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VOL. 41 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 14, 2017

Long road trip: Accord Hybrid gets 758 miles between fill-ups

By Ann M. Job | For the Associated Press

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Honda’s Accord Hybrid has returned for 2017 as a roomy, comfortable mid-size sedan that’s the most fuel-efficient gas-electric hybrid four-door car in its class.

In fact, the federal government projects the new Accord Hybrid could travel as much as 758 miles before needing a fill-up. This surprising travel range stems from the car’s 15.8-gallon gas tank and its fuel economy, which the government rates as 49 mpg in city driving and 47 mpg on highways. Its city driving efficiency is higher because the slower speeds allow the electric motors to provide more of the propulsion power than they do at highway speeds.

The new Accord Hybrid operates with a second-generation powertrain composed of a four-cylinder engine working with two re-engineered hybrid electric motors and a downsized lithium ion battery pack to deliver a total of 212 horsepower. This is not a plug-in hybrid car, but electricity for the electric motors is generated onboard, such as when excess energy generated when coasting or braking is captured and stored in the battery pack.

The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a base 2017 Accord Hybrid is $30,480, which is only $355 more than the cost of the last Accord Hybrid, which was a 2015 model. That includes the destination charge.

The new Accord received an overall five out of five stars for occupant crash protection from the federal government.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

BASE PRICE: $29,605 for base model; $32,905 for EX-L; $35,955 for Touring

AS TESTED: $36,830

TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger, gasoline-electric hybrid, mid-size sedan

ENGINE: 2-liter, double overhead cam, Atkinson cycle four-cylinder with i-VTEC mated to two electric motors and a 1.3-kilowatt hour, lithium ion battery pack

MILEAGE: 49 mpg (city), 47 mpg (highway)

TOP SPEED: 112 mph

LENGTH: 194.1 inches

WHEELBASE: 109.3 inches

CURB WEIGHT: 3,300 pounds

BUILT: Japan

OPTIONS: None

DESTINATION CHARGE: $875

The Associated Press

Techies and regular drivers alike can enjoy the new Accord Hybrid as an easy-to-drive and easy-to-live-with sedan that comes well-equipped with some features that are extra on competing sedans.

For example, the base 2017 Accord Hybrid includes 10-way power-adjustable front seats, two-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, lane keep assist, forward collision warning and braking, cruise control that uses radar to maintain safe distances behind cars ahead, remote engine starting, floor mats, wood-grain dashboard trim, upgraded seat fabric and a rear vision camera with multiple angle views.

Higher trim levels of the Accord Hybrid include heated seats, leather seats, moonroof and a 360-watt premium sound system, among other things. The price of such models doesn’t go much beyond $37,000. Unfortunately, blind spot monitoring isn’t offered on any Accord Hybrid.

The new Accord Hybrid showcases how Honda engineers coaxed more power out of the gas and electric parts of the powertrain – a combined 212 horsepower. The 16.1-foot-long sedan starts from stops quietly and more quickly than expected, thanks to the 232 foot-pounds of torque it gets from the electric power system.

The zero-to-60 mph time for this car has been clocked at 6.9 seconds, which is better than the acceleration time of a non-hybrid Accord and Toyota Camry, which both have four-cylinder engines.

The Accord Hybrid rides well for a 3,200-plus-pound car, managing most bumps well. Unless the four-cylinder engine is pressed hard and gets loud, the ride is mostly quiet. But the 17-inch tires on the test-driven car reached their grip limits easily.

The new Accord Hybrid has more trunk space than the last model, measuring a decent 13.7 cubic feet. Its rear legroom and headroom are surprisingly generous, at 39.3 and 38.3 inches, respectively.

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