After a redesign last year, the 2014 Honda Accord, now in its ninth generation, remains much the same as the 2013 model — with one exception.
After a disappointing debut as a hybrid several years ago, Honda has reintroduced the Hybrid trim. It expands Honda’s alternate engine lineup that also includes the Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda Civic CNG (Natural Gas).
The Honda Accord Hybrid is available in EX, EX-L and Touring trims. There’s also a limited edition plug-in version.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
It’s no secret the original Honda Accord Hybrid wasn’t the carmaker’s most popular car. It was no doubt a quality Honda, but fuel efficiency wasn’t as superior as it could have been. Sales suffered.
The improvement is a new powertrain. It matches a 2.0-liter gas engine with two electric motors for a combined for 196 horsepower. The lithium-ion battery pack is stored in the trunk.
The new approach results in a EPA-combined city and highway mpg fuel estimate of 47 mpg.
Honda Accords have always offered a sizable list of standard features, and the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid trims don’t disappoint.
My weekly test vehicle was the Touring edition — the best equipped of the group. It features the healthy chunk of items from the other trims and adds: LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and a navigation system with voice recognition.
Consider the offerings of the lower lever trims:
The EX trim: 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, an 8-inch video display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB audio interface and Pandora functionality.
The EX-L trim: sunroof, leather upholstery, forward collision and lane-departure warning systems, a more sophisticated rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, driver memory settings, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat and a premium seven-speaker sound system with a touchscreen display, satellite radio and smartphone app integration (HondaLink).
Acceleration is quick for a hybrid. Comfort is a strong point, too, with good leg room and head room. There’s room for five as long as the rear-seat passengers aren’t NBA-sized.
The Accord in the EX and Touring models have one terrific feature, LaneWatch. It’s a safety addition that views where the driver can’t. A small camera positioned under the passenger side mirror displays in the navigation screen what’s in the blind spot. It can be adjusted to stay on or automatically engage when the right-hand turn signal is likewise engaged.
LaneWatch. Unlike some over-the-top hi-tech features, the blind spot detection system is innovative and helpful.
Excellent fuel economy.
The engine struggles with some steep inclines.
Noticeable road shift in strong winds.
Back seat is not a 60/40 split. With the back seat forward, the Accord becomes a two-passenger car.
Facts & Figures: 2014 Honda Accord (Hybrid)
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.5 seconds
Fuel economy: 50 mpg (city), 45 mpg (highway), 47 mpg (combined).
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price range: $29,155-$34,995.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As Tested: Not available.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; hybrid component: 8 years/80,000 miles.
What Others Say:
“Honda fields a true all-star midsize hybrid sedan with its new 2014 Accord Hybrid. The Hybrid offers all the advantages of the regular Accord but adds to it with Prius-like fuel economy.” — Edmunds.
“Honda, which had fallen behind other carmakers with its hybrid models, seems to have put the right ingredients together this time, creating a high-tech sedan that comes loaded with creature comforts, safety features and an impressive drivetrain.” — Motor Trend.
“Prodigal son Honda returns with its latest Accord Hybrid offering and we’d have to say all things are forgiven. Using innovative technology in a well-received and recognized package, at a reasonable price, will only heat up the Hybrid Wars. This time, they’ll be ready.” — Left Lane News.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“It’s hard to figure out why the first generation Honda Accord hybrids didn’t sell well. OK, the gas mileage wasn’t great. And Honda generally doesn’t overtly tout any of its cars, particularly its alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles. That said, how could anyone not notice the Honda Accord Hybrid this time around?”