We, like many families strive to live as green a life as we are able. We teach our kids to do the little things, like turning off the lights when you leave a room, don’t leave taps running, not to litter, and reduce, reuse and recycle. My husband and I recognize that we can do more, take that commitment to the next level. However, we are comforted by the status quo, afraid to take the (financial) leap. Though we’re not quite ready to jump into an all-electric car, a hybrid vehicle is definitely something we would consider. When I learned that we had an opportunity to test drive the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid (at time of writing, newest model not yet released in Canada), here was our chance to see for ourselves whether eco-friendly cars really do carry an impact.
Honestly, I was excited yet nervous to drive a hybrid. I’ve never driven an eco car before, would I know what to do? It turned out that my anxiety was completely all for nothing. Driving a hybrid did not require that I pass a driver’s test. It was really no different than being behind the wheel of my own car. However, under the hood was a completely different story.
What’s a hybrid vehicle?
The Honda Accord Hybrid run on a gas engine, an electric engine or a combination (hybrid) of both. The car was highly intuitive in knowing when to switch between engines, much like a car with automatic transmission – the process was seamless. The electric motor took over at low speeds and stops, hybrid drive provided an extra zip when accelerating and the gas motor kicked in on the highway. A generator starts the engine and generates electric power while the car is using the gasoline engine. The generator also charges the high voltage battery, which provides electrical storage and serves as the power source for the electric motor.
Oh the Places You’ll Go
On the weekend, our drive took us to Waterloo to visit the famous St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, known for its fresh, locally grown produce. The market did not disappoint, as we had to make several trips back to the car to put our butter tarts (my son’s favourite), green beans, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower and maple syrup away. Let me say the prices on the vegetables were very, very good!
An impromptu visit to the University of Waterloo campus gave DD15 her first taste of post-secondary life.
Our day trip ended with a fun walk at Waterloo Park. Who knew there was this awesome gem right in the middle of the city?!
So, after driving the fully-loaded Accord Hybrid for a week, doing school drop-off and pickups, going to baseball practices, trips to the grocery store, going to Charlinda for my chocolate fix and driving to Waterloo, here are my thoughts about the Honda Accord Hybrid.
What we loved
Great Fuel Economy
All in all, we drove a total of 637km in the Accord Hybrid and there was still just under a quarter tank of gas remaining, with an estimated driving range of 330km. That’s close to 1,000km on one tank (60L) of gas! Now that’s impressive. This includes some bumper to bumper traffic we hit in Waterloo due to construction. As we were literally at a crawl, the electric motor kicked in which was great as I wasn’t wasting fuel or polluting the air around me. Gotta admit DH went into the drive a bit skeptical but he is now a convert.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not. ~ Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
The biggest and most noticeable difference in driving the Honda Accord Hybrid was the noise, or lack of it. When you start the car, the only indication that it’s on is by a series of beeps and the dashboard lights flashing. The electric motor is so quiet, you can’t hear or feel the car running at all – it’s like the car is not even turned on. You should have seen my kid’s reactions the first time they realized that the car was actually running. The joke was on them as they thought mom had lost her marbles, LOL. The quiet engine was by far the most common reaction amongst family and friends. I think we may have even surprised a dog walker or two along residential streets as they had no idea there was a car behind them.
Honda’s Eco Assist helps the driver and car work together to maximize fuel efficiency. When the green ECON button is pushed, the Accord Hybrid automatically adjusts the engine and other fuel-consuming systems to maximize efficiency. It’s worthwhile to note that I had this button on for the majority of my test drive.
Coaching bars around the speedometer acts as a guide to let drivers know how efficiently they’re driving. The bars change from blue to green, with green being the most efficient. I never saw this bar change colour once, it was always showing green. It could be that the ECON button had something to do with it.
At the end of each drive, an eco score appeared on the dash display by way of green leaves. The more green leaves, the more efficient your drive was. I was addicted to checking out my score, and it was always at the maximum level (yay!). One time, I sat idle and when I turned the car off, there were no leaves at all.
