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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2014 HONDA ACCORD HYBRID REVIEW


PHOTO
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid


HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

KATRINA SAYS: The all-new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid beats a main competitor -- the Toyota Avalon Hybrid -- in both fuel economy and price.  

INTRO TO THE ACCORD VEHICLE
Redesigned just last year, Honda can now add a Hybrid version to the popular Accord lineup for the 2014 model with an EPA-estimated 47 miles-per-gallon combined – surpassing what its main competitor, the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, can do both in price and fuel economy.

I drove a 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid with the standard 141-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor fed by a lithium-ion battery. Available in three trim grades – base Hybrid, EX-L and Touring – my fully loaded Touring came with the following standard equipment: leather-trimmed upholstery and heated seats; ten-way power driver’s seat; leather-wrapped steering wheel; eight-inch multi-information display; SMS text message function; rearview camera; Bluetooth; Pandora radio; HondaLink; Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System; steering-wheel mounted audio controls; USB port and auxiliary input jack; moonroof; push-button start; eighteen-inch wheels; Honda LaneWatch; Lane Departure Warning; Forward Collision Warning; adaptive cruise control; and LED headlights. Total vehicle price as described came to $34,905.

The Accord Hybrid arrives just one year after the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, using its recent overhaul to attract a younger and more tech-based buyer.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Courting the conscientious, high-tech generation are such freebees as a standard eight-inch multi-information display, SMS text message function, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and Pandora radio. It also boasts all-new safety equipment, such as LaneWatch that brings a rear passenger-side roadway view to the monitor. Rear passengers also get an extra inch of added rear legroom, even with the length tightened. What’s nice is the range of trims the Accord Hybrid is available in, which addresses a younger buyer’s financial constraints.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The new body design uses the most high-strength steel in the model's history. It is a Top Safety Pick with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with ratings of “Good” in all crash test areas. It also has an overall 5-Star rating with the NHTSA.

Cost Issues: The base Accord Hybrid trim begins at $29,155. The Toyota Avalon base XLE trim pretty much covers the same attributes as mentioned above, but with a much higher starting price of $35,555. A fully loaded Avalon Limited is $41,400, whereas my fully loaded Accord Touring trim was $34,905.

Activity & Performance Ability: Honda rewrites hybrid history and starts a new chapter in gas-and-electric powered vehicles by offering a responsive green machine with immediate pickup and real power at the pedal. Braking does not possess the small jerks and glitches these hybrids can be guilty of. My only suggestion would be upgrading to a hybrid Lexus or Acura if you want a plusher road feel. Aside of the Hybrid, the Accord also offers a standard 185-horsepower 2.4-liter Dual Overhead Cam i-VTEC four-cylinder engine with direct injection; a faster 189-horsepower version on the four-cylinder with a high-flow exhaust system; and a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine. All are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission or a new automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The Green Concern: The Toyota Avalon Hybrid gets a combined fuel economy of 40 miles-per-gallon. The Honda Accord Hybrid gets 50-city and 45-highway for a combined 47.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The clear winner in price and fuel economy, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is quite the luxurious and high-tech ride specifically designed for the budget and earth-conscientious buyer.

©2014 Katrina Ramser