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Old 7th December 2016, 10:36   #1
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Default Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

The Honda Accord Hybrid has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 37 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

Fuel-efficient, environment-friendly Hybrid technology
Fast performance, with good low-end torque
Comfy low speed ride quality
Safe handling matched with a steering that's nice to use
Spacious interiors, well-bolstered seats & lots of equipment
5 star safety rating. Kit includes 6 airbags, lane-watch system, ESP & more

What you won't:

An overpriced CBU! 6 lakhs more expensive than chief competitor, the Toyota Camry
Misses many rear seat features that the Camry has (reclining seat, air-con settings, audio controls...)
Despite the fast performance, it is boring to drive
Excessively soft suspension means an unsettled high-speed ride
No spare tyre! Additionally, low-profile tyres are prone to damage on Indian roads
Small boot for such a large luxury car. Hybrid hardware eats up space

This review has been jointly compiled with Anshuman. Thanks to him for the expert observations & photography!
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180045.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 7th December 2016 at 10:41.
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Old 7th December 2016, 10:36   #2
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Review Index:
Exterior

Interior - Front

Interior - Rear

In-Car Entertainment

Driving the Accord Hybrid

Last edited by Aditya : 7th December 2016 at 10:58.
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Old 7th December 2016, 10:36   #3
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Exterior

The 8th-gen Accord started losing steam after the Skoda Superb rewrote the segment rules. Additionally, in the D segments, many customers favoured SUVs - a glance at our monthly sales reports shows that the XUV500 & Fortuner have been the dominant players in the 20 - 30 lakh segment. Honda also started focusing on the mass market a bit too much. All of these factors resulted in Honda pulling the car out of India in 2013.

Toyota with the Camry was in a similar position as Honda. However, the company did not pull the car out of the market. In order to boost its sales, the Japanese auto major launched a hybrid variant of the car in the country making it appeal to those customers who wanted better fuel efficiency and "greener" technology. Toyota also decided to assemble the car locally. As we already know, locally assembled cars attract lesser duties than those imported as CBUs. Hence, Toyota was able to keep the Camry Hybrid's price fairly low. The trick worked and the Camry became a consistent performer in its segment. In fact, it outperformed the Superb for a while as well.

Now, Honda has decided to give the Accord a chance again. The company has introduced the ninth-generation of the sedan in the country. Following in Toyota's footsteps, Honda has launched the new Accord with a hybrid powertrain. However, unlike the Camry, the hybrid is the only powertrain available in the Accord. There is no "petrol only" option. Again, unlike the Camry Hybrid, the Accord Hybrid is imported as a CBU, which means it attracts a higher import duty. As a result, it is priced a good Rs. 6 lakhs more than the Camry Hybrid. Honda does not seem to have learnt any lessons from the problems faced by the Honda Civic Hybrid (another CBU) due to high pricing. As it is a CBU, the Accord cannot avail the benefits of the FAME India scheme either. Now, local assembly of the car would need the company to make heavy investments. Honda does not want to make these investments unless it feels that the Accord has a large enough customer base. The company must also remember that the Camry is now an established player, while the Accord has been out of the market for 3 years. If it wants to draw customers away from Toyota showrooms, it has to price the Accord lower than the Camry.

The Accord is a beautiful looking sedan. As we were photographing the car along the rural roads, many people stopped and questioned us about the car's price. Although they looked stunned when we told them, they still appreciated the looks and claimed fuel efficiency. At 4,933 mm, it is also the longest car in the segment. However, this length does not translate to more interior space as the hybrid technology takes up quite a lot of it. Unlike regular cars, the Honda Accord Hybrid has to accommodate two extra motors under the hood. Additionally, the large Li-ion battery eats into boot space. The Accord's width of 1,849 mm is second only to the Superb, but its height of 1,464 mm makes it the lowest car in the segment.

While the paint quality of the car is good, Honda has limited the choice of colour options to just 4 - White Orchid Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic and Lunar Silver Metallic. The car's build is light and certainly not close to the segment-best quality of the Superb. This is reflected by the fact that though it is longer and wider than the Camry Hybrid, the Accord weighs 1,620 kg - 15 kg lesser.

