2018 Honda Accord Hybrid offers more space for less cash

The Honda Accord was redesigned for the 2018 model year, but Honda is just now rolling out a redesigned Accord Hybrid model to complete the lineup. The 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid basically marries the powertrain from last year’s model with the new Accord sedan body, but with a major price cut. The a base price of $25,990 represents a $4,505 cut compared to the 2017 model, Honda says.

The 2018 Accord Hybrid continues to use Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, incorporating a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine. Total system output of 212 horsepower is unchanged from the previous Accord Hybrid. The Accord uses its gasoline engine primarily as a generator, leaving an electric motor to actually propel the car. The gasoline engine can power the wheels directly in certain situations, though, and the Accord Hybrid is capable of limited all-electric running.

The Accord Hybrid also features what Honda calls “Deceleration Selectors.” They look like transmission paddle shifters, but they actually control the level of regenerative braking. Regeneration helps recharge the battery pack, and increasing it on the fly can create an effect somewhat like engine braking in a conventional car. Other vehicles, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, have similar systems.

All of this adds up to EPA-rated fuel economy of 47 mpg in all three categories (combined, city, highway). That’s down slightly overall from the 2017 model’s 48 mpg combined (49 mpg city, 47 mpg highway). The fuel-economy champ among hybrid midsize sedans is the Toyota Camry Hybrid LE, which is rated at 52 mpg combined. Other versions of the Camry Hybrid, however, are rated at 46 mpg combined — 1 mpg less than the Accord Hybrid.

Thanks to the 2018 body shell’s 2.16-inch longer wheelbase, as well as more compact hybrid system components, Honda claims the Accord Hybrid now offers comparable interior space to non-hybrid Accord sedan models, including 122.3 cubic feet of total interior space, 40.4 inches of rear legroom, and 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space. The 2018 Accord Hybrid also gets a 60/40 split-folding rear seat — something that wasn’t available on the 2017 model.

Honda offers five trim levels: EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi, and Touring. The EX and EX-L Navi trims are new for 2018. Standard equipment includes LED headlights and taillights, rearview camera, and the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features (adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition).

Previous generations of Accord Hybrid sold in relatively small numbers, but Honda is looking to increase sales of both hybrids and electric cars. In addition to the Accord Hybrid, Honda offers the Clarity in hydrogen fuel cell, battery-electric, and plug-in hybrid flavors, and will launch the smaller Insight hybrid sedan in 2019.

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