Following a short hiatus, the Accord Hybrid returned to the Honda’s North American two years ago. After skipping a model year in 2016, the electrified mid-size family sedan receives a second-generation version of its proprietary hybrid system for 2017.
Called Intelligent Multi-Mode, the system is made up of a 2.0-litre i-VTEC inline four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine, a 1.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and two electric motors. One is responsible for propulsion, driving the front wheels, and the other is a generator producing electricity for the propulsion motor. Both are smaller, more technically advanced and 23 per cent lighter than before.
There are three drive modes: Hybrid, EV and Engine. The first causes the gasoline engine to disconnect from the front axle and instead run the generator motor to charge up the battery pack; the second allows the car to operate on pure electricity during light cruising; and the last allows the gasoline engine to directly send power the wheels in medium to high speed situations.
The gasoline engine produces 143 horsepower and the electric motors are rated at 135 kilowatts, together creating a total output of 212 horsepower, 16 more than the outgoing vehicle. The transmission is comprised of an electric continuously variable transmission that features a new sport mode — drivers can activate the function by pressing a button below the shifter, which channels additional energy battery energy towards propulsion resulting in quicker acceleration.
Along with the upgrades to the powertrain, the exterior gets the same facelift treatment given to the standard ninth-generation 2016 Accord comprised of reworked front and rear fascias, LED fog lights and taillights, and more. Hybrid models have a few extra differentiating tweaks such as blue accents on the front grille and light housings, and unique badging.
A couple of other changes elsewhere on the car include a more performance-oriented damper setup and retuned electric steering to provide improved handling response and feel.
Look for the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid to arrive in dealerships soon.