A few years ago, there were as many as six companies in the Indian premium sedan segment. These are big cars—length normally between 4,700-5,000mm—loaded with luxury. The price band is Rs 20-30 lakh. The products were Honda Accord, Nissan Teana, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb.
However, by the turn of the decade, German luxury car-makers started entering the Rs 20-30 lakh segment with their smaller but more luxurious cars, and buyers started shifting to marques such as Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class, BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
Sales dropped so much that the Accord, Teana, Sonata and Passat were discontinued. Skoda managed to stay the course with the Superb, giving the car timely updates, as did Toyota, which launched the Camry in a hybrid avatar.
Of these six cars, one of the oldest and the most successful has been the Accord. Launched in 2001, the Accord clocked total sales of 27,392 units in India until it was discontinued in November 2013.
Next month, Honda will launch the Accord Hybrid in India. “Globally, it’s called the Ninth Generation Accord. It’s an advanced hybrid vehicle, and a stylish, luxurious and spacious car,” says Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president, Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India.
The company, in fact, was the first to launch a hybrid—the Civic Hybrid in 2008.
The Accord Hybrid will likely get a 2-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine and an electric drive motor that delivers 306Nm of instant torque. The total horsepower should be in the range of 200.
The cabin, as is with cars this big, would be roomy enough for five adults to travel in luxury. However, a hybrid car needs to carry a large battery-pack, which could take up to one-third of the boot space.
We expect the Accord Hybrid would be priced close to Rs 30 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi.