Honda has launched the 2017 Accord Hybrid (earlier post) at its dealers in the US. Featuring an advanced second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid midsize sedan delivers peak total system output of 212 hp, best-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings of 49/47/48 mpg US (4.8/5.0/4.9 l/100 km) (city/highway/combined), and a starting MSRP of $29,605.
In addition to the more powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid benefits from the extensive upgrades made to the Accord lineup for 2016 including new styling, sportier driving performance and increased levels of standard and available equipment including the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, offered as standard equipment on all models.
A 30-time recipient of Car and Driver magazine’s “10 Best” award, unprecedented for any vehicle, the Honda Accord has been the US’ top retail selling car for three years running and is also the best-selling midsize car among under-35 year old car buyers. Through the end of April of 2016, Accord is the outright best-selling midsize car in America with sales up 13.2% versus year-ago results.
POWERTRAINOffering a significant powertrain upgrade from the previous Accord Hybrid, the 2017 model features the second-generation Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) two-motor hybrid powertrain. The second-generation i-MMD uses a two-motor hybrid approach with three operating modes—EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive.
EV Drive Operation. All-electric drive EV Drive operation occurs when starting from a stop, during light cruising and acceleration, and when braking. The gasoline engine is off when the i-MMD is in EV Drive mode and is decoupled from the drivetrain to reduce friction.
Hybrid Drive Operation. The electric propulsion motor alone powers the front wheels, as the gasoline engine (decoupled from the drive wheels) powers the electric-generator motor, which in turn provides power to the battery pack. This allows the gas engine-generator motor combo to supplement the battery by providing added electrical power to the propulsion motor or, alternatively, to charge the battery. In this type of operation the system works as a series hybrid. The electric propulsion motor offers crisp acceleration, and can reach maximum torque almost instantaneously, with electrical power supplied from both the gas engine-powered motor/generator and the battery.
Engine Drive Operation. When cruising at medium to high speeds, the high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC gasoline engine provides propulsion via a new higher capacity lock-up clutch, which connects the generator motor (always linked to the engine) and the electric drive motor, effectively sending motive power directly from the engine to the drive wheels. In this type of operation the system works as a parallel hybrid where both the gasoline engine and, when required—for example upon quick acceleration—the electric propulsion motor, both provide power to the wheels. The i-MMD powertrain operates without the use of a conventional transmission.
Changes to the two-motor i-MMD for the 2017 Accord Hybrid include upgrades to the gasoline engine; electric generator; electric motor; Power Control Unit (PCU); Intelligent Power Unit (IPU); and lock-up clutch. These second-generation refinements reduce weight, size and complexity, and increase power and efficiency, all of which have packaging and performance benefits. Furthermore, to enhance the fun factor, the i-MMD includes a new Sport mode.
The result of the 2017 Accord Hybrid's cutting-edge powertrain technology is a fun-to-drive character, aided by the new Sport mode and an 8.2% increase in total system power to 212 horsepower (as measured by the peak, concurrent output of the two electric motors and gas engine). The 49/47/48 mpg (city/highway/combined) EPA fuel economy ratings based on new, more stringent ratings requirements enacted by the US EPA for the 2017 model year.
(Based on the new requirements, Honda estimates the 2015 Accord Hybrid ratings would be 48/45/47 (actually rated at 50/45/47 under the previous method), indicating a +1/+2/+1 increase for the 2017 model over the previous version.)
The engine is a 2.0-liter, DOHC, i-VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) + Electric VTC inline-four, with output of 107 kW (143 hp), up from 105 kW. The Electric Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT) delivers 135-kW (up from 124 kW).
The 1.3 kWh Li-Ion battery pack carries an eight-year/100,000-mile or ten-year/150,000 mile Li-ion battery limited warranty, depending on the state of purchase/registration.
The Accord Hybrid’s powertrain shifts seamlessly and smoothly among the three driving operations, utilizing power from the Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine and the electric motor to suit the driving conditions moment to moment. An animated visual display of current operation power flow, including regeneration, can be displayed on the Multi-Information Display (MID) in the center of the instrument cluster.
