Commuter Car Review: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid

A road warrior puts the redesigned family sedan to the test.

Rick Press | 
Sep 13, 2018 | 8 min read

Aaron Miller/Capital One

Three miles into my daily commute, and already my blood pressure is skyrocketing.

I’m in a beautiful new 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid at the highest point of the Fort Worth Mixmaster interchange, a soaring, 11-story monument to commuter traffic. The Obsidian Blue Pearl paint is glistening in the sun, traffic is squeezing from two lanes to one, and orange barrels line the curved, narrow overpass as the ant-like traffic below continues its never-ending march.

All of a sudden this, ahem, let’s just call him a misguided fellow commuter, decides to slingshot past me and two SUVs, nearly scraping the concrete barrier in the process, before he cuts hard to the left. Then, naturally, he slams on his brakes because traffic is barely moving.

At least this time I didn’t have to swerve to miss a desk that fell off of a truck.

I vent my frustration out past the heads-up display in the windshield, breathe, and then check all the gauges on the top-of-the-line that Honda loaned us for a week to review. It’s passed its first test: crash averted, with no apparent judgment for my mini-meltdown.

Every day, 115 million vehicles hit the roads to get to work in America, with commuters . More than 76 percent of us drive alone. And as my fellow road warriors can attest, we need a vehicle that’s more than just a machine; more than fuel efficiency and reliability. We need a car we can count on.

Immersed in the high-pressure obstacle course that is my daily commute – 50 miles each way of stress, boredom, fear of people texting at 80 mph, and yes, the occasional piece of office or bedroom furniture - the Accord feels right at home.

This is the environment for which it’s built.

Aaron Miller/Capital One


For much of my career, I worked about four miles from my house. It was great, but I barely had time to belt out a Journey tune before arriving at the office. Now I have an hour (at least) to think, and quite often I wonder what kind of car I’d buy if/when my current ride, a 2004 sedan, goes kaput.

Everything from fuel economy to comfort to cupholders comes into play when you’re daydreaming of what makes a great commuter car. Here are my 7 favorite must-haves:

1. Good gas mileage and a decent-sized tank

  • Fuel Economy is crucial, especially when trying to calculate the total cost of ownership, so I was eager to watch the Accord Hybrid do its eco-thing. Over two days and about 200 miles of commuting, I averaged 37 mpg, according to the real-time numbers on the digital display. That’s not shabby, but it’s a far cry from the EPA-estimated 47 mpg (whether city, highway, or combined) listed on the window sticker. More on that later.
  • Filling up every four days is no fun, and with a relatively small 12.8-gallon tank, the Accord Hybrid won’t prevent you from becoming a regular at the gas pump. If you’re one of the more than , the Hybrid Accord will save you between one and two trips to the pump each month* compared to the non-hybrid versions, with their 14.8-gallon tanks.

* Calculated using EPA-estimated MPG for Accord Hybrid, 2.0T and 1.5T models.

2. Comfortable, with a very smooth ride

  • The Accord hugs the road through gentle curves and long straightaways, and bumps are absorbed easily by the adaptive suspension. Though the driver’s seat feels a little low for a mid-size sedan, the car feels connected to the road without delivering a harsh ride.

3. Accelerates quickly

  • As unfettered freeway quickly morphs into a sea of brake lights, the Accord adapts to the herky-jerky rhythm with ease. Its 212 horsepower hybrid engine provides more than enough oomph to accelerate past the right lane-clogging semis, and the regenerative brakes handle the frequent slowdowns with seemingly little effort.

4. Cutting-edge safety features

  • When it comes time to change lanes, blind-spot monitors on both side-view mirrors are easy to see, and provide added confidence. I ease into the left lane without signaling, and the Accord’s Lane Keep-Assist steers me back, which feels a little bossy (my first instinct is to turn it off). But if the available Honda Sensing safety suite can make me a better driver, so be it.
  • The multi-angle back-up camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heads-up display and automatically-adjusting high beams are just a few of the technological advances that contribute to the feeling that this is a very safe, if a little overprotective, vehicle.

