2017 Honda Accord Hybrid on sale this spring with 48 mpg

Honda is looking to double its 2014 sales of the Accord Hybrid with the 2017 model. 

Gene J. Puskar/AP/File
The Honda logo on the grill of a 2016 Accord 4D LX on display at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh. The 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on sale this spring, Honda says.

Honda says it has doubled production capacity for the car, and is targeting annual sales of more than double the 14,000 Accord Hybrids that were sold during 2014.

Limited availability of the earlier model years, which were well reviewed by many outlets, frustrated potential buyers, who reported waits of up to several months for dealers to get Accord Hybrids onto their lots.

Those shortages persisted for more than a year, and Honda ultimately chose to move hybrid production to the Accord's Japanese assembly plant.

The second generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system is paired to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that uses the lean Atkinson Cycle combustion sequence for the highest output on the least fuel.

Combined output ratings between the engine and the two electric motors is 212 horsepower, an increase of 16 hp over the previous model.

Honda says it's the highest power in the segment, which includes the Volt-derived Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

As before, the Accord Hybrid will offer three drive modes, including EV Drive, which gives all-electric propulsion through the front wheels with the engine off as long as there is sufficient charge in the battery.

Hybrid Drive blends electric-only running from the propulsion motor with the gasoline engine recharging the battery using the second motor as a generator.

Finally, Engine Drive locks the engine and propulsion motor together, combining gasoline-electric power for higher loads and road speeds.

The Accord Hybrid shifts automatically and continually among these three drive modes, depending on which is the most energy-efficient at any moment.

Honda has also made the lithium-ion battery pack slightly more compact in the 2017 hybrid sedan, giving it a trunk capacity of 13.5 cubic feet.

The company says that's the largest volume in the segment.

Unique features of the hybrid Accord include LED headlights and taillights with blue accents, an aluminum hood, aluminum alloy wheels, and various badges and "Hybrid" identifiers.

As well as the upgraded powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid incorporates all the updates made to conventional Accords for their mid-cycle update going into the current 2016 model year, including an array of standard and optional electronic active-safety systems.

Standard safety features include a rear-view camera with a wide-angle display, and the Honda Sensing suite of forward collision warning, automatic crash braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and road-departure mitigation.

The company expects the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid to receive the highest safety ratings: an overall five-star rating from the NHTSA, along with an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation as well.

The hybrid sedan will be offered in three trim levels for 2017: Hybrid, Hybrid EX-L, and Hybrid Touring. The latter two roughly correspond to the highest trim levels on the conventional Accord sedan.

Options (which vary by trim level) will include a 7-inch touchscreen audio system that incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, front and rear parking sensors, and heated rear seats.

Prices for the 2017 Accord Hybrid will be released closer to the car's on-sale date, which Honda said would be "this spring."

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