Consumer Reports: Accord Hybrid MPG Can’t Match EPA Estimate

Consumer Reports’ July Issue will show the newly redesigned Honda Accord Hybrid “falls well short” of the EPA’s 47 mpg combined estimate, scoring instead 40 in CR’s testing.

This report rings reminiscently similar to that of the EPA estimated Ford C-MAX and Ford Fusion Hybrids also rated at 47 combined, and scoring even less.

“We’ve found that the EPA tests often exaggerate the fuel-economy of hybrids,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, speaking in light of the Accord Hybrid’s falling 7 mpg below the EPA estimate.

This is what CR says now, but in December 2012 when it found the Fusion Hybrid capable of 39 combined – only 1 mpg lower than the Accord Hybrid – CR said more than 80 percent of the vehicles the magazine tested are within 2 mpg of the official EPA figures.

So, if that still holds true, the Accord Hybrid might deserve a dunce cap with the Fusion Hybrid, although CR does not state this.

CR did say the Accord Hybrid scored behind the top-mpg Toyota Prius Liftback, which CR calls the “hatchback” and the Accord Hybrid tied the Civic Hybrid.

It was also found substandard in ride quality compared to the conventional Accord.

“[T]he Hybrid falls short in other areas of Consumer Reports’ testing including ride comfort, emergency handling, and quietness,” wrote the publication. “As a result, the Accord Hybrid scored lower overall in Consumer Reports’ tests than the non-hybrid four-cylinder Accord while costing about $6,500 more.”

All this said, the 40 mpg the Accord did qualify it as the “class leader for fuel economy among mid-sized sedans.”

In other words, in CR’s hands, this is still the best.

CR testers were also very impressed with the Accord Hybrid’s smooth hybrid system.

“To save fuel, even at highway speeds, the engine willingly shuts off as soon as drivers lift their foot off the gas pedal,” it was noted.

CR’s findings go contrary to other tests, including ours which in Eco mode, and with some care, yielded 51 mpg combined.

The findings also go against that of several journalists at the Honda Accord Hybrid media launch in Texas last fall.

These scores were admittedly during a contest where utmost care was taken. The degree to which they exceeded the EPA is telling however. You won't find this level of beating the EPA by a Fusion Hybrid which only scored a few mpg less in CR's testing.

These scores were admittedly during a contest where utmost care was taken. The degree to which they exceeded the EPA is telling however. You won’t find this level of beating the EPA by a Fusion Hybrid which only scored a few mpg less in CR’s testing.

Their ordinary highway drives were in the low to middle 40s – EPA rates it at 45 highway, 50 city – and later, during a contest to see who could achieve highest mpg, city drives reached 70 and even into the mid-80-mpg range under very careful driving.

Those high scores are not indicative of how many ordinary drivers will drive the car, but show the Accord Hybrid is more than hyped, and with care, can do far better than 40 mpg combined with appropriate but not extreme care.

More info is available at CR online or in the July print issue on sale June 3.