The Hybrid model benefits from the same safety technology found on the Accord EX V-6 sedan including dual-stage front airbags, dual front side airbags, and a side curtain airbag system. It also features disc brakes at each corner, fitted with anti-lock and enhanced with electronic brake force distribution. Front tire slippage is tempered by a traction control system. To save weight, the traditional spare tire has been replaced by the "Instant Mobility System" flat-tire repair kit - essentially a can of Fix-a-Flat and a 12V air compressor. A temporary spare tire is available from dealers as an option. The Accord Hybrid structure has proven itself in government crash tests, earning five stars for front driver/passenger and rollover rating, with four stars earned for side impact.
Like the Civic before it, the Accord Hybrid is an engine-powered car that is supplemented by electricity. The 3.0-liter V-6 has a relatively lightweight aluminum block and magnesium head construction with four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, and programmed fuel injection. Its tricks lie in the variable cylinder management cutting the bank of three forward cylinders during light-duty periods, such as cruising, and in its idle-stop feature. The efficient engine is supplemented by the third-generation Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) motor system, adding up to 16.1 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque. The IMA captures kinetic energy during deceleration and braking in a compact 144-volt battery back. Backing this drivetrain is a new five-speed automatic transmission designed with a few features to aid this application, including a new torque converter that shortens shift time and hastens startup from idle. The net result is a 255-hp powerplant that bests the EX V-6 by 15 horsepower, giving the hybrid bragging rights for both power and efficiency.
Behind the Wheel
Around town, the Accord runs like a traditional car, with the sole caveat being its stop-idle feature. While sitting silent at a turn signal, the car retains its climate control abilities thank s to the combination electric and engine-dependent system. Acceleration is relatively swift, with power delivered smoothly in a satisfying rush. Motor Trend has tested the Hybrid 0-60 mph at 6.6 seconds, just a tick off an Accord V-6 at 6.5. The added weight on this model is demonstrably offset by the additional horsepower. On the highway, the Honda discretely kicks off three cylinders and cruises effortlessly. When it's time to pass, all six cylinders fire in a seamless transition, the transmission downshifts quickly, and the IMA contributes power to complete the maneuver . In total, the engine performance is quite excellent. There is always ample power, and never an excuse needed. Like all Accords, the independent suspension remains connected to the road, communicating as appropriate, and isolating harshness. The overall feeling is active and eager, with the sizeable car having a sportier-than-expected character.
Upscale, uptown, frisky, and yet socially responsible, the Accord Hybrid succeeds in its positioning as the top-flight Accord as the premium choice in the immensely popular range. The sedan earned a 29 city/37 highway mpg rating, besting the four-cylinder Accord while boasting 95 more horsepower. This proverbial "have your cake and eat it too" car holds 17.1 gallons, enabling a theoretical 633 mile range on regular gas. Allaying buyer concerns, the first scheduled tune-up doesn't occur until 105,000 miles. Even with its extreme fuel economy, it would take a few years to offset the $3,290 price difference between the best Accord V-6 and the Hybrid tested, leaving the ultimate motivation for purchasing this impressive new model being the attraction to the premium content, environmental activism, and affinity for technology.
The Honda Accord Hybrid is a refined, powerful midsize sedan that scores on its own merits, with the efficient, seamless hybrid drivetrain almost as a bonus.