Garage Mate for Your EV: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

Garage Mate for Your EV: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

Fuel Economy, Price & Warranty Parks The Mirage Next To Your EV

The purpose of “Garage Mate for Your EV” is to help select a companion for your electric car that meets your household’s needs. That might be a fuel-efficient crossover SUV, a minivan, a pickup truck or, in this case, a small sedan.

Mitsubishi’s New Mirage Sedan

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4,mpg,fuel economy,low price,warranty

A new format for the Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage took a break for the 2016 model year, and when it returned this year it added the G4 sedan to compliment it’s popular hatchback.

The G4 name stands for “Global 4-door”; the little fuel sipper has been on sale in other countries before making its arrival in the US.

There are three reasons the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 grabbed my attention: Fuel economy, price and warranty. It’s a credible choice for the frugal-minded that combines great gas mileage with a five-passenger sedan for the times when EV driving range just isn’t enough.

As for fuel economy, the G4’s EPA highway rating of 42 mpg earns it a membership in Clean Fleet Report’s 40-mpg club.

Overall, its 34-mpg city/42 highway and 37 combined, when equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), make it one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road that isn’t a hybrid.

For those who prefer do-it-yourself shifting, fuel economy is 33-mpg city/40 highway and 35 combined.

When it comes to price, there are few subcompact car choices that cost less. Mirage G4 is offered in two trim levels: ES and SE, the latter only with a CVT.  The ES manual is priced starting at $13,995 plus $835 destination charges, a $1,000 more than the Mirage hatchback. The ES with the CVT is $15,195, while the sticker price for SE is $16,995.

Finally, the Mirage G4 offers buyers peace of mind with a generous warranty of five years on the car and 10 on the powertrain, longer than the industry norm of three and five years respectively.

How Mirage G4 Achieves Its Fuel Economy

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4,engine,mpg

Not much there

There are several contributors to the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4’s stellar fuel economy, beginning with a 1.2- liter three-cylinder engine. It’s a rarity now, but expect more three bangers in the near future. Thanks to a lightweight aluminum engine block, in total the engine tips the scales at less than 170 pounds. It has a high compression ratio of 10.5:1 and incorporates Mitsubishi’s latest edition variable valve-timing system.

Output from the three-cylinder is 78 horsepower and 74 pounds-feet of torque, one of the lowest horsepower ratings in the class.

A common complaint about subcompact cars is a loud engine, and the Mirage joins the crowd. Around town it purrs about with a sound akin to a diesel engine. Call for more power and the noise becomes fairly raucous.

As you may have noticed, a G4 with a CVT delivers better fuel economy than one with a manual transmission. That‘s the upside.

The downside is a rather lazy throttle response away from a stop and a propensity during rapid acceleration for engine speed to race ahead of actual vehicle speed, resulting in a feeling not unlike a warn clutch slipping on a manual transmission.

Enemies of fuel economy are vehicle weight and aerodynamic drag. The Mirage weighs in at just 2,172 pounds—the lightest sedans available in the U.S.—and has an enviable low coefficient of drag of 0.28.

Handsome Looks, Lots Of Standard Features

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 won’t elicit oohs and aahs from passersby, but it is a somewhat handsome little grocery fetcher.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4,styling, mpg

A little different up front

The new sedan shares overall aesthetics with its hatchback sibling. However, there are some notable differences, starting up front. The grille is larger with three wide slats rather than the hatchback’s mesh insert.

The lower bumper is different, with a central air intake bookended with bracket-shaped fog light surrounds. The hatchback’s lower intake is cut in half by a strip of polished trim. Both models have taillamps that wrap into the sides, but the sedan’s differ in design and shape.

Big doors allow easy entry and exit, but ring hollow with every slam. Inside, there is nothing fancy in the Plain Jane interior. Even though materials have been upgraded, materials-quality envy is a symptom of this car’s ownership. Soft-touch passenger-compartment surfaces are nonexistent. Also missing is a center armrest.

