By on October 9, 2013

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-007

As of October, the most fuel-efficient mid-sized sedan in America is the Honda Accord. Or so Honda says. After all, Ford has been trumpeting a matching 47 MPG combined from their Fusion. Who is right? And more importantly, can the Accord get Honda back into the hybrid game after having lost the initial hybrid battles with their maligned Integrated Motor Assist system? Honda invited us to sample the 2014 Accord Hybrid as well as a smorgasbord of competitive products to find out.

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Exterior

I have always been a fan of “elegant and restrained” styling which explains my love for the first generation Lexus LS. That describes the 2014 Accord to a tee. Like the regular Accord, the hybrid is devoid of sharp creases, dramatic swooshes, edgy grilles or anything controversial. This is a slightly different take than the Accord Plug-in which swaps the standard Accord bumper for a bumper with a slightly awkward gaping maw. In fact, the only thing to show that something green this way comes are some  blue grille inserts and  LED headlamps on the top-level Touring model.

This means the Accord and the Mercedes E-Class are about the only sedans left that sport a low beltline and large greenhouse. Opinions on this style decision range from boring to practical and I fall on the latter. I think the Ford Fusion is more attractive but the Hyundai Sonata’s dramatic style hasn’t aged as well as its Kia cousin’s more angular duds. The Camry failed to move my soul when it was new and it hasn’t changed much over the years. This places the Accord tying with the Optima for second place.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Interior

Despite sporting an all-new interior in 2013, you’d be hard pressed to identify what changed over the last generation Accord unless you owned one. Instead of radical design buyers will find incremental improvements and high quality plastics. The dash is still dominated by a double-bump style dashboard with the second binnacle housing a standard 8-inch infotainment display. With manufacturers moving toward slimmer dash designs the Accord’s remains tall and large. For hybrid duty Honda swiped the Plug-in’s tweaked instrument cluster with a large analogue speedometer, no tachometer, LED gauges for battery, fuel and a power meter. Everything else is displayed via a full-color circular LCD set inside the speedometer.

Front seat comfort is excellent in the accord with thickly padded ergonomically designed front seats. There isn’t much bolstering (as you would expect from a family hauler) so larger drivers and passengers shouldn’t have a problem finding a comfortable seating position. The product planners wisely fitted adjustable lumbar support and a 10-way power seats to all trims.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Speaking of trim levels, in most ways (with the exception of that driver’s seat), the Accord EX serves as the “feature content” base for the hybrid. This means you’ll find dual-zone climate control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, standard Bluetooth, a backup camera, keyless entry/go and active noise cancellation.

Thanks to a wheelbase stretch in 2013, the Accord hybrid sports 1.3 inches more legroom than the last Accord and is finally class competitive with essentially the same amount of room as the Fusion and Camry and a few inches more than the Koreans. The Accord’s upright profile means getting in and out of those rear seats is easier than the low-roofline competition and it also allows the seating position to be more upright. Honda’s sales pitch about the low beltline is that it improves visibility for kids riding in the back, I’m inclined to believe them. As with most hybrids, there’s a trunk penalty to be paid but thanks to energy dense Lithium-ion cells the Accord only drops 3 cubic feet to 12.7 and I had no problem jamming six 24-inch roller bags in the trunk.  Honda nixed the folding rear seats, a feature that the competition has managed to preserve.

2014_Accord_Hybrid_Touring_043, Picture Courtesy of Honda

Infotainment, Gadgets and Pricing

Base Accords use physical buttons to control the standard 8-inch infotainment system and sport 6 speakers with 160 watts behind them.  Honda wouldn’t comment on the expected model split of the Accord, but I suspect that most shoppers will opt for the mid-level EX-L which adds a subwoofer, 360 watt amp, and adds a touchscreen for audio system controls. The dual-screen design struck me as half-baked when I first sampled it in the regular 2013 Accord and although I have warmed up to it a bit, I think it could still use a few minutes in the oven if you opt for the navigation equipped Touring model.

