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2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid

After 30 years, Honda is trying to teach the old Accord new tricks, and they’re of the plug-in variety.

We’ve been teased by various prototypes at auto shows and in spy shots, but Honda will finally start selling the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid in January 2013. Part of the overhauled ninth-generation Accord lineup, which will also include four-cylinder and V6 models and a non-plug-in hybrid (completely different than the first-gen Accord Hybrid that was sold from MY 2005-2007) later in 2013, this PHEV is a slightly confounding creature. Everything works well, the car behaves exactly how you’d expect an Accord plug-in to work and the included LaneWatch display is incredibly well done, but there is more going on under the hood than will make sense to the average driver. It took a small cluster of green car journalists 15 minutes of back and forth with Yasuyuki Sando, the Accord PHEV’s chief engineer, to finally figure out what the different drive options are for this car. But more about that in a bit.

The last few years have not given Americans a lot of confidence that Honda still knows how to make an engaging gas-electric vehicle. The CR-Z and Insight struggle for proficiency and don’t inspire. Now, with the 2013 Accord, the challenge is clear: increase the efficiency level of Honda’s incredibly popular mass-market sedan to meet today’s regulatory and consumer demand, and don’t make it boring. Based on an afternoon cruising the hills and highways of Southern California, it’s clear Honda has met this challenge with a lot of newfangled technology hidden away in a largely normal-looking vehicle.
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