Honda has finally launched the Accord Hybrid, one of the most popular hybrid cars in the world after Toyota Prius. The D-segment sedan from the Japanese carmaker is going on sale in India priced at ₹ 37 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Honda had earlier discontinued Accord in India in 2013 due to rising fuel costs, no diesel engine options and low sales numbers, that led buyers to opt for its competitors like the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata etc. The car was sold in India from 2000 to 2013. The sedan is currently in its ninth generation. The new Honda Accord has now re-entered the Indian market as a hybrid car, which will be sold in India as a CBU model.
The ex-showroom price for Bengaluru is Rs 40.57 lakh and in Navi Mumbai, the 2016 Accord Hybrid will cost Rs 40.14 lakh. The car boasts of a conventional hybrid system that runs on the combined output of a 2 liter petrol engine and two electric motors which produce AC. According to figures released by Honda, it claims the new 2016 Honda Accord Hybrid has a mileage of 23.1 km/l. We cannot confirm the actual figures as we have not yet been able to test it.
The 2016 Honda Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre Atkinson Cycle DOHC i-VTEC engine that uses Honda’s ‘Earth Dream Technology’. It simply means that the car has a smart hybrid technology system which helps the car to deliver good power while at the same time return impressive fuel economy. While the petrol engine produces 145bhp and 175Nm of peak torque, the electric motors produce 184bhp and a peak torque of 315Nm – a combined power output of 212bhp.
Although the media is going gaga over the launch of a hybrid Honda Accord model, there have been issues with which have been pointed out by critics that could mar sales in the near future. “The electrically assisted steering, while nicely weighted and responsive off-center, provides no hint of road feel or feedback,” states Car and Driver website. Another issue that has been pointed out on numerous automotive web portals is that the car suffers from brakes susceptible to abrupt ABS intrusion. Also the Honda Accord is quite a heavy car at 1620 kgs. International media has reported about issues faced by 2016 model Honda Accord Hybrid buyers.
Car Buying Strategies reports that the car is not very “engaging”. Some critics have indicated that the 2016 Honda Accord Sedan is not very engaging when you are driving, especially when compared to some competitors, said their assessment. “It lacks the final punch.”
Several auto critics think the touch-screen 2016 Honda controls are somewhat more challenging to use. They become difficult to manage in environments that are prone to momentum such as in a car. Also, the design of the boot, or cargo holding area is such that it limits baggage loading flexibility and capacity.
There are other issues as well. Watch how a user frustrated after buying the 2016 Honda Accord uploaded this video on YouTube to share his issues cautioning buyers to stay away from it:
Another big disappointment is that one expected Honda to do its homework before the launch of the Hybrid 2016 Honda Accord. Honda’s 2016 Hybrid Accord can’t beat the Toyota Prius’s figures in fuel economy or even the 2014–2015 Accord hybrid’s city feel consumption figures.
However the biggest disappointment which is surely going to have a bearing on sales figures without doubt is the hefty pricing of 2016 Accord Hybrid. This is due to the fact that Honda does not get the advantage of FAME India -Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – tax break, despite 2015 Accord being hybrid. The reason behind this is that Honda has chosen to import Completely Built Unit (CBU) of Honda Accord Hybrid 2016 and not opt for local assembly which could have cut the steep price tag.
However, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which will be its biggest competitor, gets that advantage and is Rs 6 lakh cheaper than the Honda. Toyota has been occupying the space in this segment all by itself and now the launch go Honda Accord Hybrid will stir up things in the D segment sedan category. Although the Honda comes with all the bells and whistles and clearly looks like the more stacked car, but an extra Rs 6 lakh and a little more seems like a huge some to pay for some features which Indian buyers looking for affordability first are hardly going to use.
Soon a new competitor will join the league later in 2017 in the form of the Volkswagen Passat GTE. But all eyes are on the launch date of the 2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid which has a legacy in Hybrid segment and is set to come to India probably in early 2017, but hopefully in December this year.
It remains to be seen how the Indian market responds to this hefty price tag of the Honda Accord Hybrid when cheaper and equally impressive deals are at offer by Toyota in the form of Camry and upcoming Prius. For the On Road price of 43.28 lac, the Honda Accord Hybrid will find few takers as buyers in India, knowing their preferences, would rather go for luxury sedans like the new Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C Class or the BMW 3 Series.