HONDA ACCORD SPORT HYBIRD
Fuel efficiency is tricky tech that comes at a cost — either a huge premium or diminished dynamics. Craig Duff takes charge
VALUE ★★ 1/2
Tell ’em they’re dreaming. Honda isn’t seen as a prestige brand, so $58,990 won’t sit well when the Lexus IS300h is cheaper and a base Mercedes C-Class is a couple of grand more. The Accord is well-specced, with adaptive cruise control, auto braking, active lane keeping, satnav and leather upholstery. Servicing costs $307 every 12 months/10,000km for the first five years.
ENGINE ★★★ 1/2
A 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a pair of motors (one drives the front wheels, the other works as a generator to charge the 1.3kWh lithium-ion battery) produce a combined 146kW/307Nm. Power is delivered via an “E-CVT”, with software to govern the drivetrain‘s three modes: electric (up to 2km), hybrid
and petrol-only. Fuel use is a claimed 4.6L/100km.
DESIGN ★★★ 1/2
It looks like a Honda Accord with 18-inch alloy wheels and blue highlights across the grille slats and around the lights. The regular Accord fulfils the smart but conservative brief; this is the neon version. The interior uses a smaller touchscreen for audio functions and a larger display for satnav and reversing camera. It is classy and well-built but a step away from premium.
ANCAP has not rated the hybrid version. It probably won’t, given Honda expects only niche sales. It’s 70kg heavier but it’s safe to expect the hybrid to be close to the five-star rating earned by the petrol-powered Accords.
Efficient yes, engaging no. The Sport Hybrid is no quicker than a regular Accord and attempts to generate decent acceleration aren’t fruitful. The transmission displays the generic CVT penchant for drivetrain drone, which is exacerbated by engine noise that is far from refined. The beefed-up suspension copes well with all but sharp-edged bumps. Steering and brake feel are above average.