You can tell that Honda put careful thought into even the smallest details. I really liked the choice of dash light colours used on the instrument panel. There’s something to be said about staring at cool blues and greens, as you’re stressed sitting in rush hour traffic.
No more searching for keys
The Accord Hybrid is equipped with Smart Entry that allows the driver to open the doors or trunk without needing the physical key in their hand. Simply by placing your hand on the front door handles, you can lock or unlock the car doors or open the car trunk. As the car has a push button start, I never saw the key for the rest of the week. I knew it was somewhere in my purse, but I saved so much time as I didn’t have to search my purse. What a time saver!
Blind spots come to life
Honda’s LaneWatch features a tiny camera on the passenger side mirror that allows the driver to see along the right side of the car. Whenever I signalled right, the camera would automatically turn on with the feed appearing on the navigation screen. This is so incredibly helpful, as that area is always a huge blind spot for drivers. It took me all of a day to adjust to it, and once I did, there was no going back. This was especially useful in the city for spotting cyclists and pedestrians. Once you experience Honda’s LaneWatch feature, you wonder how you ever lived without it
My husband currently drives a Honda Civic and now that the kids are older, they find the backseat of the Civic cramped. They loved being in the much roomier backseat of the mid-sized Accord sedan.
What we didn’t like
Smaller trunk space
For our family’s needs, the trunk was a bit too small. Being that the high voltage battery is located by the rear seats, this could explain the smaller trunk size.
This was one of the biggest surprises in driving the Accord Hybrid. Once again, we attribute this to the small trunk, there just isn’t that much space at the back of the car. In lieu of the spare, a Flat Tire Repair Kit is neatly tucked away in a small compartment under the floor of the trunk. The repair kit lets the driver temporarily seal and inflate a tire for travel to the nearest service station. The absence of a spare is not unique to Honda. This appears to be the direction modern cars are heading.
Driver side mirror
The driver side mirror is segmented into two parts – a larger inner segment, which is the standard driver side mirror, and a smaller slightly curved outer segment, which gives the driver a wider-angle view. My husband and I found the objects in the mirror always looked distorted. Even after a week of driving, I just never adjusted to it.
Honda’s environmental commitment
Blue Skies for Our Children represents Honda’s environmental vision that future generations can live in a sustainable society. I love that Honda has put their goals publicly on their website to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020 compared to 2000 levels. In addition, Honda has also committed to reducing CO2 emissions during production and initiated efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from corporate activities. With Honda being such a large global company, these changes can certainly make a huge environmental impact, one that hopefully other companies will follow suit.
Coincidentally, the above image is my daughter taken back in 2009 when she did a print ad for Honda Canada. It’s one of my favourites in that it demonstrates Honda’s commitment to future generations by helping to bring blue skies for our children.
2017 Accord Hybrid
The refreshed Accord lineup will include a significantly reengineered Accord Hybrid with a second-generation two-motor hybrid system that targets the highest NRCan fuel economy ratings of any five-passenger sedan in North America, while delivering even more performance and refinement. The new Accord Hybrid will join the Accord lineup in 2016. No on-sale date has been announced yet.
I can’t imagine how the latest model can be any better, considering how awesome the 2015 model was. Honda brought together their popular Accord sedan and coupled it with hybrid technologies to create one heck of an eco friendly car. Overall, we loved the Honda Accord Hybrid, especially with the mileage we got over the week. Just think about the money you would save with fill-ups, not to mention the impact on the environment. Definitely a win-win for all.
Before I sign off, I dug up the archives in search of this photo of me with my very first car — and yup, it was a Honda!
Learn more about Honda Canada.
Honda Accord Hybrid Image Gallery
Images by Krista Beatty Photography.
About Wendy Morelli
Wendy loves her 2 kids and her iPhone, not necessarily always in that order. She is an app obsessed mom who loves everything tech and is (unfortunately) old enough to remember the brick Motorola cell phone and the Commodore computer. Her love for technology stems back to the 10+ years of working for technology based companies. Wendy's alter ego, "AppHipMom" has been featured in Canadian Family, iVillage, Women in Biz, EverythingMom, BlogHer and Savvy Mom.