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2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Overview
Honda puts an Accord toe into the plug-in hybrid market for 2014 with its all-new, aptly named Plug-In Hybrid. As can be expected the Plug-In's trunk is about half as spacious as the standard sedan's, offering 8.1 cubic feet of storage versus 15.8 without the battery pack, but heavy commuters light on cargo probably won't mind trading that space and a folding rear bench for 47 mpg city/46 highway and up to 15 miles of travel on pure electric power. This Accord also goes beyond purely mechanical aspects of fuel conservation, opting for a front-end retouch and wheel covers that so far increase fuel economy but decrease driver interest—especially at its asking price.
Unlike its Insight, Honda's Accord Plug-In can accelerate on its electric components only, and as the name suggests, it also conserves fuel by plugging in rather than using brakeforce recharging systems and other similar measures that tend to muddy performance. However, in doing so Honda also sticks to its continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a reputation for hesitating on acceleration, without any other transmission option for its 196-hp 4-cylinder.
That said, 3 driving modes and 2 electric sub-modes afford complete control over the Plug-In's balance of power and energy conservation, offering everything from a pure-gas high-power mode to the electric sub-mode "HV Charge," which puts the engine into standard hybrid operation while feeding power back to the battery as it's available. Should the 6.7kWh lithium-ion battery run out of power, the Plug-In is equipped to help you find a 240-volt outlet to get a recharge in less than 1 hour. Standard household 120-volt current will take about 3 hours to get the Plug-In back under way.
First drivers in the introductory New York and California markets say the Plug-In is easily just as powerful as its pure-gas brethren, but somehow manages to be quieter, smoother and generally more pleasing to drive than the rest of the ninth-generation Accord lineup. However, being offered in a single trim leaves some drivers undesirably limited in their choices, especially when that trim doesn't offer the simple option of leather upholstery—instead favoring a special bio-fabric in an unusually small range of colors. That take-it-or-leave-it kind of approach combined with wheel covers at this price leaves several potential drivers waiting on the sidelines for a pure hybrid—or at least hoping next year's model will be more accommodating.
Otherwise the Plug-In comes rather handsomely equipped with features such as a lane-departure warning system, blind-spot monitor, rear-view camera, adaptive cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated front and rear seats, 8-way powered driver's seat, driver memory functions, Bluetooth connectivity, 8-inch multifunction touchscreen, voice commands, navigation system and a 6-speaker stereo with satellite radio, iPod, USB and smartphone connectivity all standard, even if you can't handle the list in one breath. The blind-spot monitor is especially notable for automatically displaying the passenger-side view on your center-stack screen whenever the right turn signal is engaged for a surprisingly natural way to look down your starboard side.
by Patricia Mayo
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Looking for a Used Accord Plug-In in your area?CarGurus has 24 nationwide Accord Plug-In listings starting at $39,780.