2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring. Click image to enlarge

Recently in another article here at Autos.ca we discussed the marketing practice of ‘brand extension’ and where that fine line is with consumer confidence. Example? Roots Airline, it seems, was a step too far. Understandably, few consumers trusted the makers of leather boots to ferry them about at 20,000 feet. Justin Bieber nail polish, however, seems to be doing fine. You’re a fickle public, Canada.

Honda’s been stretching the Accord brand for years. Consider your diversity of choice: coupe or four-door sedan; four- or six-cylinder engine; manual, automatic or continuously variable transmission.

So far the public’s lapped it all up. Okay, maybe the Crosstour didn’t exactly fly off the lots. Look at the Accord’s success. It was this time last year when the 2013 model was voted Best New Family Car (under $30K) by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). This year, sales are up 134 percent. If you only count retail and not fleet sales, it is Canada’s bestselling intermediate car. By October they’d sold over 13,400 units, a whopping amount for Canadians. (Sister company Acura is only producing 300 2014 TL A-spec models for this whole upcoming year.)

No wonder Honda’s stretching this brand into the hybrid world. The two new Accord trims for 2014 are the Hybrid and Hybrid Touring sedans. Will Canadians buy? If their biggest priority is fuel economy, based on my experience yesterday, I’d predict yes. This new brand extension achieves twice the fuel economy of the regular Honda Accord Sedan.

We tested the more upscale Accord Hybrid Touring trim. However, both trims contain the same drivetrain, so the official fuel efficiency ratings are the same: 3.7 L/100 km in the city; 4.0 highway; 3.8 combined. Those numbers may sound nose-stretchingly low (they beat everything in their class, and sit the Accord Hybrid comfortably with competitors in the next smaller segment) and I’ve often railed against Energuide’s Pollyanna ratings system. Its laboratory tests don’t account for real-world – and real obvious – conditions like, say, weather.

But without being ridiculous – no hypermiling, which is dangerous and stupid – we beat those optimistic ratings. Really!

As part of the launch event, auto writers teamed up into pairs and competed for best fuel economy, driving a prescribed 79.6-km route through the real world. That is, the curvy, hilly and quietly moneyed horse country just north of the Honda campus in Markham, Ontario. The prize for the team with best fuel economy? A month’s worth of fresh, locally grown farm produce. But we’ll talk more about that later. First let’s look at the other reasons you’d consider buying the 2014 Honda Hybrid: safety, comfort, styling, space, and value.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring. Click image to enlarge

About the same space

The hybrid is essentially same basic box as the gasoline Accord (doesn’t that sound like some trade agreement between Alberta and the federal government?) fitted with the hybrid system and a few other slight modifications. So it’s the same ergonomics. I found it comfortable enough. My first two cars were Accords, though I won’t share their years. Suffice to say that they were comfortable in their time, but this ninth generation was unrecognizably more so.

It’s also pretty much the same size, except for a smaller trunk, which had to give up volume for the battery. The regular Accord has 450 L of trunk space, while the hybrid is down to 360 L. Also you can’t lower the hybrid’s back seat. So if you ski, you’ll need to carry your equipment on the roof, which negatively affects the aerodynamics and therefore fuel efficiency.

To accommodate the extra weight of the battery, they subtracted heft from elsewhere, using aluminum skin on the hood and aluminum beams on the rear bumper, matching the front and rear weight ratio of the regular Accord.

Connect with Autos.ca