5. Great audio

  • Being a turbo-commuter isn’t all white-knuckle moments and red-eyed rage. Most days, I rock out to a full catalog of music written before 1987, and I stay current on news, sports, and world affairs. I chat with friends and family, always handsfree. There is some noticeable highway noise in the cabin, and a surprisingly audible hum coming from the ventilated seats’ fans, but the available 10-speaker premium audio system is a pleasant surprise.

6. Ample cargo space

  • Honda may have upgraded the look and feel of the Accord for 2018, but it didn’t sacrifice any of its practicality. The trunk is large enough to fit two golf bags and six full grocery bags – or one large teenager. Upon seeing the cavernous space, my nearly 6-foot-tall son hops in and sprawls out for effect. He also luxuriates in the big backseat (at 40.4 inches of legroom, it’s more spacious than many small crossover SUVs) – great for family road trips.
  • There is ample storage between the front seats, too, and a deep cubby with multiple charging ports just under the AC controls. The cupholders – 4 in front, 4 in back – were all easy to reach and snug, to prevent spillage of my morning caffeine. That’s not just extra space, since we commuters tend to turn our cars into a second home.
Aaron Miller/Capital One

7. Bonus: Affordable and attractive

  • Redesigned for 2018, the 10th generation of the Accord is sleek and luxurious, inside and out. The Obsidian Blue Pearl adds curb appeal to any driveway, with its fastback silhouette, chrome accents and wraparound LED headlights. The aesthetics and attention to detail continue inside, from the modern digital displays and brightly colored infotainment system, to the available wood-grain dash and ventilated leather seats. All-told, the latest edition of the Accord shatters any stereotype that mid-size sedans have to look generic. Because, well, who doesn’t want pretty things?

Aaron Miller/Capital One


Part of Accord’s master plan for changing its image is found in an innocuous-looking “sport mode” button. Press it, and the steering and adaptive suspension stiffens up, while the throttle becomes more sensitive. The result is a car that feels sportier than it looks, especially on the first leg of my daily commute, which is filled with fits and starts.

The navigation system, shining bright on the 8-inch touchscreen, suggests taking the express lanes, so I give the accelerator a push and blast off. I sprint toward the 75 mph speed limit in a decidedly un-hybrid-like manner, turn up the satellite radio, grip the steering wheel, and enjoy the ride – for 5.7 miles, which is when the gridlock begins again.


Like most hybrids, the Accord’s electric motor yields larger fuel efficiency gains during acceleration and at lower speeds (i.e. city driving), but the traditional engine is relied on more once the traffic starts flowing again. That’s because after long stretches without using the regenerative brakes, which harness forward momentum to generate an electrical charge, there’s simply not enough juice left for the electric motor to make as much of a difference as it’s otherwise capable.

I suppose this is a fact of life for hybrid owners, but it’s definitely something for commuters to consider. Also, those batteries take up a lot of space, and while Accord’s cavernous trunk (16.7 cu.ft.) isn’t impacted, the reduced fuel tank means that, for highway driving, Accord Hybrids can travel just 16% further on a tank of fuel than the non-hybrid 1.5T variant.
Aaron Miller/Capital One


The final stretch of my commute moves faster than usual. The Accord sails along the highways of Dallas-Fort Worth, darting by the text-and-drive set and easily avoiding 18-wheeler tire treads littering the left lane.

Thankfully, there are no desks, mattresses or escaped carpet rolls on the roads today. But if we had encountered any of that detritus, I’m sure the Accord would’ve helped me navigate around it like a pro. The car, with its myriad safety features, inspires confidence. Save for the occasional false alarm – it sometimes considered cross traffic at red lights a near miss, and the system’s aversion to car washes is reminiscent of a cat at bathtime – Honda Sensing’s suite of systems is a key intangible for any commuter.

As I exit the highway and head for Capital One’s campus, I’m almost sad the commute is coming to an end. Can’t say I’ve ever felt that way before.

But the 2018 Accord, with its dramatic new look and driving experience, seems designed just for this purpose: to upend expectations.

Written by humans.
Edited by humans.

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Rick Press

After a long career as an editor for a major metropolitan newspaper and website, in 2017 I joined Capital One as its Managing Editor for Auto Content. I’ve been fortunate to cover everything from breaking news and Super Bowls to CEOs and celebrities, and now I am excited to explore the connection we all have to our cars and help consumers navigate the car-buying journey. Let’s ride!