by Bill P. and Sommer Thornton
The Honda Accord is a sensation we see on the road all the time. The 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid that dropped last year will compete well in the mid-size sedan segment against hybrid heroes like the Camry Hybrid, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and even the Model 3. The 2018/2019 Honda Accord Hybrid isn’t sleek and sporty looking like the other Accords, but it more than makes up for it with a super high 48 mpg highway fuel economy and a futuristic interior technology.
The hybrid technology under the hood of the 2019 Accord Hybrid is superbly advanced with a 2.0 liter iVTEC engine and Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (iMMD) system that utilizes an electric motor that can pull energy from a high voltage battery and generator.
The Accord Hybrid’s futuristic powertrain system is matched perfectly by its interior instrumentation and center touch screen. Along with cool ambient lighting, the instrument panel is fully digital with colorful icons and customizable views of the hybrid/gas propulsion. And a Heads up Display shows a ton of stats and warnings on the windshield. A large center touchscreen has a colorful navigation system and shows a bunch of helpful driving info in real time.
We took the 2018/19 Honda Accord Hybrid fully-loaded with the Touring package around Chicago’s west side and surrounding suburbs for a rainy week, and never saw the pump. Honda’s (iMMD) system works seamlessly with the electric CVT to deliver a balanced ride that can be athletic, relaxing and efficient at once or at all the same time.
New Unique Style with Space-age Cabin
The 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid has a unique new style for its five trims: the base Hybrid, EX, EX-L, EX-L Navi and the Hybrid Touring model we reviewed. The 10th generation Accord adopts a stronger, lighter more rigid body with a more athletic stance accentuated by a longer wheelbase and wider track. Five new alloy wheel designs are offered with the Accord Hybrid Touring boasting standard 17 inch alloy wheels.
The new Accord Hybrid Touring also has an available full-LED lighting setup that includes LED headlights and tail lights, LED turn signals, LED daytime running lights and standard LED fog lights. Projector beam headlights are available with On/Off feature.
The new Accord Hybrid is lower and wider with short overhangs, and its greenhouse is positioned further back on the body creating a classier athletic look. Inside the seats have been moved slightly inward for more hip room. Legroom is increased despite the Honda Accord Hybrid being .39 inches shorter because the back seats are moved rearward and the hybrid battery pack is repositioned beneath.
Honda’s signature chrome wing front grille looks more prominent atop a large intake and beneath a chiseled hood. Deep lines in the side and a crease at the lower sides make for swift speedy travel on the highway.
The 2018/19 Honda Accord Hybrid’s low and wide rear is finished with an upswept decklid, LED light pipe taillights and available dual exhausts. Other cool features include a power moon roof, auto high beams, remote start, a smart keyless entry, walk away auto lock and front and rear parking sensors.
At first glance the new Accord Hybrid’s cabin looks plain. But turning on the push button start will illuminate the futuristic features of the hybrid’s cabin.
Inside the Honda Accord Hybrid Touring is the most advanced hybrid-focused cabin I’ve seen in a sedan. The visuals could put EV instrumentation to shame. The 2019 Accord Hybrid Touring boasts standard leather trimmed seats heated and ventilated, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with available paddle shifters, heated rear seats, dual zone automatic climate control and a premium 10 speaker audio system. Drivers now have 12-way power seats with lumbar support. Instead of a traditional shifter, the Honda Accord Hybrid has gear buttons at the center stack.
The tech-savvy 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid features an all-new full-color TFT digital driver’s meter and an 8-inch touchscreen for audio and detailed navigation and a multi-view rear camera. The Accord Hybrid Touring ups the innovation with an available 6-inch heads-up-display that shows navigation, speed, power charge, traffic sign recognition a compass and safety features like the lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, the collision prevention system and cruise control.
The Accord Hybrid, along with all the other Accord models offers Hondalink with all-new capabilities including geofencing, remote locking/unlocking and engine start, stolen vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics and emergency roadside assistance.
The digital dash in the Honda Accord Hybrid is one of the most detailed I’ve seen with advanced hybrid displays and a customizable layout.