Honda is offering the Accord Hybrid in one variant only. It comes loaded with features such as automatic LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED foglamps, LED tail lamps, leather upholstery, electric sunroof, touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and dual-zone climate control. Safety features include 6 airbags, front and rear parking sensors, VSC (ESP), ABS with EBD, brake assist and more. The car has earned a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

Thick chrome insert on the grill is now synonymous with Honda sedans in India. Bright DRLs give the Accord good road presence. Front bumper gets two parking sensors and a wide air dam with a honeycomb mesh grill and LED foglamps:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180032.jpg

Boot lid gets a prominent spoiler, a chrome strip running between the tail-lamp clusters, an Accord badge on the left and a Hybrid badge on the right. Reversing camera is located just above the number plate while the rear bumper houses 4 parking sensors. There's another chrome strip on the lower part of the bumper. Exhaust pipe peeps out from the right:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180148.jpg

Wheelbase of 2,776 mm is longer than the Camry's, but shorter than the Superb's. Overhangs although shorter than the old Accord are still very long:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180049.jpg

Flared wheel arches give a muscular look to the car. More chrome on the sides - on the window sills and door handles. Both front door handles get request sensors:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180029.jpg

One of the best angles to view the Accord from. Sharkfin antenna sits at the rear of the roof. Character lines are strong, yet not overwhelming:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180146.jpg

Automatic LED headlamps have integrated DRLs and chrome inserts:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180003.jpg

Metal as well as plastic protection below. The ground clearance all throughout is low, and because the car has a soft suspension, it is going to sink further when loaded with 5 + luggage:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180136.jpg

Wiper spindles are concealed under the bonnet:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180084.jpg

Electrically adjustable and retractable ORVMs get integrated turn indicators and 'auto tilt with reverse' functionality:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180083.jpg

Left ORVM gets a camera for the Honda LaneWatch feature:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180156.jpg

Multi-spoke alloy wheels shod with 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 3 235/45 R18 tyres. The low profile tyres are a big issue on our roads, and there is no spare tyre!!! With such a low profile tyre, there is a greater risk of sidewall damage to the tyres. We hate this new trend of oversized wheels + short tyre sidewalls in India:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180007.jpg

Medium-sized sunroof opens all the way and has tilt functionality:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180087.jpg

Tail-lamps are LED units, but other lights including indicators, reversing lights and stop/brake lights are halogen type:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180019.jpg

Tow hook at the rear is located right in the center. Note the single exhaust on the right, tucked below the bumper:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180133.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 7th December 2016 at 10:55.
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Old 7th December 2016, 10:36   #4
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Interior - Front

The Accord's doors open wide and the seats are at a fair height. Getting in and out of the car will not be a problem for most users. The large-sized front seats have leather upholstery and are comfortable. The driver’s seat has a good adjustment range and it's easy to find a comfy driving position. Both front seats have electric adjustments, but only the driver's seat gets multiple memory options. That said, the ORVM and steering position cannot be stored along with seat memory, unlike the Camry Hybrid. The seats are not ventilated either.

The best part about the interior is the width. Just like the old-gen Accord, this one is really wide. The overall space is generous and the ergonomics are spot on - typical Honda. Everything falls at hand and it is easy to get a comfortable seating position.

What I did not like was that the front passenger seat does not go all the way back and the passenger side footwell is also not deep. So, tall people cannot stretch their legs. Whenever I am not driving, this is my favourite seat. Even in much cheaper cars, I have found that I can stretch my legs in this seat. As an example, on the way back to the airport, we were travelling in bblost’s Sail U-VA and it had far more legroom for the front passenger to stretch.

While the Accord looks luxurious on the outside, it doesn't quite feel the same on the inside. You feel you could be sitting inside a 20 lakh car. The quality of the plastics around the seat, on the dash and the dashboard switchgear reminds you of a Honda City. The quality of materials used in the cabin is a mixed bag. Although none of them is of really poor quality, but they look good enough for a 20 lakh-rupee car and obviously, not for a 40 lakh-rupee one. For instance, the quality of the leather on the seats and door pads is not close to that of the Skoda Superb. In fact, much cheaper cars like the VW Jetta and Skoda Octavia come with better quality cabins. The Accord’s cabin just does not feel special enough to justify the premium price.