Honda’s concept was to move all the audio functions to the touchscreen thereby freeing the upper screen for some other use like the trip computer or navigation screen. The trouble is the lower screen simply selects sources and provides track forward/backward buttons meaning you still have to use the upper screen to change playlists or search for tracks. That minor complaint aside, the system is very intuitive and responsive. Honda’s improved iDevice and USB integration is standard fare on all models and easily ties with the best in this segment.

2014_Accord_Hybrid_EX-L_ Picture Courtesy of Honda

Starting at $29,155, the base Accord Hybrid is the most expensive mid-sized hybrid sedan by a decent margin especially when you look at the $25,650 starting price on the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. However, the Accord Hybrid delivers a high level of standard equipment including standard Pandora smartphone app integration and Honda’s Lane Watch system. Lane watch still strikes me as a little gimmicky since the Accord has such small blind spots and the best outward visibility in the segment already. Instead of stand alone options Honda offers just three trim levels. The next step is the $31,905 EX-L model which adds leather seats, a leather steering wheel, upgraded audio system with two LCD screens, memory driver’s seat, power passenger seat, moonroof, a camera based collision warning system and lane departure warning. While the base model is a little more expensive than cross-shops, the EX-L becomes a decent value compared to comparably equipped competitive hybrids.

Working your way up to the top-of-the-line $34,905 Touring model the Accord is no longer the most expensive in the class, that award goes to the $37,200 loaded fusion. At this price the Accord is less of a bargain compared to the competition, although you do get full LED headlamps and an adaptive cruise control system. In comparison the Camry spans from $26,140 to $32,015, the Sonata from $25,650 to $32,395, Optima from  $25,900 to $31,950 and the Fusion from $27,200 to $37,200. How about the Prius? Glad you asked. The Prius that is most comparable to the base Accord Hybrid is $26,970 and comparably equipped to the Accord Touring is $35,135.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Engine, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain

Being the drivetrain geek that I am, what’s under the hood of the Accord hybrid is more exciting than the Corvette Stingray. Seriously. Why? Because this car doesn’t have a transmission in the traditional sense. Say what? Let’s start at the beginning. The last time Honda tried selling an Accord hybrid, they jammed a 16 HP motor between a V6 and a 5-speed automatic. The result was 25MPG combined. The 2014 hybrid system shares absolutely nothing with the old system. No parts. No design themes. Nothing.

Things start out with the same 2.0L four-cylinder engine used in the Accord plug-in. The small engine is 10% more efficient than Honda’s “normal” 2.0L engine thanks to a modified Atkinson cycle, an electric water pump, cooled exhaust gas return system, and electric valve timing with a variable cam profile. The engine produces 141 horsepower on its own at 6,200 RPM and, thanks to the fancy valvetrain, 122 lb-ft from 3,500-6,000 RPM.

The engine is connected directly to a motor/generator that is capable of generating approximately 141 horsepower. (Honda won’t release details on certain drivetrain internals so that’s an educated guess.) Next we have a 166 horsepower, 226 lb-ft motor that is connected to the front wheels via a fixed gear ratio. Under 44 miles per hour, this is all you need to know about the system. The 166 horsepower motor powers the car alone, drawing power from either a 1.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, or the first motor/generator. Over 44 miles per hour, the system chooses one of two modes depending on what is most efficient at the time. The system can engage a clutch pack to directly connect the two motor/generator units together allowing engine power to flow directly to the wheels via that fixed gear ratio. (Check out the diagram below.)

Front Wheel Drive Biased

Pay careful attention to that. I said fixed gear ratio. When the Accord Hybrid engages the clutch to allow the engine to power the wheels directly (mechanically), power is flowing via a single fixed ratio gear set. The fixed gear improves efficiency at highway speeds, reduces weight vs a multi-speed unit and is the reason the system must use in serial hybrid mode below 44 mph. There is another side effect at play here as well: below 44 MPH, the system’s maximum power output is 166 horsepower. The 196 combined ponies don’t start prancing until that clutch engages.

