A Hybrid Matchup

Unfortunately the idea of comparing two hybrid models sounds kind of boring to most people, but when you discuss the fact that you do most of your driving during the week while commuting  and even when you aren’t commuting you want to have the best fuel mileage you can, this topic should be of great interest to you.  Regardless of where the price of gas lies in your life, and it seems to go up and down at will, saving money is always a priority and better gas mileage means a lower cost at the pump which puts money back in your pocket.

In this comparison we look at two hybrid models that both have an “H” adorned on the front of the vehicle.  These two would be the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Honda Accord Hybrid both of the 2015 model year.  At first glance there are a few features that let you know these are hybrid models, but overall both cars are built and designed to be the same build as their gasoline only brethren with the Sonata showing only slight changes to the front and rear to improve aerodynamics and the Accord featuring the blue lines in the grill and at other points of the car to let you know this is a hybrid model.  This makes the hybrids easier to live with as having a car that stood out in its style just to save gasoline has been known to be a negative moniker in the industry.

For years the Sonata and other models from Hyundai stood out as the most stylish vehicles in the class, but more and more the design features are similar across the class.  Does this mean Hyundai lost its edge when it comes to design?  I don’t think so, in fact I think they have kept their styling consistent and other automaker have begun to catch up.  With this in mind, both these cars are attractive and stylish, giving you the look you would be proud to drive at any model level.

Looking to the powertrains you see the Accord makes use of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine plus an electric motor to bring in 196 horsepower while the Sonata does the same with its 2.0-liter four cylinder engine and electric motor combination to reach 193 horsepower.  The difference in the powertrains comes in the transmissions which is a CVT on the Accord and a traditional six-speed automatic for the Sonata.  The battery packs used are a 1.3 kWh lithium-ion for the Accord and a 1.62 kWh lithium-polymer battery on the Sonata.

What you see as the results of this differences show up in the fuel mileage of the two vehicles.  The Accord Hybrid offers you 50 city/47 hwy mpg and the Sonata Hybrid shows up at 39 city/43 hwy mpg.  This is a significant difference in these two cars that show up as how the CVT can provide the better overall result for the fuel efficiency numbers which is the main focus of comparing these two cars.

A difference that can result in better fuel mileage for a longer period of time for the Sonata is the fact the EV stays on longer for the Hyundai model.  The Sonata uses the EV as long as possible until power beyond the EV is needed where the Accord does move to the gasoline engine sooner.  This actually results in a lower fuel mileage average when tested for the Accord, regardless of the EPA rating.  Another negative for the Accord is the fact the engine is noisier than the one on the Sonata which can make commuting a noisy and frustrating task while those in the Sonata can have a quiet ride and enjoy the quietness of the EV, especially in the rush hour traffic.

From the steering perspective both cars feel similar to the gasoline –only counterparts.  This means the Accord offers good steering but one that causes you to over correct more than you would want to while the Sonata has a feeling that is direct and elegant to give a great centered feeling while on the road.  This is the same as the other cars in the lineups, making no difference if you choose the hybrid models or not.

The cabin of the two cars offered a major difference between the two.  The Accord offers a comfortable interior that has what you expect although you see plastic trim and some features you might not understand exactly how they work.  On the other hand the Sonata has an interior that looks more luxurious and user friendly including excellent materials and a panoramic sunroof along with a heated steering wheel and even a larger truck to have the space you need to take the family for a ride in the country or on a vacation.

The safety features for both cars offer lane departure warning and forward collision warning.  The Accord is equipped with the LaneWatch system that shows a clear view of the passenger side blind spot while the Sonata offers a blind spot monitoring system that gives you warnings if any vehicle enters this area.  The Sonata also shows you how green you are driving to encourage you to keep advancing that number up to have a better fuel mileage from your car.

As for the price, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE shows up with a starting price of $26,835 while the Honda Accord brings with it a price of $30,140.  Load them up with the options that are available and there is much less disparity between the two as the Accord comes in at $35,890 and the Sonata offers a price of $35,435.  Add to this the difference in the warranty and you see another disparity with the Sonata offering the ten year/ 100,000 mile power train warranty while the Accord comes with a five year/60,000 mile offering.  The Sonata also offers a lifetime hybrid battery warranty which makes the Sonata the better choice from the perspective of the warranty.

Although the Honda Accord offers a better overall EPA rating for fuel mileage the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the better choice in this comparison.  You will enjoy overall higher fuel mileage with this model than you will with a gasoline only version of either model, but the Sonata drives better than the Accord and is much easier to live with on the road and from the coverage offered.  When you decision comes down to these two highly comparable cars the choice to make for your daily driver is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid which gives you a fantastic car to drive.

12.27.15 - 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

 

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