The dashboard colour theme is conventional Honda - black on the top and beige at most other places. Silver, piano black and faux wood have been inserted at various places. Carpets are black in colour, thus practical for India:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180091.jpg

Leather-wrapped steering wheel is big with a wooden insert on the top and piano black on both sides of the horn pad:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-pa180089.jpg

Thick steering wheel is great to hold. All the buttons related to MID, audio, telephony and cruise control are mounted on the wheel:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-01dsc00298.jpg

LHS has audio and call related buttons:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-02dsc00296.jpg

RHS has cruise control and MID related controls:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-03dsc00297.jpg

All the infographics are displayed on the LED-type display screen (instead of physical gauges):
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-05dsc00299.jpg

RHS displays fuel and battery charge indicators. Ugly stalk adjusts the display brightness:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-06dsc00293.jpg

LHS displays the drive modes and information on power delivery:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-07dsc00294.jpg

Central part displays all the trip-related data:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-08dsc00295.jpg

Passive keyless entry & go system with a red start/stop button:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-21dsc00310.jpg

ECON button, the VSA (Honda's name for ESP) switch and controls to toggle the parking sensors are located below the rightmost air-con vent. The front parking sensors can be switched off separately (for some, they can be irritating in traffic):
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-31dsc00300.jpg

Small storage compartment below the ECON, VSA and parking sensor buttons - good to store miscellaneous items:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-32dsc00313.jpg

Lever to open the boot and fuel flap are placed on the floor:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-33dsc00314.jpg

The doors open wide. Door pads have leather, faux wood and piano black inserts. Tweeter sits right next to the A-pillar. Door pockets are large enough to hold a 1L bottle and other items:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-37dsc00287.jpg

Top part of doorpad houses switches for the memory functions of the driver's seat. Unlike the Toyota Camry, the seat memory does not store steering and mirror positions. All the 4 power windows get the one touch up/down functionality. The ORVMs have auto fold (with lock) and auto tilt (with reverse gear selection):
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-38dsc00260.jpg

Electric driver's seat adjustment. Notice the rough & shiny plastics, which look out of place on a car costing 40 lakhs:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-46dsc00315.jpg

Electric adjustments for the passenger's seat too, but it does not get adjustable lumbar support:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-47dsc00316.jpg

Unlike European cars, the center armrest is not adjustable for height or reach. It is draped in leather, soft and sufficiently wide for both the front seat occupants to rest their hands on:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-29dsc00272.jpg

The infotainment system consists of two separate screens. The 7-inch lower screen is touch-type and used for controlling the audio + related functions:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-14dsc00278.jpg

Physical buttons are used for the climate control panel. The Accord Hybrid has dual-zone climate control. There is no separate climate control zone or even air-con controls for the rear bench. The quality of the buttons does not seem good enough for a car in this price bracket:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-12dsc00267.jpg

The center console is finished in piano black. It has got plenty of storage spots:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-20dsc00309.jpg

Leather-wrapped gear knob with chrome inserts is nice to hold. One can shift between the regular P, R, N & D modes along with a B (Brake) mode and sport mode. Shift action is smooth:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-22dsc00268.jpg

To engage Sport mode, press this button:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-23dsc00274.jpg

This EV button enables pure electric driving (if there is sufficient charge in the batteries):
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-24dsc00275.jpg

Storage spaces in front of the gear lever. The USB port mentions 1.5A current, which is pretty slow by today's standards for smartphone charging (Tata Hexa offers 2.4A):
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-26dsc00269.jpg

Couple of storage spaces behind the gear lever. One is deep and gets a lid, while the other is shallow, smaller and uncovered. Both are lined with rubber:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-27dsc00270.jpg

Power outlet, HDMI and USB ports in the small storage bin below the armrest. Notice the lining on the lower surface of the storage bin:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-28dsc00271.jpg

Glovebox is lockable:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-36dsc00284.jpg

Glovebox is medium-sized:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-35dsc00283.jpg

Both sunvisors get vanity mirrors and lights:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-45dsc00303.jpg

Sunroof controls on the lights console. The cabin lights use conventional bulbs (not LEDs):
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-41dsc00289.jpg

Unlike the Skoda Superb's sunroof-equipped variants, the Accord Hybrid gets a sunglass holder with a soft lining for protection:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-40dsc00288.jpg

Sunroof is medium-sized and has one touch open/close functionality. The cover completely blocks the sunlight - much needed for hot & sunny India!
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-42dsc00290.jpg

Last edited by Samurai : 15th December 2016 at 19:58.
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Old 7th December 2016, 10:36   #5
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Interior - Rear

The rear doors open wide enough. The seat is at a comfortable height and ingress and egress are not difficult; no one is likely to complain. Just like the front, the door pads have faux wood, piano black and leather inserts:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00256.jpg

