2014 Honda Accord Hybrid operating modesFour drive modes--and only one with the gasoline engine connected to the wheels
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid operating modesEnlarge Photo
The majority of the time—during lower-speed driving, deceleration, and most acceleration, the gasoline engine is decoupled from the drive wheels, and you'll be driving the Accord Hybrid with the gasoline engine either off, or at a wide range of possible revs that don't directly correspond to speed.
Here, the gasoline engine is directly powering the generator—which, in turn is sending power directly over to the propulsion motor, with the 1.3-kWh battery also kept charged by the generator and by deceleration and braking.
Honda confusingly calls this an eCVT, which we think implies that there's an actual continuously variable transmission (CVT), as in the most popular configuration (about 80 percent) of the current-generation Honda Accord models.
'Engine mode' for highway cruising
However, the only time the gasoline engine is directly connected to the wheels is in high-speed cruising, where the engine is kept in its most economical range—Honda engineers call it 'engine mode' and the propulsion motor provides some boost when needed.
In the Accord Hybrid, the 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery is stowed just below the back seat—preventing the rear seatbacks from slipping forward but not affecting rear passenger space.
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid battery packEnlarge Photo
The Accord Hybrid weighs 3,550 pounds in its base form, or up to 3,602 pounds in top Touring trim; that's within a hundred pounds of major rivals like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, or Kia Optima Hybrid.
The Honda Accord Hybrid weighs a bit more than the standard Accord, but it gets amplitude-reactive dampers to help ward away ride harshness, as well as an electric servo braking system to smooth the last 5 mph of braking—which can be a bit uneven in some hybrids.
How will the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid perform? Visit our drive of the closely related Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid first, then stay tuned tomorrow for full driving impressions of the Accord Hybrid.