The 2014 Honda Accord hybrid’s
powertrain has three ways of moving the car: EV drive, engine drive,
and hybrid drive. In EV drive, the electric drive motor powers the front
wheels via energy stored in the lithium-ion battery. In engine drive,
such as when cruising or accelerating lightly on a flat road at higher
speeds, the 2.0-liter four helps drive the wheels through a clutch. And
in hybrid drive, the engine powers a generator, which supplements the
current drawn from the battery. In this mode, there is no physical
connection between the engine and the drive wheels.
mode is where this Accord spends most of its time, and here engine
speed will “flare” to what the hybrid system’s brain thinks is the most
efficient rpm for any given road load and throttle position. There is a
prominent wail when the car accelerates briskly or climbs a grade. We
were also mildly annoyed by a whirring electric-motor sound at low
speeds and a slight, momentary sag when the electric motor/generator
spools up the engine prior to clutch engagement as it switches from EV
mode to engine-drive mode.
on balance, we like the Accord hybrid’s (mostly) seamless drive
character. Compared with its arch rival, the Camry hybrid, Honda’s
planet-saver doesn’t sacrifice the driving experience on the altar of
eco frugality. The Accord hybrid’s electrically boosted steering mirrors
the gas-engine Accord’s steering ratio and effort, and it gives the
fine-grained response we’ve come to appreciate in the nonhybrid car.
of numbers, our Accord hybrid test car went from rest to 30 mph in 2.9
seconds and reached 60 in 7.2, both 0.2 second quicker than thenonhybrid Accord CVT.
Not exactly warp speed, but the hybrid gains those tenths thanks to its
11-hp combined gas/electric power advantage and the electric motor’s
226 pound-feet of maximum torque just off throttle. It does this despite
being 202 pounds more affected by gravity than the nonhybrid Accord.