The 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine develops a peak 143 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 129 lb-ft (175 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm, up from 141 horsepower and 122 lb-ft in the previous model. These increases were the result of engine control tuning that together with other technologies combine to create excellent power characteristics, exceptional fuel efficiency and very low exhaust emissions.
This clean-running engine meets LEV3-AT-PZEV(SULEV30)/Interim Tier3 Bin30 emission standards, while contributing to the Accord Hybrid’s total system output of 212 HP, an 8.2% increase from the first-generation i-MMD's output of 196 horsepower.
Since the gasoline engine can be decoupled from the rest of the hybrid powertrain, it only operates as needed. Depending on the state of battery charge and other parameters, the engine will automatically shut off during deceleration and when the vehicle is at a stop or operating under battery power. When needed, the gasoline engine restarts automatically, without action from the driver.
Engine block, crankshaft and pistons. The engine has a displacement of 1993cc. Cast-in iron cylinder liners provide long-lasting durability. Each journal on the forged-steel crankshaft is micro-polished to reduce internal friction. To improve smoothness throughout the rpm range and help lower noise levels, the Accord Hybrid is fitted with an internal balancer unit. Consisting of a pair of chain-driven counter-rotating shafts located in the oil pan, the balancing system helps quell the inherent second-order harmonic vibrations that are normally associated with inline 4-cylinder engines.
The 2.0-liter engine has cylinder bores offset by 6.0 mm from the crankshaft to help reduce piston-sliding friction. This gives the connecting rods a more favorable angle during each power stroke, which reduces side loading on the pistons and, in turn, improves efficiency. The lightweight pistons have a carefully optimized skirt design to minimize reciprocating weight, and reduced weight minimizes vibration and increases operating efficiency.
Cylinder head and valvetrain. The Accord Hybrid 4-cylinder engine has a lightweight cylinder head that is made of pressure-cast aluminum alloy. A silent chain drives dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. The cam drive is maintenance free throughout the life of the engine.
To help boost fuel efficiency and power, the engine has a 3.4-degree included angle between the intake and exhaust valves. The narrow valve angle decreases the surface-to-volume ratio and helps create a flatter, more compact combustion chamber that reduces unburned hydrocarbon emissions. This combustion chamber shape and the precise control enables a high compression ratio of 13.0:1, yet the engine still operates on regular unleaded fuel.
i-VTEC valve control system. The Accord Hybrid’s 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve i-VTEC engine uses an advanced valve-control system to combine high power output with high fuel efficiency and low emissions. The system combines E-VTC (Electronic Variable Timing Control), which continuously adjusts the intake camshaft phase, with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC), which changes the lift profile, timing and duration of the intake valves’ operation.
High-efficiency dual bed catalytic converter. A key contributor to the Accord Hybrid’s excellent emissions performance is a single dual bed catalytic converter that replaces the previous engine’s two converters. The new converter mounts directly to the front of the cylinder head, close-coupled for fast activation after the engine is started. It uses a thin-wall design that increases internal reaction area and improves efficiency. A high-efficiency exhaust system and the dual bed, high-density catalytic converter help the Accord engine meet stringent LEV3- AT-PZEV(SULEV30)/Interim Tier3 Bin30 standards, which require reduced greenhouse gases compared to lower standards.
Eliminating the second catalytic converter, that was previously mounted downstream on the exhaust system, beneath passenger compartment floor, made room for the exhaust heat recovery device.
Heat recovery device. The new heat recovery device contributes to the second-generation i-MMD’s efficiency by helping to reduce power-robbing friction particularly during initial cold weather operation. Located downstream on the exhaust system, the heat recovery device uses hot exhaust gas to warm engine coolant quicker, especially during cold weather conditions. This brings the engine up to normal operating temperature quicker, reducing internal friction and allowing the i-MMD to operate in electric mode earlier. This helps to achieve improved fuel efficiency during cold weather operation.
