Honda Aims Hybrid Resurgence at 50 mpg Accord

Detroit Free Press

Honda Motors plans a gasoline-electric lineup overhaul starting with a 2014 Accord Hybrid flagship sedan rated at 50 mpg that goes on sale October 31.

Find out more about the Accord Hybrid and rivals from Ford and Toyota.

Honda plans a gasoline-electric lineup overhaul starting with an Accord Hybrid it says tops Toyota and Ford sedans as it seeks relevancy in the segment.

The 2014 version of Honda’s flagship sedan goes on sale Oct. 31, with a base price that’s comparable with a V6 engine version of the Accord and rated as getting 50 m.p.g. in city driving. That’s just the start, said John Mendel, executive vice president of the U.S. unit.

Honda needs better-selling hybrids. Current models, including the Insight hatchback, CR-Z coupe and a version of the Civic, generate a fraction of Prius deliveries. Honda’s Insight beat the Toyota hybrid to the U.S. by about six months. Yet the company that led U.S. fuel economy ranking for years stumbled in designing a compelling challenger to Prius.

“Accord is a great place for us to stop the science experiments and really make a name for our hybrids,” Mendel said in an interview in San Antonio last week. “We’re known for fuel economy, but in hybrids, it’s about relevance and volume. We think Accord can do that.”

The Accord Hybrid’s label rating, a combined 47 m.p.g. in city and highway driving based on U.S. government tests, ranks it behind only Prius, a midsize car that averages 51 m.p.g. in the city, 48 m.p.g. on the highway and 50 m.p.g. combined, the best of any non-rechargeable vehicle in the U.S.

While Ford’s Fusion hybrid is also rated 47 m.p.g. combined, Ford faces lawsuits claiming the car’s mileage is overstated. Toyota’s hybrid Camry averages a combined 41 m.p.g.

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