First Drive: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Is A No Compromise Green Machine

When Honda unveiled the 2018 Accord over the summer, the company didn’t say much about the Accord Hybrid. That’s changing today as we recently test drove an early pre-production model in New Hampshire.

Set to go on sale early next year, the 2018 Accord Hybrid has been designed to be virtually identical to the standard model. As American Honda Motor’s Senior Vice President and General Manager explained, consumers won’t “notice the difference” without seeing the hybrid badges.

Judging by my time behind wheel, the company has largely succeeded in that mission as the car drives just like its gasoline counterparts. Of course, there are subtle changes as the hybrid is extremely quiet when started and makes little noise when cruising at slow speeds. Getting out onto the road, I initially thought the hybrid was slightly louder than its counterparts but an extended test drive later in the afternoon proved that wasn’t the case.

Speaking of driving, the Accord Hybrid offers the same impressive handling as the standard model and acceleration doesn’t seem to take a hit. The car also comes with four different levels of brake regeneration but, in the stock setting, everything felt pretty normal.

Since the car is still several months away from being launched, Honda was relatively coy on specifics. However, the company confirmed the Accord Hybrid has 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 143 hp (106 kW) and 129 lb-ft (174 Nm) of torque. It is backed up by a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that develops 181 hp (135 kW) and 232 lb-ft (314 Nm) of torque. Honda says this gives the car a combined maximum output of 212 hp (158 kW).

If that setup sounds familiar, it is as the 2017 Accord Hybrid has identical specifications across the board. Despite sounding like a carryover powertrain, Honda says it’s a third-generation hybrid system which offers “improved power delivery” and greater thermal efficiency. The powertrain is also more compact which enables the 2018 model to have 60/40-split folding rear seats and the same 16.7 cubic feet (472.9 liters) of cargo space as the standard model.

Additional information will be released closer to launch but the hybrid has a number of unique touches to separate it from its conventionally powered counterparts. These include the usual hybrid badges as well as a revised instrument cluster which sees the tachometer replaced by a Power / Charge display. The hybrid also features a unique HUD display and special 17-inch alloy wheels.

Honda declined to release pricing or fuel economy figures but the company confirmed plans for a new entry-level model. This suggests the 2018 Accord Hybrid will be more affordable than its predecessor which started at $29,605.

Photo Credits: Mike Gauthier / CarScoops

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  • Knotmyrealname

    Why do hybrids always seem to have small tacky wheels?

    • elportonative77

      Because 17 inch wheels allow the cars to reach their maximum efficiency. Putting 19 inch wheels on the Hybrid Touring would sacrifice MPG along with ride characteristics.

      • Knotmyrealname

        Personally I like the look of the car, but it’s body is very tall and having the smaller wheels accentuates this. But are you saying the BMW i3 with 19″ wheels is not realising it’s maximum efficiency? I doubt it. So, I don’t agree. I think if you want to talk efficiency, you would be talking about rolling resistance and frontal cross-sectional area. The Accord could have this with 18’s and narrow section tyres. At least it would fill out the wheel arches better.

        • elportonative77

          Current tires are quite efficient when it comes to rolling resistance and the new 2018 Accord has reduced drag by 3%. Automakers can’t do much more in these areas when it comes to fuel efficiency.

          Consumer Reports did an article about a year or two ago going over exactly this issue. To put it shortly smaller wheels are more efficient and provide a more comfortable ride but do not provide the type of performance expected in a sports/sporty car.

          So go with 17″ if you want fuel efficiency and a supple ride. Go with 19″ if you want performance and curb appeal. Finally go with 18″ if you want a bit of both.

          I personally think 18″ wheels on the Accord Hybrid (and the gasoline Accord Touring) would be perfect but I don’t blame Honda for going with the most efficient wheel size in order to squeeze every bit of fuel efficiency they can out of the car. I would expect nothing less of a hybrid car.

          And yes, I’m saying BMW is not realizing maximum efficiency by going with their 19″ wheel. If they went with with a 15″ or 17″ wheel their vehicle would be even more efficient but at that point it would be nothing more than an overpriced German Prius. BMW most likely went with 19″ wheels for curb appeal and uniqueness which it achieves.

          • Knotmyrealname

            Well said, and point taken.

        • FoxJ30

          All else being equal, I believe larger wheels = more unsprung mass, which takes more energy to accelerate. Not the biggest deal, but when efficiency is the name of the game, every little bit counts.

          Also, I’m sure the dealer won’t stop you from buying bigger wheels if you want them.

      • Solerider

        Was wondering what happens to MPG if I pay extra to put the black 19″ on the Hybrid?

    • diesel_vdub

      Vehicles do not need 19+ inch wheels, the problem is designers have concluded and design vehicles to only look “correct” with such large wheels. If vehicles were designed with 17 inch wheels in mind, they would look much better. The larger the wheel the more it negatively affects mileage and the more expensive when it comes time to replace the tires.

      • KidRed

        No modern car looks good with 17″ wheels, sorry. Tire Rack did a test between 17, 18 and 19 wheels and 18 and 19 won different categories shutting out the 17″. The 17″ wheels are too bouncy, not to mention look like bubble crap.

        • diesel_vdub

          That only proves my point that cars are designed for larger wheels.

  • Harry_Wild

    Hybrids should at least have enough hp and torque as the gasoline Touring!

  • Bash

    Too many Honda posts for a day.

  • autosharero

    If I have to see another image of this car, I am going to vomit.

    • Six_Tymes

      lol

  • nastinupe

    I hate the new Accord and this post is worthless without MPG stats. Don’t post about it again until you have MPG or MPGe or all electric mode distance for us to read about.

    • GobbleUp

      Exactly. Worthless article without mpg.

      And super ugly new accord.

      See you in 2 yrs for a rushed refresh.

      • nastinupe

        Hey this car has a 1.2 liter 3 cylinder hybrid diesel engine and meets carbon and emissions standards for both Europe and California. It uses an advanced lithium ion battery with fast charge technology, however, we don’t have any real numbers or stats on what the car does or it’s electric only range. So basically we are just posting another article so we can post advertisements that we can get paid when you click on the page. Thank you for giving us 2 cents.

    • Mike Gauthier

      Honda hasn’t released that info yet but it should be about the same or slightly better than the old Accord Hybrid.

  • S3XY

    2018 car with brake light in the window so when you tint the window you cant see the brake light. Nice

  • Six_Tymes

    chevy did a fine job with this new malibu

  • KidRed

    Not a flattering photo to lead with. That shows how unattractive the car really is.

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