2014 Honda Accord Hybrid
by John Davis
The Honda Accord has long been a favorite for families looking for a comfortable, safe, reliable, yet reasonably priced mid-size sedan. Now those same fans can add ultra-fuel efficient to that mix of attributes with the arrival of the 2014 Accord Hybrid.
The latest Accord Hybrid is not a rehash of the disappointing V6 Accord Hybrid we first tested during the 2005 model year. The 2014 Accord Hybrid uses an entirely new hybrid system that has already earned class best fuel economy ratings of 50 City, 45 Highway, and 47 Combined. Those ratings put the new Accord Hybrid in the same ball park as the smaller Toyota Prius.
In daily operation, however, the new Accord is more like the Chevrolet Volt in that it uses the gas engine primarily to generate electricity. The Accord Hybrid uses a new 2.0 liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder gasoline motor/generator combination to power a 124 kW electric drive wheel motor, as well as charge a small lithium ion battery that resides in the trunk.
The system provides the 2014 Accord Hybrid with three distinct modes of operation. The first, EV mode, is for short distance battery only operation. The second mode is called appropriately enough, Hybrid, where the gas engine generates power for the electric drive motor which alone turns the front wheels. The third mode is known as Engine, where the gas engine is allowed to mechanically couple to the drive wheels through a single speed transmission. This mode is mostly used at speeds of 60 MPH and above.
After extensive driving, we found the drivertrain to be smooth when transitioning from one mode to another. The regenerative brakes were noticeable at slow speeds, but overall not at all intrusive. In mixed city and highway driving we saw fuel economy in the mid-to-high 40’s giving credence to the hybrid’s lofty claims. Otherwise, the new Accord Hybrid drives just like any other tried and true Honda Accord.
Most onlookers will not easily detect that the Hybrid Accord is indeed a difference species. Hybrid styling adds new grille and front lighting accents, low resistance wheels, and aerodynamic tweaks to the still fresh Accord sheet metal. Standard features include Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot protection that uses a camera as an extra eye during right rights.
For more of our exclusive roadtest of the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3312. That program begins airing on November 23, 2013. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.
The Accord Hybrid is just now becoming available nationwide, and is a much more affordable alternative to the Accord Plug-In Hybrid that is so far for sale only in California and New York.
While Honda was a pioneer in hybrids, over the years it lost its focus and its lead to Toyota and the still expanding Prius lineup. While the new Honda Accord Hybrid doesn’t exactly break new ground, it does move the brand back into the top ranks of hybrid providers, and does so in a car that America already loves.