NHTSA to Investigate Unintended Acceleration Claim on Honda Accord Hybrid

Honda hasn't offered an Accord Hybrid since 2007, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found it worthy to open an investigation into an unintended acceleration claim and braking-related issues on the hybrid-electric midsize sedan.

The unintended acceleration was reported back in July 2005, when an Accord Hybrid driver said her vehicle sped up while driving over rumble strips on the freeway shoulder with the brakes applied, resulting in an accident. The incident left her passenger dead and the driver disabled. Occupants from two other vehicles were injured as well.

NHTSA records contain 22 other recorded incidents citing insufficient braking performance on uneven road surfaces from the Accord Hybrid and Civic Hybrid vehicles. The agency will dive deeper into the matter before deciding whether it needs to proceed with a formal probe and, if necessary, a recall.

Honda maintains its hybrid vehicles utilize the same hydraulic brake system as its conventionally powered vehicles and that it is far too early to speculate on another potential case of unintended acceleration.

The hybrid family sedan was available in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007 and paired Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system with a 3.0-liter V-6. The six-cylinder was quite powerful at its time, developing a combined 253 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque.

Unfortunately, it was a slow seller as critics pointed to the high cost (the 2007 model was $31,685, including a $595 destination charge) and fuel efficiency that was not substantially greater than the four-cylinder Accord. According to the EPA, the hybrid's fuel economy was rated at 28 city/35 highway mpg with the five-speed automatic transmission.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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