On a positive note, the center console is presented in high-gloss piano black with silver trim accents, and knobs, switches and buttons are easy to use.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4,interior

Room for two–for short trips

Despite its diminutive size, there is a feeling of airiness inside. There’s even decent legroom in the rear seat—for two, not three—and there’s a center fold-down cup holder and armrest. Seats, front and rear, are sufficiently padded for daily driving, but long trips found me taking stretch breaks before it was time to refuel.

The trunk’s 12.3-cubic foot capacity can’t match the hatchback’s 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space, but given that Americans still shun hatchback cars, adding the sedan is a plus for those who would

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

If you want more trunk, opt for the hatchback

never consider buying a hatchback.

Mirage may be an entry-level car, but it’s never been bare bones-equipped. For 2017, both the sedan and hatchback have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a standard feature.  Other standard features for the base ES model include keyless entry; power door locks, windows and mirrors; automatic climate control; tilt steering wheel; and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and USB and auxiliary audio ports.

Stepping up to the ES adds 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, keyless ignition, cruise control, height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls) and shift knob and Bluetooth connectivity. Optional is a navigation package system with a rearview camera.

Driving The Mirage

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

A dash that moves beyond entry-level

Hybrid-like fuel economy comes with a price; the price is performance. In fact, the Mirage G4’s zero to 60 mph matches the Toyota Prius time of 10.1 seconds. This is perfectly acceptable for urban driving, which is what the car is all about, but head out on the highway and the three-cylinder required careful planning for any passing.

Steering was easy in the city, not so much on the open road with its lack of steering feel. As for tight corners, the 15-inch, narrow, low rolling-resistant tires didn’t provide a lot of grip. So, just take things easy.

When I didn’t, rippled or bumpy pavement tended to trigger motions in which Mirage’s body seemed at odds with what the suspension is experiencing. Even traveling in a straight line, wavy surfaces set the car to bobbing.

And yes, there were times during hard acceleration when the engine noise was annoying, but the really superb audio system covered up the diesel-like undertone during normal driving.

Mirage doesn’t pretend to be a “fun” car to drive. Its intended mission is a fuel efficient, inexpensive hatchback that serves its owners well in their daily lives of commuting to work, grocery shopping or going to the movies. It doesn’t over promise, but does keep its promise regarding fuel economy.

Our week with the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 turned the trip meter to 266 miles. The miles were split 60 percent urban driving, 40 percent Interstate and highway driving. Average fuel economy of our CVT equipped ES model was 44.3 mpg.

The Garage Mate For You?

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

A low-flying G4

Auto reviewers have penned some harsh criticisms regarding the Mirage G4’s underpowered engine and its ride and handling, along with what many consider a “cheap” interior.

Contrary to that, Mirage owner reviews are quite positive. Out of the fifteen or so owner comments I read, nearly all mentioned great fuel economy, some in the 50-plus mpg range. A couple of owners said the car was sort of fun to drive.

My recommendation is, read owner reviews and take a test drive. Make sure to drive routes you normally take, find some harsh road surfaces and drive at least 10 miles on the highway or Interstate. If possible, find a road where you can safely test brakes and by all means, parallel park the car—it’s easy.

When you’ve done that, I think you’ll find the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4’s fuel economy, price and features make it an ideal garage mate for your EV.

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class. We also feature those that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Road Test: 2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop

Road Test: 2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop

Bold Look, Muscle and 31 MPG

2016 Dodge Charger,performance, fuel economy, mpg

The view most will have of a Charger

Looking for a full-size sedan with more power than you can ever legally use? Then you will want to check-out the 2016 Dodge Charger where one of the three optional Hemi engines offers a whopping supercharged 707 hp. But that is not what we are going to talk about here. We will be dissecting the equally cool, but less powerful Charger that is super fun to drive and gets 31 mpg on the highway.

