Honda turns up the hybrid heat

With SUVs being all the rage, it’s quite a treat to get behind the wheel of a really nice sedan.

The oddly-named Honda Accord Sport Hybrid – it’s not sporty – is certainly in that category and it’s also cutting edge with its high-tech 2.0-litre hybrid engine that provides decent power with less thirst than a camel.

It’s a nice-looking car with simpler, more conservative lines than the smaller Hondas. That said, I’m probably in the age demographic for which it’s designed.

The blue-tinged grille and big headlights with LED running lamps along the bottom are probably the only thing that give away the fact this isn’t your average sedan.

While Toyota has become synonymous with hybrid technology in this country, it’s often forgotten that it was Honda that first brought the technology to Australian roads.

Trouble was, Toyota did it better – so Honda went back to the drawing board and came back with its “Earth Dreams” powerplant, which let drivers shift through electric, hybrid and petrol drive modes.

accord hybrid engine

Without getting too technical, the 2.0-litre petrol engine is linked to two electric motors that provide more power to the engine when needed and also do all the work at low speeds, drawing power from lithium-ion batteries in the back of the car.

The result is excellent economy for a car this size while having the same power as bigger engines.

The week I had the Accord included two trips to Ballarat and there was still more than a quarter of a tank when I handed it back – and I hardly drove it in Eco mode. Honda reckons it does 4.6L/100km combined driving and I was certainly on par with that on the freeways.

Inside it looks and feels great. The dashboard, centre console and interactive screen come together nicely. The gauge cluster features a large analogue speedo plus a digital display showing powertrain system information. Instead of a tacho there’s meters showing your economy level and how much engine or battery you’re using.

accord hybrid

In the centre there two screens – a 5.8-inch colour central touch-screen for the audio system and above that an 8.0-inch colour screen trip computer information, reversing camera and the LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring that shows a backward view down the passenger side of the car when the left indicator is activated. There’s also built-in satellite navigation.

The top-spec Accord has even more high-tech safety wizardry, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System and Lane Keep Assist System, which gently steers the car back into the lane if you stray over the line.

With all that comes a host of creature comforts including sunroof, 360-Watt six-speaker sound, keyless start, dual-zone climate-control and auto wipers.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Honda Accord Sport Hybrid

There are comfortable, leather-appointed front seats and eight powered settings.

The back is quite roomy for a mid-sized sedan, though cargo space is limited in the boot because of the hybrid battery storage.

This is a beautiful car, that’s a pleasure to drive. It’s not cheap, and hybrid powertrain aside, you can get most of the bells and whistles in the Accord V6 L for about $6000 less. But Honda is confident it will find a niche market.

It’s also almost double the price of the Hybrid Camry but is a class above that, being more in keeping with the hybrid Lexus sedans.