Honda’s 2019 Accord Hybrid is another example of the evolving gasoline/electric power vehicles that are changing the automotive scene for the better.
It was a pleasure to drive, with plenty of power and roomy comfort inside.
One of the surprising features I discovered in the Accord (and a few other test vehicles recently) is the capless fuel system. You simply open the hatch and stick the nozzle in, without having to remove or replace a cap. That’s convenient and it saves you a second or two when filling up.
But I kept having the nagging feeling that I’d forgotten the gas cap somewhere. There’s no need to worry, however, because there’s an internal stop to prevent gas tank fumes from escaping.
The 2019 model is relatively unchanged from 2018. It comes in two front-wheel-drive models: the Hybrid and the Hybrid Touring.
The Touring version features a heads-up display of your speed, speed limits and vehicle direction floating out over the engine hood. It’s easily visible day or night and I found it useful, just as I did the vehicle warning lights on the passenger and driver’s side mirrors.
The Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre, 16-valve, Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine. The electric engine provides 181 horsepower at 5,000 to 6,000 rpm, with a combined total 212 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. The car also features a six-speed manual transmission.
The two-motor system has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that smoothly utilizes power from the two electric motors, the gasoline engine or both systems.
The braking system generates battery power when the vehicle is slowing down. Two paddles on the steering wheel allow you to increase or decrease the regenerative braking, to reduce brake wear or increase charging.
Fuel consumption is 5.0 litres/100 km, city and highway.
Honda offers a wealth of safety sensing features. The system keeps track of vehicles in front and issues alerts if you’re approaching them too fast. If you don’t respond, the braking system applies the appropriate amount of stopping power to help avoid a collision. The system also alerts the driver if you’re drifting into another lane. It also gently corrects your steering if you’re entering another lane without signalling. And the system will correct your steering and even apply the brakes if it thinks your vehicle is leaving the road.
In addition, the cruise control maintains a constant speed and a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
We’re inching closer to cars that drive themselves as we snooze while commuting.
The Accord Hybrid also lets you see around the vehicle when parking.
I especially enjoyed the 452-Watt AM/FM audio system with 10 speakers including a subwoofer. The interior is quiet, too, which made listening to music at highway speeds a real pleasure.
There’s plenty of room inside for a car of its size. Seating is very comfortable, with plenty of head room and leg room. The rear seats fold down and are split 60/40. The driver’s seat features 12-way power adjustment along with four-way back support. The front passenger seat allows four-way manual adjustment.
The Accord’s sleek exterior is on a par with other models in its class, and sports a chrome grille and rain-sensing windshield wipers. All of the car’s exterior lights, including headlights, use LEDs for maximum brightness.
Cargo space in the trunk is an impressive 473 litres (almost 17 cubic feet). That’s great for hauling luggage, groceries or sports equipment.
This is a great vehicle for small families or couples who need a car that’s fun to drive, easy to park and easy on gas. Honda has long had an enviable reputation for reliability and customer loyalty, and the Accord Hybrid will do much to add to that legacy. It’s one of my favourites to drive in the last year.
The Honda Accord Hybrid starts at $33,390.
Peter Bailey is an award-winning newspaper editor and writer with more than 40 years of experience. He specializes in automotive and travel writing, and lives in Hamilton, Ont.