Drivetrain

The 2015 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop comes with the 3.6-Liter Pentastar V6, a DOHC 24-valve engine with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection. The Rallye Group version of the 220 cubic-inch aluminum block and cylinder head engine produces 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque with cold air induction and performance exhaust. All this power gets to the rear tires through the TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering an EPA Best-In-Class rating of 19 city/31 highway/23 combined. These estimates are for the rear-wheel drive model that we were driving. The all-wheel drive (AWD) Charger takes a couple of mpg off the city, highway and combined, but also is Best-In-Class.

In 677 miles of 75-percent highway/25-percent city driving, Clean Fleet Report averaged 25.3 mpg, which means we were surpassing the 31 mpg rating on the highway. Note: The EPA’s gas mileage formula is 45-percent highway and 55-percent city. Here in Southern California our 75-percent/25-percent highway/city driving pattern is far more real world and is why we report it to you.

Running on unleaded regular, the 3.6-Liter V6 was smooth and responsive. The eight-speed automatic had no trouble finding the right gearing for around town or highway driving. The final four gear ratios are close together for smooth shifting and to maximize fuel economy.

To get the most out of the transmission, pop the center console-mounted lever into Auto Stick M+/-, and you can manually shift the transmission through a sequential pattern, back for a higher and forward for lower gear selections. You can also manually go through the gears by blipping the paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel. For more performance feel, you can order the optional Sport Mode that provides improved throttle response and quicker shifts (as fast as 400 milliseconds) and modified shifting as well as additional steering feel.

Driving Experience: On the Road

2016 Dodge Charger,performance, suspension, tires

Where the rubber meets the road

The Dodge Charger SXT weighs in at a solid 4,018 lbs., but Clean Fleet Report never felt the car to be heavy, clumsy or cumbersome. With the optional Super Track Pak, we had a firm, but not stiff ride with no noticeable drift or pushing through hard cornering, and a comfortable highway ride.

We felt confident in all cornering conditions with the 52/48 front/rear weight balance keeping the Charger flat to the road. The Super Track Pak comes with 245/45ZR20 all-season performance tires, mounted on 20-inch gloss black painted aluminum wheels, for a very sharp-looking wheel and tire combination. The touring-tuned performance suspension comprised an independent SLA, or Short Long Arm, double-wishbone front suspension, with coil springs over gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, a beefier stabilizer bar, high-performance brakes and a three-mode electronic stability control system. The rear suspension is a five-link independent set-up with the same bits as the front.

The electric power steering gave us good road and response feedback, with straight-line driving and off-camber cornering giving a safe and confident feeling. You even have the option in the Uconnect screen of setting one of three drive modes and activating the Launch Control feature. Dodge has gone to some great lengths to give even the six-cylinder Charger a performance feel so you don’t have to step up to the 5.7L or 6.4L Hemi V8 engines.

Having cut my driving teeth on rear-wheel drive cars, it was nice getting behind the wheel of one that could be driven hard through corners. Breaking the rear tires loose was never a fear, nor was swapping the back end (which would be tough to do with the traction control turned on). If you have spent your life driving front-wheel drive cars (which are very good), treat yourself to a test drive of the Charger—or rent one for a weekend—to see what the automotive world was like pre-1970.

Wind and road noise was near non-existent, road imperfections were barely noticeable, and conversations could be held in hushed tones.

As part of the Super Track Pak the brakes are vented front and solid rear rotors with performance brake linings. The brakes stopped with confidence and steady pressure delivered the desired brake force. The power assist, anti-lock brake system has Rain Brake Support, all-speed traction control, electronic brake-force distribution and electronic stability control.

Driving Experience: Interior

2016 Dodge Charger, interior, rear seat

Comfortable, but not recommended for big parties

The first thing you notice when sliding behind the wheel of the 2016 Dodge Charger SXT is a spacious interior with good headroom front and back. Rear leg room for the tallest passengers is a bit tight, so maybe let them ride up front.

