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Honda Accord Hybrid: Driving Tips & Tricks

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
edited April 15 in Honda
Looking for advice on how to maximize your mileage performance? This is the place to share and discuss your favorite mileage enhancing driving tips.

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  • My Accord Hybrid shuts off the engine (they call this Auto-Stop) when the batteries are charged enough and my foot is on the brake and the car is going 8 mph or less. So if I pull into a parking place, for example, the engine Auto-Stops by the time I have stopped moving. And then when I shift into Park, it starts the engine again, just so i can shut it off. This seems odd to me. There must be some reason why they designed it this way, but I don't know it. What could be the purpose of starting the engine again when it shifts into Park, if Auto-Stop has already turned off the engine because I stopped moving?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    When you ask what they found to be the original trouble ask them about this issue. Seems every time the engine starts it will use a bit more gas. Maybe that is why the poor mileage reports that are coming in on the HAH. They may need to fine tune the operating system for the computer.
  • I'm no mechanic or tech but a good guess would be:

     

    It is a battery saving design I suspect.Putting it in park assumes you may sit idling for some time thus wasting battery charge.
  • Weird....

     

    I agree, if you're in PARK, there isn't much point in restarting the engine.

     

    Are you sure it's the act of shifting into PARK that causes the engine to restart? Could it be that you also take your foot off the brake at about the same time so it's actually the releasing of the brakes (before the ignition is turned off) thats causing the restart - just as it would if you stay in DRIVE.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    As I see it, idle-stop does not "turn off" the car. The system is still active and monitoring for driver's actions. Without an intelligent system that "knows" whats in the mind of the driver when he/she stops the car, there has to be an override to be able to "turn off" the whole system, hence the need to "restart".
  • My foot never leaves the brake pedal when I'm shifting into Park. So the cause of the engine restarting when I shift into Park is not the brake pedal.
  • Ok I am not 100% sure that this answer is right but. The hybrid electric motor might not have the gearing to run in reverse there for every time your gear shift passes the reverse gear(which you must do to shift from park from drive) the motor automatically starts because the the gas motor must do all of the work.

     Now I have a question. I have a HAH with Navi on order which had a production date of Dec. 9th. My dealer tells me he has no idea when this car might show up. Can any of you tell me what the production date on your cars, or give me a idea of when I should get mine.
  • Mine was supposed to show in January (After the initial one month delay that pushed all cars back a month) then got bumped to February. I only have one now because the first person in line who had December's car dropped out and I got it. Don't know if that helps. My dealer never promised a specific date, only a specific month.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    My foot never leaves the brake pedal when I'm shifting into Park. So the cause of the engine restarting when I shift into Park is not the brake pedal.

     

    Obviously! That is exactly how the computer “knows” that your intention is not continuing idle stop but to park your car. And so, a manual override must take over, with driver “turning off” the car.

     

    Try to imagine how an automatic shutdown feature would work. Perhaps it could, but would you want it to have a timer (if you have stopped for longer than 2-5 minutes, the car automatically shuts down)? That may or may not be the best idea for multiple reasons, one being you parking your car while it is really “on”. You still have to get your keys out though.

     

    But speaking of keys, if the idle stop logic is integrated with the ignition key, then it could work, but I’m not sure about everything a typical “shutdown process” would involve.
  • >>> Obviously! That is exactly how the

    >>> computer “knows” that your intention is not

    >>> continuing idle stop but to park your car.

    >>> And so, a manual override must take over,

    >>> with driver “turning off” the car.

     

    Could you clarify how this explains the need for the computer to restart the engine when the driver goes from one state where the engine is not needed (idle stop, in drive w/ footbrake on) to another state where the engine is not needed (in Park with footbrake on).

     

    I agree an auto-shutdown procedure would be problematic, but that's not the original post was refering to.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    During idle stop, the car is still “on” (the ICE is off, but the computers would have to be polling the system for any activity that would require a quick restart. This happens when brakes are on.

     

    When the driver shifts the lever to ‘P’, the polling must stop. The question now is, should it stop automatically? And if it can’t, then there may be an underlying reasoning (a proper shutdown process, perhaps). I can see it as the shut down process you apply to a typical PC (by selecting ‘Shut Down’ from the menu instead of simply pushing the ‘Off’ button).

     

    Obviously, it doesn’t shut down automatically. To stop the polling, the driver must turn the ignition off and remove the keys. This could (potentially) be tied to some kind of ancillary system (like vapor recovery) as well. I’m sure the engineers had reason(s) to have it work the way it does.