Electric motors. The 2017 Accord Hybrid uses two electric motors, a propulsion motor that drives the wheels and a generator motor that produces electricity, both of which have been upgraded from the previous generation i-MMD for more power, smaller size and lighter weight.
When in regenerative mode, the propulsion motor converts the kinetic energy of the decelerating vehicle into electrical energy to recharge the battery. Its operation is seamlessly coordinated with the Accord Hybrid’s electric-servo braking system. A separate generator motor is driven by the gasoline engine to generate electric energy to drive the propulsion motor when the vehicle is operating in Hybrid Drive Mode. This generator motor can also restart the gasoline engine when the vehicle is in idle-stop mode.
Both motors utilize segment conductor winding, where the coil is inserted from the axial direction of the stator core, providing a denser and more compact stator than the previous motors’ distributed winding arrangement, where the coil is inserted from inside the state core. This change enables the electric motors to be significantly smaller and more than 23% lighter than the previous motors.
An additional improvement in the motors is the replacement of two larger rotor magnets with three smaller and lighter magnets. The three magnets are arranged in an arc pattern that creates six magnetic poles, which helps to improve torque multiplication.
These changes result in the significantly increased output performance. The propulsion motor’s maximum power is raised by 14.8 horsepower to 181 horsepower and torque is increased by 6 lb-ft to 232 lb-ft The generator motor’s power was raised to 142 horsepower from 140.8 with torque remaining at 62.7 lb-ft.
Intelligent Power Unit (IPU). The Accord Hybrid's intelligent Power unit (IPU), located behind the rear seat, packages a DC-DC converter and a 1.3 kWh Li-Ion battery pack that powers the Accord Hybrid’s electric propulsion motor. Significant changes to the IPU provide the same capacity and output but in a much more compact and lighter package. This was achieved by utilizing VDA-standard, high energy density Li-Ion battery cells, unifying the battery ECU and cell voltage sensor into one component and utilizing a single rather than dual cooling duct.
These changes reduced the overall volume of the IPU by more than 30% to 2.26 cubic feet from 3.32 cubic feet and reduced the weight by almost 13% to 99.2 lbs. from 113.8 lbs.
The battery pack is recharged by the propulsion motor operating in regenerative braking mode, and by the generator motor, which is powered by the gasoline engine. Battery temperature is controlled by a fan system that pulls air from the interior of the vehicle via vents located beneath the left rear seat bottom. The battery pack is covered by a special warranty that covers defects in material and workmanship for eight-years/100,000-miles or ten-year/150,000 miles depending on the state of purchase/registration.
Power Control Unit (PCU). The Power Control Unit (PCU), which is the real brains of the i-MMD system, dictates the power management strategy of the two-motor hybrid system, including motor power and battery recharge. In addition, the PCU increases the electric voltage up to 700 volts, enabling the propulsion motor to realize output as high as 181 horsepower.
As with many components of the second-generation i-MMD, the 2017 Accord Hybrid’s PCU was upgraded. The new design reduced the component weight by 27% and reduced its size by almost 23%. This, in turn, increased the power density 25 percent by volume. The new floating structure of the PCU’s reactor greatly reduced vibration and high frequency noise.
Along with the greatly reduced size, overall i-MMD component packaging was improved by directly mounting the PCU to the transmission and utilizing a three-phase connector, which eliminated the need for the previous frame mounting bracket and connection cable.
Drive force transfer. The Accord Hybrid is not equipped with a conventional mechanical transmission. Instead, motive force transfer is accomplished through the interaction of the Accord Hybrid’s gasoline engine and two electric motors. Coordinated by the IPU, this form of drive force transfer offers smooth and predictable acceleration matched with efficient low-rpm highway cruising when the gasoline engine is in operation. Gasoline engine shutdown is seamlessly integrated into the operation of the Accord Hybrid when appropriate.
The drive force transfer system operates without the need for a torque converter, mechanical pulley or belt. It instead uses two motors for driving and generating power. The system is optimally and rapidly able to control both engine and electric motor rotation in order to deliver higher fuel efficiency and quicker engine response in each driving mode.
