What's New for 2014
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is an all-new model.
Honda recently redesigned the Accord for its ninth generation, improving the sedan's interior and exterior styling. For 2014, the Honda Accord gains a new model, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid. With this new addition to the lineup, Honda becomes one of the few automakers to offer a midsize family sedan in a plug-in hybrid configuration.
Unlike Honda's other hybrids such as the Insight, the Plug-In has an all-new hybrid system that's capable of accelerating the car using pure electric power. And as its name implies, the Plug-In can be recharged externally, thereby minimizing gas usage. Honda says the Accord Plug-In provides about 10-15 miles of pure electric range, after which point it switches over to normal hybrid operation. In regular hybrid mode, this Accord earns EPA estimates of 47 mpg city/46 mpg highway and 46 mpg combined.
Like the standard Accord, the plug-in hybrid offers similar features and comes in one well-appointed trim level based on the standard Accord Touring trim. That includes LED headlights, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a navigation system and monitoring of vitals like charge status, charging stations and even enabled remote charging controlled by smartphone apps. Honda says a full battery charge on a 120-volt outlet will take three hours, while charging on a 240-volt outlet takes less than one hour.
The family sedan segment is packed with more great choices than ever before, but the field is wide open for plug-in hybrids. For now, the Accord competes directly with the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, which, like the Accord, bundles a lengthy list of winning features into a plug-in package. One could also consider the 2013 Chevrolet Volt. It offers approximately three times the electric-only range, though it only seats four and those in back will find cramped quarters compared to the Honda.
For now Honda will only sell the Accord Plug-In Hybrid in California and New York, so consider yourself lucky if you're interested in the car and happen to live in one of those states. We've yet to fully test the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In, but check back for a complete evaluation in the coming months.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid comes in one well-equipped trim level.
Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, foglamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, special "bio-fabric" upholstery, heated front and rear seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), driver memory settings and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Electronic features include Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, voice recognition, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface and smartphone app integration (HondaLink). Adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and a blind-spot monitor are also standard.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor. Together, they send a total of 196 horsepower to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A 6.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the electric motor.
The Accord Plug-In Hybrid offers three driving modes: full electric, gas/electric (switches when battery capacity depletes to a specific threshold) and gasoline (for higher speeds or under high demand for acceleration). Additionally, two sub-modes tailor the Accord Plug-In's hybrid mode. "HV" acts as a conventional hybrid, blending gasoline and electric power for optimum fuel efficiency, while "HV Charge" does the same, while feeding energy back into the battery.
The EPA estimates stand at 47 mpg city/46 mpg highway and 46 mpg combined.
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems are also standard.
Of note is the LaneWatch blind-spot system, which instantly switches the 8-inch screen's display to a low and expansive view of the passenger side of the car when the right turn signal is engaged. A camera in the right-side mirror dedicated to this function provides a confidence-inspiring view, and acclimating to catching the view in the center-dash display is quick and natural.
Interior Design and Special Features
With a few exceptions, the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid features an elegant and well-constructed cabin trimmed with high-quality materials that you could almost mistake for an Acura. The center stack embraces the spirit of legibility with an effective three-tier layout, capped at the top with an 8-inch display.
Despite the new Accord's slightly smaller exterior dimensions compared to the previous generation, its interior room remains impressive. There is plenty of leg and shoulder space for front occupants, and rear-seat passengers should be quite comfortable and happy. Road and tire noise -- often among Honda's traditional weaknesses -- are noticeably reduced in the 2014 Accord thanks in part to two active noise-cancellation systems plus improved aerodynamics.
We're also fond of the visibility afforded by the Accord cabin, which offers a lower beltline, slimmer roof pillars and a generous amount of glass. Unfortunately, the presence of the plug-in hybrid's battery pack means the rear seat does not fold down, thus limiting the Accord's cargo usefulness. The trunk, at 8.6 cubic feet, is also considerably smaller than the regular Accord's.
We've yet to test the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, so check back for impressions on the car's new plug-in hybrid powertrain and handling capabilities.