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2005 Honda Accord Hybrid Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Honda Accord Hybrid (select to view enlarged photo)

By Bob Gordon
The Auto Channel

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Honda

They say that familiarity breeds contempt but in this case, it bred affection.

This review will have a very unique perspective…the impressions of the test car will be tempered with experience in an Accord, because my wife owns a 2004 Honda Accord, which she occasionally allows me to drive….so here goes.

I took this opportunity of trying out the new Hybrid version of a car I was very familiar with on an extended road trip from Baltimore up to New York City, a drive that would present the car (and driver) with a variety of tasks.

I picked up the 2005 Accord Hybrid on a cold blustery day with more than a hint of winter in the air.

The price of fuel had just jumped from $1.90 a gallon at home to almost $2.50 a gallon along my route, so my timing was perfect to put some miles on a powerful family sedan, an MPG usage that was both green and anecdotally would be more economical than a standard ICE powered automobile with 200 plus horsepower.

Don’t make a mistake and compare this new Hybrid Accord with the Toyota Prius which is much a much smaller car (CLICK HERE to see sedans ranked by horsepower) and has an engine/motor combo rated at just 76 horsepower and 51 MPG Highway compared to the Honda Accord Hybrid with 255 horsepower and 37 MPG highway rating.

The Accord is truly a family sedan with all of the assets needed to provide more than acceptable aceceleration and comfort without compromise. CLICK HERE to see all sedans ranked by Highway MPG

Ok back to the test.

Oh yeah, my first observation that I was in something different, was the automatic shut off as the car stopped when leaving the parking lot, yes that’s right the engine shuts off to save gas every time the car is stopped…every time, but after a few stops and shuts I got used to it but was always reassured that all was right with the world when I looked at the dashboard and read that its ok to be shut down now. Step on the accelerator and magically the engine starts and you can be on your way again.

I wonder what will happen if the Accord goes out of tune or plain just gets tired in 100,000 miles or so and needs to crank a couple of times before starting…it could get messy in stop and go and emergency stop to acceleration situations.

The dashboard’s hybrid indicators blinked on off and sideways as driving conditions and my response to them changed…frankly they were kind of confusing, but as I have the ultimate confidence in Mr. Honda’s engineering cadre I didn’t really worry about it, because there was nothing that I could do to affect them.

The first leg of the trip was on beautiful and scenic I-95 the vertebrae of the East Coast’s north south road infrastructure, ok so maybe all of it wasn’t beautiful and scenic, alright so maybe the never ending toll-booths, and sharing the road with thousands of in a hurry New Yorkers and New Jerseyites anxious to get back north, may not be an ideal great drive, but the smooth and powerful Accord Hybrid help alleviate my anxiety…its 240 horsepower hybrid power and luxurious interior did their jobs.

Driving in New York’s stop and go environment is at best uncomfortable and at worst unbearable, but the Accord Hybrid did its best to keep its occupants comfortable and safe.

The powerful hybrid engine/motor allowed us to accelerate smoothly and effortlessly to the legal speed limit and beyond.

The Accord Hybrid acted Accord-like …predictably smooth and more than acceptable…in fact I thought the Hybrid “rode” and felt more “big car like” than my wife’s 4 cylinder 160 horsepower version of the Accord, I wonder if Honda did something to the suspension and transmission for the Hybrid?.

The inclement weather made me reinforced the advantages of the Accord’s front wheel drive as our trip coincided with the Blizzard of 2005 (well it may not have been a blizzard but it could have been). The Honda’ sure footed handling in the snow and ice was expected and welcomed, and all of the car’s creature comfort accoutrements were of course suburb.

I was almost totally pleased with this car, the only problem I had with this new model is that my anticipation for meaningful fuel cost savings never really happened. The car’s onboard computer and my scorecard showed that the gas mileage on my jaunt averaged around 28 MPG, good for a powerhouse sedan with 255 horsepower but not for a tra-la-la greenery or gas saver which unfortunately the word Hybrid has become to imply.

So the big question is should you buy one. I can’t answer that because each of us has different needs and desires in our automobiles.

But according to TACH-TOC it will cost you $8K more to own an Accord Hybrid than the Accord EX over the next 5 years and lots more than the Prius…but as I said above the Accord Hybrid is no prissy little underpowered sedan, it’s a powerful family sedan that gives you the same Gas mileage as many compact sized and powered cars…try it you probably will like it…I did.

Honda Accord Hybrid (select to view enlarged photo)

Honda Accord Hybrid (select to view enlarged photo)

CLICK4 Hybrid Power Tutorial

CLICK4 Honda Accord Hybrid Tutorial