2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Long-Term Update 1
Starting on the Back Fuel-Economy Foot
To learn as much as possible about a car, it must submit to more severe driving situations than merely commuting and dawdling around. That's why Motor Trend compiles performance numbers on all kinds of different vehicles -- you might never plan on cornering your Mitsubishi Mirage hard, but having knowledge of how it behaves at the limit can be helpful if you accidentally find yourself on the ragged edge.
On top of testing acceleration, braking, and handling, we're deep into fuel economy. I'll admit that, even before turning 10,000 miles on the odometer, we haven't catered to the Honda Accord Hybrid's strength in efficiency. Our Southern California-stationed car has traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, and to the Golden State's Bay Area thrice. It has sat through triple-digit Arizona summer heat in stop-and-go traffic, weighed down to an estimated 80 percent of the 973-pound payload capacity. The air conditioning has pretty much stayed on the entire time.
I bring up the destinations because they affect the car. A healthy grab of high-speed miles is welcome for any MT long-termer. A journey yields new discoveries. It adds miles. It drags observed fuel economies upwards since most vehicles burn less fuel if they steadily cruise on the highway instead of unpredictable in-town accelerating and slowing down. The third count is not the case with the Accord Hybrid. As substantiated by those trips, our current documented mpg in the low 40s, and our Real MPG ratings, I need to be driving in light traffic (not while laden with nearly 800 pounds of passengers and cargo) and generally keeping under 60 mph to improve the overall fuel economy. No parking it on the interstate with this car.
Real MPG? MT provides RMPG as a more realistic fuel-economy barometer, a metric in which I have way more confidence than on EPA figures. The Accord Hybrid checks in at 47/42/44 mpg city/highway/combined. Whether you view these as fantastic or disappointing will undoubtedly depend on how much credence you lend the EPA's 50/45/47 mpg (lukewarm for me, at best). My own perspective sees the Real MPG representing gains of +24/+11/+18 mpg from the last Accord Sport (2.4-liter I-4 with CVT) tested at 23/31/26 mpg. Or +104/+35/+69 in percentages.
When I can peel my eyes away from the assorted onboard fuel-use meters, I've found the car pleasant to drive, save for tackling long, steep hill climbs with the engine noisily toiling away. It's at its best when it's able to pulse into EV drive mode, where the interior quietness is soothing in SoCal's frenetic traffic. An early clunking sound emanating from the driver-side front wheelwell was diagnosed as the byproduct of a self-unfastened/never-fastened strut mount nut, which was then tightened.
I'll continue watching the fuel economy with great interest as more city miles roll on. Come back next update for more mpg insights (decimal points! commentary on gaseous emissions!) and hear how the car is wearing in.