     

    PS. These are my guesses, not necessarily the genuine reasons for the behavior.
  • rlkrlk Posts: 14
    on my first tank it was about 26.5....i just finished the second tank and calculated the mpg out to be 30.37...the instant read 30.2 so it is quite accurate. we have over 700 miles on the car now so I am assuming this tank will be even higher considering we have passed the break in period. this is also mostly city driving, some highway but there are a lot of hills around here so that may throw it off also.

     

    the auto stop feature does take a little getting used to, it is somewhat bothersome when i do not come to a complete stop as the car will shudder a little when the engine restarts. it is like it is unsure whether to stop or to continue running. i did however take out the extended warranty so i am not going to stress over the constant use of the parts.

     

    initially I was concerned with my mpg but now i am fully satisfied with the car. we had considered a nissan maxima but everything except for the outside appearance and the stereo system has so far surpassed the maxima we looked at.
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    I have same concern about the HAH's Auto Stop. I noticed the Auto Stop flashes when the speed is less than 10 miles/hour. But interestingly, sometimes, Auto Stop does not flash when my speed is less than 10 miles. I have to get to the habit that when I stop I have to hold the brake firmly. Any tiny release of the brake will revive the engine immediately. I dont know how Honda engineers explain this, especially on the possible fact that the engine parts' life expectancy may be shorter that way.

     

    However, the engine completely and quietly shuts off when I come to a full stop.

     

    Bonus point about the Maxima: Somebody said the Maxima looks like a handsome guy who wears flashy suit outside but inside he wears a "cheap panty".
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    I have been feeling comfortable with my HAH when it changes mode to shut off its engines completely or when the engine is reactivated. I don't feel anything when the mode is changing any more. Also, I got used to the trick of keeping the brake firmly at stop signs and avoid frequent release of gas pedal unless I really need to move the car forward or to continue with the traffic flow. This better driving technique should be a bit different from that in conventional gas autos.

     

    I believe my HAH's MPG in the next gas tanks will be improved especially on highway runs because on constant speed of 65 MPH on highway my digital meter registered 36.5 MPG. The engine is very robust, very smooth, and very quick like a very hyperactive mountain lion. A slight touch on gas pedal will immediately move the car forward rapidly.
  • fxtoolfxtool Posts: 20
    High all-

    just a quick post: Has anyone else (HAH owners) caught themselves trying to keep the eco light green (driving efficiently)? I find myself doing it all the time. On my first tank of gas still, but will post mileage soon.

     

    Cheers-

    fxtool
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    Hi Fxtool,

     

    My ECO light green is on most of the time. I have been enjoying more and more my HAH as I have learned the efficient driving techniques. The car is real fast but "Eco". Honda surely will meet one of its goals by providing customers a very powerful car yet easy on gas. I have been waiting for this kind of car for so long until now. The audio and navi. systems are so useful and impressive. One thing I notice is the battery is a little bit low while the weather is cold.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    gagrice, where did you get your numbers? Everyone on this forum is reporting high 20's and low 30's with vehicles that are not broken in yet. Are you making them up?

     

    Actual mileage posted for the HAH on this thread and greenhybrid.com varies from 19 mpg to 33 mpg. only one poster has averaged over 26.5 mpg calculated at fill up. That person has a 36 mile per day commute. For that long of a commute 33 mpg does not set my world on fire. I'm looking for cars with serious mileage gain. HAH is not getting the mileage of even the Escape hybrid. How is comparing the Accord 4 to the hybrid such a stretch. The EX 4 cylinder has more than enough power for any US highway need. Plus you get the moonroof and a full size trunk. I find this HP race very anti-environmental and dangerous. Most people on the highways have more HP than they can handle.

     

    You posted getting 29.7 mpg with the HAH. If I had spent $10k over the exact same car with the only difference is faster 0-60 and worse emissions rating, I'd be mighty upset. In San Diego the difference is even greater as the HAH I sat in was $34k plus without NAV.

     

    Honda has a couple cars I have on my list. The Odyssey EX-L W/NAV. If I was forced into commuting I would consider the HCH or Insight. I can tell you from experience the HAH is not that plush to sell for $34k-$36k. The 4 cylinder EX W/NAV is not a bad little car for the money. And it is available as PZEV if you are environmentally concerned.