So why does Honda call it an eCVT? Because that fits on a sales sheet bullet point and the full explanation doesn’t. Also, a serial hybrid can be thought of as a CVT because there is an infinite and non-linear relationship between the engine input and the motor output in the transaxle.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Gauges, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drive

Let’s start off with the most important number first: fuel economy. With a 50/45/47 EPA score (City/Highway/Combined), the Accord essentially ties with the Fusion on paper and, although Honda deliberately avoided this comparison, is only 3MPG away from the Prius-shaped elephant in the room. In the real world however the Accord was more Prius than Fusion, averaging 45-46 mpg in our highway-heavy (and lead-footed) 120 mile route and easily scoring 60-65 mpg in city driving if you drive if like there’s an egg between your foot and the pedal of choice. Those numbers are shockingly close to the standard Prius in our tests (47-48 MPG average) and well ahead of the 40.5 MPG we averaged in the Fusion, 35.6 in the Hyundai/Kia cousins and 40.5 in the Camry. Why isn’t Honda dropping the Prius gauntlet? Your guess is as good as mine.

Due to the design of the hybrid system, I had expected there to be a noticeable engagement of the clutch pack, especially under hard acceleration when the system needs to couple the engine to the drive wheels to deliver all 196 combined ponies. Thankfully, system transitions are easily the smoothest in this segment besting Ford’s buttery smooth Fusion and night and day better than the Camry or Prius. Acceleration does take a slight toll because of the system design with 60 MPH arriving in 7.9 seconds, about a half second slower than the Fusion or Camry but half a second faster than the Optima or Sonata and several hours ahead of the Prius.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior, Wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

At 69 measured decibels at 50 MPH, the Accord hybrid is one of the quietest mid-sized sedans I have tested scoring just below the Fusion’s hushed cabin. This is something of a revelation for the Accord which had traditionally scored among the loudest at speed. When driving in EV mode (possible at a wide variety of highway speeds) things dropped to 68 db at 50 MPH.

When the road starts winding, the Accord Hybrid handles surprisingly well. Why surprisingly? Well, the hybrid system bumps the curb weight by almost 300 lbs to 3,550 (vs the Accord EX) and swaps in low-rolling resistance tires for better fuel economy. However, unlike the Camry and Korean competition, the Accord uses wide 225 width tires. Considering the regular Accord models use 215s, this makes the Accord’s fuel economy numbers all the more impressive. The Fusion is 150 lbs heavier and rides on either 225 or 235 (Titanium only) width tires which also explains why the hybrid Fusion Titanium gets worse mileage than the base Hybrid SE model. I wouldn’t call the Accord Hybrid the equal of the gas-only Accord EX on the road, but the difference is smaller than you might think.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Helping the Accord out on the road are “amplitude reactive dampers” or “two mode shocks” as some people call them. These fancy struts have worked their way down from the Acura line and use two different valves inside the damper to improve low and high-speed damping performance. The difference is noticeable with the Hybrid having a more compliant ride, and thanks to thicker anti-roll bars the hybrid is more stable in corners. Still, for me, the Accord gives up a hair of performance feel to the Fusion hybrid out on the road. It’s just a hair less precise, not as fast to 60 and lacks the sharp turn-in and bite you get in the Fusion Titanium with its wider and lower profile tires. However, keep in mind that Fusion Titanium takes a 1-2MPG toll on average economy in our tests dropping the Fusion from 40.5 to 38-39 MPG.

The Accord may not be the best looking hybrid on sale, (for me that’s still the Ford Fusion) but the Accord’s simple lines and unexpectedly high fuel economy make the Honda a solid option. Being the gadget hound I am, I think I would still buy the Fusion, but only in the more expensive Titanium trim. If you’re not looking that high up the food chain, the Accord Hybrid is quite simply the best fuel sipping mid-size anything. Prius included.

 

Honda provided the vehicle, insurance and gas at a launch event.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.2 Seconds

0-60: 7.9 Seconds

Cabin noise at 50 MPH: 69 db

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 45.9 MPG over 129 miles.

 

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82 Comments on “First Drive Review: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    pragmatic

    No rear folding seats?
    Is there a trunk pass through?
    Either way this limits the car.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    This is an impressive powertrain and they easily could make it an EV 9liek the Volt). BTW: how does the Volt engage the ICE, also with clutch? but the Volt does so at higher speed?

