The first-generation Accord Hybrid is not an economy car, it’s a powerful mid-size 4-door sedan that’s capable of 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Honda added their Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system to the Accord’s optional 3.0-liter V6 engine, providing a total of 255 horsepower to motivate a 3600-pound car. As a result, the hybrid accelerates more quickly than the gasoline-only version.
The outstanding gas mileage is partly a result of deactivating three of the engine’s cylinders when they’re not needed, an operating strategy employed by many other car manufacturers over the years. Another proven strategy is to turn the engine off at traffic lights (auto-stop), and the Accord Hybrid can do this without turning off the air conditioner. Other than these features and some extra gauges on the instrument panel, it’s difficult to tell the difference between this model and the non-hybrid Accord, which is exactly what Honda intended.
We found only a few significant service bulletins, and except for a faulty oil pressure switch on the engine, most of those issues can be addressed with software updates. The one serious recall is common to all Honda and most other Asian models; the car is fitted with a Takata airbag that may cause serious or fatal injuries when deployed. Replacement parts are available as of fall 2016, and Honda says they will replace these units free of charge.
Except for the hybrid powertrain and high-voltage battery, this is a very conventional vehicle. Any repair shop that’s properly equipped to service a Honda can also handle normal service and most repairs on this Accord Hybrid. Because the IMA system is not as efficient as other hybrid powertrains, ACDC gives this hybrid only one (of two) thumbs up. But it still offers all the utility and reliability of any other Honda without sacrificing performance for gas mileage.
To find a hybrid vehicle service shop near you, go to shop finder on this web site.