Hybrid Review: 2023 Accord Hybrid Sport

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Jul 092023

In 2022, Honda announced that as part of its electrification strategy in North America, the company would discontinue the Insight and focus on increasing the hybrid volume of core models, specifically, the CR-V, Accord, and in the future, the Civic.  Honda expects that hybrids will eventually make up 50 percent of the sales mix of the Accord and CR-V.

That can make a redesign tricky but for 2023 the all-new Accord has made a good redesign from the previous generation even better. Latino Traffic Report (LTR) recently got to test the new hybrid version, the Accord Hybrid Sport and it achieved an average fuel economy that should make the Accord, America’s best-selling model for the last 51 years, according to Wards Intelligence cumulative United States light vehicle sales, even harder to resist.

The eleventh generation Accord comes in six trim levels, starting with the turbocharged LX and EX and topped by the hybrid-powered Sport, EX-L, Sport-L and Touring. The previous generation Accord achieved a successful redesign with a bolder, sleeker look than its predecessor. The all-new 2023 version refines that look even more with a longer hood and a flowing fastback roofline creating a premium silhouette.  The horizontal LED taillights also highlight the Accord’s new configuration.

An all-new, fourth-generation two-motor hybrid-electric system with a pair of electric motors that are now mounted side-by-side and matched to an all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection power the hybrid. The combination produces more power with increased torque output of 247 lb.–ft. of torque and a 204 horsepower.

Attention to detail distinguishes the Accord’s interior with a standard 10.2-inch digital driver configurable instrumentation display. It made some information available, like a compass or average fuel economy, but the missing tire pressure information was notable. The dash also has a mesh accent running the length of it which is a nice replacement for ubiquitous carbon fiber details.

For the infotainment system, a seven-inch touchscreen in the center is standard but the test model came with the 12.3-inch color touchscreen, standard on top trims. Hoping to be on-trend, Honda no longer offers SiriusXM satellite radio on certain models, including the Accord, opting to offer Google built-in with Google Assistant, Google Map, and Google Play capability with the latest apps and services instead. USB ports have also been replaced by two USB-C ports. Luckily, there was still a 12-volt socket that can be used to plug in an adapter to charge older phones. However, that may have been why Apple Car Play, also standard, did not present itself during the test drive. Some old tech, like a volume knob, did make the cut.

For added convenience, the 2023 Accord’s rear seats fold down to expose 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space, the most cargo room in its class, according to Honda.

To test its advertised estimated fuel economy of 41 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway and 46 mpg in the city, a road trip seemed like a good plan. Only 54 miles from San Antonio, Bandera, TX holds a few surprises like these dinosaurs at the local natural history museum. The drive through the Texas Hill Country was picturesque, quiet, and comfy. The 48.6 average mpg the hybrid earned was an added plus, beating the estimated average fuel economy of 44 mpg.

Pricing for the 2023 Accord starts at $28,390 with destination fees. The as-tested price came to $33,445.


Sí: The all-new 2023 Accord is beautiful and the hybrid version offers amazing fuel economy.

No: Honda may regret leaping forward with new tech at the expense of older features like satellite radio.


Hybrid Review: 2021 Honda Accord

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Jun 062021

By Andy Stonehouse

I managed, somewhat accidentally, to provide perhaps the most harsh real-world test for one of Honda’s two new hybrids, the 2021 Accord: a bone-chilling -11 degree F snap we experienced out in Colorado in February, part of the system that walloped Texas and much of the South and Southeast. One would not think that an amply-sized, electrically-enhanced, Ohio-made family hybrid sedan such as the Accord would respond well to that kind of thing, but it did, with aplomb.

After a night in actually sub-zero temperatures, it started right up and continued doing what it had been doing before the cold, getting 48 miles per gallon (MPG) both in city and highway driving. Overall, the hybrid variant of the new Accord boasts a 600-mile range between fill-ups.

That’s a pretty impressive figure for a $37,435 vehicle (as-tested price in the top-of-the-line Touring trim level) I felt had more physically in common with an old Ford Crown Victoria than Accords I remember from the past.  Redesigned in 2018, the tenth-generation Accord is indeed a large and comfortable cruiser, and despite producing just 212 horsepower from its electrical setup, it climbed hills and even offered some sporty-lite careening capabilities.