Our Charger SXT Blacktop interior had nicely crafted soft-touch materials on the dash, doors and center console, and featured gloss black and dark brushed aluminum accents. Adding to the upscale look are the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and the front Nappa leather Sport Seats, which are heated and ventilated. The driver and passenger seats are 12-way power adjustable, including four-way power lumbar adjustments, offered good lumbar and thigh bolster support. For some reason I was not able to adjust the seat so my upper back was supported. At 5’ 9” I thought maybe it was a size issue, so I had a 6’ 1” associate try the driver seat and he too was unable to find a setting that supported his upper back. This did not make driving the Charger unpleasant or uncomfortable, but is worth noting, because the overall front seating comfort level was generally very good.

The rear can accommodate three, but realistically it would be two full-size adult passengers. The comfortable, heated, leather-trimmed seats with a wide folding arm rest with cup holders and two USB ports, and rear HVAC vents made riding in the rear a pleasant experience. The wide door openings and the just-high-enough roofline provided for easy access.

The trunk has a reasonable lift over, but once inside there is plenty of storage space. Lowering the 60/40 split rear seat backs will easily accommodate luggage and golf clubs for two people on a long road trip.

2016 Dodge Charger,styling

A look back, but with the pedal aimed toward the future

Having also reviewed the 2015 Dodge Dart and 2015 Chrysler 200, I am appreciating more and more the simplicity in the Dodge/Chrysler dash layout design. The Charger dash is non-flashy with a welcome minimalist tone and feel and a contemporary asymmetric look. The dash is nicely sculpted with an ergonomically laid-out combination of knobs, switches and buttons for the climate and radio controls that are exactly where you want and need them. Dodger calls this an “enthusiast’s designed cockpit” that will “highlight the muscle car’s performance abilities.”

Probably the best illustration of this is, when pressing the Super Track Pak button on the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, it reveals the Performance Pages and Performance Control settings. The

2016 Dodge Charger,interior, Uconnect

A driver’s dash–ready to use

Performance Control screen gets you a digital tach and Launch Control and Drive Mode Set-up options. The Performance Pages screen includes digital Reaction Timers for 0-60, 1/8 and 1/4 mile runs, digital gauges for coolant, oil and pressure temperatures, battery voltage, intake air and transmission temperatures. The final read-outs on Performance Pages show G-Force, horsepower and torque readings. All are very fun to play with and are appropriate for a Muscle Car—even ours with the V6 engine.

Our Charger SXT Blacktop had a large touch display screen with navigation and the Uconnect system that comes with a six-month subscription plan. The infotainment system is among the most convenient and easy to use of the cars I have tested. It has Apple iPad-like simplicity. The BeatsAudio sound system, with a trunk-mounted subwoofer, has a 552-watt amplifier and 10 speakers connected to AM/FM/CD/MP3 and HD Radio play. SiriusXM comes with a one-year subscription included. The car also features voice command with Bluetooth, audio input jacks with iPod control and USB port. This is one very good sounding audio system, so when you take your test drive, make sure to crank it up.

The Charger SXT Blacktop had convenience features such as power windows with one-touch down, power door locks, power, memory and heated foldaway exterior mirrors, memory driver seat, A/C with automatic climate control and rear vents. Other features include illuminated rear cup holders, carpeted floor mats, trunk cargo net, universal garage door opener, front cabin overhead LED lamps, remote start, keyless entry, 12V power outlets, power tilt and telescoping steering column, multiple cup holders, auto-dimming rear view mirror, rear view camera with parking assist and cruise control.

Driving Experience: Exterior

2016 Dodge Charger,styling

A touch of sinister–in all the right places

Dodge says the 2016 Charger is “spiritually inspired by the iconic second-generation Charger…specifically drawing on cues from the historic 1969 model.” The 2016 Charger continues with the classic Coke-bottle design and deeply scalloped body sides, blunt front and rear ends and short overhangs.

Offered in 11 different exterior colors, including our test car’s eye-catching Blue Pearl, the Charger SXT has what Dodge says is a “sinister-styled and menacing Blacktop Appearance Group.” Clean Fleet Report received compliments on the color and styling combination of the version we were driving, which we agreed was attractive and distinctive.