Even the buttons on the rear windows have "AUTO" markings on them. Large ashtrays have been provided on both doors. Door pockets are useful for storing a bottle and other items:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00255.jpg

The rear seat has good room and is well set up. Very comfortable. It misses out on a lot of equipment though, which isn't expected at this price. Rear seat-focused features like rear and side curtains, electric reclining function, controls for the HVAC and audio controls are missing. These are present in the Accord Hybrid’s chief competitor - the Toyota Camry:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00259.jpg

Saheb can electrically adjust the front passenger seat for backseat angle and reach through controls placed on the side:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00273.jpg

The top of the armrest has a piano black lid, under which are two glass holders:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00252.jpg

Both front seats have deep seatback pockets:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00254.jpg

Carpets and mats are black in colour and the floor hump is medium-sized:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00258.jpg

Strangely, no controls for the audio system or air-con. Just the conventional air volume control and direction adjustment:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00253.jpg

Reading lamps for the rear seat. Behind the reading lamps is the mic used for noise cancellation:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00291.jpg

Ventilation duct on the left uses air from the back of the cabin to cool the battery pack in the boot:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00318.jpg

The right side is sealed:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00319.jpg

The boot is pretty small for such a big car. The hybrid battery system occupies a lot of space, so there is no room left for a spare tyre!! Instead, the Accord gets a tyre inflator & puncture sealant. The boot has two storage spots under the floor:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00171.jpg

First storage cubicle holds the emergency reflector...
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00172.jpg

...while the other holds the tyre inflator + puncture sealant, strapped in place with a velcro strip:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00173.jpg

The large tyre inflator:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00174.jpg

A screwdriver is the only included tool! No spare wheel means no wheel removal tools like a spanner, jack etc.
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00175.jpg

Underside of the boot lid is properly clad. No cost cutting here:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00178.jpg

Uniquely, three speakers sit on the rear parcel shelf, including a subwoofer. Unclad section looks ugly:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00177.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 7th December 2016 at 10:45.
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In-Car Entertainment

The infotainment system features two screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It comes with voice recognition, HDMI, USB & Bluetooth connectivity, an in-built WiFi receiver and navigation. CDs and DVDs are also accepted. The system comes with 7 speakers, including two tweeters and a subwoofer mounted on the rear parcel shelf. Though the subwoofer provides additional thump, the sound quality does not have the depth of systems in similarly priced German cars:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-19dsc00307.jpg

The upper screen is used for displaying information related to the trip, audio, navigation and Honda LaneWatch. Navigation information from both embedded maps + apps from smartphones are displayed on this screen:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-15dsc00279.jpg

Embedded navigation system:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-16dsc00280.jpg

Functions from the native Honda system:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-17dsc00281.jpg

Camera for the LaneWatch system on the LHS ORVM:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00249.jpg

LaneWatch system is activated when the left turn-indicator is on. The passenger-side road area is displayed on the upper screen, allowing the driver to safely move to the left :
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00188.jpg

Driver can choose from various views for the reversing camera. A total of six parking sensors - 2 at the front and 4 at the rear are provided:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00325.jpg

Upper screen doubles up as a display for the reversing camera:
Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00327.jpg

Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid-dsc00326.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 7th December 2016 at 10:47.
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Driving the Accord Hybrid

The Honda Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0L, Atkinson Cycle, 16-valve i-Vtec petrol engine that develops 143 BHP (@ 6,200 rpm) and 175 Nm of torque (@ 4,000 rpm). This engine is backed up by an electric motor that produces 181 BHP (@ 5,000-6,000 rpm) and 315 Nm of torque (@ 0-2,000 rpm). The combined power available is 212 BHP. The boot holds a 1.3 kWh Li-ion battery pack.

In purely electric operation, with the EV button pressed or whenever selected automatically, the motor is completely noiseless. The 2L i-Vtec engine, however, is not completely silent even when it is passively powering the car, or on startup. Whatever the mode, it is clearly audible, more so when you push it a bit, where due to the CVT transmission’s rubber-band effect and holding of the revs results in a louder than expected engine sound. That aside, the car is very silent on the inside, with no other noticeable noises coming through.

