2015 Honda Accord Hybrid: A superior futuristic driving experience
2015 Honda Accord Hybrid’s futuristic driving experience.
The truth is even without class leading city fuel economy, 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid would earn your serious consideration. It’s that futuristic and unique in a world of appliance pop-outs, read on…
I’d been trying to get my hands on the wheel of Honda’s 2015 Accord Hybrid for months. They’re hard to come by; Honda PR hasn't offered to lend us one and we haven't asked. With 10,000 units sold in North America through Sept 2014, Accord Hybrid is as rare as hen’s teeth. Dealers tell us that they could sell as many Accord Hybrids as they could place in stock, Honda Japan is stingy with batteries and hybrid systems.
Last Friday that all changed for me. With a search of Western Oregon dealership inventory; I found one. Calling on my friend Paul Casey of Kendall Honda, Acura of Eugene, the only 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid available in Western Oregon fell into my P-AWS.
While our test Honda was a bare bones entry level Accord Hybrid variant, Torque News happily took it out for an extensive drive and review; we weren't disappointed.
2015 Honda Accord Hybrid surprises
Without getting teary eyed or giddy while spewing expletives, exclamation mark punctuated prose as to the attributes of Honda’s finest Accord offering to date, I’ll just say it. This is the Honda that I would purchase as my daily personal driver without reservations or extended periods of buyer’s remorse.
Honda offerings? I’ve driven them all including Acura’s class setting 2015 TLX. While Accord Hybrid is not the TLX, it offers some things that TLX doesn't; a futuristic seamless EV only drive, electric motor torque and the coolest electronic blue and green lit glass dash in the automotive universe; sitting in Accord Hybrid is a trip in itself.
It’s difficult to describe in words the sensation of transporting oneself in a nearly 2 ton personal transportation conveyance while experiencing elevator-like silence. I discovered iMMD technology, Accord 40 mph EV- only city driving and fell in love with it; something I never expected this old V8 loving motor head to do.
The Starship Enterprise electric warp drive sound unique to Accord Hybrid is a fair trade-off for Honda’s iconic V6 growl; you won't miss the exhaust note. I found myself circling a major retail mall parking lot with the driver side window rolled down searching for a discernible gasoline engine noise, there wasn't any. Much like a kid experiencing his first hour with a new remote controlled EV, I was fascinated by the eerily silent whirl of Honda’s EV- only hybrid drive. Much like driving the world’s largest enclosed golf cart with the comfort of grandpa’s last century Cadillac or Lincoln, Accord Hybrid is rock solid, comfortable and quiet.
Yeah I know, Toyota offers the # 1 selling Hybrid hatchback in the U.S., I've driven Prius and prefer the styling and 4 door sedan interior accouterments offered through Accord Hybrid. It doesn't look, drive or ride like a Prius, thank you...
Transition from EV to engine drive, a bit dramatic
It takes a moment or two to get used to the feel of Accord Hybrid’s regenerative brakes. I found them to be a bit grabby at first, but settled in after a mile or two. They’re electric mechanical regenerating disks with a slightly different resistance and bounce than power assisted hydraulic brakes. After a very short initial adjustment period, you forget the difference. ABS? yes, it’s there.
Don’t let the low horsepower and torque rating of Honda’s 2 liter four(140 hp) mislead you, it doesn't tell the story of the most advanced trouble-free(and only) series parallel hybrid available to North America.
The truth is, horsepower and torque ratings may no longer directly equate to power transference as manifested through Honda’s latest E-CVT( electronic continuous velocity transmission) In this case, the electric motor in Accord generates greater torque than the primary gasoline generator.(that’s correct) It’s a brave new world. While power ratings are still measured at the drive wheel, the greatest difference between Honda and Toyota hybrid drive systems may be how the power gets there.
To myToyota Prius fans I request that you patiently read on
The current generation Honda Accord Hybrid is the only gasoline/electric hybrid on the road today that keeps the engine disengaged from the drive wheels when traveling below highway cruising speeds. When launching from a stop sign and increasing road speeds to 40 mph, Accord Hybrid remains in EV- only mode and can do so for up to 14 miles under normal driving conditions. In EV mode the 2 liter “ EarthDreams” i-VTEC 4 is utilized as a generator.
Regenerative brakes, auto engine stop and Honda’s 2 liter EarthDreams ™ engine provides battery regeneration and highway running primary power while consuming 10% less fuel than the competition’s comparably sized engine.
The non-shift pattern and exceptionally fluid drive of the E-CVT takes a bit of getting used to.
At lower speeds the driving experience is bordering on mystical, but when you put your foot to the metal, all hell breaks lose; sound wise anyway. Think of the direct drive in your buddy's inboard ski boat. When Accord Hybrid transitions from EV mode to electric, gas engine when accelerating, there’s a noticeable commotion under the hood, but it doesn't happen often nor unnecessarily.
I found the Accord Hybrid to be relatively quick when pulling onto the highway and reached 70 mph by the end of the on ramp. What’s a bit disconcerting is that there’s very little recognizable torque sensation getting there. Hybrid Acceleration is par to the V6. The ride comfort, handling and interior noise level is superior to any other car in Honda’s lineup.
Fit and finish, pure Honda Accord
Other than the dash layout you won’t find anything out of character in Accord Hybrid. Our test mule although be it basic trim, was comfortable, roomy, intuitive and pleasant to the eye.
Accord is the best selling midsize 4 door sedan in North America because it offers the most car for the money, period! Generally, I’m a leather interior guy, I found the base model Accord Hybrid’s 10 way adjustable cloth upholstered driver’s seat to be uncharacteristically comfortable. Even this basic Accord came with backup cam, right lane watch, Bluetooth connectivity, voice command and a very decent 8 speaker stereo system with Honda Sat-link capabilities.
I like the active electronic noise cancellation and stability control standard on Accord Hybrid. You may read the standard features list here; a lot of car for $30 K.
Gone is the day of the cheap plastic clad interior. Honda’s done a commendable job of upgrading all interior hard and soft surfaces, increasing leg and headroom in the back seating area while improving rear ventilation and heating. Visually Accord Hybrid is pleasing to the eye, proportionally correct, aerodynamic and stylish without being brash or ostentatious.
I appreciate Honda’s upgraded headlights, parking lights, tail light trunk-line interface and updated 17” alloy rims; a great looking modern 4 door sedan.
This 6’5” car nut was comfortable sitting on the rear bench. Passenger visibility and comfort is top in class.
O.K. let’s wrap it up Parks!
To me the highest fuel economy in it’s class is simply the icing on the cake that is 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid.
47 EPA mpg combined in a car approaching the full size category is mind boggling. But, based priced at the $ exit portal of a fully equipped Accord Tour, with fuel pricing in North America falling below $3 for the first time in 4 years, I look to the extraordinary driving experience afforded through Accord Hybrid’s E-CVT and “Series Parallel Hybrid” drive technology to seal the deal.
For me, the guy that can and does drive any car he wants to, the 2015 Accord Hybrid is the Honda that I would purchase as my personal driver: it’s that good.
What I would change
Perhaps a thicker bolstered carpeting with pull down picnic trays in the rear lounge. Drop down 3D monitors with a hotel suite-like minibar and 20” dubs. Now that I've caught your attention, Well-- nothing, really!