With no unnecessary cladding or chrome work, our Charger SXT Blacktop incorporated a gloss black split-crosshair front grille and fascia that gave it a bold look. Sinister and menacing are scary thoughts, but yeah, we can go along with that. The front-end lighting is completed by projector-type High Intensity Displacement (HID) headlights and LED fog lights integrated into the lower fascia.

The long, sculpted hood leads to a not-so-sloping windshield with a flat roofline, ending in a short trunk lid, an integrated black-colored spoiler, fascia-mounted dual chrome exhaust tips and ribbon-like LED tail lights that at night scream performance. All-in-all, it’s a very muscular looking design that faithfully represents, but updates, the original Charger from the 1960s.

Safety and Convenience

The 2016 Dodge Charger has an Overall 5-Star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rating and a Good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) which is the top

2016 Dodge Charger,sound system,BeatsAudio

A trunkful of Beats

ranking from both organizations. Safety and convenience features include nine airbags, speed-sensitive windshield wipers, remote start keyless and proximity entry system, engine immobilizer and security alarm, tire pressure monitoring, speed-sensitive door locks, brake assist and hill start assist.

Pricing and Warranties

The 2016 Dodge Charger has a base price of $27,995. The Charger SXT Blacktop Clean Fleet Report was driving had a base MSRP of $29,995; option packages of Rallye, Blacktop, Plus and Super Track Pak brought the total price to $36,165. All these prices do not include the $995 destination charge.

All 2016 Dodge Charger models come with these warranties:

  • Basic – Three years/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain – Five years/100,000 miles
  • Rust Through – Five years/100,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance – Five years/100,000 miles

Observations: 2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop

2016 Dodge Charger,styling, fuel economy, mpg

Menace away!

The beauty of the 2016 Dodge Charger is that you can have a distinctive looking car with clean, modern lines that tops 30 miles per gallon on the freeway or, opt for a version that will snap your head back with powerful acceleration. Remember, Dodge dares you to equip the Charger with appearance packages to become menacing and sinister as you roll down the road. This flexibility from fuel economy to raw grunt power gives car shoppers a near blank slate when it comes to which Charger they will drive home.

Living in Southern California, we see every car sold in the USA, and frequently several that will be in showrooms in the coming years—as well as some that might never see the production line. So it takes something different to be set apart from the crowd, which makes the Dodge Charger a unique car, especially since it is a large sedan. It isn’t radical in its design, but when you figure it comes in colors such as Plum Crazy and Redline Red I think you get the idea that owning one will help you stand out on the road or in your neighborhood.

While Clean Fleet Report encourages you to purchase the most fuel-efficient car you can, we certainly wouldn’t blame you if, after taking a test drive in the 6.2 Liter Hemi Hellcat with its supercharged V8 putting out 707hp, you said to yourself—life is short…let’s go for it!

Treat yourself to a test drive of the 2016 Dodge Charger. You just may drive home in something you never thought would be in your garage.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class. We also feature those that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

News: Ford EMobility Moves Take the Company Into New Territory

News: Ford EMobility Moves Take the Company Into New Territory

Ford Motor Company hasn’t gone as far as saying it’s giving up as a car company and is now in the “mobility” business, but its recent political alliances, software acquisitions and non-automotive initiatives make it clear that the company is fully committed to hedging its bets as the auto industry may be teetering on the brink of some major changes. The statistics are daunting. Millenials are not buying cars like their older siblings or parents–and some don’t seem to feel the need for even having a driver’s license. Software is a fast-moving but lucrative business, the polar opposite of the old-school car industry. Environmental pressures are raising costs and similarly putting stress on any company committed to the traditional business of mass-producing private automobiles.

Ford,emobility,Chariot,

Your Chariot awaits–check your phone

Ford CEO Mark Fields has made it very clear during the past year that his company would continue to focus on producing automobiles, but at the same time would aggressively pursue emobility services such as autonomous cars, car sharing and other non-automotive avenues. He reinforced that at San Francisco City Hall in September 2016, announcing Ford was teaming up with San Francisco and other cities around the globe to tackle congestion working with start-ups that will be operating in-house at Ford as well as outside companies. The announcement is a logical result of the explosive growth of Ford’s Silicon Valley lab.

