Honda Preparing to Resurrect the Accord Hybrid

In 2004, Honda released its third hybrid, a gas-electric version of the Accord EX V6 sedan. The car represented a new spin on hybrid powertrains, with the carmaker opting to use supplemental power from the vehicle’s battery to enhance performance rather than maximize fuel efficiency.

Where the obvious move would have been to attach its hybrid system to the four-cylinder Accord model—potentially boosting fuel economy from a pedestrian 24 mpg combined rating into the range of other best-in-class mid-size offerings—Honda instead chose to pair the system with a V6 and configure that pairing to provide an additional 15 horsepower to the Accord EX V6’s already meaty 240 hp. Fuel efficiency for the vehicle languished at a paltry 25 mpg city, 34 mpg highway rating—with the combined number coming in just 1 MPG higher than the base model Accord.

Consumers were not impressed. Honda sold less than 6,000 Accord hybrids in 2006 and less than a year later, the car was canceled. “Hybrid manufacturers have largely been unable to expand the public’s perception of hybrids beyond high fuel economy,” said Kelley Blue Book’s Jack Nerad at the time.

Now comes word from Automotive News that Honda is once again preparing a hybrid version of the Accord. Will the carmaker aim to bring big efficiency gains to the vehicle’s 24/31 fuel economy rating, or has it decided that the market is finally ready for a hybrid that boosts power at the expense of substantive fuel economy gains?

With gas prices low, and Toyota recently deciding to go in a similar direction with its new Highlander hybrid SUV, it’s possible that performance-oriented hybrids could be making a comeback. But with Honda’s green vehicle lineup struggling and the carmaker’s own president complaining that company had become “complacent” about new technology in recent years, it’s difficult to see how an extra 15 horsepower and 1-2 MPGs could bring Honda back to prominence as a maker of fuel-efficient vehicles.

For now, all that’s known is that a new gas-electric Accord is on its way, so we’ll have to save our judgments for when more details are available. Hopefully, Honda will be a little more bold with its hybrid this time around.

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  • Charles

    If the Accord uses IMA, Honda should just cancel it now. Fusion, Sonata, Camry and Altima would beat its MPG rating. I would hope that Honda and others would have realized by now that MPG numbers trump HP numbers for the vast majority of potential hybrid owners.

    If the Accord uses some new Honda hybrid tech, I will shout for joy.

  • FamilyGuy

    Maybe along with a new hybrid tech, they will bring back the wagon, too. Two surprises would be twice as nice.

  • Yegor

    I hope it is not sedan. There are so many hybrid mid-size sedans:
    Toyota Camry Hybrid,
    Nissan Altima Hybrid,
    Ford Fusion Hybrid,
    Lexus HS,
    Ford MKZ Hybrid,
    Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

    I hope they make a Hatchback or a Wagon or Accord Crosstour Hybrid.

  • Yegor

    Why not to make a CR-V hybrid instead?

  • guyverfanboy

    Honda needs to get rid of their garbage IMA hybrid tech because it really sucks compared to the competition. They are better off bringing back the clean diesel Acura TSX that was supposed to get 60 MPG on the highway! I can see that selling well, but a hybrid using crappy IMA tech… not so much.

  • Stan Smart

    I’ve had an ’05 Accord Hybrid for 5-1/2 years; 60,000 miles and no problems! It spends 8 months in Michigan and 4 in Florida, so all types of driving conditions.

    I average 22-24 city and 32-35 highway, with a combined “lifetime” of 31.1mpg.

    I like the power (when needed) and the fact that I get 20% better mileage than the 2010 Accord 4-cylinder.

    I did buy a spare tire (Canadian HAH had ’em) … my only complaint.

  • Prius with a Gun Rack

    Honda needs to get a clue. Our family won’t consider any sedan that gets less than 50 mpg or any SUV that gets less than 34 mpg.

