New Honda Accord Hybrid Arrives in Vancouver at Just The Right Time

August 13 2019, Trevor Hofmann

New Honda Accord Hybrid Arrives in Vancouver at Just The Right Time

Hybrids Make More Sense Than Ever Due to Record High Fuel Prices

Timing is everything, or so the saying goes, but with Greater Vancouver pump prices rising at an alarming rate it appears the age-old adage couldn't be truer and Honda's timing couldn't be better for the all-new 2018 Accord Hybrid.

The new model's official April launch date arrived just in time for local fuel prices to hit record highs, bouncing up against a dollar and 60 cents per litre resistance that has since proven penetrable. Local authorities aren't promising any relief over the summer, with some predicting the exact opposite.

Even if those not living in the Vancouver area are finding that current fuel prices are eating into their budgets. As of Thursday, July 5, showed the average Canadian gasoline price as 134.4 cents per litre, which is a 2.6-cent-per-litre increase from the prior week. That represents a 26-cent rise from the average of 109.4 cents per litre in July of 2017. While it hasn't yet reached the highest average pump price ever recorded in Canada, which was 142.4 cents in August of 2008, this is still a hard pill to swallow for those driving less fuel-efficient vehicles. Here in Vancouver past record high pump prices are a distant memory, so the time to take action is now.

honda accord hybrid - honda accord hybrid

Accord Hybrid Combines Car of the Year Quality with Superb Fuel Efficiency

Enter the new 2018 Accord Hybrid, which combines all the positive attributes of the recently redesigned 2018 Accord sedan, a model that recently beat the new Toyota Camry and all other new entries to win the revered Automobile Journalist Association of Canada's (AJAC) 2018 Canadian Car of the Year award, with a highly advanced two-motor hybrid-electric powertrain capable of a claimed 5.0 L/100km in the city, 5.1 on the highway and 5.1 combined.

A unique two-motor hybrid powertrain joins an efficient 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine to provide the Accord Hybrid with a class leading total system output of 212 horsepower, while its electric drive motor puts 232 lb-ft of almost instantaneous torque down to the front wheels for strong straight-line performance.

To be clear, one of the electric motors drives the front wheels, while a smaller secondary motor serves mainly as a generator, providing electric current to the drive motor in order to supplement or replace power from the battery during lighter loads, such as cruising. The second motor also starts the engine that in-turn adds torque to the wheels, but it's never used as the motive driving force for those wheels.

honda accord hybrid - honda accord hybrid

Innovative E-Cvt Technology Does Away with Old Transmission Tech

Additionally, the car's Electric-Continuously Variable Transmission, or E-CVT, removes any need for a conventional automatic transmission, or even a traditional belt/chain-operated continuously variable transmission (CVT), both of which inherently rob performance and efficiencies from the powertrain. Instead, Honda's E-CVT drives the front wheels directly through four fixed drive ratio gearsets, without the need to shift gears or vary a planetary ratio. This means there is no "rubber-band" effect when accelerating as experienced in regular CVTs, or in other words the engine is never forced to maintain steady high rpms until road speed gradually catches up, this process causing an audible "droning" effect. Honda claims its direct-drive technology benefits from 46 to 80 percent less friction than a conventional automatic transmission, depending on the drive mode.

Honda accord hybrid - Honda accord hybrid

Drivers can choose between three standard propulsion modes as well, including electric-only (providing the 6.7-kWh lithium-ion battery is charged sufficiently), gasoline-only, or blended gas and electric (hybrid), while a standard SPORT drive mode joins ECON and EV modes as well, all found on the exclusive Honda pushbutton/rocker switch gear selector that comes complete with an electromechanical parking brake lever and an automatic brake hold button. Honda also includes standard steering wheel shift paddles, but take note these are specifically for downshifts during deceleration.

honda accord hybrid - honda accord hybrid

Accord Hybrid Looks Just as Fabulous as Conventionally Powered Model

Another positive is styling, thanks to the new Accord Hybrid not visually deviating from the conventionally powered Accord sedan's design, the latter having received a lot of positive feedback from the automotive press and customers alike. This said, Honda changes some minor trim pieces as well as the wheels, but few will likely notice any visual differences between a regular Accord sedan and the Accord Hybrid.

The high-quality 2018 Accord interior has been carried forward into the new Accord Hybrid too, with premium-level soft-touch synthetic surfaces in key areas, attractive metallic and matte-finish woodgrain inlays, high-resolution digital interfaces, and more, while the Accord Hybrid is just as accommodating for front occupants and rear passengers as the roomy conventionally powered model. Its voluminous trunk hasn't changed in size either, providing 473 litres of available space and handy 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks for fitting in longer cargo.

honda accord hybrid - honda accord hybrid

Honda Generous with Standard Features and Touring Trim Upgrades

Like the regular Accord, there are noticeable differences between the base Accord Hybrid and top-line Touring trim, such as an upgraded set of full LED headlamps with the addition of light emitting diodes for the high beams, unique signature LED elements around the outside of the headlamp clusters, chrome-enhanced door handles, and if chosen the availability of no-cost Obsidian Blue Pearl exterior paint instead of standard Crystal Black Pearl and $300 White Orchid Pearl.

On that note, pricing for the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid starts at $33,090 for the base model and $39,790 for Touring trim, plus freight and fees, with key standard features on the base model including 17-inch alloy wheels, auto-on/off LED headlights (low beam only) with automatic high beams, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, a remote engine starter, proximity keyless access with pushbutton ignition, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a 7.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display within the primary gauge cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with tablet-style tap, swipe and pinch gesture controls, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, the exclusive Honda LaneWatch blind spot display, Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio, advanced near field communication (NFC), 452-watt audio with 10 speakers including a subwoofer, two front and two rear USB charging ports, SMS text message and email reading functionality, Wi-Fi tethering, a 12-way powered driver's seat with four-way powered lumbar support, heated front seats, the HondaLink Assist automatic emergency response system, plus all the expected active and passive safety features including front knee airbags.

Honda accord hybrid - Honda accord hybrid

Advanced Driver Assistance and Safety Features Come Standard

Additional safety features can be found in the standard Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance equipment, including Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and traffic sign recognition, this being enough to earn the regular 2018 Accord a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS when equipped with its upgraded headlights, while all Accord trims get a best-possible five stars from the NHTSA.

Additional 2018 Accord Hybrid Touring trim features not yet mentioned include Blind Spot Information (BSI) with Rear Cross Traffic Monitor system (replaces the aforementioned LaneWatch blindspot display), adaptive dampers to improve handling, rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display (HUD), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, passenger side mirror reverse gear tilt-down, a HomeLink garage door remote, a powered moonroof, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, voice recognition, satellite and HD radio capability, wireless device charging, an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot, driver's seat memory, a four-way powered front passenger's seat, a heatable steering wheel rim, perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, and more.

Honda Accord Hybrid - Honda Accord Hybrid

A Full Lineup of Honda Hybrid Cars Provides More Hev Diversity Than Ever

While the new Accord Hybrid is exciting enough on its own, it was preceded by the even more efficient Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, which is sized similarly to the Accord yet features totally unique styling that helps it stand out more distinctively as an alternative fuels vehicle. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid starts at $39,900, and receives a Transport Canada fuel economy rating of 5.3 L/100km in the city, 5.9 on the highway, and 5.6 combined in regular hybrid mode, or much better efficiency when its considerably larger battery is externally charged on a regular basis and its EV mode is engaged, resulting in much greater electric-only range.

Additionally, Honda has just added a new compact hybrid to its lineup. The stylish 2019 Insight is sized identically to the Civic Sedan that shares its underpinnings and some bodywork, even offering the same accommodating interior roominess and an identical 428-litre trunk with convenient 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks. The new Insight will be Honda's most affordable hybrid at $27,990 when it arrives this summer, and achieve the best fuel economy amongst Honda hybrids at a claimed 4.6 L/100km city, 5.3 highway and 4.9 combined.

honda accord hybrid - honda accord hybrid

To learn more about Honda's expanding lineup of hybrid-electric cars, contact Vancouver Honda by phone at (877) 860-5172 or drop by the showroom at 850 Southwest Marine Drive, Vancouver.