“We’re expanding our business to be both an auto and a mobility company,” said Fields at the announcement. “We want to work with communities to offer even mroe transportation choices and solutions for people–for decades to come.”

To that end Ford has created Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a subsidiary that will design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services. One component of the new entity will be the just-acquired Chariot, a SF-based crowd-sourced shuttle service that’s been operating since 2014. It currently operates almost 100 Ford Transit shuttles along 28 crowd-sourced routes in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s designed to fill the gap between taxi and bus services–providing an on-demand, point-to-point transportation option that is convenient, efficient and cost-effective. According to a study conducted by KMPG for Ford, each dynamic shuttle placed in service during peak travel times could be the equivalent of taking 25 vehicles off the road.

The plan is to take Chariot into at least five additional markets in the next 18 months. The company also plans to work with Motivate, billed as the global leader in bike sharing, to add another

Ford, emobility, GoBike,

Ford adds two wheels to its repertoire

dimension to mobility. The goal is to increase the number of shared bikes in the San Francisco Bay Area to 7,000 by the end of  2018. Next year Ford will launch GoBike, which will give access to the bike-sharing system to users of the FordPass platform.

Ford’s master plan is to establish an interconnected mobility network that includes real-time data such as weather conditions, usage patterns and bike availability.

FordPass users just got another feature to add to their app, which already includes mobility services, on-call guides, a loyalty program and a link to Ford Hubs, a physical storefront that showcases Ford technology. The latest feature gives FordPass users the ability to find, book and pay for parking at garages in more than 160 cities in the U.S., even before starting a trip. The FordPass app is free for Ford owners and non-owners alike.

 

 

 

 

 

Road Test: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

More Efficiency, More Power, More Tech

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid,mpg,fuel economy

Back & better than ever

Honda is celebrating the Accord’s 40th anniversary this year, and after 12.7 million sold in the US, popping some champagne corks is understood.

To begin its fifth decade, Honda has brought back the Accord Hybrid after it sat out for a year to move production from Ohio to Japan.

The new hybrid comes to market with a new look, more power, more standard safety features, more tech options and improved efficiency.

Like the 2015 edition, the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is offered in three trim levels beginning with the well-equipped base model with a sticker price of $30,440, including a $835 destination charge—$3,075 more than the gasoline-powered Accord EX.

This is followed by the EX-L, which sells for $33,740 and features a leather interior along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

At the top of the lineup is the $36,790 Touring. Along with all of the features of the EX-L it adds heated front and rear seats, a navigation system and LED headlights.

First, Let’s Talk Fuel Economy

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid,hybrid,mpg,fuel economy,road test

Designed to give you the best of the road–in every way

The 2014-2015 Accord Hybrid touted an EPA rating of 50 mpg for city driving, a number that made all other car companies with hybrid offerings green with envy. While the 2017 model is more fuel efficient, the highway fuel economy drops to 49 mpg. Why is that?

Well, first one needs to look at the combined fuel economy, which has increased by one mpg to 49, while the highway number remains at 47-mpg.

According to Honda, the reason for the city drop is a change in the EPA’s city test protocol for fuel economy. If the new hybrid Accord used the same test as the previous model, it to would be 50-mpg, while also earning an extra mpg in combined driving.

Even with the minor dip in combined driving, the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is still tops in the midsize sedan category, including the new Chevrolet Malibu hybrid, which is rated at 47/46/46 mpg city/highway/combined.

Now with that out of the way, here is what it’s like to drive.

Driving the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

A characteristic of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid’s handling package is torque steer, which plagues lots of powerful front-wheel drive cars. Put a foot heavy on the accelerator pedal and the hybrid will reward you with a slight tug to one side on the steering wheel and a chirp from the tires, which is only the churning brew of gasoline and electricity under the hood trying to assert itself.

