San Antonio, TX – The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is the newest model in the redesigned ninth-generation Accord stable, following last year?s fall launch of the Accord Sedan and Coupe with both 4-cylinder and V-6 powertrains. The Accord Plug-in bowed in January of this year.
The Accord Hybrid becomes the second Honda-brand hybrid vehicle, joining the Civic Hybrid to be produced in America and incorporating the same Earth Dreams Technology? powertrain architecture as the Accord Plug-in.
The all new Accord Hybrid is manufactured by Honda of America Mfg., Inc. in Marysville, Ohio was designed to and focused on delivering high fuel efficiency along with a fun-to-drive experience, while yielding 50 mpg under real world driving scenarios, giving it the highest fuel economy rating of any four door sedan. The Hybrid utilizes the same basic body and chassis architecture as the non-hybrid Accord.
The Accord Hybrid?s efficient two-motor hybrid system is part of a growing lineup of Honda Earth Dreams Technology? powertrains that seamlessly blends electric-only, hybrid and engine drive modes in addition to powerful regenerative braking, providing responsive and efficient performance across a wide range of driving situations. Fuel efficiency is further aided by an all-aluminum front subframe, which replaces the steel-and-aluminum subframe used on the conventional Accord Sedan and Coupe models, and an aluminum rear bumper beam, which helps offset the additional weight of the rear-mounted battery pack while improving front-to-rear weight balance.
Honda introduced America?s first hybrid automobile, the first-generation Insight, in December 1999; the first hybrid version of an existing mass-market vehicle, the Civic Hybrid, in 2002; the world?s first mass-produced V-6 hybrid car, the first-generation Accord Hybrid, in 2004; the world?s most affordable hybrid car, the second-generation Insight, in 2009; and the first affordable sporty hybrid car, the CR-Z, in 2010.
The 2014 Accord Hybrid further advances Honda?s commitment to gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains as a critical technology for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from its automobile products. The new Accord?s Hybrid Technology employs a number of key new features including: Honda?s Two-Motor Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) System; a 2.0L L4 Atkinson cycle engine; an electric Continuously Variable Transmission; a High-output Lithium-Ion battery pack; an electric water pump; Electric-servo regenerative braking system; and Amplitude Reactive Dampers.
The i-MMD combines: the 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine with Earth Dreams engine technology coupled with a maintenance-free AC Synchronous Permanent-Magnet Electric Motor rated at 124 kW with a Lithium-Ion battery capacity of 1.3 kW; the Two motor electric CVT that generates 166 horsepower and 226 pound feet of torque The gas engine delivers 141 horsepower at 6,200 rpm along with 122 pound feet of torque in a range from 3,500 to 6,000 rpm, with a total hybrid system horsepower of 196.
The engine is transversely mounted up front and delivers power through the 2-motor electric CVT and Power Control Unit (PCU) while working in conjunction with the Rear Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) with high output Lithium-ion battery and DC-DC converter. Helping to maximize efficiency, the Accord Hybrid shifts seamlessly between three distinct drive modes: EV Drive (100 percent electric motor), Hybrid Drive (electric motor and gasoline engine [driving the generator motor]) and Engine Drive (gasoline engine), utilizing power from the i-VTEC? 4-cylinder engine and the electric motor to suit the driving conditions as needed.
The transmission features a console-mounted straight-gate shifter that may be operated in two different fully automatic modes. The D (Drive) mode is ideal for most driving situations, combining fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power. The B (Brake) mode offers substantially increased regenerative braking. There?s also an EV button located immediately behind the shifter that enables the driver to select purely electric operation. Engine accessories operate electrically for greater efficiency whether the gasoline engine is running or not.
The 2014 Accord Hybrid Sedan?s design is based on the award-winning ninth-generation Accord Sedan, combining crisp styling and aerodynamic efficiency with a high degree of practicality and extraordinary structural strength. The Accord Hybrid is just fractionally longer at 192.2 inches in length, than the Accord Sedan (191.4) inches due to the addition of a trunk lid spoiler; it is also fractionally lower with an overall height of 57.5 inches, compared to 57.7 inches for the Accord Sedan.
Several styling accents distinguish the Accord Hybrid from the gasoline Accord Sedan. Up front, there is a blue-accented upper grille that uniquely defines the Accord Hybrid, along with evocative blue-accented headlights and bright LED daytime running lights. 17-inch alloy wheels shod with all-season tires and special Hybrid badges on the front fenders characterize the Accord Hybrid?s side profile.