For the most part, the hybrid aspect remains absolutely invisible, with absolutely no complicated power handoffs when the car switches between generator and engine power. Its system uses a clutch to enable a direct transmission link when the gasoline motor kicks in.

Handling feels tangibly solid with slightly heavy steering. The suspension is also exceptionally stiff and the vehicle rolls very flat and smooth.

You can play with the amount of regenerative braking using control buttons, especially while headed downhill; oddly, the Accord is only configured to offer a single mile’s range in all-electric mode, as that is apparently not a priority for Honda customers right now.

That’s maybe a slightly odd move, given every other manufacturer’s ambitious attempts to offer longer-range, plug-in hybrid options, but Honda is still pushing hydrogen power as its Moon Shot technology. At 48 MPG, the Accord already sort of seems like it’s running on electricity, so why mess around with expensive and complicated batteries, for now?

There’s also a bit of juxtaposition in design as the Accord offers increasingly sporty lines and an overall look that borders on flashy. The gleaming samurai sword on the grille, swept headlamps and open-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, plus chrome-edged lower body bulges for better aerodynamics. Inside, however, you won’t find the glitz and glow of an Acura, but you’ll still be impressed by the somewhat sedate, soft-touch interior and broad seating. There are acres of legroom in the back.

I also managed to finally sit down and pre-configure the large Display Audio infotainment screen for easier use while driving; during other drives I was unable to even find the digital XM Radio controls, and spent a lot of dangerous time poking the screen. Set up all of that before you drive and it’s really seamless and easy to use.

Hybrid data geeks (with families to cart around) will appreciate what seemed to be about 25 different system metrics and readouts in the left bezel of the instrument display.

Pricing for the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid starts at $27,565.

Sí: Wow, the mileage. Mileage other hybrids only dream about, 48 MPG, almost consistently, in a very large and comfortable vehicle, not a weird little econo-box.

No: While it’s really flashy outside, the new Accord remains pretty boring indoors. There is not an ounce of drama in the dash and cabin design. But, as one of America’s best-selling cars of all time, maybe that’s the plan.

Andy Stonehouse is a guest contributor to Latino Traffic Report and a freelance automotive journalist based in Golden, Colorado.

Car Review: 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback

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Sep 182018

Traditionally, efficiency and affordability attracted buyers to the compact car segment, but advances in styling and technology have made many models much handsomer and much more fun to drive. The 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback is the latest example.

It’s been more than 25 years since the Civic offered a hatchback version but in 2017, one joined the tenth generation of the coupe and sedan (redesigned in 2016). Available in five trims, the top-of-the-line Sport Touring made its way to Austin for testing by Latino Traffic Report.

The five-door hatch offers more versatility than a coupe or sedan, including a cargo capacity of 46.2 cubic feet of room and an innovative cargo cover that retracts to the side rather than from the top for added convenience.

A 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder turbo engine powered the test model. The horsepower jumps from 174 to 180 on the Sport and Sport Touring trims, as does the torque, from 167 to 180 lbs.–ft., on models equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The test model, however, came with a Continuously Variable Transmission that normally offers the best city/highway fuel economy of 31/40 miles per gallon (mpg). Because the Sport Touring trim is specially tuned, the EPA estimated fuel economy for the test model dropped slightly to 30 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. It earned an average of 34.4 mpg on the test drive. Paddle shifters, standard on the Sport Touring model, enhanced its performance.

As the top-of-the-line trim, the test model included upgrades like Honda Sensing, a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies like the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning integrated with the CMBS, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, plus 18-inch blackened alloy wheels.

The test model also included Honda’s version of a blind spot monitor or LaneWatch, standard on the EX trim and above, that displayed a live view of traffic on the seven-inch touch screen when I engaged the right turn signal. However, a traditional blind spot warning system, with audio and illuminated alerts on the side mirrors or A-pillars, is less distracting and as such, possibly more effective.

Still, standard features on all Civic hatchbacks include the Eco Assist system, ECON Mode Indicator, and ECON button to improve fuel economy, a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines, cruise control, and a 60/40 split rear seat that folds down, among other features.

