2017 Honda Accord Hybrid first drive Page 2

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2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, Napa Valley, California, Jul 2016

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, Napa Valley, California, Jul 2016

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While our 2014 Accord Hybrid test car returned mileage in the mid-40s, not all of our colleagues got the same result, so we're eager to test the latest model along our usual drive route. We'll report back in more depth.

Three years can be a long time in the car world, and the 2017 Accord Hybrid is in its midlife as a design, facing new competitors than it did in 2014.

Chevy's hybrid Malibu didn't exist then, and the hybrid models of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima were previous-generation versions. Only the Camry Hybrid, now somewhat outclassed, remains the same.

With those new competitors, the Accord Hybrid remains a good car and a very smart choice for mid-size sedan buyers who want the highest possible gas mileage.

It's just not quite as good, comparatively, as it was three years ago.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

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The engine noise is well muffled under normal operation, but it rises to a quite noticeable whining howl when the accelerator is floored under maximum load. As with many modern cars, the sound deadening is so good under light loads that the full-tilt noise is much louder by contrast.

The handling of the Accord Hybrid falls into the middle of the hybrid sedan pack. We still prefer the Ford Fusion Hybrid, but the hybrid Accord is better than the Hyundai and Kia and notably better than the aging Toyota Camry.

The hybrid Accord for 2017 has a bit more trunk space than its 2014 predecessor: 13.5 cubic feet versus the previous 12.7 cubic feet, due to a battery pack that's 13 percent lighter and 33 percent smaller in volume.

The rear seat still doesn't fold down, but we did confirm that the trunk is large enough to hold a full-size adult human with the lid closed. Don't ask.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

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Overall, we liked the Accord Hybrid for the same reasons that we did in 2014. It combines the well-known virtues of the current Accord sedan with a clever two-motor hybrid system that gives longer and stronger electric performance than most of its competitors, and the fuel-economy ratings to boot. 

We think it deserves to sell well, and finally Honda should be able to provide an Accord Hybrid to every buyer who wants one.

The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid went on sale in all 50 states on June 15. Prices start at just above $30,000 (including a mandatory delivery fee) for the base Accord Hybrid trim level.

The Accord Hybrid EX-L adds $3,300 to that, giving buyers a bundle of luxury features including leather seats, a moonroof, heated seats, a new display audio system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The top-of-the-line Accord Hybrid Touring, for a further $3,050 price boost, adds a heated rear seat, automatic wipers, a navigation system, LED headlights, and parking sensors.

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