Full 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is all-new.
Honda fully redesigned the Accord last year, improving the sedan's interior, adding the latest technology features and increasing fuel economy on four-cylinder models. But the real tweet-tastic gain in fuel economy comes out this year. Here we have the new 2014 Accord Hybrid model, and it's promising a nice, round 50 mpg in the city. You can bet the Toyota Prius just did a spit-take.
Unlike Honda's other hybrids such as the Civic Hybrid or Insight, the Accord Hybrid (and the related Accord Plug-In Hybrid) has an all-new hybrid system that's capable of accelerating the car using pure electric power. The new model is also very much unlike the original 2005-'07 Accord Hybrid, which accelerated quickly but had such down-to-earth fuel economy numbers that few people bought it.
You can expect the new hybrid to be much more popular. The key is the new powertrain that pairs a 2.0-liter gasoline engine with two electric motors (one for motivation and one for recharging) and stores its electrons in a trunk-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. The combination is good for a combined 196 horsepower and an EPA-combined city and highway estimate of 47 mpg. More than just the numbers, though, we've been impressed with the way the Accord Hybrid drives. Acceleration, refinement and handling are all very good. You know, just as you'd expect from an Accord.
This new Accord joins a small group of hybrid family sedans this year. Its closest competitor is the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid, which also offers very high fuel economy and a sporty driving experience. There are also the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid, though these cars can't match the Accord or Fusion's overall package of fuel economy and refinement. If you're shopping for a hybrid sedan this year, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid certainly merits a close look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid sedan is available in three trim levels: EX, EX-L and Touring. The plug-in version of the car, the Accord Hybrid Plug-In, is reviewed separately.
The EX comes standard with 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 adds a 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).
The range-topping Touring has the above equipment and tops it off with LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and a navigation system with voice recognition.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor. Together, they send a total of 196 hp and 226 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
According to the EPA, you can expect fuel economy to be 47 mpg in combined driving (50 mpg city/45 mpg highway), which is excellent for a hybrid.
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, blind-spot monitoring (LaneWatch) and a rearview camera as standard. Lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems come with the EX-L and Touring trim levels.
The LaneWatch blind-spot system instantly switches the 8-inch screen's display to a low and wide view of the passenger side of the car when the right turn signal is engaged. A camera in the right side mirror provides the confidence-inspiring view, and acclimating to catching the view in the center-dash display is quick and natural.
Official crash tests of the Hybrid weren't available as of this writing, but in government crash testing of the regular Accord sedan, the car received five out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the regular Accord sedan the best possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the Institute's new "small-overlap" frontal-offset test, the sedan received a top "Good" rating. This is particularly noteworthy, as many vehicles in this class have scored poorly in this relatively new test.
Interior Design and Special Features
With a few exceptions, the materials in the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid have a high-quality look and feel. The overall cockpit design is elegant, and the cabin's tight construction gives the impression of an entry-level luxury car. The dash design embraces the spirit of legibility with an effective three-tier layout. At the top is the crisp-looking 8-inch display that offers varying levels of information and, depending on the trim level, audio and navigation interfaces. Meanwhile, the main instrument displays provide enough information without being cluttered and overwhelming.
Both front and rear occupants will find plenty of legroom and shoulder room -- the sedan's backseat is arguably best-in-class with its combination of space and comfort. We're also fond of the clear outward visibility afforded by the Accord's design. As a downside, though, we've found the Accord's front seats less comfortable on long drives than others in this segment.
Compared with the standard Accord, the hybrid's trunk space takes a hit due to the packaging of the battery pack. As such, the Hybrid's checks in at 12.7 cubic feet, or 3 fewer cubes than the non-hybrid Accord sedan. Still, that's on par with the trunks of other midsize hybrid sedans.
Pleasingly, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid drives, well, like an Accord. It is peppy, stable and responsive around turns and pretty comfortable and quiet. Braking is smooth and without the slow-speed grabbiness some hybrids and EVs exhibit as a side effect of the switch from regenerative to mechanical braking. The only potential downside is that the ride quality is a bit stiffer than most competitors, but unless you're really expecting a cushiony ride, it's not likely to be an issue.
The car's hybrid powertrain is fairly quiet except under hard acceleration. And Honda's powertrain engineers have done a masterful job of integrating the gas engine and electric propulsion systems: The interaction among the parts is seamless. Even the engine idle-stop (also called auto stop-start) operates with nary a stutter or shudder.