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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Expected to Average 47 MPG

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On: Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 7:25AM | By: Teddy Field

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Expected to Average 47 MPG

It seems that 47 mpg is now the “magic number” for hybrid fuel economy, as car makers rush to meet Obama's lofty CAFE target by 2025. In his proposal, the cumulative average fuel economy for a given car company's entire product portfolio is expected to be 54.4 mpg by the 2025 model year. And that certainly sounds good on paper. But not all models are required to get 54 mpg. That number is merely a mathematical exercise, designed to force car companies to start building more fuel efficient vehicles.

Failure to comply with the government's fuel economy standards will result in steep fines that can amount to thousands per vehicle sold. In order to comply, the combined average fuel economy for most vehicles in a car company's lineup will need to be around 35 mpg, not 54 mpg. To protect their corporate average (CAFE actually stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy), vehicles that average less than 35 mpg, are offset by vehicles that exceed the average. Hence, the importance of 47 mpg hybrids like the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid.

Now, it gets even murkier when it comes to figuring an individual vehicle's fuel economy. Each automaker runs their own vehicles through an EPA-designed test cycle, then they turn over the resulting data to the EPA for official certification. The government agency randomly tests just 15% of the new vehicles, to ensure compliance. And as we saw with Hyundai's and Kia's inflated mpg claims, it can take some time for the bureaucratic government agency to catch discrepancies. So in a sense, car companies can literally make up their own fuel economy numbers, in order to temporarily boost sales.

And what does that have to do with the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, you ask? Well, it shows how important those fuel economy numbers are, and it adds some transparency to how those mpg numbers are tabulated. But Honda's never had to 'cheat the system' in order to sell cars, and they've been very forthright in publishing the fuel economy figures for their new hybrid. Even going so far as to provide this very large disclaimer in their press release: “Preliminary mileage ratings determined by Honda. Final EPA mileage ratings not available at the time of printing. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.”

According to their in-house test results, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is capable of 49 city/45 hwy/47 combined. This is made possible by a multitude of tricks, like a lightweight aluminum body structure, aerodynamic panels, and a new two-motor Sport Hybrid drivetrain that uses a powerful 124 kW electric motor, capable of not only propelling the car at low speeds, but at higher cruising speed as well. The other motor is a new 2.0L i-VTEC mill, which can be summoned to provide an additional 141-hp when maximum thrust is required, or the lithium-ion battery needs a charge. Total system output is expected to be them same as the Plug-In Hybrid, which is rated at 196-hp, with a healthy 226 lb-ft of torque.

When you figure in Honda's aptitude for creating smooth, efficient vehicles, you can almost bet that this 49/45/47 mpg rating will hold up better than the Ford Fusion Hybrid's rather optimistic 47/47/47 label (In case you missed it, Consumer Reports recently embarrassed Ford, by revealing that its new hybrid was capable of only 39 average mpg in real-world driving). And since Honda doesn't want to get called out a second time by Consumer Reports (they lambasted the 2012 Civic, which led Honda to completely overhaul the popular compact after just one year on the market), those mpg tests were likely performed with the utmost care.

The Ohio-built 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid will go on sale later this year, so you can expect more concrete details on the new hybrid system, and its official EPA rating to emerge in the coming months.


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