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

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -

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.

SAFETY ★★★★

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.

DRIV­ING ★★★1/2

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.

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