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2019 Honda Accord Hybrid: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader January 2019

The 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid could easily be considered the best version of Honda's popular midsize sedan. For starters, its gets 48 miles per gallon -- regardless of whether you're looking at city, highway or combined estimates. The thriftiest gas-only Accord tops out at 33 mpg in combined driving.

But here's the thing about the Accord Hybrid: there aren't any significant drawbacks compared to its gas-only sibling. You get the same enormous, well-made interior. You get access to the same generous features list. And unlike past hybrid sedans, you get the same enormous trunk as a regular Accord due to the battery pack being under the back seat. That positioning also improves handling -- not just in comparison to past hybrids but the regular 2019 Accord as well.

Indeed, the Accord Hybrid is just as engaging and comfortable to drive as any other version. We're also fans of Honda's hybrid powertrain, which feels more like an electric car in operation than Toyota's, for example. Plus, unless you want the go-fast acceleration of the Accord's sporty 2.0-liter turbo engine, the hybrid should be just as swift as the gas-only base engine.

If there's one potential drawback it's price. The Hybrid's premium is actually quite reasonable at $1,600, but if gas prices remain low, your gas savings will similarly be low. At the time of this writing, it would take you about 4.5 years to repay the price premium over the base engine. Of course, that's not bad given the average life of a car and it would be shorter if gas prices go up again.

And if history tells us anything, that's going to happen. If and when it does, the compromise-free Accord Hybrid will seem like a pretty good decision.

What's New for 2019?

The Accord Hybrid carries over unchanged for 2019 after being completely redesigned last year. You can learn more about those changes in our video Honda Accord: What's New?

What We Like

48 mpg; standard accident avoidance tech; large and upscale interior; composed and comfortable ride; huge trunk; low base price

What We Don't

Engine behavior may be too odd for some

How Much?

$25,320-$34,990

Fuel Economy

Honda utilizes a fairly distinctive take on the hybrid powertrain that differs from what's in Toyota's many hybrids. Nevertheless, the goal of superior fuel economy is still achieved, and you may prefer how it doles out its mix of electric and gasoline power.

The system consists of a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder and an electric motor fed by a lithium-ion battery. During most driving situations, power comes from that motor while the gas engine mostly serves as a generator to feed the battery. Total system output is a healthy 212 horsepower. Fuel economy is an even healthier 48 mpg city/48 mpg hwy/48 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

As the name implies, the 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid is the gasoline-electric version of the regular Accord sedan, which we review separately. It's available in Hybrid, EX, EX-L and Touring trim levels.

Standard equipment on the base Accord Hybrid ($25,320) includes 17-in wheels, a rearview camera, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a full-width folding rear seatback, one USB port and a 4-speaker sound system with a 7-in display, Bluetooth, a media player interface and Pandora-streaming internet radio control.

The EX ($29,220) adds blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic warning system, LED fog lights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, an 8-way power driver seat with 4-way power lumbar, heated front seats, two USB ports, an 8-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite and HD radios and an 8-speaker sound system.

The EX-L ($31,720) adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, driver memory settings, a 4-way power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 10-speaker sound system. Integrated navigation is optional.

The Touring ($34,990) adds a head-up display, bi-LED headlamps, automatic wipers, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, integrated navigation, wireless smartphone charging and in-car Wi-Fi.

Safety

The Accord Hybrid comes with an impressive array of equipment beyond the usual airbag and stability control allotment. Forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and a rearview camera are all standard. The EX and above trims add blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic warning system.

The government gave the 2019 Accord a perfect 5-star rating in all crash test categories. The non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick for its best-possible scores for all crash tests plus crash-prevention tech and LATCH ease of use. Its Acceptable headlight rating also contributed to the award.

Behind the Wheel

For those who remember the Honda Accord as one of the sharpest midsize sedans to drive, you'll be happy to hear that the latest version has recaptured some of its old mojo. True, the steering might not be as responsive as earlier models, but the new Accord handles smartly and inspires confidence when driving on a back road or in an emergency maneuver. Ride comfort is excellent -- especially in the top Touring trim level where the Hybrid's 18-in wheels pair with an adaptive suspension to produce a truly superior ride. The regular Accord Touring's 19-in wheels add impact harshness.

The other nice thing about the Hybrid is that there's no major disadvantage to opting for the most efficient model. If anything, adding all the hybrid battery's weight under the back seat and between the axles actually improves the Accord's handling balance. As for its hybrid powertrain, if differs from Toyota's hybrid system by relying almost exclusively on the electric motor for propulsion. The engine mostly acts as a generator for the battery. This results in smoother acceleration similar to that of an electric car, which we think many drivers will like. It does mean the engine can come on at unusual times and make noises atypical for a regular gas-only car, but we think it's easy to live with and the effects are actually less than in Honda's Insight hybrid, which has a smaller gas engine.

It's also important to note that mounting the battery under that back seat results in the Hybrid having the same trunk space as the regular version -- a very generous 16.7 cu ft. The old Accord Hybrid, and indeed most older hybrid sedans, had their batteries in the trunk.

Inside, you'll find an enormous amount of passenger space. Materials quality is excellent and we like the stylish, user-friendly cabin design. Honda's latest 8-in touchscreen found on all but the base trim is much easier to use than those in other models and includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid -- With its hefty tax credit, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid should actually end up costing as much or less than an Accord Hybrid while being capable of going 47 miles on electricity alone. Depending on your commute, you may forget what a gas station is like.

2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid -- Much like the non-hybrid versions, the Camry is the Accord's great nemesis and is better than ever before. Its stylish design, high-quality cabin and improved driving dynamics introduced last year really give the Accord a run for its money.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid -- With revised styling and a surprisingly improved driving experience, the Sonata Hybrid is a far more appealing family sedan than in past years. Its fuel economy isn't as high as the Accord's or the Camry's, but in terms of actual money put into the tank, it's not that different. Hyundai also offers a superior warranty.

2019 Honda Insight -- The Insight is basically a Civic hybrid, albeit with a more upscale appearance. It shares the Accord Hybrid's hybrid design, but its smaller gas engine results in better fuel economy but worse refinement.

Used Lincoln MKZ Hybrid -- Given its pricing and possible discounts, a new MKZ Hybrid might not be out of the question. But a used one should definitely be in this price range, and offers excellent fuel economy along with tasteful styling and an immense amount of available equipment. Something to consider.

Autotrader's Advice

The base Accord Hybrid is an awful lot of car for the money -- especially given its standard accident avoidance tech -- but we don't think we'd want to live without the EX trim level's superior infotainment system and power driver's seat (among other extras). That's probably the one we'd recommend, though wouldn't fault you for going even higher with the EX-L and its leather-lined cabin.

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New 2019 Honda Accord EX
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New 2019 Honda Accord EX
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Used 2019 Honda Accord EX-L
Used 2019 Honda Accord
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Honda Accord Hybrid: New Car Review - Autotrader