Test Drive: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
Entry Price: $29,155
Price As tested: $35,695
This week, it's the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring we're driving, another in a long line of hybrid vehicles arriving for Test Drive analysis. Overall, I am a big believer in hybrid technology, dating back to Honda's first to market 1999 Honda Insight.
Compared to today, Honda's first-to-market two-passenger Insight may have been more go-kart like compared to our modern-day marvels, but the hybrid theory was solid and sure got other manufacturer's attention as to what would come in the future.
Today, Honda is still the highly respected leader in this continual growing segment of green automotive sales. The new 2014 Accord Hybrid, which is also available as a more expensive plug-in model, rates high on our list of hybrid vehicles and comes highly recommended.
Up front, we need to explain the difference between Honda's regular hybrid and its sibling Hybrid Plug-In. Basically, after adding 197 pounds more for the plug-in's necessary battery packs and charging items, (now hold your hat) you then add $10,000 more in price for the right to own a 2014 Accord Plug-In.
To add to the comparison, the plug-in average fuel mileage is basically the same as the way less expensive Accord Hybrid. Granted, if this sounds like a reason not to buy an Accord Plug-In, well, from a strict return on investment (ROI) viewpoint, I guess it is.
Similar to Ford and Toyota plug-ins, these vehicles offer a "drive on electric only" advantage over the non plug-ins. In Honda's case, you'll go just 13 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in to help motivation.
Thus, from a strict fuel mileage comparison, 2014 Accord Hybrid offers identical technology compared to high price Accord Plug-In, sans the extra battery pack, charging and plug-in mechanisms. Honda says both cars feature matching 166-horse AC electric motor assists mated to Honda's 141-horse Atkinson cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, resulting in 196 available combined horsepower and 226 lb. ft. of torque. Accord Hybrid also offers new, "E-CVT" dual motor traction technology that acts like a transmission but does not have a torque converter. As for acceleration, expect to be surprised as Accord Hybrid goes zero to 60 in just 7.3 seconds.
Further, in checking estimated EPA ratings, Honda Hybrid is better than its sibling plug-in, delivering an impressive 50 city and 45 highway compared to plug-in's 47 city and 46 highway. As for actual pricing, Accord Hybrid starts at $29,155 while the Accord Plug-In starts at $39,780.
In summary, spending $10,000 more for one MPG less finds Accord Plug-in on the losing end of most consumer evaluations. Granted, some "greenest of the green" aficionados will choose the plug-in, but I'm sure even Honda expects plug-in sales to be less in comparison.
OKâ¦enough of our comparison talks.
Our Accord tester came in top line Touring trim, which includes a moonroof, multi-angle rearview safety camera, 17-inch alloys, lane departure warnings, lane watch, heated leather seats, Navigation, adaptive cruise (love it), illuminated steering wheel controls, hard disk 16-GB 360-watt seven speaker stereo, LED headlamps with blue-tinted chrome bezels, collision warning, Pandora, MP3, USB, HomeLink and more. These standard features come in addition to a long list of amenities that make the Touring edition a very roomy, luxury style five-passenger mid-size car.
All Honda Accords, including gasoline models, are similar in looks and creature comforts. From suspension to safety items, driving an Accord Hybrid is a real pleasure. As for safety, government tests bestow a top grade Five Star rating for Honda's occupant security efforts.
Hopefully, this week's review better informs readers considering buying a Honda Hybrid the importance of ROI more so than reporting on how well the Accord handles in a curve (which it does well, by the way).
In summary, we give Honda a Test Drive "Top Buy" recommendation for its new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 109.3, 3,602 curb weight, 15.8 gallon fuel tank and 12.7 cu. ft. of cargo space.
Likes: High tech hybrid, roomy, powerful, comfortable, amenities.
Dislikes: Light steering feel, no rear seat fold down due to battery packs.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist).