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As its name indicates, the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is a "plug-in" version of the latest Honda Accord Hybrid. Besides the Accord Hybrid's normal advantages, including very impressive fuel economy, strong acceleration, a roomy cabin, high-quality construction and responsive handling, the Accord Plug-In boasts increased electric-only driving range and the ability to recharge the battery pack using an outside power source.
The downside is that the Accord Plug-In Hybrid costs considerably more than the otherwise very similar Accord Hybrid. Also, the Accord Plug-In is EPA-rated to go just 13 miles on pure electric power before switching over to standard hybrid operation; other main rivals are rated from 21-38 miles. If you look at the bigger picture, however, this is a fuel sipper that's hard to top.
Current Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid
Debuting for 2014, the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid represents the first car in Honda's lineup to use this technology. It is also one of the few midsize sedans available with this powertrain configuration. A relatively new vehicular technology, a "plug-in" hybrid is one that can be driven purely under electric power for a certain distance before the gas engine and normal hybrid operation comes into play. Its battery pack can also be recharged at home or using a pubic recharging station. On very short trips or commutes, it's possible for the Accord Plug-In Hybrid to function as a pure electric car and not use any gas at all.
As it is based on the top-of-the-line Touring trim of the Accord Hybrid lineup, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid comes loaded. Highlights include LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, heated front and rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface and smartphone app integration (HondaLink). Lane departure warning and a blind-spot monitoring systems are also standard.
Under the hood, the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid packs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine working in concert with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. All together, they send 196 horsepower to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The EPA pegs the Accord Plug-In's electric-only range at 13 miles. After that, the Plug-In switches over into its normal hybrid operation, and its fuel economy is impressive. The EPA rates it at 46 mpg combined.
In spite of its frugality, this spacious sedan is relatively quick, as it takes just 7.5 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. Charging the battery pack back up is also relatively quick, as Honda claims a full battery charge on a 120-volt outlet takes three hours, while charging on a 240-volt outlet takes less than one hour.
In reviews, we've found the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid drives pretty much like a regular Accord. This is a very good thing, as it means the driver will enjoy precise steering, confident handling and smooth acceleration, while all of the car's occupants will appreciate the spacious seating, supple ride and mostly quiet cabin. Under hard acceleration, the engine can sound unpleasant, but this is hardly a deal breaker. Overall, this high-tech Honda Accord feels very refined, and more like an entry-level luxury sedan than a mainstream midsize car.