    See Mr. Volt, one can built an hybrid with this type of drivetrain and get better than 30 mpg…

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The Volt’s drivetrain is more similar to the Prius than anything else. The difference is it can essentially decouple MG1 and the engine from MG2 by locking a clutch pack.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Bravo, Honda!!

    Not a car I’d ever buy, but it looks like a hit. And I’m glad they FINALLY got hybrid right. I wonder if I could talk the missus into one of these instead of an SUV in a couple years. Still seats 5, has enough trunk for several suitcases, but more than double highway MPG and TRIPLE city MPG.

    Now will you PLEASE put a real engine in the CRZ so it will sell more than 200 a month? They are going to wind up discontinuing the car when dropping a K24 in it would probably more than double its sales.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified while reading that. Honda is arguably the most thorough auto engineering firm on the planet, and their resale and reliability tend to reflect that for 3+ decades with very few exceptions (Ody/Accord/TL trannies, etc). I really want to like this hybrid arrangement, but the complexity scares me away from considering ownership — as does lack of a wagon, but that’s a running complaint among a lot of enthusiasts.

    “The last time Honda tried selling an Accord hybrid, they jammed a 16 HP motor between a V6 and a 5-speed automatic. The result was 25MPG combined.”

    If I recall, Honda intentionally broke from tradition to answer the question that apparently nobody asked: “What if we use hybrids to make the car FASTER and not just more efficient?” The last Accord V6 hybrid was a speed demon. And nobody wanted that because it’s a tough message to sell.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Glad to read this review – I’m seriously considering this car, simply because of its technology which I regard as the cleverest hybrid yet.

    However, Alex, for goodness sake, how about proofreading your text? Here are three examples of nonsense. The truck review yesterday was even worse.

    ” .. you’d be hard pressed to identify what changed over the last generation Accord unless you owned.”

    ” In fact, the only thing to show that something green this way someday are some grille inserts …”

    “Over 44 miles per hour, the system chooses one of two mods depending on what is most …”

    Groan.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Impressive powertrain.

    Pandora integration is awesome on this car. Switch playlists, skip songs, no commercials, it automatically turns on when you start your car and pauses when you turn it off, and you can do it all with your wheel buttons.

    I bet the low decibel reading has to do with active noise cancellation at work and the quiet electric motor!

    It’s super safe, too, with 1500 MPa steel in the side sills, front pillars, and B pillar.

    Awesome job, Honda! Both of my parents bought 2013 Accords. We tried the Plug-in a few weeks ago but it was over 40k and didn’t even have leather. Once the Hybrids are in stock, they’ll seem like a bargain at 10k less than the Plug-in model, and they include leather. I see the Plug-ins as pulling customers in and Hybrids being sold.

    I wonder if no transmission means less maintenance? I’m wondering which would need replacing first, the new EarthDreams CVT on the gas model or the batteries of the Hybrid? Do Hybrids have less wear and tear on the mechanical moving parts because the electric parts help out with the work?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      This is an impressive car. Certainly destroys the argument for the smaller Prius. Why get a smaller car, more cramped car when for similar or slightly more (depending on spec) you can get a bigger car with essentially the same fuel economy, better driving dynamics, faster and more stylish.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        The liftback and folding rear seats for one. All 3 of my vehicles have a rear hatch and I haven’t purchased a sedan since 2003. If that doesn’t matter, yeah, the Accord is likely a better buy than the Prius. But, to put things in perspective, this is the 5th model year of the 3rd gen Prius. A redesign is right around the corner.

      • 0 avatar

        I would not say it “destroys” “the” argument. Perhaps it helps buyers who are not concerned with the size, but are concerned with the mileage. However, IMHO the outgoing Accord was oppressively huge already. Too large to be comfortable. So the impressive drivetrain does not win me over as a car buyer, although I consider it awesome as an engineer.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The 2013 Accord is actually smaller than the 2008-2012 version, and drives like it.

          Having driven both a normal 2013 Accord and plenty of Priuses, I think this car absolutely destroys any case for buying a Prius, increased length or not. It’s just so, so, so much more refined. (Faster, too.)