When cruising at mid- or high-speeds in the high-efficiency range of the engine, a lock-up clutch is engaged, connecting the drive motor to the generator motor to transmit engine torque directly to the drive wheels as efficiently as possible. In EV Drive operation, when the battery-powered drive motor is used for either acceleration or regenerative braking, a clutch disengages the stopped gasoline engine from the drivetrain to eliminate efficiency loss from mechanical friction in the engine.
Improving efficiency and reducing weight and size, the drive force transfer system of the second-generation i-MMD integrates the torque limiter within the flywheel.
Automatic modes. The transmission, with its console-mounted straight-gate shifter, can be operated in two different fully automatic modes. The D (Drive) mode is ideal for most driving situations, and combines fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power when needed. The B (Brake) mode offers substantially increased regenerative braking to assist in more efficient hybrid operation and therefore increased fuel efficiency.
Sport mode. For the first time the 2017 Accord Hybrid includes a sport mode that provides a more engaging driving experience by adding more battery assist to the propulsion motor for increased acceleration performance. It combines a sportier response to driver input with exhilarating acceleration feel. Sport mode is activated by pressing on the SPORT button located below the transmission straight-gate shifter and can be used in either Drive or Brake mode. A green SPORT icon lights on the instrument panel in this mode.
EV button. Immediately behind the shifter is an EV button that lets the driver select purely electric operation. A green EV icon lights on the instrument panel in this mode. When the battery charge is sufficiently depleted, EV Mode is automatically cancelled and the gasoline engine will automatically restart to recharge the battery in Hybrid Drive operation or Engine Drive operation.
Electric engine accessories. The Accord Hybrid's engine accessories operate electrically, both for maximum efficiency and to allow their operation whether the gasoline engine is running or not. The air conditioning compressor and water pump are both powered by the electrical system. In addition, the Accord Hybrid has Electric Power Steering (EPS), which eliminates the traditional hydraulic power steering pump and its associated maintenance and energy costs.
Accord Hybrid chassis features include a MacPherson strut front suspension, an aluminum front subframe, electric servo brakes, electric power steering (EPS) and Active Noise Control (ANC).
The advanced MacPherson strut front suspension provides superior ride and handling qualities while also reducing interior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The 2017 Accord Hybrid also uses an aluminum front subframe that reduces weight and, in conjunction with rear compliance bushings and independent multi-link rear suspension, also measurably reduces NVH. Additional noise reductions are derived from careful tailoring of the underbody and suspension systems. The EPS uses an electric motor to assist the rack-and-pinion steering for reduced steering effort, less power consumption, and improved precision, feel and stability.
Standard on the 2017 Accord Hybrid are 17-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control, and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Hill start assist is also standard, helping the driver accelerate smoothly from a stop while on an incline.
The standard Active Noise Control (ANC) uses microphones, a signal processor and the Accord Hybrid’s audio speakers to counteract engine noise. Additional noise reductions are derived from careful tailoring of the underbody and suspension systems.
MacPherson strut front suspension. A MacPherson strut front suspension gives the Accord Hybrid an exceptionally smooth and quiet ride, stable and responsive handling and flatter cornering. The highly evolved front suspension in the Accord Hybrid has a lightweight design with high dynamic performance providing responsiveness, ride comfort and stability, significantly reduced noise and increased driving enjoyment over the previous model. The Accord Hybrid’s turning diameter is 38.1 ft.
Hydro-compliance bushings mount the front lower suspension arms to the front subframe. These bushings help reduce steering shimmy at all speeds, improve NVH characteristics and ride compliance, and also promote more accurate suspension geometry. The result is a blend of ride quality, responsive steering and precise handling.
Enhanced structural rigidity plays a part in the Accord Hybrid’s new suspension performance, with highly rigid attachment points for the struts, as well as for the front subframe. This new structure is an integral part of the Accord Hybrid’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which helps crash performance in a frontal collision. And finally, the repackaging of the front suspension enables a shorter front overhang.
