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Accord Plug-in hybrid topples Ford as most fuel-efficient sedan

While Honda wins, the EPA's new ratings don't tell the whole story. Still, this $41,000 plug-in looks promising.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jan 22, 2013 3:09PM
Ford's aggressive marketing spree for its new hybrid models may be over this week, now that Honda has announced the best EPA estimates for any sedan in America.

The 2014 Accord Plug-in hybrid delivers 47 mpg city/46 mpg highway when running on gas, and achieves a combined rating of 115 mpg equivalent when running on pure electricity, besting the Fusion Energi Plug-in by 15 mpge.

The new mpge ratings attempt to rate a car's battery efficiency by comparing electrical energy to an equivalent gallon of gasoline. The Fusion Energi tops out at 44 mpg city/41 mpg highway on gas, which is less than the segment-winning 47/47 rating of the standard Fusion hybrid.

The Prius Plug-in still has the highest gas ratings of all plug-in hybrids, at 51/49, while the Chevrolet Volt musters only 35/40. Both models achieve 95 and 98 mpge, respectively, and thus are less efficient in electric mode, according to the EPA.

But comparing plug-in hybrids with the EPA's mpge ratings are confusing and, at worst, useless. For example, the Volt performs best on its batteries with a segment-leading 38-mile EV range, while others, like the Prius Plug-in, can travel only 11 miles on electricity and are tweaked to run best on gasoline. The Fusion Energi lies in the middle and can travel for up to 21 miles on its battery before the gas engine switches on, which bests the Accord by eight miles. The real lesson: Depending on your commute and ability to find a plug, many models with lesser mpge ratings will suit owners better than models with greater ratings, like the Accord.

In any case, Honda is making good use of its brand-new hybrid powertrains, which completely replace the company's cheaper Integrated Motor Assist technology and promise greater power and efficiency (and higher cost, at $40,570 or a $429-per-month lease for the Accord).

The Accord uses a 2-motor system coupled with the car's continuously variable transmission, a 6.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It takes three hours to charge the battery on 120 volts and less than one hour on 240 volts, Honda said.

A regular Accord hybrid will also debut later this year. We're sure Ford will have something snappy to say about that.

[Source: Honda]

Jan 23, 2013 3:11PM
Regardless of the ratings, I would buy the Fusion over the Accord any day of the week.
Jan 23, 2013 11:55AM
Fusion is way more stylish than Accord..
Jan 24, 2013 7:41AM
the Fusion is a much better looking car
Jan 24, 2013 10:55AM
Until we know for sure that Honda can build a transmission that lasts longer then 50k miles and brakes that last longer then 20k miles, I'll stick with the Ford.
Jan 23, 2013 2:23PM
Fords website Says the Energi gets 47/47 on gas, not 44/41
Jan 23, 2013 11:26AM
By changing the speedmeter and odometer again??
Jan 23, 2013 9:37AM

"We're sure Ford will have something snappy to say about that."


Not to mention all of the Honda haters...

Jan 24, 2013 8:21PM

Good job Honda. Maybe this will spur more competiton and in turn, the consumer will be the winner.

Jan 25, 2013 5:00AM

Would u compare any Mazda product with HONDA? Well,the only thing that is AMERICAN in Ford Fusion is the nameplate. The Fusion ,Focus and Escape  are  entirely made by Mazda.

Jan 24, 2013 8:43PM
Honda handed it to Ford's marketing department with "real world" engineering results versus over promising and underdelivering...the typical Ford way....
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