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2015 Honda Accord Hybrid & Plug-In Hybrid: New Car Review

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Honda Accord Hybrid, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid Review.

 

For years, Honda has been a major player in the world of hybrid cars. The brand kicked off the hybrid frenzy nearly 15 years ago with the release of the Insight, and its compact Civic Hybrid remains popular in the hybrid world. Honda, however, has never had a strong hybrid midsize sedan to rival the highly popular Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Sure, Honda briefly offered an Accord Hybrid from 2005 to 2007, but it was nothing like the highly efficient 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid. Instead, it was billed as a performance hybrid. It boasted more power than any other Accord model, but fuel economy couldn’t top rival hybrids that were designed for frugality rather than speed. Shoppers weren’t convinced, so the model didn’t last.

Honda is finally making up for its lack of participation in the hybrid-midsize-sedan game with two fuel-efficient Accord models, both of which came out last year. The Accord Hybrid brings gas and electric technology to one of our favorite sedans, and it even gives shoppers two hybrid options. For drivers who don’t mind spending a bit more to get the latest technology, there’s the Accord Plug-In Hybrid, which offers a plug-in electric motor with a backup gasoline engine. For more mainstream shoppers, the standard Accord Hybrid should do the trick.

Regardless of which alternative-fuel Accord you choose, both models represent the marriage of fuel-efficient hybrid technology with one of our favorite midsize sedans. See the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid models for sale near you

What’s New for 2015?

After going on sale last year, the Accord Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid are unchanged for 2015.  

What We Like

Seamless hybrid experience; Accord Hybrid is reasonably priced; truly exceptional city fuel economy; no compromises for hybrid powerplant

What We Don’t

Plug-In Hybrid is expensive; Plug-In Hybrid range isn’t long enough; Camry Hybrid is much cheaper

How Much?

$30,000-$35,900 (Accord Hybrid); $40,900 (Accord Plug-In Hybrid)

Fuel Economy

Drivers who opt for the traditional Accord Hybrid get a 196-horsepower 2.0-liter hybrid 4-cylinder. It’s mated to a continuously variable automatic, and it returns 50 miles per gallon in the city and 45 mpg in highway driving.

Choose the plug-in model, and you’ll get roughly the same engine, except with a twist: It can operate on electric power alone. City fuel economy drops to 47 mpg, while highway mileage increases to 46 mpg, but the real benefit is an Environmental Protection Agency-rated 13 miles of fully electric range. If you have a short commute — or if you can plug in at work — you may only rarely need to use the gasoline engine.

Standard Features & Options

The regular Accord Hybrid is offered in three trims, which roughly mirror the top three trims of the traditional Accord lineup. There’s an unnamed base trim (similar to the Accord EX), a midlevel EX-L and the top-end Touring model. Meanwhile, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid is only offered with one trim level.

Choose the base-level Accord Hybrid ($30,000), and you’ll get dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and Bluetooth audio, a power driver’s seat, Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system and keyless entry with push-button starting.

Upgrade to the EX-L ($32,800), and you get leather seats, a sunroof, heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, a power passenger’s seat, satellite radio and a host of safety equipment such as an improved rearview camera, a forward-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system.

Topping the Accord Hybrid lineup is the Touring ($35,900), which adds LED headlights, a navigation system with voice control and adaptive cruise control.

If you choose the Accord Plug-In Hybrid ($40,900), you’ll get the same level of equipment in the Accord Hybrid Touring. That includes navigation, adaptive cruise control and all of the features found on the standard Accord Hybrid and the midlevel Accord Hybrid EX-L. Of course, you’ll also get the ability to run on electric power alone, which the Accord Hybrid doesn’t offer.

Safety

Standard on the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid are anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control as well as side-curtain airbags. Hybrid models offer standard rearview cameras and a blind spot monitoring system, along with available forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning systems. All of those features are standard on the Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

While the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet tested the Accord Hybrid or Plug-In Hybrid, standard Accord models received five stars overall in the agency’s crash tests. The rating includes five stars in the frontal-impact test, five stars in the side-impact test and four stars in the rollover test. We expect the Accord Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid to receive substantially similar ratings.

Behind the Wheel

The Accord Hybrid delivers exactly the kind of driving feel that you’re looking for in a hybrid vehicle. In other words: the kind of driving feel where you can’t tell that you’re even driving a hybrid vehicle at all. The system doesn’t intrude, it isn’t loud and you’d be forgiven if you forget that you’re behind the wheel of a hybrid.

In terms of acceleration, the Accord Hybrid is excellent. Like most hybrids, however, it suffers at higher speeds. We’d say that it’s a little faster than its two main competitors, the Camry Hybrid and the Fusion Hybrid. Handling is a little better than the Camry and similar to the Fusion, though none of the cars boast sports-car-like drivability.

Other Cars to Consider

Ford Fusion Hybrid — Like Honda, Ford offers two versions of the Fusion Hybrid: a traditional hybrid and a plug-in model that can be driven on electric power alone. Fuel economy is similar, though the plug-in Fusion has a range that’s nearly 50 percent longer.

Toyota Camry Hybrid — There’s no plug-in Camry, but the traditional model remains the most popular midsize hybrid around. It also offers new styling for 2015 to help take on the latest Accord.

Used Lexus GS 450h — If it’s hybrid and luxury that you’re looking for, you might want to consider Lexus’ first-generation GS Hybrid. Sold from 2007 through 2011, its 24 mpg doesn’t come close to the Accord’s numbers, but the Lexus offers a wide range of amenities for less money.

Autotrader’s Advice

The Accord Hybrid is an excellent contender in the midsize-hybrid-sedan game. Unless you really want the ability to drive on electric power, we’d recommend a standard hybrid model over the plug-in version. Among the Accord Hybrid trim levels, we’d choose the midlevel EX-L. It’s one of the best luxury hybrids on the market — even though it’s just a Honda. Find a Honda Accord Hybrid for sale

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The Accord Hybrid does not have a CVT, as a matter of fact it b uses no transmission at all, at least in the conventional sense. It is solely motivated by the electric traction motor up to about 40 mph and beyond that trades with the gas engine which generally provides e x Tra current for the motor and charge for the batteries. Very well engineered system and seamlessly smooth.

    • Hello Rick,

      Whats the difference between the plug-in and the traditional hybrid, as far as, advantages charging?

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