Creature comforts on the test model included heated front and outboard rear seats, a moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, a leather trimmed interior, Apple Carplay/Android Audio, and navigation.

Pricing for the 2018 Civic Hatchback starts at $21,045. The as-tested price, with no optional features or packages, came to $29,645.

Sí: The new Civic’s super sporty styling and competitive fuel efficiency increase its appeal.

No: While its interior styling reflects improved fit and finish, the knobless touchscreen added to driving distraction and a conventional blind spot monitor would be preferable to LaneWatch.

Car Review: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Long-term Part 2

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Jul 302017

Despite predictions to the contrary, gasoline-electric hybrids have carved a niche in the automotive industry. According to hybridcars.com, the first to market in the United States in this segment was Honda with the 1999 Insight. Since then, the Insight has come and gone, twice, but Honda continues to bring hybrids to the lineup. I spent three months in the 2017 Accord Hybrid Touring for Latino Traffic Report and the most important thing to know is that this hybrid saves gas, in fact it’s the best in the segment.

Long-term test drives beg for a car to be driven, so I did, more than 5,000 miles over Texas highways, to small towns, like Burnet and Bryan, and big cities, like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. It’s a comfy ride over the long haul and nimble enough to scoot through traffic.

While its fuel economy is stellar, the hybrid’s styling also deserves a mention. Redesigned for 2016, the Accord took on a more sculpted, angular appearance, Marking the Accord’s fortieth anniversary, Honda introduced its sibling, the hybrid that benefits from the Accord’s new look while adding enhancements under the hood.

At the heart of its fuel saving ability is its two-motor hybrid system combined with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine and matched to an electric continuously variable transmission. It achieves a peak-combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan.

Initially, the test model proved to be more fuel efficient in cities than on highways, which is as is should be according to its EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 49 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Over time, however, fuel economy on the highway also improved, especially with cruise control engaged. I averaged about 48.5 mpg in three months—city and highway combined. When it comes to cost, I spent more than $300 on gasoline.

I engaged the Econ button that can be used at all times, as well as an EV button that operates the hybrid on electric power for small distances, to maximize efficiency. For more power, I pushed the Sport mode button that gave the hybrid better acceleration.

Displays in the instrument cluster and center stack, including a seven-inch touchscreen, helped me maintain gas saving driving habits, like coasting and accelerating smoothly from a stop. While I found them to be helpful, they also raised a little anxiety when the fuel economy slipped.

All Accord Hybrids come with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety features with advanced technology like forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control that allows the driver to set a distance behind a vehicle that cruise control maintains, automatically.

I never grew accustomed to Honda’s LaneWatch camera, also standard, that can be engaged with the turn signal to view the blind spot on the right. The picture wasn’t that clear, especially at night, and focusing made it distracting. A blind spot monitor, available on other Honda models, would be preferable.

Creature comforts included Ivory leather seats, with heated seats in the front and back, navigation, dual-zone climate control (Honda seems to have addressed the air conditioning system’s habit of fading at stops in previous hybrids), a moonroof, and a multi-view back-up camera. I got used to the lack of knobs for volume control and put the CD player and the MP3 USB port to good use on several road trips.

Pricing for the Accord starts at $30,480. Pricing for the as-tested 2017 Accord Hybrid was $36,790.

Sí: The Accord Hybrid Touring achieved what’s expected of a hybrid, it saved gas, but it also came in a handsome package with nice creature comforts.

No: Honda LaneWatch just doesn’t have the intuitiveness of a blind spot warning system and the lack of clarity on the screen is distracting.

Long-term Car Review: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, Part 1

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Jan 302017

As gas prices begin to creep up, consumers needn’t worry. No matter who heads the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the current administration, California, the number-one car market in the country according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, will require carmakers to reduce emissions, which means hybrids will continue to offer fuel-saving options for years to come. While they still make up just a fraction of new car sales, hybrids have grown in availability and configurations, from compacts to luxury sport utility vehicles. Latino Traffic Report will spend the next three months with one in particular, the all-new 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring.

