Seeking increased relevance in the segment, the Japanese company plans a gasoline-electric lineup refresh starting with the Accord Hybrid, which according to Honda, bests both Toyota and Ford’s competing sedans.
The 2014 edition of Honda’s flagship sedan reaches dealerships on Oct. 31, with a base price that is close to a V6 engined version of the Accord, although its EPA rating is far better – as it gets 50 miles (80 kilometers/ 4.7L/100km) per gallon in the city. Still, Honda needs better hybrids, as current models, including the Insight hatchback, CR-Z coupe and a version of the Civic, together only generate a fraction of Prius sales.
“Accord is a great place for us to stop the science experiments and really make a name for our hybrids,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of the U.S. unit. “We’re known for fuel economy, but in hybrids, it’s about relevance and volume. We think Accord can do that.”
The Accord Hybrid’s rating, a combined 47 mpg in city and highway driving only places it behind the Prius, a far smaller mid-size car that averages 51 mpg in the city, 48 mpg on the highway and 50 mpg combined, the best of any non-rechargeable car in America. The Accord Hybrid’s new two-motor powertrain has technology adapted from Honda’s futuristic FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell sedan and from the battery-electric Fit EV.