Finally a Plug-in Win for HondaFor the longest time, Honda was synonymous with fuel-efficiency. But sometime around when the second generation Prius came to market, Honda took a wrong turn and its halo lost some of its shine. Its vehicles were still fuel-efficient, but it lost leadership at the very top of the MPG rankings. In my opinion, their most obvious mistakes were sticking with their IMA mild-hybrid drivetrain technology for way too long, and putting too much of their R&D resources into hydrogen-powered vehicles (the Honda FCX Clarity is a great tech showcase, but that's about it for now).
So it's great to see that Honda is getting back into the race with its latest "green" model, the 2014 Accord plug-in hybrid.
Better MPGe Than Competition, But...The 2014 Honda plug-in hybrid scored an impressive 115 MPGe in the EPA's tests, handily beating the Ford C-Max Energi (100 MPGe), Chevy Volt (98 MPGe), and Prius Plug-in (95 MPGe).
While that's very impressive, and comparing these numbers is the best we can do, we have to remember that with plug-in hybrids, how much fuel you will actually burn in real-world usage is highly dependent on your driving habits. Basically: Lots of short trips with charging in between = best, lots of very long trips and few chances to plug-in = worst.
So if you can stay within the 13 miles electric range of the Honda Accord PHEV for most of your trips, you'll get an almost pure EV experience, while still having the longer range available for when you need it. Not that fuel economy should be that bad after those 13 miles, as the 2014 Accord is the first to use Honda's new two-motor hybrid system, which is conceptually more similar to other 'full hybrids' by Toyota and Ford, for example.
On the smog-forming emissions side, the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in is also impressive. It's the first production car in America to meet the more stringent new LEV3/SULEV20 emissions standard. Nice work Honda. Now I'd love to see a mass-market fully electric vehicle...
The 2014 Accord PHEV will go on sale in New York and California on 15 January with an MSRP of $39,780. Hopefully it'll be rolled out to more states quickly after that.