Impressive fuel economy. The 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid boasts of an EPA-estimated 48 miles per gallon in the city city, 47 mpg on the highway, and 48 combined – four mpg shy of the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata Blue hybrids.
The results are courtesy of a rather unconventional powertrain consisting of a 143-horsepower, 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine. Under most circumstances, this acts as a generator to power a pair of electric motors – the combination serving up a best-in-class 212 total system horsepower.
The entire system works in harmony, unless you select Sport mode and put your foot into it, which elicits a whine from the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that otherwise isn’t present.
Standard advanced safety features. On top of stellar safety ratings – five stars in all categories and a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, as well as a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS – the Accord Hybrid comes with a plethora of the brand’s Honda Sensing advanced active safety systems as standard equipment.
These include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines. In addition, LED turn signals, headlights, and brake lights are also standard.
But if you decide to save a few shekels by choosing the base model, you’ll find that it lacks the blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and LED fog lights found on EX and above trims.
Graceful design with a roomy interior. Redesigned in 2018, the hybrid version is identical to the rest of the Accord lineup with sharp, clean lines, and a sportback-influenced silhouette. A low, wide grille topped by a thick chrome bar and narrow headlight enclosures define the front fascia, with a prominent upper character line and deeply sculpted lower door panels along the sides. In back, the roofline tapers to the trailing edge of the decklid’s integrated spoiler, topping off an equally restrained rear fascia nearly devoid of chrome.
The goodness continues inside with comfortable, nicely-bolstered front chairs, and equally supportive three-across seating in back with 40 inches of rear leg room, which eclipses the Toyota Camry by 2 inches. Cargo volume is close to 17 cubic feet and, with nearly 103 cubic feet of passenger space, puts the Accord at the top end of the midsize class (the non-sunroof base model actually falls into the EPA’s Large class).
Adding to the goodness is the fact that Honda has clearly learned from previous experience, as the latest infotainment system on EX and above trims establishes a benchmark in user friendliness with on/off and tune/scroll knobs, as well as redundant buttons for the major functions –even though the app-based screen menus are easily the most intuitive we’ve used.
On the other hand, the wide C-pillar reduces the view out the rear quarter, cost-cutting is evident in what otherwise is a handsome cabin with hard plastic rear door trim, while 6-footers may find that head room in back is tight on sunroof-equipped models.
Value proposition. In addition to the usual power features, the base Accord Hybrid trim comes with such niceties as LED daytime running lights and low beam headlights, automatic high beams, keyless push button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, illuminated steering wheel controls and power window switches, and a 7-inch display screen (not a touchscreen) with Bluetooth, Pandora, and SMS text message capabilities.
With a $26,400 starting price including destination, it represents just a $1,600 premium over the gasoline-only Accord, and a savings of nearly $3,000 over the entry-level Toyota Camry Hybrid.
At the same time, in order to get the larger app-based touchscreen infotainment system along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and the HondaLink connectivity system, you have to move up to the pricier EX trim ($30,300). However, it also adds the additional safety features, heated outside mirrors, remote start, a sunroof, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat with power lumbar, and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback.
Final thoughts. Despite the lack of a number of amenities and safety systems on the entry-level model, the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid offers a high level of overall quality, taught, sinewy styling, and a wide range of standard active safety features. Buyers looking for a roomy, comfortable, and fuel efficient midsize-to-large sedan would do well to put this Honda at the top of their lists.
In terms of the competition, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is more fuel efficient, while the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard equipment.
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