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Detroit News: 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid Review

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New Accord Hybrid fails to deliver on price and fuel

By Paul & Anita Lienert

If you're a sharp-eyed consumer, you might be wondering about the curious changes that have been made to the redesigned 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid, which is only in its second year of production.

We're not talking about dramatic sheet-metal renovations. We're talking about an increased sticker price and a significantly lowered fuel economy rating.

What's up with that, we wondered, and then spent a week testing a top-of-the-line model equipped with a navigation system. Bottom line on our test 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid: $33,540, including $550 for shipping.

SHE : Maybe I've been clipping coupons and comparison shopping for too long. But when I recently saw the price of the 2006 Accord Hybrid -- $850 more than last year -- and the revised fuel-economy numbers, I called Honda. I was confused because Honda said the EPA ratings on the Accord Hybrid have been changed from 29 mpg in city driving and 37 mpg on the highway in 2005 to only 25/34 mpg for the 2006 model. But it is the same engine.

HE: Ok, Inspector Clouseau. Did your glasses just need an adjustment?

SHE : Not hardly. Although Honda won't come right out and say it, the new fuel economy ratings on the 2006 Accord Hybrid more accurately reflect real-world results by consumers, which is something I griped about when we reviewed the '05 model. During that test drive last year, we averaged about 21 mpg, way less than what the EPA and Honda said we should expect.

HE: If the regular 2006 Accord sedan equipped with an in-line four-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission already gets 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway and costs thousands less than the hybrid, why would you even bother buying the more expensive gas/electric version?

SHE : Hold on a minute. Honda has made some changes to the 2006 Accord Hybrid. Vehicle stability control is now standard, which beefs up an already great slate of safety features, including antilock brakes and side air bags and side curtain air bags. The car gets a face-lift, including a rear spoiler, unique alloy wheels and heated side mirrors with built-in turn signals and a standard moonroof and a temporary spare tire.

HE: That spoiler is totally superfluous. You should point out, too, that the fuel economy figures aren't the only Accord Hybrid stats to drop. There's also been a reduction in horsepower, albeit a slight one. Despite the carryover of the car's 3.0-liter V-6, the horsepower ratings change from 255 for the 2005 model to 253 for the 2006 model. Honda says this reflects its voluntarily adopting new Society of Automotive Engineer ratings specifications.

SHE : Wow. You almost have to be an accountant or engineer to keep all these numbers in your head. I'm glad the Accord Hybrid is equipped with an instrument panel "meter display" that helps you to keep track of what kind of fuel economy you're getting. In a 200-mile test drive, we averaged 23.5 miles per gallon. On a short stretch of road, our best fuel-economy rating was 31 mpg, according to the readout.

HE: The Accord Hybrid has lots of power, it's very well equipped and easy to operate, just like the previous model. The electric motor is almost totally transparent. I found the ride to be smooth and compliant. So it's got a lot of pluses. But I did have some gripes. The electric power steering feels too vague, and I noticed some suspension and tire rumble at highway speeds.

SHE : We're both in favor of hybrids, on paper. But as companies and consumers get a reality check on just how much -- or how little -- they help conserve fuel and the costly price you pay as you struggle toward that goal, it's often getting harder and harder to argue in their favor.

2006 Honda Accord Hybrid with navigation

Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger sedan.

Price: Base: $33,540 (inc. $550 destination charge); as tested, $33,540.

Engine: 3.0-liter V-6 plus electric motor; 253 hp; 232 lb-ft torque.

EPA fuel economy: 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway.

Where built: Marysville, Ohio.

12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan*: $1,274. (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage, driving record.)

Paul:

Likes: Smooth, compliant ride. Plenty of power from V-6 engine. Electric motor is almost totally transparent to the customer. Very well-equipped. Familiar and easy to operate.

Dislikes: Pricey at $33,000. Our real-world mileage was lower than the revised EPA ratings. Electric power steering feels too vague. No outside temperature gauge. Rather not pay for the standard moonroof. Deck spoiler is superfluous.

Anita:

Likes: Five-star safety features, including standard stability control. Totally mainstream -- no extra buttons, levers or gadgets to operate. Very well-equipped. Power moonroof now standard. No direct competition until the new '07 Toyota Camry Hybrid arrives this fall. Navigation system was fairly easy to operate.

Dislikes: Hard to justify the price tag, especially when you compare it to conventional Accord. Despite a face-lift, unremarkable styling inside and out. Battery pack robs trunk space.

Link: http://info.detnews.com/autosconsumer/auto...ex.cfm?id=22157

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Thank God more people are saying it... it's relatively a pointless purchase in my opinion.

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Guest Josh

Everyone here has been pointing out how worthless they are from a cost savings standpointe since they were umm...introduced?

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The 2007 Malibu is supposed to get the hybrid Vue's powertrain. I can see that going over a lot better than the hybrid Accord if GM keeps the cost down.

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Kind of pointless, the hybrid. Just like all hybrids though. It is faster than the gasoline-only model, and comes with more features. I think it may be a worthwhile buy for some, considering around town driving should be even more comfortable, and less stops at the gas station. I would rather have a TL myself.