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    True to form, (excepting the 2nd gen Civic hybrid fiasco), Honda has delivered yet another product that overachieves on its stated EPA rating. That’s the way to do it in my opinion, because consumers with lighter driving will get an ‘easter egg’ of sorts once they realize the car is even more efficient than they expected!

    The 2013 Accord was already king of the hill of midsize sedans in my mind, now this Hybrid version of it is arguably the most attractive offering in the hybrid segment. Good job Honda! I’d love to see them make the next Civic equally class leading.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Don’t recall the EPA highway estimates, but my 2013 Touring (full-boat V6 slushbox Sedan) just returned a two-way average of ~34mpg this past Friday from Toledo to Cleveland, average speeds between 70-80mph because of lots of construction on the Ohio Turnpike (including enough traffic on the return trip that fifteen or so miles was required for myself and others to clear “left lane bandits” out of the way at each zone), and partial A/C usage, in the “ECO” mode (which reduces A/C output) which I mostly used to keep the car buttoned-up because of the dust in the construction zones; first time I had used “ECO” mode with A/C, and it’s adequate for mid-70s days when venting the sunroof leaves things a little too warm inside.

      (Gotta give a shout-out to Steve’s Gyros at the West Side Market in Cleveland–went to have my paint-protection film “fine-tuned” a little at Block-A-Chip in Mentor, OH, and stopped by the WSM on the way back. This place has been featured on “Man Vs. Food” on the Travel Channel, and is easily the best gyro short of Greece!! Check it out!)

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        “70-80 mph” on Ohio Turnpike and all major highways in Ohio outside of the suburbs is 70 mph limit now. Except for construction zones that is.

        I don’t mind that type of traffic as they are moving allot of air for you. We all know that computer readouts for fuel economy are optimistic but how much depends on each car, driving conditions, and the driver. My Verano Turbo is about 2 mpg low vs computing by hand. 34+ mpg at 70+ mph with a few runs to 100+ mph around the LLB’s today and a bunch of country side roads should give about 36 mpg. And that is having fun!

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    There is still a correlaion between how slow thwy are and fuel economy?

    Why does Honda’s warranty depend on which state you reside?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Part of all vehicle warranties depend on the state in which you reside thanks to a difference between the requirements of EPA and CARB emissions durability warranties. Since the motor/generators and battery are presumed to reduce emissions they are covered under the emissions warranties that all mfgs must meet. The thing that annoys me is that there are now many states of Californication but out of the dozen or so only OR requires that the mfg also meet the emissions durability warranty standards of CARB.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    For one thing, the first Accord Hybrid—much like the Lexus LS 600hL—was designed to put out more power than the gasoline-only variants. And it worked. It was just an answer to a question that no one asked.

    Meanwhile, I’m glad that Honda really toned it down on the plug-in hybrid, because I remember the concept, which had a ridiculously -tall front grille and was just plain over the top. Honda has decided—much as the Europeans have—that consumers don’t like their hybrids to scream “look at me!”. Add some minimal and tasteful blue trim, a couple of badges, maybe even a tweaked set of bumpers, and call it a day. Too bad Hyundai didn’t get the memo with their catfish-derived Sonata Hybrid.

  • avatar
    segfault

    “…the Accord retains the 225 width tires in the conversion.”

    Not exactly. Bizarrely, the Accord EX, EX-L, EX-L V6, and Touring all wear 215/55R17 tires, while the Accord Hybrid, despite its focus on fuel economy, gets 225/50R17 tires, which theoretically should have higher rolling resistance than 215s.

    I remember this from my test drive of the V6 Accord, as I thought the tires were too narrow for a car with that much power. It had a lot of trouble putting the power to the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      That probably goes for anything with 200+ hp and FWD, especially on stock Michelins or whatever they’ve chosen for low rolling resistance.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        Yeah, if memory serves, the Altima V6 has 225s and the Passat V6 has 235s. In driving the V6 Accord, it was obvious that they made a lot of compromises in order to get the really high highway EPA number it achieved, and unfortunately, the narrow tires were one of those compromises.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Fortunately, Honda tuned the throttle tip-in to be a little less crisp than you might think–otherwise, you’d be lighting those things up in spite of VSA/traction-control! Once you figure that out after a few minutes of driving, no problem!

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Is this anywhere similar to the setup in the upcoming Fit hybrid? For some reason I’m thinking not, but the buff press wouldn’t read a tech bulletin even if it came with a plate of foie gras on top.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The Accord Hybrid looks good. It’s interesting that Honda did not compare the Accord Hybrid with the Acura ILX Hybrid. The Accord wipes the floor with the ILX in almost every category. The Accord is bigger, it is more powerful, gets substantially better fuel economy. The ILX Hybrid with technology package lists for $34,400; very close to the Accord Hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      jefmad

      The fact that this car is better in pretty much every way to the ILX is why they did not compare them. What I am surprised about is they put there older hybrid system in the Acura product a year ago when they have this almost ready. Who reveals their new tech advancement in the down line product? There is now NO reason to buy the Acura.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    This the THE car.

    If you have $30k to spend and want new, this is it.

    Did anyone notice that Alex was getting 60-65mpg in the City portions of his test? Unreal.

    They have eliminated the planetary gearset of the Prius, achieved similar MPG performance, all the while wrapped in what is one of the best looking cars in the segment. Finally a proper challenger to the HSD system….

    This is the first car in a long while that has me considering buying new.

    Any guesses on what the Accord volume mix will look like going forward?

    Alex, is the 2.0L motor a Direct Injected DOHC design? The ‘DI/DOHC’ layout is the next generation of Honda 4 cylinder motors and I have a hunch this is the first application of the new technology (albeit on Atkinson cycle) of the full suite of ED technology.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      I simply cannot wait to see how the 3 motor system performs… remember, they are electrifying the Dual-Clutch transmission within the houseing itself IN ADDITION to twin electric motors located between the drive wheels to achieve bi-lateral torque distribution…

      It just too bad the RLX looks like oatmeal…. what a moronic decision to style it so completely ho-hum….

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        For some reason I am less excited about the 3 motor system. I hope that the reality is better than my expectations, but I don’t expect stellar fuel economy or fantastic driving dynamics.

        • 0 avatar
          suspekt

          To me, the 3 motor system is the evolution of SH-AWD… the fact they are going to electrify the internals of a DCT must have industry insiders watching in amazement…

          Honda is going to put on a clinic for the industry when the full suite if ED technology prevades their lineup by 2015 . The Porsche 918 gets a lot of media attention but it is the NSX that has similar technology (on the hybrid front) at a fraction of the cost…. that is true brilliance….

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      No, it is not direct injection. Honda claims that DI would not have improved fuel economy much on this type of engine design and it would have added cost and complexity.

      Honda won’t comment on volume per se, but they did say that the Accord Hybrid is production constrained so they expect supplies to be low and everyone that is made to be sold.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Interestingly enough, the IS300h, that is not available in the US, gets a DI version of the 2.5L atkinson cycle engine that is available in the Camry hybrid, ES300h, Avalon hybrid, etc. It has an extra 20hp over the 2.5HSD in the mentioned vehicles. Unfortunately, it hasn’t got glowing reviews from the European press.* I quite enjoyed the standard 2.5L HSD when I was test driving before buying my Prius v. My v with the 2.5L HSD and a fully independent rear suspension would be near perfect. I’d give up a few mpg for an extra 60hp.

        *I don’t get the impression that the european press likes anything that drives like a CVT.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          The Lexus makes sense because they can charge enough to cover the cost of DI. For the cost/benefit ratio it’s harder in a mass market mid-size sedan.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    This is the first time I’ve read a review of a hybrid that made me actually consider it a viable option.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    Spare tire?

