To launch its new hybrid engine and driveline technology, Honda has unveiled the Accord Sport Hybrid, effectively the same prestige Accord sedan with the new propulsion and energy recovery system.
The hybrid is not envisaged to sell in large numbers but is a showcase for this advanced technology which will also appear in the soon-to-be-released and highly emotive NSX sports car.
You get some idea of the sophisticated workings of this car when Honda explains that at the end of its last dalliance with Formula One, those engineers were moved onto this hybrid program.
Sport Hybrid is at the top end of the Accord line-up, with equipment and presentation in keeping with its 3.5 V6L petrol sibling and it comes with a comprehensive list of standard equipment.
Build quality is exceptional, as are trim materials and presentation. But in essence it’s the mechanical specification that sets this model apart.
The new hybrid system is called Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) and it links the 2.0L 4cyl petrol engine and 124kW electric motor in such a way that Accord can operate in three modes, electric only, petrol/electric hybrid or petrol.
The objective is to maximise fuel efficiency and this car leads its class with a government figure of 4.6L/100km for the combined city/highway cycle. However, the system adds at least 70kg to the kerb mass and a battery behind the back seat reduces boot space, precluding any fold or hatch function, and it needs stiffer springs and dampers.
Electric-only is good for just 2km, or some stop-start traffic. Hybrid is more efficient around town but petrol operation on the highway is barely more fuel-efficient than any modern 2.0L engine.
We recorded about 5.6L/100km, half the official consumption of a V6 Accord and at 107g/km CO2, less than half the emissions, so this car certainly delivers environmental city street cred.