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2017 Honda Accord Hybrid: Return of the two-motor hybrid

By Benjamin Yong, 22 Mar, 2017
  • 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid:  Return of the two-motor hybrid

The re-engineered hybrid system, called Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD), is now smaller in size and 23 per cent lighter compared to before, as well as more efficient providing increased power and improved fuel efficiency. 

 
 
When the Honda Accord Hybrid burst onto the scene in 2014 with a classically handsome appearance and innovative two-motor design, it stood out in its class. After a brief disappearance during the 2016 model year, the partially electric vehicle is back boasting a second-generation powertrain and exterior facelift. 
 
The re-engineered hybrid system, called Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD), is now smaller in size and 23 per cent lighter compared to before, as well as more efficient providing increased power and improved fuel efficiency. 
  
i-MMD is comprised of a 2.0-litre i-VTEC inline four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine, a 1.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a pair of electric motors. One is responsible for propulsion, driving the front wheels, and the other is a generator producing electricity for the propulsion motor. An electronic continuously variable transmission is standard. 
 
 
 
There are three distinct drive modes: Hybrid Drive, EV Drive, and Engine Drive. The first causes the internal combustion system to disconnect from the front axle and instead run the generator motor to charge up the battery pack; the second lets the car operate on pure electricity while travelling at lower city speeds; and the third allows the gasoline engine to directly send power to the wheels as the needle climbs, say on the highway or in a passing scenario, for instance.
 
The gas engine makes 143 horsepower and the electric motors are rated at 135 kilowatts, together creating a net 212 horsepower, 16 more than its predecessor. The car doesn’t really feel quick until you hit the new sport button, located on the centre console, which directs battery energy towards acceleration. When on, a wave of torque instantly hits when you plant your right foot down. Like most hybrids, operation under normal conditions is whisper quiet. 
 
The aesthetic updates are in line with the standard Accord variant refresh and include restyled front and rear fascias and lighting. The chrome is overdone in my opinion, especially noticeable on the chunkier grille. Our press car was sprayed in a paint colour just added for this year, a deep and vibrant Vortex Blue Pearl.
 
 
Inside, details such as stitched leather door panels and subtle dark wood trim give the vehicle a premium feel. Contrasting the understated interior is a futuristic instrument cluster featuring a centrally mounted analog speedometer, flanked by illuminated Eco Assist arcs that glow to help the driver determine optimum driving habits.
 
Bringing along cargo is no problem in Accord Hybrid, made even easier since the trunk is now longer by 86 millimetres. Total capacity is a sizable 382 litres, enough to fit four large golf bags. Lifting up the carpeted floor reveals some extra hidden storage space.
 
Other changes elsewhere on the car include suspension and electric steering that has both been returned for a more performance-oriented feel yielding better handling response and feel. 
 
The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is in stores now.  
 
 
 
Highlights (as tested):   
   
MSRP: $33,020  
Motor: 2.0-litre four cylinder + two electric motors
Horsepower: 212 (net)
Torque (lb-ft): 232 (net)   
Gearbox: e-CVT   
Layout: Front engine, front-wheel drive   
Fuel economy: 5.0 L/100 km mixed city/highway (manufacturer estimate)

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