    I always want to know this, when reading reviews of hybrids. Honda’s site says the plug-in Accord just has a repair kit; not sure if the Hybrid’s the same.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I’m happy to see that Honda didn’t pull a Ford and decide that better mileage meant they could cut 6 gallons out of the gas tank so you still have to fill up every week.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Nice to see Honda’s getting a little of their engineering mojo back. Pretty impressive, will be interesting to see how it holds up after a few years.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Should I assume that the drivetrain components are stacked as shown in the power routing diagram? The way Honda has this set up, there is a lot of flexibility in how the various power components can be arranged.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      More or less. The actual layout inside the hybrid unit is a little unusual so it made sense to create a functional diagram rather than use the actual picture with arrows.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    So I am confused… gas engine makes 141hp, then the generator makes another 141hp, then the electric motor makes 166hp. How does the generator make that much power?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The engine is making 141HP which the 141HP generator turns into electricity. There is obviously some loss there, but Honda won’t say how much. That powers the 166HP motor. Any power beyond 141HP comes from the battery.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Alex,
    Thanks for the excellent and informative review. As a recovering Hondaholic I should really stay away from these… but… as someone who was torn between considering the Prius and C-Max as back up plans in event of theft or collision you’ve certainly confused the issue. No, you’ve clarified it. This wins. Now I can hope to eventually find a CPO with 35k in a brown wagon; and only then will I be truly cool.

  • avatar
    Brick317

    Did Honda take the wheels off of a Jetta Hybrid? They look alike.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Alex -

    How is the ride quality of the hybrid vs the non-hybrid Accord?

    I know you wrote that the hybrid uses similar suspension components to many vehicles in the Acura lineup, but did Honda improve the ride quality over choppy, bumpy & broken pavement?

    There are a many complaints on the Accord forums that the ride in the normal new Accord is choppy and unsettled?

    Thanks.

  • avatar

    Impressive sounding vehicle and fuel economy result. This would be what I’d buy if I ever decide to give up on life.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Nice review. I too am excited by the drive train in this vehicle. I find the atkinson cycle fascinating…If I were designing an engine cycle, I would use three valves per cylinder, one giant intake and two exhaust with the “2nd” exhaust valve being controlled by electronic soleniods or VCT. This independent valve would be able to either stay open to allow reverse air to flow out through the exhaust lowering the effective compression ratio, then closing and getting the higher expansion ratio or, it could remain closed at all times when higher power was needed. The purpose would be to allow the engine management to switch between the normal otto cycle and the atkinson as needed.

  • avatar
    SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

    I really don’t see what you guys are seeing in the looks. This box is extremely drab looking compared to the Fusion, and even the Malibu!

    Reading the review I can’t help but think that Alex really, really doesn’t like the Prius!

  • avatar
    imag

    It’s amazing how good ideas are so obvious once you look at them. Eliminating the transmission makes complete sense. You get electric smoothness for acceleration and the direct drive ICE to overcome highway wind resistance.

    Anyone know if Honda has an airtight patent on this arrangement?

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Very impressive at first blush, but one reliability question: Do these new batteries bear any relationship whatsoever to the batteries that apparently had so much trouble with premature weakening in the Civic hybrid?

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Glad to see they improved the seat. For me thigh support has been poor in almost all Hondas. That hybrid is pretty interesting as well. Wonder what the competition is going to come up to at least keep up.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Drivetrain . . .

    1. When at speed, if more power is needed with the ICE clutched to the wheels, then the extra power comes from the battery and the electric motor? Or does it de-clutche the ICE for extra revs and more electricity for the electric motor, this meaning the entire ICE to wheels power transmission is via electric cables?

    2. I wonder if the direct mechanical linking if the ICE to the wheels at speed is more efficient than the Toyota Power Split Device which inherently transfers power at speed via mechanical and electrical pathways.

    3. Could a drivetrain get any simpler? I thought the Toyota PSD with 6 gears in three operational sets was the pinnacle of simplicity. Here Honda goes and dispenses with transmission gears entirely.

    4. I would have had total doubts about no mechanical ICE to wheels link below 44mph if I had not experienced my Prius C in city traffic.
    It runs with the ICE off as much or more than with it on. In crawl and go freeway traffic, even with AC on, the ICE runs for maybe a minute to charge the battery and then it is off for a few minutes, all the while the fuel economy meter is heading towards the 70′s, 80′s or even 90′s per gallon.

    5.I am assuming that the Honda can declutch and shut off the ICE at any speed, as compared to the Toyota PSD which is mechanically limited to 45 mph at the most.

