TORRANCE, Calif. -- Clever car crafters at Honda requisitioned Honda's redesigned gasoline-powered 2013 Accord mid-size sedan and outfitted it with a fuel-thrifty hybrid electric powertrain to forge the 2014 Accord Hybrid and score class-leading EPA fuel economy estimates of 49/45 mpg (city/highway).
The 2014 Accord Hybrid amounts to a conventional hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) stocking a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine that sips gasoline plus synchronous electric traction motors of permanent-magnet design, a lithium-ion battery pack and a continuously variable transmission.
It employs Honda's new 2-motor Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive powertrain which enables the vehicle to proceed through three driver-selectable driving modes to attain those best-in-class fuel scores.
Assembly of the new hybrid sedan takes place at a Honda plant in Ohio and marks Honda's first USA-built HEV.
Accord Hybrid 2014 features a streamlined body with sculpted down-sloping forward hood, a raked windshield and arching roofline with bulging front wheelwells and pronounced cutlines on flanks.
A bold front grille supports dual horizontal bars tinted to hybrid-unique blue and a thick front bumper houses the center intake valence and honeycomb mesh insert. The front articulated lamps also show blue accents and include LED daytime running lights.
The tail displays a horizontal chrome bar that links to corner LED lights, plus a decklid spoiler.
Honda's Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive powertrain teams an ultra-efficient Atkinson-cycle engine that runs on gasoline with a pair of high-voltage and high-torque electric motors -- one to turn the front wheels and recharge a load of on-board batteries and the other to work power accessories as well as crank up the 4-pack engine.
Honda's HEV powertrain includes:
* A gasoline-fired 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with dual overhead cams (DOHC) and intelligent variable value timing and lift electronic control (i-VTEC) valvetrain system plus modifications for fuel-efficient combustion under the Atkinson-cycle concept, with output of 141 hp.
* AC synchronous electric motor/generator producing 124 kW (166 hp).
* Lithium-ion battery pack.
* Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT).
The hybrid powertrain operates in driver-selectable EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive modes.
* EV Drive: Accord Hybrid draws from the lithium-ion battery in electric-only mode for low-speed propulsion.
* Engine Drive: Accord Hybrid runs at medium and high speed using the gas-powered engine to turn the front wheels.
* Hybrid Drive: Accord Hybrid navigates efficiently through stop-and-go traffic with power supplied by a mixture of the gas-powered engine and 124-kW electric motor to deliver powerful accelerations as well as fuel-thrifty movement.
Mechanical hardware mounts on a stiff front-wheel-drive unibody platform, such as the suspension which includes independent struts in front with coil springs plus stabilizer bar and a multi-link arrangement in back with stabilizer bar.
The rack and pinion steering system gets electric power assistance, which adds to the powertrain's efficiency.
Brakes mount power-assisted ventilated discs up front and solid discs in back. Then there are electronic ties to Honda's vehicle stability assist (VSA) equipment operating in conjunction with an anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD) and electronic brake assist (EBA) plus a traction control system (TCS).
Passive safety equipment consists of frontal and side-impact air bags for front seats and curtain-style air bags concealed in headliners above outboard side windows front and rear.
The fancy 5-seat cabin in Accord Hybrid features twin buckets in front of a 3-seat bench.
Instruments provide data for efficient driving performance such as instant fuel economy and energy flow.
The optional gear list shows perforated leather seats, an 8-inch color i-MID display and multi-angle rearview camera, cloud-based HondaLink, a premium audio kit with XM/Bluetooth/Pandora, Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot display plus Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning.
We estimate price points for the 2014 Accord Hybrid sedan to begin around $29,155.