Honda has extended its collection by adding two brand spanking new hybrid options to its mid-size sedan range. The much anticipated 2014 Accord Hybrid will hit dealers in October 2013, and its sibling, the Honda Accord Hybrid Plug-in, has been available at selected locations across California since January 2013.
The Honda Accord Hybrid is just the second hybrid vehicle to be produced by Honda in America, plus it is the first one to be assembled in Marysville, Ohio.
The previous redesigned gas version of the Honda Accord was warmly welcomed and received much praise in the press, as well as achieving the admirable status of 2013 Canadian Car of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.
The Honda Accord Hybrid is a style evolution from the 2013 gas-only model and remains aesthetically very similar. The addition of chrome and blue hybrid badging, a grille which is blue-accented and light lenses, deck lid spoiler and special wheel design, are the only tweaks to visually tell it apart from its 2013 cousin. Considering the success of the 2013 model, this seems like a sensible approach.
The new model is expected to beat many of its current competitors with a healthy 49 mpg city rating, and its 2-motor hybrid power train has three different drive settings – EV, Hybrid and Engine. These are automatically chosen by the software to make the most efficient use of the 124 kilowatts traction electric motor and the two liter, dual overhead camshaft, i-VTEC 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine. This should allow for decent acceleration combined with great fuel efficiency and shouldn’t really affect the driver in any way.
The Accord Plug-in version shares much of this technology and provides around 47 mpg in the city. It’s also happy to boast an impressive EPA rating of 115 mpg. This is the highest EPA mpg rating in its class in the US. Both models switch to electric running when they have light loads or exceed 60mph.
Inside, the Accord Hybrid is sleek, comfortable and practical and remains similar to the redesigned 2013 model. There is an impressive array of instant information available through a touch screen display classifying the fuel economy and energy flow of the vehicle. That said it has a generic look and a lot of chrome.
It features Honda’s Lane Watch™ system. This is a handy blind spot display facility that was first showcased in the recent Accord model. This is added to lane departure and forward collision warnings, an impressive audio system with bluetooth and a multi-angle rear view camera, making a pretty hi-tech offering to the driver. The blue light theme extends slickly and consistently into the interior display units.
The body structure and airbag systems mean that the new Honda Accord Hybrid is expected to join the 2013 model in ticking all the boxes for the highest NCAP and key safety ratings available.
All in all, it looks to be a striking addition to Honda’s range and plays its role in keeping the pressure on the industry to constantly exceed expectations for green motoring.
Bradley Berman In The New York Times
However some of the country’s top reviewers feel that the interior of the 2004 Hybrid is less appealing in terms of design than the Ford Fusion. Bradley Berman writing for the New York Times puts it this way:
“The Accord is a generic-looking car. Its interior is a hot mess of competing chromes, and the dashboard graphics reflect a Y2K aesthetic — not good for a high-tech car. The wheel covers, added to improve aerodynamics on the plug-in Accord, are ultra-plastic.”
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid v Ford Fusion Hybrid Some Observations
Both the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi and the Accord Plug-In have enough battery energy to do local trips solely on electric power, however both have higher purchase prices which means that fuel savings need to be calculated in the light of having a longer purchase payback period.
One of the big differences between these two hybrid offerings is that the Ford Fusion Energi offers a perfectly smooth transition between electric and gas power sources, whereas the Accord Hybrid doesn’t have a mode to implement EV only driving. It is the car’s computer which makes the decision of which mode is more efficient. However this can lead to an impressive 49 mpg.
In both cases the manufacturers need to find a way not to shrink on trunk space, which is a potential deal killer for some purchasers. This along with the price tag, which may outweigh the fuel savings may be the question marks which could prevent some sales.
- 2014 Ford Fusion Energi – $38,700 to $40,100
- 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Plug-In – $40,570
- 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid not confirmed at time of writing but expected to be between $34,220 (Accord Touring gasoline price) and $40,570
Is the 2014 Honday Accord worth the price tag? I would say it could be depending on your planned usage and of course your personal design preferences, but for some it may not be.