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2014 Honda Accord Plug in Hybrid

Honda has previously teased Accord fans with hybrid prototypes, but they are finally making good on the pledge with the 2014 Accord plug-in hybrid. The lineup in 2014 will also include V6 and 4-cylinder models and a hybrid that's not a plug-in.

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Test drivers have discovered that the Accord plug-in does behave as you would imagine an Accord would. Its new LaneWatch system is appreciated, but the drive systems were a bit of a mystery.

Even though Honda has made hybrid vehicles for some time, it's something of a challenge to increase the level of efficiency in the Accord to meet current demand from consumers. Inside a normal looking car, there is a lot of new technology in the Accord plug-in.

The popular look of the Accord has been updated, in addition to the plug-in technology. It has less drag, so the fuel economy gets a boost there. The plug-in Honda Accord gets a different front end, to give it a more unique look, as compared to gas-powered models. The grille is different and it has a lower fascia.

The aerodynamics are improved with a new rear bumper cap. LED headlights are standard, which is a step up from gas-only models, where they are an upgrade. The interior is as functional as Hondas' usually are. It has a display cluster that is exclusive to the hybrid.

The LaneWatch system on the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid uses a small, built-in camera on the passenger side's mirror to show you the driver's blind spot. You can turn it off if it's too distracting, but it's a good safety feature. You can see the mirror and the screen at once.

LaneWatch is not the only way Honda has made driving this new vehicle easier. There are differing uses of powertrain and modes, and the terminology is confusing to even reviewers of new vehicles. Honda's answer to their questions? There are Drives and modes, and one isn't the same as the other.

When you start off with the battery pack full, the gas engine won't kick in when you're driving city speed until you deplete the battery pack. That is usually after about 10 or 15 minutes. If you want faster acceleration or higher speeds, the gas engine will power up to give you that added power. The top speed officially in EV drive is about 80 mph.

In hybrid drive, you may mistake the Accord for a Chevy Volt. Hybrid drive mainly gets your engine running so that it can send electricity to its electric traction motor. Whenever you engage the HV mode, the car will know that you are trying to keep the battery level at the point where it currently is.

The battery pack is small in size and only takes an hour for a full recharge with a Level 2 charger. That equals three hours in your home's standard outlets. The car is even efficient enough to use the special lanes for "green" vehicles in California.

Even though the plug-in model is the heaviest of the Accord vehicle line, it will still handle well for the average driver. The controls are user-friendly, and the car provides a predictably smooth ride.