     

    PS

    Edmund's review says the brakes are still sub-par & the handling tepid. I would add especially for a car that is 0-60 in 6.5 seconds.
  • I have had mine since December. I replaced a 1998 Toyota Corolla (manual) that got about 32 mpg. I have been sorely dissapointed with the mileage so far (on my 3rd tank of gas). I think the best I have seen so far is 30 mpg on the highway (admittedly, cruising at about 75 mph). City driving has run between 23-25. If it is still this low after the 1000 mile mark, I think I may take it to the dealer to see if there is something off with my car, especially after reading this forum.

    The mileage does appear better if you can keep the eco light on, this is not so easy! I've tried to use rcruise control, but that is not much fun.

    My other complaint is that the trunk is quite small, especially its side-to-side width. There is no way to fit anything awkward in there.

    Good things - it's incredibly quite, handles well enough, has all the power I need, and big enough for five. I'm just concerened about my low mileage.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Don't expect to get better mileage than that. I've driven a Prius on an extended test drive and did manage a bit over 40mpg but I was going 75. I think 30mpg at 75 is very good for that car. What were expecting?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    I think the best I have seen so far is 30 mpg on the highway (admittedly, cruising at about 75 mph). City driving has run between 23-25.

     

    Thank you for adding to the list of those concerned about mileage, that has not matched the hype. If you got 32 MPG with your old car I would imagine you drove it the same as your new one. Many on here will find fault with your driving. I think it is the design that is at fault. It is like putting someone in a Porsche and telling them not to go over 55 mph. It is not going to happen. There are cars in the HAH class that get better mileage and from all the posts out handle and are more fun to drive. Plus they are not limited to being driven slow for good mileage & some even cost less to buy.

     

    PS

    Welcome the the Edmund's Forum!!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If I may ask you a few questions, it could help you improve the fuel economy from your car…

     

    How long do you idle your car after a cold start?

    How long do you drive after a cold start?

    How long do you normally drive anyway?

    What is the kind of traffic do you encounter?

     

    And after all is said and done, sometimes it can take 3-5K miles on the odometer for fuel economy to settle down. Don’t worry about it during break-in, and for the first few thousand miles. Even with my 1998 Accord (a non-hybrid, of course), I noticed couple of things after about 7-8K miles:

    Mileage improved a little

    The power train was much-much smoother and decisive

     

    Answer my questions (above) and let us see if I can try to help you do better than you have so far and before you hit about 5K miles.

     

    BTW, don't expect Accord Hybrid to beat Corolla or Civic mileage. Only match it. Also, you were getting 32 mpg with manual transmission. An automatic would have given you a few mpgs less and thats what you've got with HAH.
  • If I may ask you a few questions, it could help you improve the fuel economy from your car…

      

    How long do you idle your car after a cold start?

    I live in Chicago, so a cold start is pretty cold. I don't let the car warm up first, I just get in and drive. I figure plenty of gasoline is wasted letting the car set there warming up (although I don't know how much)

     

    How long do you drive after a cold start? I have about a 25 minute (+/- 5) commute, around 12 miles on relatively fast city streets (35 -50 mph). I know the timing sequences of most of the lights, so I don't usually race from one to the next.

     

    How long do you normally drive anyway? On some days this is my only drive. Sometimes I might go elsewhere requiring 10 -25 highway miles (average speed in Chicago is 75, and it's hard to go that slow in this car!), plus another 5-10 miles fast city driving. Not very many short 1-2 mile drives (I'd rather walk)

     

    I know that this is the break-in period, that the weather is cold, etc, etc, but I got this car as a replacement for the 98 Corolla, and had some expectation that I would be running around that mileage with enough room to fit my family (and heck, 255 HP, luxury interior, yadda yadda is nothing to be ashamed of). I am just surprised at how far below the mileage estimate has been compared to actual use - - we're talking 25-30% off!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Based on your responses:

     

    Your claim that you don’t resort to excessive idling suggests that it can’t be used an excuse because idling does get you 0 mpg, hybrids or non-hybrids alike. And cars warm up better when moving. My cold start idling is typically 15-20 seconds with light footed driving for an eighth of a mile.

     

    With a warmed up car (hybrid or non-hybrid), your regular driving doesn’t seem to be harsh on fuel economy either. So, that sounds good as well.

     

    Now, hard to resist going fast is going to play a role in fuel economy, however. I typically get about 32 mpg in my Accord when I average about 70 mph on highway, but 75-80 mpg returns me about 30 mpg (a drop of 6-7%).

     

    After all is said and done, I too would expect you to get 28-30 mpg (in mostly city driving), or an additional mpg or two if some highway is involved. By comparison, I get 23-24 mpg in my four cylinder Accord with mostly city driving (and on highway, like you said, it is hard to resist the average speed and I live in Dallas area!).