The struts are specially tuned for a blend of comfort and handling. Innovative features include efficient hydraulic valves and seals, a low-friction Teflon internal bushing, optimized oil specifications, and a special rebound damper spring that dramatically reduces body roll while turning. The 2017 Accord Hybrid features a front subframe connecting bar that contributes to reduced noise, overall body stiffness and dynamic handling response.
Lightweight front subframe. The Accord's subframe, which cradles the engine, transmission and lower suspension mounts, utilizes a unique aluminum construction. Using a process developed by Honda, the subframe joins aluminum components with a type of friction-stir-welding to form a single high-strength, lightweight unit that provides ideal ride and handling properties along with lower weight. The weight savings directly improves both fuel efficiency and overall dynamic performance.
Independent multi-link rear suspension. The Accord Hybrid’s compact, multi-link rear suspension offers supple ride comfort and excellent overall handling. This system features high-strength stamped-steel upper A-arms with aluminum knuckles and precise geometry that reduces lift during hard braking. The lower links connect to a rigid rear subframe, which is isolated from the body by rubber mounts that reduce drumming and low-frequency sound.
High-performance amplitude reactive dampers. All 2017 Accord Hybrid models feature further improved Amplitude Reactive Dampers that deliver a superior level of ride comfort together with crisp, precise handling. The dampers operate in two distinct performance parameters: a Ride Zone and a Handling Zone. Each zone has a unique set of compression and rebound damping forces tailored to provide the desired ride and handling attributes. In essence, the amplitude reactive dampers operate like two separate suspension systems combined in one. The new dampers are entirely mechanical in operation with no electronics required.
Ride Zone. For short suspension stroke the dampers provide minimal damping effect to provide an extremely comfortable ride where little suspension travel is needed- such as on smooth road surfaces.
Handling Zone. For longer suspension stroke a second damping circuit is engaged. Here damping effect is maximized for enhanced steering feel, improved body-roll control and more secure handling—such as during aggressive cornering or on severe road conditions.
With the Amplitude Reactive Dampers, by adding a second spring floating valve above a conventional main piston valve, the Accord Hybrid maintains its very flat and stable body control while offering a suppler and well damped ride quality. For example, while driving on rough surfaces, the application of short-stroke damper movement allows the main piston valve absorb the small vibrations for a comfortable ride. However during hard cornering both the main and second piston valves move that create a much larger damping force for better driving dynamics.
For 2017, development work has centered on the redesign of the oil channel to reduce initial friction and increase linearity for improved response especially in the initial stage of body movement. Front/rear damper friction balance has also been optimized to match, resulting, all together, in further improved ride comfort and handling precision.
The Accord Hybrid features wider diameter anti-roll bars than on the 4-cylinder gasoline engine-powered Accord Sedan, helping to trim body roll to a preferred level during all types of cornering and handling maneuvers. The Accord Hybrid has 19-mm front and 16-mm rear stabilizer bars.
Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering (EPS). Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering (EPS) allows the Accord Hybrid to operate in electric-drive mode with the same responsiveness, feel and precision as in gasoline-engine drive mode. The system uses a rack-and-pinion steering assembly with an electrically assisted steering rack.This energy-efficient system reduces steering effort while also
contributing to the Accord Hybrid’s increased fuel efficiency. Other EPS benefits include a more sophisticated, linear, solid and accurate steering feel, more nimble handling and improved highway stability. For 2017, the EPS features a new control logic designed to provide a more consistent steering weight in varying conditions.
Electric servo brake system. The Accord Hybrid’s electric servo brake system maximizes regenerative braking capability for improved fuel efficiency. The braking system is fully hydraulic from the master cylinder all the way to the 4-wheel disc brakes, just like a traditional braking system. The key difference is that the braking function is electronically controlled rather than a purely mechanical activation, allowing regenerative braking from the electric drive motor to slow the vehicle, rather than the hydraulic friction brakes under most circumstances. Besides its payoff in efficiency, the system offers excellent feel and feedback for the driver through the brake pedal.
When the driver applies the brake pedal, a signal is sent to the vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which determines the appropriate amount of braking force to assign to regenerative braking through the electric drive motor and to the hydraulic friction braking system. In many cases, friction braking is not needed until the vehicle speed drops below 5 mph, as the vehicle slows to a final stop.