The acceleration in combined output is really strong and the low-end & mid-range feel punchy. However, at the top-end, a CVT transmission-like rubber-band effect is present and spoils the fun. The car still remains peppy throughout. It’s at the low-end, where the electric motor's extra torque helps in an almost instant power delivery. The car performs best in city conditions. Out on the highway, if you push it too hard, the battery depletes quickly. There is also a Sport mode, which can be engaged by pressing a button on the gear console. Upon pressing it, the only change we could feel during our short drive was a sharper throttle response.

The Accord has an ECON button. Pressing this button maximises the car's fuel efficiency (ARAI rating of 23.1 km/l). The throttle response is duller when the car is driven in this mode.

Hybrid Operation:

The Honda Accord isn’t the first hybrid car in India. We have had the Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry on sale in the country. The Accord uses a slightly different technology compared to the Toyota Hybrid system. The Honda comes with an Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) two-motor hybrid powertrain. The physics behind regenerative braking has been explained earlier. However, I will give an easier example to explain it. From the link, we know that all moving objects have kinetic energy and in a traditional braking system, the brake pads rub against the brake disc/drum, thereby converting the kinetic energy into heat energy. Thus, in a traditional braking system, the kinetic energy is wasted.

First, let’s clarify some terminologies. The Honda Accord press release uses terms like generator motor and drive motor to describe the two motors it has. It can be quite confusing to somebody not familiar with electrical engineering. This is mainly because a motor is also a generator by construction.

Let’s start by calling it an electrical machine. If you supply a current through the circuit of this electrical machine, the center shaft will rotate, thereby supplying mechanical energy. This is probably the most familiar electrical machine to all of us. The electric drill, water pump, ceiling fan etc. are the common examples we see every day. We call this a motor. On the other hand, if you turn the center shaft using an external mechanical source, it induces electrical current through the circuit, which can be used to power equipment or charge a battery. Now we call this a generator. The Honda Accord is a bit unique because of the following reasons:

Drive Motor - Drives the wheels and also generates electricity via brake regeneration
Generator Motor - Generates electricity from the petrol engine's mechanical power

Now think of a bicycle dynamo, which can generate electric power when its head is rotated by holding against the sidewall of the tyre. It is a simple generator, which powers the headlight of the bicycle. Pedalling the cycle becomes harder when the dynamo is engaged. Regenerative braking is based on this concept.

The Accord doesn’t have a transmission in the normal sense. It has fixed gears. When the accelerator pedal is pressed, the drive motor drives the wheels directly. Whenever the driver takes the foot off the accelerator pedal, the drive motor stops driving, instead becomes driven by the wheels, adding the load that starts slowing the car. When the driver presses the brake pedal, the drive motor applies more load offering higher braking resistance. Honda has a mechanism to increase or decrease this load as required, the details of which have not been shared by the company.

The Honda Accord does have the traditional all-wheel disc braking system. According to the information released, the friction brakes engage only once the speed drops below 8 km/h, and is applied fully once the car is about to stop. In other words, Honda's regenerative braking system tries to convert the kinetic energy to the maximum possible extent! Unlike the bicycle dynamo that powers the headlight, the Honda Accord's drive motor charges the large 1.3 kWh Li-ion battery in the rear.

Next we have the generator motor, which is driven by the petrol engine, to generate electrical power. The output of the generator motor can go either to run the drive motor or charge the battery. Finally, we have the petrol engine, which can either drive the generator to generate power or drive the drive motor depending on the requirement.

Keep in mind there is no transmission with varying gear ratios. The drivetrain is controlled entirely by electrical controls. The gear ratio between the engine & generator, engine & drivetrain and drive motor & drivetrain are fixed. How is this possible, you ask?

Think about why variable gearing is required in traditional cars. The IC engine can deliver torque only after a certain rpm like 1,000. In order to start a car from a stationary position, we need to bring the wheel rpm down to somewhere below 100, and we also need lots of torque to overcome the inertia of a stationary vehicle. The gear selection allows us to reduce the rpm and increase the torque at the same time. As the car speeds up, we tend to reduce the gearing ratio to match the speed. Usually in 4th gear, the gear ratio is 1:1 - as good as non-existent.

