You might not be aware that this is Honda’s second try at an Accord Hybrid; but as we drove the 2014 Accord Hybrid earlier this month we couldn't help but look back at what didn't work last time—and how different this all-new model is.
The first one, which combined a V-6 with a stouter version of the automaker’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) mild-hybrid system, was sold in small volumes for the 2005 through 2007 model years.
The result was definitely more fuel-efficient than the Accord V-6 of the time (30 mpg city, 37 highway, according to the EPA). The problem was that at about $30k at that time, the Hybrid was considerably more expensive than the V-6, and budget four-cylinder models tended to return better mpg than the Hybrid (still proven today in real-world results).
That Accord Hybrid was also only a few fractions of a second quicker to 60 mph than the V-6, by the stopwatch—although the Accord V-6 handled better and was already, arguably, plenty quick and torquey for a front-wheel-drive sedan.
Is the 2014 Accord Hybrid worth it, versus a Camry Hybrid or Fusion Hybrid? The Accord Hybrid is especially compelling in its top-of-the-line Touring and mid-range EX-L forms. While the price differential between the EX four-cylinder and EX Hybrid is more than $7,000 for the base EX (the only model for which the numbers don't work), the Hybrid Touring starts at just $1,425 more than a V-6 Accord Touring and about $2,600 more than the four-cylinder EX-L.
Pick a more upscale Hybrid EX-L or Hybrid Touring, and the difference over a comparable non-hybrid Accord is negligible, though. Based on the EPA Combined numbers of the Accord Hybrid (47 mpg) and EX-L four-cylinder (30 mpg), they have an EPA-estimated fuel cost of $1,100 and $1,750, respectively. With Hybrids costing about $650 less in fuel per year, for the EX-L that's just four years (at the current cost of gas) to get any premium paid for the Accord Hybrid back.
Not only do the numbers work out this time; it's a very refined, enjoyable-to-drive sedan, and its electric-motor-based power delivery makes it feel especially responsive and linear.
See the full review page on the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, then see our first drive report on the Accord Hybrid over at Green Car Reports for the complete set of driving impressions, and be sure also to study up on how the all-new hybrid system works.