While mid-size sedans are losing the U.S. sales battle to crossover utility vehicles, they still sell hundreds of thousands of units each year.
An entirely redesigned Honda Accord launched for 2018 just a few months after a redesigned version of its U.S. arch-rival the Toyota Camry, but the Accord won numerous awards for its design, features, and superb driving and handling qualities.
Now, the 47-mpg 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid is about to go on sale.
DON'T MISS: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid first drive review
Honda announced Friday that the first versions of the hybrid 2018 Accord would go on at U.S. dealers on Friday, March 23.
Prices for the base Accord Hybrid start at $25,990 including the mandatory $890 delivery fee. Honda says that reflects a drop of more than $4,500 against comparably equipped versions of the previous-generation hybrid Accord.
The new 2018 model is also offered in five separate trim levels: base, EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navigation, and Touring. The EX and EX-L with Navigation versions hadn't previously been available.
All Accord Hybrid models come standard with17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and pushbutton start, LED low-beam headlights and taillights, and a 7-inch information display between the instruments.
They also include Honda Sensing, a bundle of active-safety features that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure alert, road-departure mitigation, and traffic-sign recognition.
EPA ratings for the hybrid 2018 Accord come in at 47 mpg across the board, for city, highway, and combined ratings.
That's no longer the highest among hybrid mid-size sedans: one specific 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid version, the base LE trim level, is rated at 52 mpg combined.
However, the sportier SE or more luxurious XLE versions of the 2018 Camry fall to 46 mpg combined, 1 mpg less than the Accord Hybrid in all versions.
Other versions of the 2018 Honda Accord sedan without the hybrid system are rated at 26 to 33 mpg combined.
Among hybrid versions of other 2018 mid-size sedans, the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid matches the Camry Hybrid at 46 mpg, but the aging Ford Fusion Hybrid is rated at 42 mpg combined in its sixth model year.
The most efficient base versions of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid, which use similar hybrid powertrains and other underpinnings, are rated respectively at 41 mpg combined and 42 mpg combined.
The 2018 Honda Accord' two-motor hybrid powertrain has been only slightly updated from that used in the prior generation of Accord Hybrid.
A 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 engine rated at 143 horsepower and a 134-kilowatt (188 hp) electric traction motor can provide each power the front wheels, or work together when needed.
At lower speeds or under light acceleration, the motor powers the car solely on electricity from the battery—and the engine may switch on to recharge the battery through the second electric motor which acts as a generation, making the car a “series hybrid” in those circumstances.
Ford heavier acceleration or highway cruising, a clutch locks the engine and motor together in a “parallel hybrid” drive to power the wheels when it is more efficient.
Net power output of the combined powertrain is rated at 212 hp, slightly higher than the previous-generation 2017 model.
Overall, the 2018 Honda Accord is sleeker, lighter, lower, and cuts a smaller hole in the air than the last model.
Green Car Reports had named the previous-generation Honda Accord Hybrid its Best Car To Buy for 2014, but that model suffered from severe production constraints.
In the end, many frustrated shoppers were turned away from dealers who could not provide them an Accord Hybrid at the time, and its sales suffered at a time when gasoline prices were relatively higher than they are today.