2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in was new.


Performance: 7.5

Many auto journalists think the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in has competent handling, a gentle ride and ample power. On the other hand, some critics think it has trouble getting up to speed, it switches between power sources abruptly and its steering is too light.    

  • "Honda's 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid drives freakishly well." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "In other ways, the Accord Plug-in delivers a ride similar to its kin: comfortable, relatively easy to maneuver, and with decent power that has no trouble getting the Accord up to freeway speeds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Equipped with a CVT, you're not going to get a lot of gear-shifting, heart-pumping acceleration." -- The Chicago Tribune
  • "The Accord system is smooth, efficient, and reasonably peppy, accelerating to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds and covering the quarter-mile in 16.1 seconds at 88 mph. That makes the Accord the quickest PHEV on the market, now that the Fisker Karma has bitten the dust." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Honda Accord Plug-in has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 141 horsepower and an electric motor that makes 166 horsepower, as well as a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The EPA estimates the Accord Plug-in’s fuel economy in hybrid mode at 47/46 mpg city/highway, which is very good for the class. In electric-only driving, the EPA says the Accord Plug-in’s fuel economy-equivalent is 115 mpg. This is better than the Toyota Prius Plug-in’s 95 mpg-e rating and Ford Fusion Energi’s 100 mpg-e rating.

Most test drivers report that the Accord Plug-in delivers good power from a stop and on hilly roads. They note that when you need to pass another car, the electric motor provides lots of power, which is reassuring. Test drivers say that the powertrain is very quiet in EV-only mode. Some think the transition from gas to electric power is seamless, while others think the switch could be more refined.    

  • "That additional weight is not terribly obvious, as the plug-in uses the torque of its electric motor to move away briskly from a stop." -- Car and Driver
  • "The plug-in Accord is the first to use Honda's two-motor hybrid system. It takes a generation or two to calibrate these systems for smoothness, and Honda is not there yet." -- The New York Times
  • "Journeying for a few hours through the hills outside of Santa Barbara, the PHEV had enough pep to entertain us powering out of the curves, even as we kept a curious eye on the battery SOC [state of charge], just because that's what interests us. The electric motor provides reliable punch, especially in passing situations. …" -- Autoblog
  • "When powered on electricity alone, the ride is quiet and serene - after all, there is no gasoline engine running under the hood a few feet in front of you. … When the gasoline engine does switch on, it can definitely be heard, but the power transition from electric to gasoline is extremely refined and nearly transparent." -- Kelley Blue Book

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-in has a lithium-ion battery, which Honda says can be recharged in about three hours by plugging the car into a standard 120-volt outlet, or in one hour using a 240-volt outlet. The car’s regenerative brakes help charge the battery too. Using the HondaLink smartphone app, drivers can monitor the car’s battery status and driving range and set up charge times. The Accord Plug-in can go 13 miles on electric-only power when the battery is completely charged, according to the EPA. This is slightly better than the Toyota Prius Plug-in’s EV range of 11 miles, but not as good as the Ford Fusion Energi’s 21-mile range. The automotive press is happy with the short charging times for the Accord Plug-in. One test driver was able to go a little more than 13 miles in electric-only mode, which he is impressed with.

  • "Recharging times are laudable: Under an hour on a 240-volt ‘Level 2’ charger, and less than three via standard 120-volt." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In many ways, a car like the Accord Plug-in offers the best of both worlds: electric-only capability and gasoline-hybrid longevity. The EV range is just 13 miles, so it's good for quick trips to the grocery or an electric boost for your longer commute to work. … We also like that the estimated charge time with a 240-volt plug is just an hour. You could do that in the Whole Foods parking lot while grocery shopping." -- The Chicago Tribune
  • "With a fully charged battery, the Accord's electric range is rated by the EPA at 13 miles. We measured 13.7 during an urban/suburban drive at the speed limit plus 5 mph. In the process, the Accord used 3.6 kWh of electricity, equivalent to 3.85 miles per kWh, an excellent figure." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Though test drivers point out that the Accord Plug-in is heavy, they say it delivers capable handling and a comfortable ride. They agree that the Accord Plug-in’s regenerative brakes are steady, which they like because most hybrid cars have grabby regenerative brakes. Some really like the Accord Plug-in’s steering, while others say it’s too vague and light.

  • "Honda has the plug-in weighing in at 3799 pounds, 240 pounds more than the V-6-powered Accord Touring. But it carries the weight well. The steering is sweet, the regenerative brakes have a progressive feel, and the ride is mannered." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "… you will get a smooth, clean ride, and that can be fun. Ish. Right?" -- The Chicago Tribune
  • "Honda has recalibrated the power steering to help the car feel lighter. Unfortunately, its heft is now too light, to the detriment of on-center feel and general cornering feedback. … It rides placidly on smooth pavement, but there's too much body motion if you start pressing a bit harder on bumpy roads." -- Car and Driver

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