When the ECU determines that friction braking is needed, the dual hydraulic master cylinder pumps brake fluid through the system. Midway between the master cylinder and the calipers is a separate motorized electronic actuator. This actuator receives an electronic signal, generated in the master cylinder module that precisely defines how the driver has applied the brakes – soft or hard, slow or fast. The actuator then directly apportions hydraulic pressure to the brake calipers at each wheel.
While the gasoline Accord uses a 10-inch vacuum booster to assist the driver in applying needed brake pressure, the Accord Hybrid uses an electric servo brake actuator. The vented front brake rotors are 11.5 inches in diameter, while the rear discs are 11.1 inches. Both front and rear calipers have one piston each.
For 2017, the initial force required to activate the braking system has been lowered by approximately 10% for further improved, more linear brake control. Together with a smaller, lighter design, a finer control logic allowing a 25% increase in maximum regenerative brake torque combine to further improve fuel efficiency.
Regenerative braking. The 2017 Accord Hybrid’s electric servo brake system provides efficient regenerative braking effect along with smooth and consistent brake control and feel. Regenerative braking begins as soon as the driver releases the throttle pedal, with a strong regenerative braking effect beginning when the brake pedal is depressed and continuing until the point that the vehicle speed drops below 1 mph, when the friction brakes fully engage. The result is to maximize battery recharging during normal driving while still maintaining top levels of braking precision and driving enjoyment.
Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) is standard on all Accord models. EBD adjusts front-to-rear brake pressure according to vehicle load distribution for optimum brake balance at all times. Sensors at each wheel send signals to the brake-control module, which can modulate braking pressure based on individual wheel speed, optimizing brake pressure balance on all four wheels, while providing a linear pedal feel.
Brake Assist. The Accord’s electronically controlled Brake Assist is designed to help drivers apply full braking force in a collision-avoidance situation. If the driver suddenly brakes harder than normal, such as in an emergency, the system fully activates the brakes. However Brake Assist does not take over braking—it only assists the driver in obtaining full braking performance in an emergency. Brake Assist deactivates when the driver releases pressure on the pedal.
Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the Accord’s Drive-by-Wire throttle and its 4-channel ABS systems to enhance control capability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the driving wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. While the driver can reduce the traction control effectiveness allowing more wheel slip during stuck condition by pressing the VSA button, ABS remains fully operational at all times.
Hill Start Assist. All Accord Hybrid models have hill start assist, which holds brake pressure when the vehicle is stopped on a hill for a brief period of time, allowing the driver’s foot to move from the brake pedal to accelerator without the vehicle moving.
Improved NVH. Active Noise Control has, for some time now, served to improve NVH. For the 2017 model, development work centered on further reducing the transmission of engine-related noise and vibrations. To this end, the 2017 Accord Hybrid models adopt a brace reinforcing the rear side of the front subframe, front and rear dynamic damper-type engine mounts, and higher performance sound insulation on the engine hood and the toe board. The results are reduced noise and vibration at low engine speeds and reduced engine noise at high engine speeds and thereby providing the 2017 Accord Hybrid with a comfortable and quiet interior cabin.
SAFETY and DRIVER ASSISTANCE
The 2017 Accord Hybrid offers a wide range of active and passive safety and driver-assistive features and technologies, including as standard the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. Honda Sensing comprises:
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
All 2017 Accord Hybrids feature a standard Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with dynamic guidelines and Expanded View Driver’s Mirror. Also, for the first time on the Accord Hybrid, the Touring trim features new auto high-beam headlights, which enhance nighttime visibility and driving convenience by automatically defaulting to the high-beam setting and switching to low beams when an oncoming or proceeding vehicle is detected.
Collision safety engineering in the Accord Hybrid is also significantly enhanced, due to a next generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. More extensive use of high-tensile steel allows a high level of protection to be provided while reducing the weight of vehicle structures. An important evolution of the previous ACE system, ACE improves occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. Like other Honda models, the new Accord Hybrid also has an impact-absorbing front body design to help attenuate energy in the event of a frontal collision with a pedestrian.