Yes, that sort of driving defeats the purpose of hybrid fuel economy, but the positive is—it shows the car is powerful enough to avoid anxious moments pulling into fast-moving traffic or the passing lane.

From a stop, Honda engineers did a remarkable job of eliminating the flutter-rumble that many hybrids make when transitioning from electric mode to gas engine and vice versa. There is no vibration or shimmying when the gas engine kicks in to help the electric motor to get things moving.

However, the action of the electric transmission acted like a poorly engineered continuously variable transmission. When getting up to speed, or hammering the gas pedal on the highway, the

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid,mpg,fuel economy,handling

A car for the environmentalist who enjoys driving

engine rpms raced ahead of actual speed, an annoyance that didn’t go away.

I found keeping the powertrain in electric-only mode in town to be easy at speeds of 35 mph or less. On one level road stretch, the hybrid traveled for nearly five miles before the gas engine had to kick in to help climb a short hill.

On the highway, the drive experience was Honda Accord smooth, and no midsize car beats the Accord’s firm but composed ride quality. The suspension is clunk- and thunk-free. It simply deals with road irregularities with casual competence, whether the challenge is a hole in the asphalt, a gravel shoulder, uneven paving or rough surfaces.

The hybrid sat tight even when taking curves faster than most folks would. Steering had a distinct natural feel and braking action from the regenerative system offered a solid feel without the grabbiness of other hybrids.

For most of the 419 miles we drove during our week with a Touring model, we engaged the Eco mode. It softened the powertrain response and operated the climate controls at a conservative setting.

The combination of Eco, a light foot on the accelerator that resulted in driving on battery power much of the time in town and careful braking yielded a mpg of 49.1 — 1 mpg better than the EPA’s 48-mpg combined rating.

Innovative Hybrid System

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid,engine, hybrid, mpg

Under the hood, two systems for more of everything

Honda calls the Accord Hybrid’s elegantly designed two-motor full hybrid system Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD).

The system combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine dedicated for hybrid vehicles with a pair of electric motors, a 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and an innovative transmission. One motor powers the front wheels, while the other, the motor-generator, is dedicated solely to making electricity, not unlike the current Chevrolet Volt’s system.

For 2017, the four now develops 143 horsepower and 129 pounds-feet of torque, up from 141 hp and 122 lbs-ft. The two new electric motors are smaller and lighter, yet are more powerful. The traction motor’s output is 181 horsepower, while the generator motor produces 142 horsepower.

With a total of 212 horsepower, the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid has 16 more than its predecessor and 27 more than a standard four-cylinder Accord. At 232 pounds-feet, the system also creates impressive torque.

The system switches between three drive modes — electric-only, hybrid and engine drive. The mix of power sources is managed largely by onboard sensors that combine the optimum acceleration and energy usage according to the driving situation.

The car will operate on electricity only until the energy from the 1.3 kilowatt battery pack located in the trunk is depleted—around two miles in careful city driving. But electric driving can also occur during cruising speeds on flat or downhill roadways.

The electric transmission uses the two electric motors to control both the engine and electric motor rotation via a lock-up clutch. At highway cruising speeds, the clutch is engaged, connecting the drive motor to the generator motor to transmit engine torque directly to the drive wheels. In EV mode, when the battery-powered drive motor is used for either acceleration or regenerative braking, the clutch disengages the stopped gasoline engine from the drivetrain.

The Outside and Inside Story

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid,interior,tech

More tech, but still no knobs

While the Accord Hybrid took a year off in 2016, Honda refreshed the standard Accord, and the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid inherited the changes.

Exterior updates include new front and rear tweaks, including a thick chrome bar that dominates a slimmer grille. Even with the minor changes, you’ll never mistake this as anything but an Accord. It still looks like a family sedan, although it’s not as conservatively styled as in past years.

Inside, Honda preserved the high-grade passenger-compartment materials and workmanship. Every surface the driver and passengers are likely to contact is suitably padded with high-quality looking materials.

