One of the fun parts of the L.A. Auto Show is the Press Days Green Car Ride and Drive. Having a 2013 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid there was a no brainer given the 115 MPGe rating. The big surprise there was the inclusion of a 2013 Honda Accord V6 EX-L. How could a V6 mid-size be a green car was my first thought.
The obvious choice for the greenies among us if you want a nice mid-size car that doesn’t look like your typical hybrid freak mobile is the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. You get all of the traditional look of a nice mid-size sedan and its roominess front and back with the mileage boost of a hybrid, or in this case one you plug-in for up to 13 miles of all electric driving that makes for an incredible boost in overall MPGs.
How does Honda achieve the MPGe rating and range on its plug-in hybrid? Well a lot of reasons, chief of which we
expect demand from Honda engineering is in the form of class leading technology. For their Accord plug-in they installed the latest tech, and largest lithium ion battery they could fit into the Accord while maintain interior space and some of the trunk. The battery is 6.7 kwh unit that will charge from the low charge indicator on the dash in 3 hours on a 120v line, and less than 1 hour on a 240 volt line.
What I found most interesting is that the gas power-train is not unlike that used in the 2013 Ford Fusion, great minds think alike? Honda has a 2.ol Atkinson cycle 4 cylinder electrically coupled to a CVT tranny. This in combination with the electric battery yields 47mpg city, 46 highway for a combined rating of 46mpg. In driving it it was apparent that this is a very powerful hybrid moving the sedan with no problems at all. Where Honda fell down in my not so humble is the start/stop function of the gasser at stop lights. IT is noticeable where as the Fusion Hybrid I drove recently it was quite seamless.
The Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid is very well equipped with the tech goodies. Included in the just under 40K sticker (before Fed and State tax incentives) is Lane Departure warning, Collision warning, Blind Spot Warning (with a nifty camera operated system), Bluetooth connectivity/infotainment system, and a rear view back up camera. The car goes on sale in limited markets, CA and NY only in January 2013.
The real surprise for me as mentioned earlier in this post was the inclusion of a V6 Accord in a green car line up. How can this be? Chalk it up to Honda engineering to include variable valve timing (VVT) along with variable cylinder management (VCM) to create an “Earth Dreams” relevant V6 that yields nearly 4cylinder fuel economy, with EPA ratings of 21 city, 34 highway for a combined average of 25mpg. All this from a 278 hp V6 coupled to a Honda tried and true bullet proof 6 speed automatic.
At just about 34K this is a very nicely equipped EX-L. It had the same tech goodies enumerated on the Honda plug-in hybrid and it also included their satellite based navigation.
Where the EX-L V6 shined was in the driving experience. The car shifted in and out of 3-6 cylinder seamlessly. It had ample power when you mashed the peddle to the floor though there was some floating as the front end lifted under full throttle. Still not objectionable nor uncontrollable, just not as tamed as what you get from some of the other high horsepower front drivers out there.
Overall I like both cars. As an owner of an orphaned brand I’m in search of a new home for when it comes time to replace that car. As mentioned in an earlier post, no matter how nicely built and handsome another mid-sizer might be, my wife will not consider ANY of them unless there is a V6 under the hood. The Accord EX-L V6 is a very nicely equipped, luxurious that has all the sportiness and power one comes to expect at the upper end of the class. It certainly is high on my shopping list even it if means moving down from the entry luxury class the current car in our stable sits in.
All pics by me and more can be found in my flickr set of the 2012 L.A. Auto Show