CARS.COM — After taking a year off, the Honda Accord Hybrid is back for the 2017 model year boasting the midsize hybrid sedan class’ highest mileage ratings: 49/47/48 city/highway/combined mpg under the updated EPA ratings procedures for 2017 models. But do the hybrid Honda Accord’s lofty fuel economy figures measure up to real-world driving?
We put the new Accord to the test over about 1,400 miles, including a 640-mile run from Washington, D.C., over the Appalachian Mountains and across the upper Midwest, to western Michigan and back, along with about 125 miles of city driving in between. And we didn’t make it easy: The car was a fully loaded Touring trim with lots of accessories and a moonroof (sticker price $36,790 with destination). We then loaded the sedan up with about 600 pounds of people and cargo, the rough equivalent of a couple of refrigerators.
The new Accord Hybrid uses an updated version of the previous model’s powertrain, with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, two electric motors (one generating power and the other driving the wheels) and a lithium-ion battery for a total system output of 212 horsepower. The system can operate on electric power alone, in hybrid mode where the gas engine drives the generator to power the electric drive motor, or on gas engine-only power. The system’s computer decides the most efficient mix for the load and speed.
For the outbound drive, temperatures were in the high 80s with a slight crosswind for much of the route and about a half-hour of rain. We used automatic climate control the whole way and the adaptive cruise control for about half of the turnpike-heavy route as traffic allowed. While the Honda Accord Hybrid does not invite being driven like you stole it, we stayed with traffic, which moved generally a bit above the posted limits. We used neither Eco nor Sport modes, leaving it to the computer to do the thinking and mix the power modes for normal driving. You can select an instrument cluster graph to watch the power flow.