The hybrid has its own dedicated gauge cluster. Centered is a large, round speedometer with simple numerals on a field of matte-black. To the right, battery charge and fuel level gauges are shown and on the left is a power use gauge. There’s also a power flow meter that shows where the power is coming from: engine, electric motor or both.

Also continued is the dual touchscreen in the center stack; the infotainment system now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (in EX-L and Touring models). However, what’s really needed is proper volume and radio tuning knobs.

Standard on all Hybrid models is Honda’s double-pane Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, cruise control and a tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio controls.

What’s new is all 2017 Honda Accord Hybrids come standard with a suite of safety features called HondaSensing. It includes lane departure warning, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, collision mitigation braking and adaptive cruise control.

My Take

With cheap gasoline, consumers are switching from family sedans to crossovers in large numbers. But for those who are friends of the environment and prefer a sedan body style, the 2017

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, mpg, fuel economy

The badge is back

Honda Accord Hybrid’s stellar fuel economy and low CO2 emissions can’t be overlooked.

While it may not be the most exhilarating car to drive, the 700-plus miles of range doesn’t sacrifice drive quality. Add that to a nicely furnished cabin and Honda’s reputation for quality and reliability, and the Accord Hybrid deserves a test drive.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy (Previous Honda Accord tests and competitive midsize sedans)

Road Test: 2016 Honda Accord

Road Test: 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid

Road Test: 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Road Test: 2016 Kia Optima SX

Road Test: 2016 Volkswagen Passat

Road Test: 2016 Kia Optima LX

First Drive: 2016 Toyota Prius

Road Test: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

First Drive: 2016 Nissan Altima

Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class. We also feature those that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

5 Exciting Ways the Auto Industry Is Becoming Techy

5 Exciting Ways the Auto Industry Is Becoming Techy

Aiming To Reduce Human Error

Cruise control was a breakthrough in how we control automobiles. The act of simply pressing a button and having a car maintain speed was revolutionary for its time. Now, there are many

Tech feature in mirror

Mirror, mirror, full of tech

innovative technologies that are promising to change the way we drive.

Many of these tech features aim to reduce human error and create the safe drive we all deserve. Accidents are all too common, usually due to human error. If your car is damaged or you are injured, you may be eligible for compensation. If this happens, it is important to contact lawyers specialized in car accidents.

Human Override Systems

It is too easy for a driver to make a mistake behind the wheel, such as drifting out of lane. Many vehicles today are capable of determining if you are leaving the lane or failing to brake, and override that function to keep you safe. This technology is already available in many new automobiles. Something like this could definitely help save your life.

Modern Heads-Up Display (HUD)

Mazda CX3 ,HUD, head up display

Heads-up display (HUD) moves into the 21st century

While the HUD is not a new concept to automobiles, the technology driving these displays is getting more and more advanced. Soon, it is quite feasible that you could have a display capable of augmented reality, showing destinations and navigation directions in real-time on your windshield.

Connected Cars

As automobile evolve, they are becoming more connected to each other and the infrastructure around them. By using modern wireless technology, automobiles are capable of talking to one another as well as infrastructure like traffic lights. This can be used to improve fuel efficiency, improve flow of traffic, and prevent accidents.

Partially Autonomous Vehicles

There are many examples of partially autonomous vehicles on the road today. One example is the automatic cruise control that many manufacturers are adding to their vehicles. This type of cruise control is able to adjust the speed of your vehicle to match the car in front of you. Your car is even capable of braking if the car in front of you comes to a full stop. This feature is already used by many automakers.

Remote Vehicle Shutdown

If your vehicle is stolen, many cars with connective technology are capable of being shut down, foiling a potential theft and reducing damages. This can really help save you a lot of money down the road as well as keep your information safe and secure.

This is just a small sample of the innovative tech features automakers have been adding to their vehicles. By adding these tech features, cars are safer, easier to use, and create a more enjoyable experience for drivers everywhere.

Mercedes-Benz concept car

Tech features of the future could lead to a car like this Mercedes concept