    We don’t want a LITTLE less toxic gas blowing in our faces, and our children’s faces, from tailpipes. We don’t want a LITTLE less profit for murderous oil-exporting regimes like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Russia, etc. We want a LOT less.

    We want a DRASTIC reduction in vehicular fossil fuel consumption. It would help if Honda became a meaningful competitor in the North American hybrid and PHEV arena. Don’t see that yet., but things can change fast.

  • Dom

    Honda needs to bring the diesel Accord instead. They have a great diesel engine they put in the European Accord. As somebody above mentioned the canceled Acura TSX diesel was a mistake…

  • C

    I subscribe to this comment. Honda has a very good diesel engine in its European version of Accord which boosts excellent fuel economy. They should have brought this enigne to the US couple of years ago when they announced. I am pretty sure it would have had a major success.

  • Matt Chatham

    I’m surprised so many people are complaining about IMA. Right now Honda has two of the three most fuel-efficient cars available right now, next to the Prius. Considering I think they’re doing pretty well.

  • John K.

    Honda’s mistake the first time was that the engine-motor set up was for performance, but they only released it in the 4-door sedan version of the Accord, not the 2-door Coupe. Dumb move.

    IIRC, it was also only available w/an automatic tranny, not a manual.

    Not sure if it was available w/sports suspension either.

    If you are targeting the sporty market, those were fatal errors. Small wonder it failed in the marketplace.

  • Nelson Lu

    Matt, the reason why Honda’s “2 of 3 most efficient” thing is not impressive is that that’s accomplished by SMALL vehicles, not great technology. You put a mediocre hybrid system in vehicles that small with engines that weak, and of course you’re going to get high numbers. Those numbers are not high enough for vehicles that small. (The Insight, for example, is nearly a tie with the Ford Fusion Hybrid in fuel efficiency, which is humongous when compared to the Insight, size-wise and power-wise.)

  • Anonymous

    talk about not learning from their mistakes… lol. have they been hiring former gm employees? watch this model tank again in a year or two.

  • Stan Smart

    The negative IMA comments are mostly from kids who can’t even drive yet!

  • Dom

    I actually like Honda’s system, as manual transmissions work well in their setups (when they see fit to include that option). I just prefer diesels over hybrids. But I’m first a fan of manual transmissions, so which ever car has that option is the one I’ll root for.

  • Matt Chatham

    Nelson, what about the ’06 Insight, which also used IMA and was rated at 60mpg? Say what you will about size, but that thing was a powerhouse of saving gas.

  • prius lover

    also, call the car cos. who don’t have ANY hybrids; I called subaru and complained and then they said they are coming out with joint project with Toyota; there might be an employee tasked with reading blogs such as this, but complaining here does less good than callling cos. direct, in my experience….

    I have always liked honda, but switched to 2010 prius even after potentially getting five grand off 2009 IMA civic..because it is old technology…shuts off at lights, noticeable switching from elec. to gas…new insight seemed wobbly on highway.

    we would LIKE to buy honda again, but they seem to be dropping the ball…

    like other posters said, if in next few years, can have all elec. why would I pay twenty grand now for something getting 2 or 3 mpgs better than traditional 100 year old technology.

    in my case, went from 11 yr old 20 mpg truck to 50 mpg car (did NOT use taxpayer $$$ or cash for clunker), but I will never pay twenty grand for incremental improvement or if I would ever have to stop at a gas station again.

    WOULD buy all elec. if had better range that I need today…might still poss. get one next year…if my state has any incentives..

    if you live down south like I used to controlled by coal cos. elec cars will prob not be even allowed…in ‘progressive states’ you can easily use 100% green energy, so elec cars make sense…

    I hope moores’ law keeps applying to elec cars…we need to get off oil now and ALL do our part; if you drive to an office and sit at a desk, you are a jack(*(& driving a giant suv.

  • clean tech

    I do agree honda must still be reliable as daily I still see orig. honda insight before honda lost its’ focus.