with a hybrid system in place, they have ensured a fair mix
of engine power and good fuel efficiency. Together the internal combustion
engine and the hybrid system produce a combined output of 212hp with a fuel
efficiency of 23.1kmpl. The car mind you is not just about a green revolution;
rather it’s also about neat styling, pampered seating, savvy electronics and
decent driving abilities.
Let’s talk about the engine first because that is what is radically
new in this Accord. Why did Honda go for an Atkinson cycle engine?
The Atkinson cycle has made a comeback thanks to hybrids. But how
exactly does it work? Please remember that this Atkinson cycle engine is far
different from what James Atkinson developed in 1882. Back then it was a
complicated mechanical system in use but today with loads of electronics and
software, the same purpose is met---to keep the engine valve open longer while
the piston is in action so as to ensure increase in the cylinder’s
displacement. It’s ideal for a hybrid engine. This old technology has been
given a modern alteration like in this Accord where the electric motor helps to
overcome the Atkinson’s shortcomings on the power front without compromising on
Okay, now back to the engine. The Honda’s i-MMD uses a two motor
hybrid system with three operating modes—EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine
Drive. Most of the time when the vehicle is being driven it is on Hybrid Drive
where the gasoline engine powers the electric generator motor which in turn
provides power to the lithium ion batteries thereby setting off the electric propulsion
motor to swing into action. Depending on the speeds the electric propulsion
motor and the petrol engine take turns to power the drive wheels through the
propulsion motor. So the duo works as series hybrid. The EV mode is 100pc
electric motor dependent and comes into action when you are starting from stop
and cruising at gentle speeds. You can lock the vehicle in EV mode but then you
barely get a straight km thereafter on pure EV mode. Of course when braking,
the EV mode is much in use. The petrol engine is off during the EV mode and is
decoupled from the drive train to reduce friction.
The Engine Drive mode comes into play as speeds increase and any
shortcoming from the Atkinson cycle engine is made up by the electric motor
drive. Here the system works as a parallel hybrid. To generate a sportier
response from the engine one can engage the Sport Mode and you can experience
rapid acceleration. For more sedate and responsible driving one can opt for the
ECON mode where throttle response is very gradual and focus is more on fuel
efficiency. The Honda Accord has an Electric Continuously Variable Transmission
(E-CVT) and mind you unlike a conventional CVT, it uses two motors for driving
and generating power. Thus depending on the speeds it optimally controls the
petrol engine and electric motor rotation ensuring decent power and fuel
efficiency. This efficiency is further enhanced by the Accord Hybrid’s electric
servo brake system which provides regenerative braking and which in turn
charges the battery.
Driving the car is made easy and safe with features like ABS with
electronic brake distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability assist with
traction control and motion adaptive electric power steering which not only
stabilizes vehicles under braking but mitigates understeer and oversteer.
Overall the car may be brilliant with its efficient hybrid system,
but I felt it was more like a well behaved school boy, one of those studious
guys who never ever gets into trouble. But a mode like the Sport mode gets this
car all charged up. A feature I found very interesting in the car is the lane
watch feature which enhances the driver’s view of side traffic. There is a tiny
camera on the side mirror which can be manually or automatically activated when
a driver signals left. The video display on the screen shows what is behind
you. I wish there was a camera in the right ORVM too, With erratic traffic
conditions all over India, this feature can be of great help. This definitely
helps on the safety front, apart from the airbags like front ones, front side
ones and side curtain ones add to the safety of the occupants.
The new Honda Accord Hybrid is not all about boring science classes,
rather it’s quite sporty to look at with a fair amount of sophistication. The
front fascia with its sharp styling, the large intake like meshed areas house
new standard LED fog lights. In fact the headlights too are LED with Led
daytime running lights and tail lights. The hood has a neat contour and the
front grille is a lot pronounced. While the front is quite chic, the rear too
has its fair share of good looks with a sharply sculpted rear bumper fascia and new LED taillight
design. Not to miss are the blue accents on the front grille headlights and
tail lights and the Hybrid badging. Adding to the good looks are the body
coloured outside rear view mirror with side turn indicators, chrome front
grille, body coloured sill garnish and chrome outer handles. The car sits on 8
inches sporty alloy wheels and it’s even got a unique design. There’s an
electric sunroof with tilt feature, shark fin roof antennae and integrated
trunk spoiler. The Honda Accord Hybrid is so well styled that it can be
mistaken for a German luxury car!
Interiors are where you get into a world of sophistication. But
before that I need to point out that this car comes with remote engine start.
This feature makes loads of sense in this country of ours with extreme climates
when you want the air con on and the interiors cool before you step in or the
heater on and interiors warm. All I need to do is to take the key fob and press
the Lock button and then hold the engine button for a second. The Accord hazard
lights will flash telling you that the signal has gone through. When you start
the engine this way, the wipers, lighting and audio systems remain off and the
security system remains set. The engine remains on for ten minutes after which
it shuts off but you can extend it for another 10 minutes by the same
procedure. Once you get into a car with the right temperature, then all one has
to do is apply the brake and press the Start button which turns on all the
other systems in the vehicle which were earlier shut off.
As for entering the car, it’s remote keyless entry and with the key
in your pocket you can walk up to the car and open it by touching the door
Once seated you are treated to plush
leather upholstery with wood grain accents. When you are in the driver’s seat
you get to see a large analog instrumentation and a 7.7 inch colour multi
information display. This provides a range of information and trip computer
functions. Beneath this is the 7 inch touch screen display audio system. This
car has a 360 watt 7-speaker audio system with subwoofer and tweeters. The
system supports CD/DVD playback / HDMI connectivity and USB interface that
allow iPods, Iphones or flash drives to be connected. Your smartphone
experience is enhanced by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features. Features
like satellite linked navigation system with voice recognition and voice
activation features add a lot of fun and convenience to the driver.
The wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel comes
with some controls that are more frequently used. Inside the cabin is quite roomy and the seat
quite padded and comfortable. The head rests have soft padding for a lot of
comfort. The front head rests are of a size to afford rear passenger a better
view forward. There is ample storage space and the centre console too doubles
up to provide more of that. There’s a USB port, a 12Volt power outlet in front
of the console and another 12 volt is positioned inside the console. The lid
doubles up as a neat arm rest. Each door has a bottle holder and storage space.
As for the rear seats, it has a padded centre armrest with dual cupholders. The
arm rest can be pushed back in place when not needed.
Coming to the boot, it’s spacious and easy
to access and the floor is flat here so it’s easy to place and remove large
pieces of luggage.
All I can say is that the new Honda hybrid
is not a boring science fiction creation, rather it is a well thought car that
provides fun, comfort and safe driving.
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