• Auto123 reviews the 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid.
• The base model Accord Hybrid offers a fuel consumption rating of 5.0L/100 km.
• Honda's hybrid system is unique in the industry and is particularly efficient in certain situations.
• The base price of an Accord Hybrid will set you back some $40,000.
The Honda Accord needs no introduction. It's been around for just over 40 years, and those who haven’t owned one are at least familiar with it. It was once the best-selling car in North America, need we remind you? That was in another pre-SUV era, but still.
It seems there’s a member of the family that does actually need an introduction, to consumers anyways: the hybrid version of the Accord. In fact, we’d be willing to wager that most of you weren’t even aware there was such a format in the product offering of Honda’s flagship sedan.
What explains this state of affairs, exactly? Is it Honda that doesn't want to sell it or is it the consumer that doesn't want it?
Because quality-wise, this is an attractive model. So what gives?
The Accord sedan isn't as popular as it used to be, but that has nothing to do with its quality. Even as sales have dropped, the model has actually gotten better with each passing generation (one exception: the current model, introduced for 2018, is not better than its predecessor (2013-2017); we say it it’s equal).
This current Accord It offers some fundamentally different design elements, such as a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with one particular mechanic, as well as a regular lineup that no longer features purely naturally aspirated engines.
That said, once on the road, you rediscover the longstanding qualities of the model, which offers a good level of performance, soundproofing and impressive comfort. The driving position, the welcoming nature of the seats, the space available to rear passengers, it's all great. In all honesty, looking for major flaws in this car is like looking for proof that the earth is flat.
The only “weakness” is the slight disconnectedness from the road when you drive. The 1990 Accord I own has a much more interesting feel, so things have changed. Even the previous generation offered more in that regard. For most buyers, this will not be an issue… and Honda knows it.
The hybrid version
Now, what happens when you take all the qualities of the Accord and pair them with a hyper-frugal hybrid powertrain. A pretty interesting combination is what happens.
The Accord Hybrid makes use of a 2.0L naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine, as well as two electric motors. Total output is advertised at 212 hp, but it's actually less than that due to the system's configuration, which only finds its full power at high RPM. Torque is 232 lb-ft, which makes up for it. You never feel short of power.
In fact, when you drive it, you can't really tell the difference between Honda's hybrid system and those found elsewhere. You will, however, take happy note of the fuel economy you get. Officially, consumption is 5.0L/100 km combined with the base version, and 5.3L/100 km city and 5.7L/100 km highway with the Touring variant (mainly because of the different wheels and tires).
And yes, as hinted there, Honda's hybrid system is different. The company refers to it as a two-motor electric system with three driving modes. One of these motors acts as a generator, powered by the gasoline engine; its role is to send energy to the battery, as well as to the second electric motor, which has the task of powering the front wheels.
In electric driving mode, the battery powers this electric motor, which in turn powers the wheels. When decelerating, the opposite work occurs as the regeneration is used to recharge the battery.
In hybrid driving, the gasoline engine feeds the generator/motor, which in turn feeds the electric motor responsible for the link with the wheels. What’s special about this mode is that the engine revolutions have nothing to do with the speed of the vehicle, which can be destabilizing behind the wheel. Here, the gasoline engine turns the generator/motor to generate power, period.
With these two driving modes, there’s no connection between the gas engine and the wheels. At higher speeds, a clutch connects the engine to the front wheels. In effect, the system tries to act as efficiently as possible at all times.
To understand all the subtleties of its operation and efficiency, you would have to spend months behind the wheel. Many owners note significant differences in fuel consumption between, for example, 105 km/h and 120 km/h (more significant than simply driving 15 km/h faster). Basically, you get away with fuel consumption ratings similar to those offered by competing models. And that's what’S important to remember.
As for the transmission, in reality, there is none. Honda uses the term e-cvt to define the work that goes on inside the module that combines the two electric motors and the vehicle's gearing system.
If you pay attention when behind the wheel, you'll notice somewhat different performance, but in everyday driving, it's forgotten. Again, what’s worth remembering is that the system is very efficient.
If you're interested in the Accord Hybrid, you have two options: the base model or the Touring. The latter is all-inclusive, but the former is fairly well-equipped to being with. What the Touring does offer are some nice but non-essential features like heated rear seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, head-up display, chrome door handles, ventilated front seats, Wi-Fi zone and rain-sensing wipers, for example.
The price difference is significant, at just over $6,500 (from about $39,000 to $45,000). If fuel economy is your motivation behind choosing this model, the cheaper version is the logical choice, not to mention more frugal.
The final word
If you're looking for a spacious, comfortable and frugal car, the 2022 Honda Accord Hybrid should be on your short-list.
Sadly, It doesn’t seem to make it to many of those short-lists. Looking at the current generation that appeared for 2018, annual sales of this variant were 393, 660, 432 and 543 units through 2021. Since the beginning of this year, 398 units have been sold. Compared to the regular model's domestic sales, this is marginal. In 2018, Honda sold 13,827 Accords; 11,381 units sold in 2019, 7,844 in 2020 and 6,403 in 2021. This year, 2618 cars have so far found takers.
The percentage of hybrid sales is thus really low. And it's not about the price difference. Roughly $2,000 more is required for a comparably equipped hybrid model, a sum that is quickly recouped at the pump.
Is it Honda that doesn't want to sell it, or are consumers shunning it? A bit of both, perhaps…
Comfort levelAttractive fuel economy ratings
We like less
Price rangeUncommunicative steering
Adjustments on the part of the driver required (to the engine, the hybrid gearing and the work of the e-cvt)
Toyota Camry hybrid
Hyundai Sonata hybrid