Inside, passive-safety features include a total of six airbags, including dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, improved new front side airbags, and side curtain airbags. The front side airbag construction helps mitigate the risk of excessive airbag deployment force while eliminating the need for the prior Accord Hybrid’s Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS).
The 2017 Accord Hybrid targets the highest available crash safety ratings: a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) crash test ratings program.
Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE). The Accord Hybrid utilizes the latest version of Honda’s proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure to enhance occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. Like the original ACE, the next-generation ACE body utilizes a network of connected structural elements—with an improved design and a greater use of high-tensile steel—to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle.
This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Additionally, ACE helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during head-on or offset frontal impacts with a larger or smaller vehicle.
Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, ACE actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered pathways that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle’s total structure, ACE can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the ACE concept is its unique front polygonal main design structure.
Pedestrian injury mitigation design. Structures in the front of the 2017 Accord Hybrid are designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research by Honda shows that the following features can dramatically improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.
Specific pedestrian head injury mitigation features include:
- Hood is designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian
- Sufficient clearance exists between the hood and hard engine parts, allowing the hood to deform if impacted by a pedestrian
- Windshield base has a unique section structure for efficient impact energy absorption
- Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports
- Break-away windshield wiper pivots
- Deformable hood hinges
Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the Accord’s Drive-by-Wire throttle and its 4-channel ABS systems to enhance control capability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to help the vehicle maintain the driver’s intended path of travel.
The VSA system constantly analyzes data from sensors that monitor wheel speed, steering input, lateral and longitudinal G forces and yaw rate. It compares the driver’s control inputs with the vehicle’s actual response. Whenever the actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA intervenes with a corrective action. For instance, if VSA detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. In the event of understeer, VSA may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the vehicle to its intended course.
VSA also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. VSA is calibrated to function in a near-transparent manner, and in many cases a driver will not even be aware of its operation. However, anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes in the instrument cluster. While the driver can reduce the traction control effectiveness allowing more wheel slip during stuck condition by pressing the VSA button, ABS remains fully operational at all times.
Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS). Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS) is standard on all Accord Hybrid models. The system incorporates driving stability technology that initiates steering inputs that prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction during cornering and in slippery road conditions. Using vehicle speed and steering angle data, Motion-Adaptive EPS works with Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) and Electric Power Steering to detect instability in slippery road conditions both during cornering and under braking and automatically initiates steering inputs aimed at prompting the driver to steer in the correct direction. This advanced technology supports the driver’s action in operating the vehicle more safely and comfortably.
Parking Sensors. To assist in maneuvering in tight spaces, such as entering or exiting a parking space, the 2017 Accord Hybrid Touring features a set of six parking sensors. A sensor is located at each corner of the vehicle with an additional two at the rear. When a sensor(s) detects an object close to the vehicle, the system provides an audible warning plus a visual alert on the MID and, when backing up, also on the Display Audio screen when showing the rearview camera view. With each type of visual alert the system indicates in what direction the detected object is located. The sensors are of a low profile type to improve their appearance.
Honda LaneWatch. The 2017 Accord Hybrid includes the Honda LaneWatch display. Honda LaneWatch uses a camera located at the bottom the passenger-side exterior mirror to display a wide-angle view of the passenger side roadway on the new, larger 7.7-inch upper display. The image appears when the right turn signal is activated or when a button on the end of the turn signal stalk is pressed.
The typical field of view for a passenger-side mirror is approximately 18 to 22 degrees, but the LaneWatch display field-of-view is about four times greater, or approximately 80 degrees. The system helps the driver to see traffic, pedestrians or objects often in the vehicle’s blind spot. To help make judging distance easier, three reference lines are shown. Drivers should visually confirm roadway conditions prior to changing lanes.
LaneWatch can be customized to suit the driver’s preferences. Turn-signal activation of the LaneWatch system can be switched on or off, as can the three on-screen reference lines. Screen brightness, contrast and black level are also adjustable.