Honda Preparing For October Launch Of 2014 Accord Hybrid

To begin drumming up more interest among would-be buyers of its 2014 Accord Hybrid due in October, Honda has posted images and a new press release for the pending car.

The mid-sized Accord Hybrid will share design aspects with the limited-market plug-in Accord and is expected to achieve a “class-leading” 49 mpg city fuel economy rating, and preliminary estimates are its numbers will be 49 city, 45 highway, and 47 combined.

It will also be the first hybrid assembled in Honda’s Marysville, Ohio plant, and overall, it will be largely indistinguishable visually from regular Accords except for hybrid badging and blue accents to the grille and light lenses. The car will also get daytime running lights, its own wheel design and a decklid spoiler.

Three drive modes available for its two-motor hybrid system shared with the plug-in are EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. In “EV Drive” mode, it uses its lithium-ion battery to run in electric-only mode at lower speeds and in medium to high speed cruising. Under “Engine Drive” mode the Accord Hybrid sends the engine power from its 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder directly to the front wheels like a regular gas car.

2014_Honda_Accord_Hybrid_03

The “Hybrid Drive” mode relies on the gas engine paired with a 124-kw electric motor, and its lithium-ion battery.

Functionally, the inside of the car is all Accord, plus (of course), energy flow information is displayed as per usual hybrid car practice. It will make available a number of safety technologies that some have applauded and others have less flatteringly described as “nannies” to protect drivers from themselves.

These include Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display, first debuted on the Accord last fall, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW).

Infotainment will feature an 8-inch color i-MID display with loads of connectivity and flexible features including Pandora and XM radio. Seats will be perforated leather trimmed and a multi-angle camera system will also add to the convenience and safety of what promises to be a well-appointed mid-level car.

2014_Honda_Accord_Hybrid_02

Underlying the safety aspect is the inherent crash-worthiness of Honda’s Accord body structure, which Honda says it expects will earn – as did the 2013 model – an NCAP 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Pricing has not been set yet, and a Honda media rep told us only that “it’s safe to say” it will be less than the $39,780 plug-in Accord – and no doubt consumers will say hopefully it will cost much less, but this remains to be seen.

For more info, Honda has a consumer Web site on which you can sign up for alerts and future Accord Hybrid news.