The electric motor on the other hand can produce maximum torque from the start. It doesn’t need to build rpm before delivering the torque. In the Honda Accord, the initial speeds are handled by the drive motor only, which is powered by the battery. Here, the petrol engine is off. If the battery doesn’t have enough charge, the petrol engine starts automatically and starts driving the generator motor to produce the electricity required to run the drive motor. Again, the engine rpm has no impact on the speed, since it is only used to generate power. How much power is sent to the drive motor is controlled by electronics. Only when the car is above a certain cruising speed does it decide to connect the engine to the drivetrain via a locking clutch, powering the car either alone or together with the drive motor during times of quick acceleration. As a result, this system doesn’t need a traditional transmission with varying gear ratios. Instead, the entire switchover between battery power, generator power and direct engine power is controlled by the car's electronics without any input from the driver. This system is called the e-CVT. Honda claims big fuel efficiency gains due to the missing gearbox.

Here is the breakup of different drive operations:

EV Drive: This is used while starting the car from a standstill, and also during slow cruising. The car is extremely silent in this mode. The generator motor and petrol engine are not operating in this mode. The drive motor is powered only by the battery. This is the most fuel-efficient mode.

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Hybrid Drive: As the car picks up speed, the battery won’t have the juice to keep it running. This is when the petrol engine kicks in and starts driving the generator motor, which now supplies the power to the drive motor. This setup is known as 'series hybrid'. The rpm of the petrol engine is of no relevance here because the power generated by the generator motor can be sent to both, the drive motor and battery. This is entirely decided by the electronics.

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Engine Drive: As the car reaches highway speeds, it is time for the engine to jump in directly. Again, the electronics will at the right time decide to engage a lock-up clutch between the drivetrain and the petrol engine. Now, the drivetrain can have two inputs, the petrol motor and the drive motor. Usually the petrol engine alone drives the car, but during quick acceleration, the drive motor pitches in for that extra push. This setup is known as 'parallel hybrid'. I know, this means engine rpm again, has no direct relevance to the speed of the car. The electronics decide the exact combination of engine power and electrical power to use, depending on the throttle input and current momentum of the car. As a result, the Honda Accord's instrument cluster doesn’t have a tachometer.

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Here is a helpful animation video that explains all the 3 operations. The video doesn't show the parallel hybrid operation where the drive motor kicks in for the extra push in engine drive mode, but you can see that the drive motor is also connected to the drivetrain during the direct engine mode.



Atkinson Cycle:

This is the first time the Honda Accord is using an engine with an Atkinson cycle. The non-hybrid version of the Accord uses an Otto cycle engine, which requires two rotations of the crankshaft to complete the 4 strokes, i.e. fuel/air intake, compression ending with ignition, expansion & exhaust. The Atkinson cycle differs from the Otto cycle in one significant way. During the compression cycle, the intake valve remains open for a while, which sends some of the fuel/air mixture back. It also reduces the compression due to this intentional leak. Less fuel and less compression means lesser power to turn the crankshaft. That means that the Atkinson cycle engine delivers lesser torque than an Otto cycle engine of the same capacity, while improving fuel efficiency. Hybrid cars can afford to sacrifice torque because the electric motor is responsible for starting the car from a stop and quick acceleration. Therefore, a fuel-efficient moderate torque Atkinson cycle engine is the best option for hybrid cars.



Ride & Handling

The Honda Accord always used a double wishbone suspension in the front, unlike the Camry which has a cheaper/simpler McPherson strut setup. However, the Hybrid setup demands more room under the hood and so, Honda too has switched to the McPherson strut setup to free up necessary space. At the rear, the car has a multi-link setup.

The suspension is really soft. It feels even softer than the previous-gen Accord. At low speeds, despite the low profile rubber, it filters out road undulations very well and the ride is perfectly comfortable. However, out on the highway, even on the perfectly smooth Hyderabad ORR, the car could never settle down. It had that annoying constant up-and-down movement similar to old Hyundai cars. Bump absorption was good in the case of small to midsize bumps, but anything bigger and the low profile rubber starts showing its ugly side. Owners also need to take additional care, because there is no spare tyre in the boot and the car's tyres are not even runflat type. These low-profile tyres can get damaged easily.

Going by the huge size and my experience with the old Accord, I was not expecting this barge to be a handler, but surprisingly, the new Accord Hybrid sticks to its line quite well. Even with sharp inputs, the handling stays safe enough and I could never see the ESP light blinking. It is nowhere close to the Skoda Superb in terms of handling though, and this isn't an enthusiast's machine. Straight-line stability was top grade and it was just the annoying up and down movement that spoiled the experience.