The digital driver’s meter changes colors to indicate the drive mode. And it displays a wealth of info including a speed, navigation, phone status, audio status, traffic sign recognition, average fuel economy, safety warnings, driver attention warning and driving support information. Very cool is the eco drive display the shows the propulsion of the high voltage battery, generator and engine power to wheels and to each other depending on the drive mode selection.
The 8 inch center touchscreen in the 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid is truly innovative with easy-to-use buttons and a detailed navigation map that, along with strips at the top and bottom with constant real-time info like elevation, direction, cross streets and current street names, can display everything from school zones, speed limit, traffic patterns, gas stations and construction zones.
Also cool, the 2018/19 Accord Touring talks! It gives audible warnings for the driver to put on their seatbelt and let up parking brake. The Accord Touring also offers elevated tech like 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi, wireless charging, Bluetooth and USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Electrified iMMD Powertrain = Boundless Efficiency
The Accord Hybrid Touring’s best feature, alongside its innovative cabin tech, is its amazingly efficient powertrain. The 3rd generation iMMD two-motor hybrid system features a 2.0 liter DOHC Atkinson cycle engine paired with two electric motors – a propulsion motor and an electric generator (starter) motor that are said to be the first in the world to not contain heavy rare-earth metals. The Accord Hybrid is propelled by an electric motor, gas engine or by a combination of the two with the Power Control Unit (PCU) selecting which is best.
Electric energy is managed by the Accord Hybrid’s PCU that makes the best use of the engine and motors at a given time and drive mode.
The 2018/19 Accord Hybrid powertrain boasts a total output of 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque which includes power from the hybrid electric motor. The Accord Hybrid seamlessly shifts between three drive modes – EV Drive which is full electric when stopped or at low speeds, Hybrid Drive mode that powers the front wheels with the electric motor as the gas engine powers the electric generator motor, and Engine Direct Drive mode that uses full gas propulsion via high capacity lock-up clutch.
For regeneration, when braking or slowing down the electric motor acts as a generator that recovers energy and sends it to the high voltage battery. The generator motor can also restart the gasoline engine when the vehicle is idle.
All three drive modes work seamlessly with Auto Stop/Start technology that saves even more fuel.
Editor Sommer liked Engine Direct Drive mode the best because this mode utilizes the Accord Hybrid as a “parallel hybrid” where both the gas engine and electric propulsion motor both power the wheels. It most resembles sport mode, with a spirited launch, smooth even cruising, fluid steering, and more agility.
Though the Accord Hybrid doesn’t utilize a mechanical transmission, its Drive Force Transfer System uses the two motors for generating power and offers quick smooth responses.
With a lower center of gravity the Accord Hybrid has an amazing cruise like a sports sedan.
Rigid Design and Elevated Tech
The new Honda Accord’s body is lighter and more rigid utilizing 29% ultra-high-strength steel, and 54.2% high-strength steel. The Accord is made on Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure that dropped the Accord’s weight by over 150 lbs, improved body torsional rigidity by 32%, and as a result enriched ride quality, cabin quietness and dynamic performance.
The 2019 Honda Accord features Macpherson strut front suspension and multilink rear suspension with improved handling and high-speed stability. The Accord Hybrid Touring offers an Adaptive Damper System that utilizes multiple chassis and drivetrain components to customize damping responsiveness depending on road conditions.
Standard safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist, Blind Spot Information, ABS with electronic brake booster and tire pressure monitoring system.
For 2018/2019 a pristine multi-angle rearview camera and Honda Sensing safety technology are standard on all models featuring Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), lane departure warning, the Lane Keeping Assist System, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow and traffic sign recognition.
The lane keeping assist system (LKAS) is wonderful, gently nudging the Accord Hybrid back into the lane if drifting out. But the Collision Mitigation Braking System is scary. There doesn’t have to be an impending collision for the system to sound loudly and even brake the Accord before drivers have a chance to react to the warning. The CMBS instead activates with tight turning, even when changing lanes and stops the vehicle harshly with no regard to how close cars were behind. It feels like an aggressive mom yelling to “slow down” at the slightest oversteer.
A new available Driver Awareness Monitor can detect drowsy or distracted driving by monitoring the drivers’ focus.
The 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid is on sale now starting at $26k. Fully loaded the Accord Hybrid Touring sells for $36k.