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First look: Honda sets sail with Accord hybrid

Frugal future: The hybrid version of Honda's new Accord sips just 3.33 litres of fuel per 100kilometres on the Japanese combined cycle.

Australia waits as Honda’s frugal petrol-electric Accord hybrid hits Japan

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Honda logo25 Jun 2013

HONDA has released a hybrid version of its Accord in Japan ahead of an anticipated Australian introduction in 2014.

Honda Australia is still to confirm launch timing for the new lean-sipping mid-size sedan, which is capable of fuel economy as low as 3.33 litres per 100km, based on official Japanese combined-cycle figures.

However, former Honda Australia managing director Satoshi Matsuzawa told GoAuto in Thailand last year that the hybrid version was in the product planning schedule and would follow the conventional petrol-engine range that went on sale here last month.

The Accord hybrid uses a version of the powertrain found in the plug-in hybrid model now available in select overseas markets, including Japan and the US, which combines a 102kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with a 124kW electric motor and a 6.7kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Part of its new ‘Earth Dreams’ family and driving the front wheels through a CVT gearbox, the so-called Sport Hybrid i-MMD (intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) powertrain has a combined power output of 147kW, which is higher than the regular 129kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that can manage 7.9L/100km on the Australian economy standard.

Honda says the plug-in hybrid Accord is capable of fuel consumption as low as 1.42L/100km, and can offer electric-only driving of up to 37.6km when the battery is fully charged, although this version is not under consideration for Australia.

The regular hybrid switches automatically between pure electric, hybrid and combustion engine drive depending on the driving conditions, with short bursts of EV drive available at slow speeds and during low- to mid-speed cruising.

Acceleration requires a combination of petrol-electric power, while high-speed cruising relies solely on the petrol engine.

Its closest rival in Australia will be Toyota’s Victorian-built Camry Hybrid, which is priced from $34,990 (plus on-road costs) and offers fuel economy of 5.2L/100km from its 151kW (combined) 2.5-litre petrol-electric powertrain.

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