Last week, Honda pulled the covers off of the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, and perhaps some people wish they would have left it on. While it may not be the prettiest belle at the ball, the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid does offer some impressive numbers that will make it a real contender in the marketplace. Chief among those numbers, an estimated 100 MPGe rating, as well as a pure-electric range that is competitive with its rivals.
100 MPGe, Up To 15 Miles Of EV Range
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid will hit dealerships in early 2013, and it comes with a new 2.0 liter “Earth Dreams” engine a 124 kW electric motor, and a 6.7 kWh battery pack. This combination will offer total output of 196 horsepower (137 from the gas engine, 59 from the electric motor) and between 10 and 15 miles of electric-only driving. It also qualifies, according to Honda, for a 100 MPGe rating under the EPA guidelines.
15 miles enough range to cover most around-town trips, and the 6.7 kWh battery pack qualifies the Accord Plug-in Hybrid for $3,750 in gov’ment money via a Federal Tax Credit. Honda has yet to announce the MSRP of the Accord Plug-in, though if Ford and Toyota’s pricing is any indication, it should be in the low-30’s/high 20’s with the tax credit.
More Than Powertrain Improvements
The Accord Plug-in Hybrid will come with special wheels, more aerodynamic design, and less weight. The wheels are designed to produce less drag, as are underbody trays for the engine and cabin floors. An aluminum hood, sub-frame, brake pedal, and rear bumper drop a substantial (though unspecified) amount of weight from the Accord Plug-in Hybrid. It no doubt also adds to the MSRP, while giving this new Honda a bit of a funky-but-not-fresh look.
Honda is taking a different route than most automakers by released the plug-in version of the Accord prior to the “standard” hybrid version. This is the case with all of Honda’s alt-fuel cars including their only pure electric car, the Honda Fit EV. While the first leases have already been signed for the Fit EV, you can only lease it in California and you can’t buy it just yet.
So far, Honda has been just another “also ran” in the hybrid game, unable to match the efficiency of the Toyota Prius, or the versatility of the Ford C-Max Energi. Unfortunately, the 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid already appears to have the same issue, falling squarely in the middle of the pack, at least on paper. Hell, even the debut pictures feature a car painted a very boring beige. Like, come on Honda! Give me a blue, a green, even white. But beige? Ugh. It’s like you want to be boring.
The interior is even less exciting though. Yes, there is a long list of standard features, but the interior couldn’t be more…appropriate. Touchscreen navigation and infotainment? Check. Standard gauge cluster? Check. MOST BORING SHIFTER EVER? Double check. Yawn.
Having just sold a ‘98 Honda Accord that served me very well, I really am rooting for the 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid to find a rabid customer base. While there was nothing exciting about my car, I did appreciate its frugality and reliability. Not once did that car, with nearly 180,000 miles on it, leave me stranded.
But the 1998 Honda Accord comes from a time when reliability was itself a rate quality. The average American really only had two choices when it came to reliable vehicles; you either drove a full-size pickup, or a Toyota/Honda. Everything else was a crapshoot at best. These days, the few new car buyers left have a lot of excellent, better-looking, more versatile and frankly more exciting options.
I hope Hibda has a great ad campaign lined up.