Review: 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
review 2005 honda accord hybrid

According to Rush Limbaugh, we’ve got plenty of oil. So I’m not really bothered about a given car’s fuel economy, from a “we are the world, we are the stars with air-conditioned mansions” perspective. More to the point, TTAC’s weekly test cars arrive with a full tank of gas. Of course, I’m not completely insensitive to working class priorities, or my profession’s desire to promote an anti-oil agenda. So I’m always up for a good hybrid bashing– I mean review. Only things didn’t quite turn out as I’d planned…

Picture the scene: I’m cruising down a wide open highway at 80mph. The tachometer reads 2200rpm, the flashing “eco” light tells me three out of six cylinders ain’t bad, and the computer says I’m doing 31.2mpg. If I was an rainbow warrior, mileage nerd or cheap bastard, I’d have every reason to feel smug.

But I’m not; I’m a throttle jockey. So I flex my foot and discover, huh? Urge. You know: thrust. In fact, that right pedal is a bit touchy. Twitch your toe and the Accord do go. And now God has placed a beat-up Chevrolet Silverado pickup in my path, telling me to test the limits of this newfound power. (Satan’s troopers are nowhere to be seen.) Although a gentle pedal squeeze disappoints, kickdown unleashes the real deal.

The Accord leaps past the flat-out flatbed– and the ton– like a large displacement sports sedan or a highly-strung sports car. The Japanese hybrid doesn’t exactly provide Porsche-level propulsion, but it doesn’t hang about either. The fact that I’m rocketing past an eight or nine mpg pickup in a car that’s [now, still] getting 20-plus miles per gallon of dead dinoflagellates is deeply impressive. But screw that. It’s the whole Q-car “what the Hell was that?” thing that makes me howl with laughter.

Think about it: what’s the last car on earth you’d expect to blow your doors off? A hybrid. And yet Honda’s gas – electric four-door has the goods to shut down many an aspiring competitor. To wit: the sprint from zero to sixty miles per hour takes just 6.7 seconds. That may “only” be .3 seconds faster than a top spec gas-only Accord, but c’mon, we’re talking about a clean-running, morally invincible hybrid! Compare that stat with the tree hugger’s current favorite whip, the Prius. Toyota’s Oscar-loving hybrid ambles to 60 in a decidedly lethargic 11.3 seconds. Honda’s hot rod hybrid leaves it for dead.

Honda pulled-off this cake and eat it thing by plumbing their electric motor/battery thingie into the Accord’s sweet-spinning six. The company’s patented “Integrated Motor Assist” adds an extra 16bhp and 100ft.-lbs. of torque to the powerplant, starting at an entirely useful 840rpms. Unfortunately, the recharging battery set-up also adds weight. Fortunately, Honda put the Accord on a diet: aluminum for the hood, bumper beams and rear suspension; magnesium for the intake manifold and head cover. They also deleted the sunroof from the options list and ditched the spare tire in favor of a sealant can.

The resulting four-door is still about 200lbs. heavier than a gas-only Accord. And the hybrid Accord is still a slightly nose-heavy front driver, prone to torque steer from a standstill stomp. Bah! Excepting its slightly rough ride over broken pavement, the hybrid inherits the base model’s perfectly evolved road manners. Dump those plus-sized Michelin Energy tires for some sticky summer rubber, and the Accord hybrid would give German sedan lovers a little something to think about.

Trade-offs? When you stop, so does the engine. When you take your foot off the brake, the battery judders to life, and the car moves forward. The lurch isn’t sudden or violent enough to launch you into a rear bumper, but it can catch you out. Otherwise, the transition to and from internal combustion is silky smooth– which is more than you can say for the electrically-assisted steering system. The helm is almost as bad as BMW’s recent efforts: notchy, over-assisted and, occasionally, notchily over-assisted. The hybrid’s tiller isn’t conducive to smooth cruising OR dicing. So what’s the point?

In general, the point of the Honda Accord hybrid is, as Car and Driver put it, to “haul ass and save gas”. Sure, it would take you a couple of years to “buy back” the $3k purchase premium at the pumps. But you can’t put a price on the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’re helping reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil, and doing your bit to eliminate the political and military adventurism that this energy dependence engenders.

Did I just say that? Oh man, this car is dangerous.

Join the conversation
  • Kwbuzz Kwbuzz on Mar 25, 2007

    Interesting review. I have never considered a Hybrid Anymake as a vehicle that I would drive. I will have to take a ride over to my local Honda shop and see if I am surprised too.

  • Hellhund Hellhund on Jun 13, 2007

    It's a damn shame they're discontinuing it before I get a chance to consider buying one -- or buying an even more advanced version in the next couple of years. Guess I'll just limp along in my 23-mpg Mazdaspeed6 Q-car...

  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.
  • El scotto Pondering if he has a clean brandy snifter. Well but, ah, I mean the original Grand Wagoneer was fully loaded and had a V-8. The original Grand Wagoneer had an almost cult-like following with a certain type of woman. Attractive, educated high earning women; or those that put on the appearances of being that way.Our esteemed HerR DOKtor Perfessor again shows how ignorant he is of the American market. What he deems "bread-vans on stilts" are highly coveted by significant others that are also highly coveted. The new Grand Cherokee with the new well engineered V-6 will sell as well as the ones from the 80s some of us get wistful over. The only real question will be: LL Bean or Orvis edition?
  • El scotto Well, I've had cats that are smarted than a great many members of congress. I rather doubt that any of the congresspeople Matt named are engineers, finance people or project managers. Ya know, professionals you call in to get a job done.Today is Wednesday, this will be out of the 36 hour news cycle by Friday. Oh it might get mentioned again on OCT 6. Unless there are cute animals to put on TV that day.
  • El scotto Oh My Good Lord Yes! Gents, this is a Caddy that carries on the soul of Caddy. Loud, brash, and apologetically American. Also large and in charge and one of GM's best evah engines. What used to be a flash roll is now bottle service.Can't deal with that reality? There are plenty of excellent SUVs/CUVs on the market. I'm a former Escape owner. The Escape was a sensible lil CUV, this Caddy is just way over the top.Canyon carver? Not a chance, this is based on a Silverado frame. Easy to park? Toss the valet the keys. Will some of the other high-end SUVs have better "soft touch" materials that make car journalist get tingly all over? Of course.This Caddy is designed to eat up huge and I mean huge amounts of American interstate miles. Four people and their luggage? Easily.