The new Honda Accord V6 Hybrid is "the killer
app'' of the emerging gasoline-electric vehicle field that promises
improved fuel mileage over a vehicle with a gasoline engine alone,
yet delivers power greater than can be expected from a regular fuel-efficient
The hybrid is not only the most fuel-efficient sedan
in the Accord lineup, it's also the fastest. The phrase "having
your cake and eating it, too'' comes to mind.
Although the Toyota Prius hybrid is the darling of
the "green" crowd, Honda was the first to offer a hybrid
vehicle in the United States, the 2000 Insight. A two-seater that
wasn't very practical, it nonetheless still ranks as the most fuel-efficient
car sold in America at 60 to 66 mpg. Honda sells but a handful of
Then came the Civic Hybrid, which moved Honda's hybrid
effort into the mainstream. Using a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine
mated to an electric motor, it offers performance that is seamless
when compared to a gasoline-only Civic, yet offers EPA-rated city/highway
mileage of 48/47 mpg with a continuously variable ratio automatic
With the Accord Hybrid, Honda opted for a package
that wasn't just about being comparable to a gasoline Accord.
The goal was a vehicle that was better in all regards. They succeeded.
The Accord Hybrid's combined gas-electric engine
produces 255 horsepower -- 15 more than the standard gasoline
V6. Yet it is rated at 30/37 mpg. That may not seem like much
of an improvement, but that's 43 percent better city mileage than
a standard V6 Accord and overall the hybrid's mileage is comparable
to the rating for a standard four-cylinder Civic, which of course
is smaller and slower.
There's a lot of technical magic going on under
the hybrid's hood. The three-liter V6 shuts off three cylinders
when cruising, and the electric motor provides added boost to
the three remaining cylinders if mild acceleration is required
At rest, the gasoline engine shuts off. Tap the
accelerator, and the engine starts seamlessly, running all six
cylinders. Under hard throttle, the electric motor kicks in to
help the V6. All of this is monitored by a dash-mounted display.
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Wrapped around this technology is, of course, a
standard Accord, which is one of the best midsized sedans on the
market. The only hint to your neighbors that you're driving a
"killer app'' car is the word "hybrid" positioned
discreetly on the rear portion of the trunk lid.
Of course your wallet will know, because, as in
computers, buying the newest technology costs. An Accord Hybrid
carries a factory list of $30,505, compared to the $27,215 for
a comparable regular Accord.
Real-world testing of the hybrid vs. the gasoline
Accord showed that the hybrid delivers 8 to 10 miles per gallon
more in average everyday driving. That's impressive.
But at $2 a gallon for regular gasoline, after driving
100,000 miles in an Accord Hybrid a buyer would still be more
than $600 short of recouping the added cost.
That gap will likely be even larger, since someone
buying an in-demand Accord Hybrid today will likely pay list price,
or even a little above, compared to a regular V6 Accord, which
dealers are discounting.
Nonetheless, going the hybrid route for most people
is about supporting technology that could lessen U.S. dependence
on imported oil and driving something that's on the cutting edge.
Based on that alone, the Accord Hybrid is the "killer
app'' that hybrid fans will clamor for.
|Base list price, including delivery charge:
||3-liter gasoline V6 and brushless electric motor
||255 @ 6000 rpm
||3 years/36,000 miles
||8 years/80,000 miles
||30/37 mpg EPA est., 33 mpg observed
|Special factory lease/finance:
-- Posted: Feb. 15, 2005