    6.I wonder how the Honda slows the car down on long downgrades?
    My Prius fills the battery to control the vehicle speed, but after the battery tops out, it then gears down the ICE to limit runaway speed.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great review Alex!

    I love this Accord. Last gen looked too bloated…this looks perfect, much like the 1998-2002. I too am a function over form person….

    I wish Honda would consider selling this powertrain to Subaru….

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    It never occurred to me that I would totally want a Honda Accord when I read this. Now I have a viable replacement in mind for when/if the LS400 gives up the ghost or gets totalled.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I wonder how well these work in winter weather? I should think sub zero temperatures would have a rather negative effect on drivability.

  • avatar
    Jon-Z

    Alex,

    Wonderful video and written review. I have been waiting for many months to see how the Honda Accord Hybrid would shape up, and it’s certainly now sounding good. I’m actually interested in the Touring model–the same model made available to you for the review. I have two questions:

    1) Just yesterday I spoke with a Honda salesman who had participated in a hands-on event introducing this vehicle to the Honda sales force. I specifically asked him if there was a pass-through between the trunk and the passenger cabin? He said that there was one that he recollected to be around six inches in diameter–large enough for accommodating skis. While I would have preferred seats that folded down, I saw a pass-through as sufficient for my anticipated needs. But in your video I believe you say there isn’t even a pass-through. Could you double-check on this point?

    2) Could you comment on how you’d anticipate responsiveness of this system in the situation of being stuck in snow, where fairly quick rocking successively forwards and backwards can often be the key to getting unstuck? It’s sometimes the art of perfectly timed rocking back and forth that does the trick, and I’m wondering how you’d expect the Honda Accord Hybrid to respond to such a challenge.

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    No Electronic E-brake? Wonderful! Good for fun in the snow. I hate those things.
    I really hope it lives up to the MPG. The drivetrain is very similar to the Fusion/C-max hybrids so it might not get better in the real world than Ford’s ~40MPG but we’ll see.

    I guess it’s not a real E-CVT because there is no planetary gear system? Just a 1 speed motor drive for serial hybrid/EV mode, and then 1 speed engine mode past 44MPH?

    • 0 avatar
      danwat1234

      Also the 196HP combined rating, I wonder if that will stay true for long period of time on the highway? Because, when the engine is engaged, maybe the generator cannot generate power for the motor, so over time the battery pack will run low and only the engine can provide propulsion.

      Or, can the generate suck torque from the motor while in parallel hybrid mode (44MPH+ mode)? Then there won’t be any problems. That’ll probably be the case. The stator of the generator and motor are fixed and the rotors are inline? So this way neither the motor or generator is ever disengaged/unavailable?
      Cool

      But no folding seats? Come on. Chevy Volt for me then :(

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I checked a couple of Houston dealer’s website’s and they don’t list them. I don’t see the car on the Honda website, except as a future model. Edmund’s does not list a price but I found a dozen or so on cars.com and they are asking $40,000 for them. I suppose these are the early bird sucker prices, but still that’s a heck of a premium over the normal gas model. I’m figuring I’d have to drive at least 45,000 miles to break even.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Green Car Reports’ Best Car To Buy: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1088280_green-car-reports-best-car-to-buy-2014-honda-accord-hybrid

    Now, can you buy one at list price?

  • avatar
    m2

    Alex, Thanks for the review, enjoyed it.
    My wife and I have been looking at buying a hybrid, but one of things that has been holding us back is finding a car that looks and rides like a gas driven car, along with making a significant improvement on the gas mileage. We planned on buying the Toyota Camry Hybrid, because it’s about the closet we could find with a great maintenance history, has a nice ride and good gas mileage. Then we notice Honda came out with the Accord Hybrid, we read all the reviews that we could find on it, and decided we should do a test drive. We were very impressed with the ride, looks, gas mileage it’s suppose to get, along with all the features in the Touring model. Now we are owners of the Honda Accord Hybrid. Just on our second day, so it’s really to early to give you any worthy review on it, but the first impression is it’s very quite, smooth, great visibility, comfortable seats, good acceleration, to early to comment on the gas mileage. After we have it for a while we will give you some more feedback on it. Thanks again for the review on the car.


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