It arrived in December and on a first impression, the Accord Hybrid is a looker. Honda redesigned the Accord for 2016 and the all-new hybrid, introduced last year, shares its sheet metal, plus it also benefits from its reputation. The top-selling car for the last three years in the United States, the Accord was just named “10 Best” for the thirty-first time by Car and Driver, an unprecedented honor for any vehicle. But as the name implies, the model I’m driving is a hybrid and its fuel-saving powertrain is its centerpiece.

The Accord Hybrid’s two-motor hybrid system combined with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine is matched to an electric continuously variable transmission. It achieves a peak-combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan.

Like many hybrids, it performs better in city traffic than on the highway—it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 49 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. I’m averaging about 47 mpg so far—I actually gained mileage on the highway once heading north on IH35.

To maximize fuel efficiency, there’s an Econ button that can be used at all times, as well as an EV button that when engaged, operates the hybrid on electric power only for small distances. When I need more power, I push the Sport mode button to give the hybrid a noticeable amount of giddy-up.

While the fuel economy will undoubtedly be its best feature, the Accord Hybrid also sits at the top of the Accord lineup, and the Touring trim is the top-of-the-line. As such, it comes very well-equipped, starting with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety features with advanced technology like adaptive cruise control that allows the driver to set and maintain certain a distance behind a vehicle,  forward collision warning, and lane keep assist.

Multiview back-up camera

Honda’s innovative LaneWatch camera can be engaged with the turn signal for views of the blind spot when changing lanes to the right. The picture isn’t that clear, however, and focusing can make it distracting. Though currently not available, a blind spot monitor would be preferable.

Creature comforts on this model include leather seats, with heated seats in the front and back, a touch sensitive seven-inch display screen with an additional display screen on top of that, navigation, a moonroof, and a multiview back-up camera. I’m getting used to the lack of knobs for volume control and tuning and while this model should come with SiriusXM satellite radio, it isn’t activated. It does, however, include a CD player—a happy surprise. I’ve put it and the MP3 USB port to use on road trips to San Antonio, Bryan, Houston, and Dallas.

Pricing for the Accord starts at $30,480. Pricing for the as-tested 2017 Accord Hybrid is $36,790.

Stay tuned for a final review later in the year.

Reviews: 2016 Honda Pilot Elite

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May 062016

2015-07-27 pilot

A compact and midsize sedan sales leader among Latinos, Honda also competes handily in the sport utility (SUV) segment. For 2016, its biggest SUV, the Pilot, gets new looks and improved functionality, thanks, in part, to lots of buttons. Latino Traffic Report recently spent a week driving the top-of-the-line model, the Pilot Elite.

Manufactured exclusively by Honda Manufacturing in Lincoln, Alabama, this is the third generation of Honda’s popular SUV, considered a game changer when it was first introduced in 2003 for offering three rows of seating and being built on a car- rather than truck-like platform.

For 2016, it bears many improvements, starting with the shift knob, which is gone, replaced instead with a push-button PRNDL or shift-by-wire gear selector.

2016 Honda Pilot

Drivers engage Park, Drive, Neutral, and Sport functions by pushing a button while Reverse requires them to lift up on the tab. To avoid being engaged accidentally by a wandering pet or toddler, the brake pedal must be depressed to activate them.

The button-operated Intelligent Traction Management System offers different operating modes to improve performance. For the all-wheel-drive version, drivers can choose among Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand modes while the front-wheel-drive (FWD) model offers a choice between Normal and Snow.

Panoramic sunroof on the Pilot Elite.

Panoramic sunroof on the Pilot Elite.

SUVs in this segment with this kind of ride, handling, and versatility were built to appeal to families. For starters, it’s a people carrier with seating for up to eight passengers. A small but impressive innovation, the push button release to access and exit from the third row of seats, will save many fingernails.

With five available trim levels, the all-new Elite trim replaces the second row bench with captain’s chairs for easier pass-through to the back row. It also includes several new luxury features like a glass panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

This SUV can carry cargo as well as people. More than three inches of added overall vehicle length expand the cargo length on the Pilot by 1.3 inches.

A direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the midsize SUV. It can be matched to a choice of two available new advanced transmissions, a six-speed or a nine-speed. Technology like Variable Cylinder Management, a 300-pound reduction in vehicle weight on upper trim levels, and improved aerodynamics help the Pilot achieve the most fuel-efficiency offered in the midsize SUV segment—an EPA estimated 20 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the FWD matched to the nine-speed transmission. Equipped with the all-new intelligent variable torque management all-wheel-drive system, the test model had a city/highway estimated fuel economy of 19/26 mpg. I averaged 22.5 mpg.

2015-07-27 pilot.displStandard convenience features on the Pilot include push button start, a multi-angle rearview camera, a 4.2-inch color display, five USB ports, and a 60/40 split third-row seat that folds flat.

The standard entertainment system begins with a five-inch (diagonal) display screen and conventional knobs and buttons to control the various functions on an AM/FM radio audio system and a USB port for other compatible devices. The system can play Pandora content from a compatible device via the USB port, or wirelessly, via Bluetooth.

The knobs disappeared on the test model entertainment system, replaced by an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio connectivity interface. While it looked really slick, I found the constant need for tapping to tune the radio a bit distracting and the radio presets were limited to only twelve. I need at least 18 for XM satellite radio alone.

2015-07-27 20.pilotreearFamilies will appreciate the nine-inch rear entertainment system with DVD and new Blu-ray disc capability on the Elite.

Pricing for the all-new 2016 Pilot starts at $31,045. The as-tested price came to $47,300.

Sí: The Pilot’s new look is appealing as well as new innovations like the push button release for the second-row seat.

No: The entertainment system is a bit clunky and distracting without knobs.

2015 Honda Fit EX-L

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Mar 072015

2014-12-03 HondaFit

Stretching a dollar never goes out of style, even when gasoline prices drop to new lows. Still very much married to the economy car market, Honda redesigned its popular subcompact hatchback, the Fit, for 2015.

As it did when first introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model, the new Fit continues to offer versatility and fuel economy in a cute affordable package. On a recent weeklong test drive of the Fit EX-L in Austin, the nimble subcompact slipped into the urban lifestyle like a glove.

Economy cars tend to be light on style and heavy on value but the Fit elevates its class with flair as well as function. On the outside, a roofline spoiler, slimmer headlights, LED taillights, and a segment-exclusive rearview multi-angle camera are standard on all Fits for a starting price just $100 more than the outgoing model.2014-12-03 fit-rear

Enhanced versatility begins with a larger interior that includes seating for five and 60/40 split rear seats that expand to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room when folded flat.

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower commands all Fits. It can be matched to two new transmissions—a six-speed manual (available on LX and EX models only) or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Shift Control for improved fuel economy.

With the combination of the new engine and transmissions, the Fit has an EPA estimated fuel-economy rating of 29 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, 33/41 mpg for the LX trim with the CVT, and 32/38 mpg for the EX and EX-L trim with the CVT. During the one-week test drive, I averaged 34.6 mpg.

Blue backlit instrument dials that turn green to signal fuel-efficient driving via the Eco-Assist System, further enhance fuel economy and the driving experience.

The new Fit also achieved its goal of winning the highest available crash-safety ratings—a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program.

Standard safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and an expanded view driver’s mirror, among others.

2014-12-03 Fit-display

Seven-inch touchscreen display with next generation Honda Link

The Honda LaneWatch display, that displays a camera view of the right passing lane when the blinker is engaged, is standard on EX and above trims. It’s neat to look at, but a little distracting and not as effective as a blind spot alert system.

Standard creature comforts include air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a center storage console with an armrest, illuminated steering wheel controls, and an AM/FM/CD/ stereo with an MP3 auxiliary jack.

As the top-of-the-line model, the EX-L also includes the first-ever heated leather seating, a Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch operated moonroof, and a seven-inch touchscreen Display Audio with next-generation HondaLink. While the touch-screen looks good, it’s not as intuitive as I would like—I still prefer knobs for volume and tuning control, which are available on the LX.

All Fits sold in the U.S. will be produced for the first time in North America at the all-new plant in Celaya, Mexico.

Pricing for the 2015 Honda Fit starts at $16,470. The as-tested price on the EX-L came to $20,5990.