The electric power-assisted steering is one of the nicest parts of this car's driving experience. It is well-weighted and so, some people who are used to light EPS units may even find it to be firm. On the other hand, I like the slightly heavier-than-normal feel. The steering weighs up even more during cornering and at speed, there is no vagueness present. My only complaint is it is a bit slow. But then, that's perfectly acceptable for its intended use.

The rear brake discs of the Accord Hybrid are bigger than the front discs! When was the last time you saw that?? The reason mentioned by Honda was the larger handbrake drum used. The feel of the brake pedal is not very different from regular cars. However, it feels a bit under-servoed. The stopping power of the brakes is good and no one should have any complaints regarding the braking.

Disclaimer: Honda invited Team-BHP for the Accord test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Samurai : 8th December 2016 at 12:50.
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Old 7th December 2016, 11:06   #8
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Test-Drives Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th December 2016, 11:42   #9
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post

The Honda Accord Hybrid has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 37 lakhs (ex-Delhi).
Brilliant drive report Samurai and thank you for sharing it here.

I have never really liked the way Japanese 'Used' to design their cars, until Honda launched the Honda Civic. This still remains one of my favourite cars in India.

Personally, this version of Accord looked its price and I have only liked this iteration:

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Anyways, with this price tag I am not sure if this Hybrid can even match the Toyota sales on a monthly basis.


Quote:
Driving the Accord Hybrid

The Honda Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0L, Atkinson Cycle, 16-valve i-Vtec petrol engine that develops 143 BHP (@ 6,200 rpm) and 175 Nm of torque (@ 4,000 rpm). This engine is backed up by an electric motor that produces 181 BHP (@ 5,000-6,000 rpm) and 315 Nm of torque (@ 0-2,000 rpm). The combined power available is 212 BHP. The boot holds a 1.3 kWh Li-ion battery pack.
Hey Samurai, the Engine develops 143 BHP and the battery does about 181 BHP. So shouldn't the total output be 324 BHP here??

Am I missing something??

Last edited by Vik0728 : 7th December 2016 at 11:44.
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Old 7th December 2016, 12:20   #10
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Hey Samurai, the Engine develops 143 BHP and the battery does about 181 BHP. So shouldn't the total output be 324 BHP here??

Am I missing something??
Output of both power trains can't be just added together as both of them don't work simultaneously at full power. Either you have full electric or you have petrol engine supporting the electric motor or vice versa. The electronics takes care of power distribution and never gives you max power from both drive units.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 7th December 2016 at 15:31.
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Old 7th December 2016, 12:24   #11
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Hey Samurai, the Engine develops 143 BHP and the battery does about 181 BHP. So shouldn't the total output be 324 BHP here??

Am I missing something??
It is not a matter of simple arithmetic. The engine and the battery are in parallel setup connected via series of gears and clutch. So the calculation is quite non-linear, and can be measured only by dyno.
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Old 7th December 2016, 12:28   #12
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

I can't think of ANY reason, all factors considered, to pick this over a Camry Hybrid.

Ridiculous price aside, the spare tyre issue in itself is a huge deal breaker. On a related note, I am amazed that most other reviews either fail to mention the tyre issue or if they do mention this, there is not much dwelling on the consequence, just a mere mention in the passing.
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Old 7th December 2016, 12:29   #13
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

So up until it reaches highway speeds, it drives like the new London bus or Fiskar Karma where the IC engine is only used to generate electricity.
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Old 7th December 2016, 15:35   #14
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

Loved reading the review, Accord has always been right up there for most of us.
Unlike the Superb, both Camry and Accord are chauffeur driven cars. Having said so, I believe missing out on the rear seat features will be a huge setback for Accord. For the extra 6Lakhs premium, lets give it the benefit of doubt for some of the newly introduced features ( regenerative braking etc) + being a CBU.
Michelin Pilot Sport 3 are known for the excellent wet grip, if the tyres last a good 30k Kms in Indian conditions then Id say they have done their duty very well.
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Old 7th December 2016, 19:03   #15
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Default Re: Driven: Honda Accord Hybrid

Thank you for this interesting review. I find the move to electrics in all the forms most gratifying. Glad that Honda too have stepped into the hybrid territory once again. They will have to do better than CBU pricing if they wish to grab a slice of the market. Thank you for the warning note on the not so plush interiors (relative to the price point) and the lack of a stepney. Surely Honda's design team can fit a stepney into a car almost 5 metres long. Fifteen years back these interiors would have been top dog. But now we are more spoilt and they look a little out of gear at this price.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 7th December 2016 at 19:08.
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