The Accord Hybrid is equally distinctive in the rear, with an additional Hybrid badge on the trunk lid, dramatic blue-accented LED taillights, and a trunk lid spoiler. The lower rear fascia features a unique diffuser for additional aerodynamic efficiency.
There are three trim levels or models of the Accord Hybrid: the base Hybrid; the EX-L; and the Touring. Base pricing ranges from $29,155 for the Hybrid to $34,905 for the Touring. The EX-L starts at $31,905. Add $790 each for Destination and Handling. Key standard features for all include: Honda LaneWatch; Rearview camera, push button start, smart entry; Bluetooth Handsfree; USB/SMS/Pandora; an 8-inch i-MID screen; and side turn signal mirrors. Each model adds progressively more features and equipment.
I was able to drive all trim levels of the new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid: a Hematite metallic exterior finished base Hybrid model with a Black Interior priced at $29,945; an EX-L with the same interior and exterior priced at $32,695; and a Touring model with an Crystal Black Pearl metallic exterior and Ivory interior priced at $35,695. I later tested at home, a Touring trim version of the Accortd Hybrid with an exterior finished in Obsidian Blue Pearl and the interior done all in Black. Its base sticker was set at $34,905. with the final tally coming to $35,695.
Summary: The 50 mpg 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is not merely marketing hype ? it is for real. In fact, the 50-mpg claim is really quite modest. It is actually capable of achieving considerably higher mileage, even in real world driving conditions, without any attempt at hyper-miling.
During the national press launch in San Antonio, TX, the Honda team set up three separate drive loops of varying lengths that were structured to demonstrate the Accord Hybrid?s mileage capability. The routes included both city and highway driving scenarios with varying traffic conditions. Each pair of journalists were invited to drive all three trim levels on all of the routes, and then to drive individually in a competition to determine who could achieve the best mileage rating in both primarily city and combined city and highway driving. The city route obviously allowed for the better mileage, but the combined route also delivered some high numbers. I selected the combined route and encountered some not-so-ideal traffic conditions that didn?t allow me to drive conservatively on a consistent basis with a low battery charge to start, and I still managed to finish with 50.5 mpg. The winner on the combined course finished with more than 74 mpg, and the city winner came up with an astounding 82.5-mpg ? probably some hyper-miling involved there, but impressive none-the-less.
The Accord Hybrid delivers a smooth ride, agile handling attributes with healthy and satisfying acceleration, especially for a four-cylinder hybrid. It is not discernable from a conventionally powered sedan at all. Some drivers are not fond of CVT transmissions, but the Accord Hybrid?s 2-motor system is quite smooth and delivers pleasant results.
The Accord Hybrid is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile Limited Vehicle Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile Corrosion Limited Warranty. The hybrid battery pack is covered by a special warranty that covers defects in material and workmanship for eight-years/100,000-miles or ten-year/150,000 miles depending on the state of purchase/registration.
In the final analysis, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid in all trims is an attractive 5-passenger 4-door sedan that is reasonably priced, exceptionally comfortable and highly efficient, delivering an estimated $6,000 savings in fuel costs over a five-year period, making it a real no-brainer.
?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$35,695.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine with Earth Dreams engine technology coupled with a maintenance-free AC Synchronous Permanent-Magnet Electric Motor rated at 124 kW with a Lithium-Ion battery capacity of 1.3 kW.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||141 @ 6,200 rpm – Total Hybrid System Horsepower=196 hp.|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||122 @ 3,500-6,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Two motor electric CVT with generating 166 horsepower and 226 pound feet of torque.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine and 2-motor electric CVT and Power Control Unit (PCU) / Rear Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) with high output Lithium-ion battery and DC-DC converter.|
Front: MacPherson strut with Amplitude Reactive Dampers.
Rear -Independent multi-link with Amplitude Reactive Dampers.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS, EBD, BA, VSA, Traction Control, TPMS and Hill Start Assist.|
|Tires:||Michelin Energy Saver 225/50 R17 All Season, low-rolling resistance mounted on 10-“turbine”-spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||192.2 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,550, 3,602 & 3,602 lbs. – Base, EX-L & Touring.|
|Fuel Capacity:||15.8 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||50 mpg city / 45 mpg highway- combined 47- mpg.|
|Drag Coefficient:||Not listed.|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested,|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.