The all-new 2018 Honda Accord marks the debut of the 10th generation of this popular sedan. It’s a challenging market for sedans today, but the Accord is still a solid seller for Honda and they went all-out to make sure it’s one the public won’t overlook.
Changes start with a new design that’s lower and wider giving it more of a coupe aesthetic. It shrunk a bit in length, but the wheelbase grew at the same time so the backseat is roomier than in the outgoing model. There are no dramatic changes here, but rather subtle ones that give the Accord a fresh, updated look that keeps it from becoming dated without risking alienating more conservative sedan shoppers.
There are new powertrains to match that new look with a pair of turbocharged 4-cylinders to replace the old V6 engines and a hybrid, which was our test car for the week. Honda is really going all-in with electrified powertrains with the all-new Clarity plug-in and the new all-new Insight hybrid sitting right alongside the Accord Hybrid. That’s a lot of hybrid tech, but each of these cars targets a different customer.
While the Insight is exclusively a hybrid and the Clarity is offered as a plug-in hybrid, electric, or hydrogen fuel cell, the Accord sticks with a more traditional approach. You can get it with a good old gas engine or as a hybrid and that’s it. Most people are comfortable with this kind of hybrid even if they aren’t ready to go full electric or plug-in, so it’s a solid strategy with something to appeal to the whole range of alternative fuel shoppers.
The Accord also has the advantage of being a car that’s been around since 1976 and has built up a healthy amount of loyalty. It’s known as a reliable sedan, so customers who want that hybrid technology, but aren’t comfortable with the Clarity or Insight, have the Accord as a familiar standby.
The interior of this new Accord is markedly better than the outgoing model, especially in the top Touring. The seating is comfortable and supportive and the materials are top-notch with accent trims that look upscale. There’s nothing cheap about the interior look, which makes if feel like more expensive sedans.
Power for the Accord hybrid comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors for 212 net system horsepower. These are paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). That power output falls inbetween the two gas engines available on the Accord and makes for a responsive ride.
It’s smooth and very quick with no trouble getting up to speed and impressively good merging into highway traffic. The drawback to many a CVT is how loud they make the engine once you hit the highway and aggressively use the gas pedal. That’s usually the moment you realize you’re driving a CVT if you didn’t notice earlier.
One of the things Honda’s engineers worked on was creating a quiet cabin and it shows when you mash the gas in the hybrid. Yes, you can hear that there’s a CVT in there, but it’s not that overwhelming racket that makes you wonder if the engine is about to call it quits. It’s most noticeable in Sport mode, but in Econ and Normal modes those sitting in the back seat will likely not even notice. Nice job, Honda.
When it comes to fuel economy the Honda Accord Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 47 mpg in all driving conditions. It’s not bad fuel economy, but it’s not exactly great for a hybrid either. In fact, it’s a drop from the 49 mpg in the city, 47 mpg highway, and 48 mpg combined of the outgoing generation. This puts the Accord in the middle of the pack, besting some of its competitors but falling short of others.
One thing that does improve is cargo capacity. Hybrid batteries eat up trunk space, but the Accord Hybrid’s new more compact power unit is small enough to mount on the rear floor rather than in the trunk. This gives it the same 16.7 cubic feet you’ll find in the gasoline-only Accord.
On the safety front, the Accord comes with standard Honda Sensing on every trim. This includes collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow, and lane keep assist. The Accord also does very well in crash tests. It’s an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2018 Top Safety Pick with a top rating of Good in all crash tests and it earned a top 5-star rating in all National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests.
Rounding out the Accord Hybrid’s appeal is a choice of five trim levels starting with the new base Hybrid trim priced at $25,100. Sitting at the top of the lineup is the well-equipped Touring at $34,710. This is the model we test drove and it has a rather upscale interior. There is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with leather seats that are 12-way power adjustable, heated, and ventilated. It also has a 450-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers, mobile hotspot capability, and wireless phone charging. That’s a lot of features for a car priced just under $35K.
The 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid offers myriad improvements from the design to the interior quality. Although not a standout on fuel economy, the Accord is a standout for its overall package with pricing that makes it an affordable choice.