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The 2007 Malibu is supposed to get the hybrid Vue's powertrain.  I can see that going over a lot better than the hybrid Accord if GM keeps the cost down.

Is it really going to? Why did I think it was going to happen in 2008?

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How the hell did an accord get to base sticker at $33K??? This is honda right? Only 1 model below that? Are they going to match toyota and add another brand soon? The koreans are already eating Japan Inc's lunch.

>>"It is faster than the gasoline-only model, and comes with more features."<<

A spoiler is a chunk of functionless plastic; hardly a 'feature'.

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"Performance hybrid" is an oxymoron. The price and mileage doesn't justify the small horsepower boost over the regular Accord. And the fact that the Accord Hybrid has worse emissions than a V6 gas Explorer is kind of pathetic. So much for green and clean.

People don't buy hybrids for performance, which is why the Prius outsells the Civic and Accord hybrids by a huge margin. I predict the RX400h and Highlander hybrids will see the same dismal sales as the Accord because once again, they focused on horsepower instead of fuel savings.

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They are only now pointing out the uselessness of hybrids, because the domestic automakers are about to come out with theirs.....and that's only due to all of the pressure of the media claiming that the domestics were so far behind the Japanese.

So the domestic hybrids will come out, and they will instantly be ripped for not creating out of this world fuel economy.....and again will be criticized for being behind Japan in this almost worthless technology.

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Interesting, 23.5 average and 31 on a short highway stretch. Now lets see I can get an Impala LT for about 10K off that insane figure, that does have an outside temp indicator, Onstar, moonroof, ABS and traction control and superior styling. And in my tests gets 25 plus combined mileage and 31 plus on the highway! The Accord Hybrid is the perfect car for lemmings.

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Just like its absurd to presume hybrids will save the world, it's going too far to say the concept is useless. I'm very interested to see what the new Camry hybrid and VUE greenline do in the real world. In both cases, you're taking an already efficient (but powerful enough for a real car) 4-cylinder engine and augmenting it to be more efficient in city/suburban rush hour situations that a lot of vehicles spend the majority time operating in. In the case of the BAS system GM is using, I'm especially hopeful, b/c this is far less expensive and complex.

So called performance hybrids like this Accord (and the Lexus RX, Toyota Highlander, etc...) are a complete ruse. I'm worried the hybrid system in the upcoming GM trucks is going to fall in this category too. This type of application should immediately be disqualified for any tax incentives too. In fact, I think this is an area where they ought to just let the market do its thing entirely.

The most frustrating thing to me is that the discussion seems to be all or nothing with any of these approaches, whether it's hybrids, E85, diesel or some combination. If you live in Minnesota, E85 is viable b/c it's relatively cheap and available. If you need to tow or drive a lot of highway miles, nothing makes more sense than a modern diesel engine. If you're 80% or more in city traffic, an effective hybrid set-up would be perfect. Here's hoping govt., consumers and the manufacturers aren't so myopic that the right mix of approaches fails to evolve.

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A spoiler is a chunk of functionless plastic; hardly a 'feature'.

Regardless of what you may think, yes it is a feature, just as a lip kit or body-painted sidemoldings are features. The Accord also comes with other hybrid-only features, mostly cosmetic. There is an article hightlighting it all but I don't feel like finding it right now.

"Performance hybrid" is an oxymoron.

Hybrid is a word that means more than just an electric-assisted gasoline engine.

Interesting, 23.5 average and 31 on a short highway stretch. Now lets see I can get an Impala LT for about 10K off that insane figure, that does have an outside temp indicator, Onstar, moonroof, ABS and traction control and superior styling. And in my tests gets 25 plus combined mileage and 31 plus on the highway! The Accord Hybrid is the perfect car for lemmings.

Give your Impala LT to those reviewers and it will get much worse mileage as well.

The difference is the Accord's wheel covers won't fall off during the review (oh wait, it comes standard with alloys) :duh: doh! Before you say anything, I know that doesn't make up for the 7-8k difference in pricing (not 10k), but I think we've already beat the gasoline vs hybrid cost thing into the ground :deadhorse: and came to the conclusion that hybrids generally don't save you anything on gas, nor do they get significantly better mileage than gasoline only cars.

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These "He said, she said" reviews are lame.

Mark

I agree! As if the constant metaphors normal car reviews use aren't lame enough, these are the icing on the cake when it come sto car reviews.

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The difference is the Accord's wheel covers won't fall off during the review (oh wait, it comes standard with alloys) :duh: doh! Before you say anything, I know that doesn't make up for the 7-8k difference in pricing (not 10k), but I think we've already beat the gasoline vs hybrid cost thing into the ground  :deadhorse: and came to the conclusion that hybrids generally don't save you anything on gas, nor do they get significantly better mileage than gasoline only cars.

So, with this whole argument, all you are really saying is that the benifit you get from the Honda is $8,000 wheels?? :scratchchin:

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A spoiler is a chunk of functionless plastic; hardly a 'feature'.

Regardless of what you may think, yes it is a feature....
So is a large wart on Heidi Klum's nose. My point was it is a functionless feature and therefore not worth mentioning as an advantage over another vehicle. The trend these days is away from spoilers, anyway.

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