15,000 Miles in Honda’s Super-Efficient Accord Hybrid

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Long-term tests provide a great way to learn what it’s like to live with a vehicle on a daily basis. Our time with a fully-loaded,  2014 Accord Hybrid Touring proved enlightening over more than a year’s worth of commuting, running errands, and road trips. This 50 mpg sedan, a high-profile offering within Honda’s Accord lineup that won Green Car Journal’s 2014 Green Car of the Year® award, is sleek, stylish, and sophisticated in an unassuming way. It’s also packed with desired technology. While we won’t see a plug-in hybrid back in the Honda Accord line until the 2017 model year, here are our thoughts on its predecessor. No doubt, the new generation Accord plug-in will be even better.

Unique design features distinguish this Accord Hybrid from the already-pleasingly aggressive style of the standard Accord, which was introduced as an all-new model in 2014. These include LED daytime running lights and blue-accents on front light lenses, grille, and rear LED tail lamps, plus a decklid spoiler and unique wheels. Our tester is further distinguished with a dealer-installed Honda aero package with front, rear, and aide underbody spoilers. We were amused when we first drove our stealthy-black Accord Hybrid test car to a local restaurant and drew appreciative gazes from patrons, with one asking, ‘Is that a new Mercedes?” Nope, a Honda…a really, really cool one.

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Power is supplied by Honda’s Two-Motor Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system, a mouthful-of-a-name that earns its ‘intelligent’ designation. The 196 horsepower hybrid system achieves optimum efficiency through intelligent and seamless transitions between all-electric drive, internal combustion drive, and hybrid drive depending on driving circumstances.

We’ve found the hybrid sedan to be responsive and confident on the road during our drives through the twisty canyons along California’s Central Coast. There’s always ample power at the ready, delivered through a capable electric continuously variable transmission (E-CVT). Eco mode can be selected to tone down performance a bit to enhance fuel efficiency. The Accord Hybrid’s regenerative braking system feeds electricity back to the car’s lithium-ion batteries immediately upon lifting off the accelerator, rather than starting when braking is applied.

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All this brings a very impressive 50 mpg city fuel economy rating and 45 mpg on the highway. With the Accord’s 12.2 gallon fuel tank, filling up always shows a whopping miles-to-empty read of well over 600 miles. This considerable driving range has come in handy many times during extended road trips, including a trek from our offices on the Central Coast to San Diego and back on a single tank.

These drives are often made with the Accord’s adaptive cruise control engaged, a feature that automatically keeps a safe driving distance from the car ahead. It works seamlessly in adapting to traffic speed and flow and is actually quite amazing. Drives are smooth and comfortable both on the open road and in traffic.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

Time spent in the Accord Hybrid Touring’s accommodating cabin comes with an immersion of advanced electronics complemented by an 8-inch multi-information display and an audio touch screen compatible with smart phone features. Its electronics user interface is easy to use and driver assistive technologies invaluable, including Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and rear view camera with LaneWatch blind spot display.

So here’s the bottom line after 15,000 miles behind the wheel of the Accord Hybrid: Great styling, a bevy of advanced electronics, a quiet and accommodating cabin, and impressive efficiency – all wrapped in an aggressively handsome package – have made the award-winning Accord Hybrid a joy to drive and one of our favorites for quick jaunts and road trips alike.

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