     

    After break-in, you should end up getting mileage similar to your manual transmission Corolla. BTW, I have averaged 28-29 mpg in (rental) Corollas, but of course, they come with automatic transmission, and have managed around 34 mpg or so on couple of pure highway trips. And Corolla is a car I rarely feel like pushing beyond 70 mph (unlike the 1988 Corolla GT-S coupe that I owned... it was a pleasure to drive).
  • fxtoolfxtool Posts: 20
    I took my HAH with 822 miles on it up to the mountains this weekend. It performed quite well in below freezing temperatures and ice/sludge conditions.

    I'm still waiting for my mileage boost at 1000, and I'm trying to channel Viet's driving style, which has proved to be difficult.

    On the trip I averaged 29.5 mpg, but that was in D3 for an hour up the mountain, with the climate control on auto the whole time.

    2 interesting things I noticed:

    Electric steering- While in bumper to bumper traffic coming down the hill in auto stop on a turn, the wheel wanted to stay in the turn until I got the engine going for 5-10 seconds ( I was coasting at less than 5 mph for a while in post ski traffic).

    Drone effect- My dog was hanging his head out the window in the back seat, and the other 3 windows were up. When the 3 cylinders shut down ( we know they don't really stop, see above posts) it sounded vaguely like a helicopter in the cabin.

     

    More observations to come. Still trying to stay in the eco zone, but have a bit of a leadfoot.
  • I'm new to automatic transmission cars, since the only other 2 real cars I've driven a lot were manuals. I know that automatics generally don't coast as well as my manuals would when I would put them in neutral. (That is, I know that for a manual car and an automatic car of the same weight and same speed, the manual in neutral will coast farther than the automatic in drive.)

     

    But is the HAH's coast-ability about the same as other automatic cars of similar size? I notice that the downshifting and engine braking really take away a lot of momentum. I also wonder if the charging function (green lights) also contributes to the momentum drain.

     

    Comments?
  • lori2lori2 Posts: 2
    As someone asked early on whether 22 was a mistake, no. Unfortunately I really am only getting 22 with calm driving in 40 degree weather. It has been helpful to hear that others are getting better as I have something to take to the dealership shop if it doesn't improve after another tank. I am skeptical, however, as to what, if anything they will do. How do I prove I am not driving in such a way that takes more gas?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    There are MANY MANY things which are contributing to your low figure MPG.

     

    How short is your commute?

    How much do you use the defroster (which in many cases uses the A/C)?

    How much is stop and go red lights versus getting on a freeway and cruising?

    How many miles on your car?

    What is your tire inflation?

    Do you garage the car or does it sit outside?

    Have the roads been generally dry or wet/icy?

    How many passengers?

     

    There are dozens of variables in getting high MPG - it's a GAME.
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    Hi Lori2,

     

    You are quite right Larsb. Let me add some more. Abrupt acceleration and abrupt braking badly impact the MPG. Also, cold weather impacts the battery and the performance. My battery now gets charged over 85% as the weather is getting warmer. Do not use defroster too long. Do not open windows while driving. Do not turn on AC too long. Check and inflate tires to required pressure. Do not carry too heavy loads (many women's favorite hobby is buying many heavy things, keeping them in the trunk and carrying around for easy exchanges/ returns...). That's my wife's hobby.

     

    Many things may badly impact the MPG. Drive comfortably and take it easy, Lori2. Enjoy your HAH. I constantly get 30 MPG in cities since the first day.

     

    In order to truly appreciate the real power of the HAH I will have to visit my friends in remote cities soon to test its MPG on highway.
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    The MPG mostly depends on driving style. I used to get 22.5 - 23 MPG combined driving on my EX V6 Accord as I have calculated it on almost every gas tank (for fun and follow up with the engine performance, of course, not for penny pinching). When I gave that car to my son, he got only 17 or 18 MPG. I noticed sometimes he pressed the accelerator hard and ran the engine at 4000 RPM. I have never got to that kind of crazy RPM. Even at 80 MPH on highway that V6's 200 HP engine only spins about 2500 RPM the most.
  • azhahazhah Posts: 82
    Gliding:

    It's amazing how good you can get at coasting! I've experienced the same thing and the way my garage is I have a very small margin of error. I'm "hitting the mark" about 90% of the time now.

    Turning Off:

    I also have gotten into the habit of turning off the ignition while still in drive. I then shidt to park. I've wondered if there are any SERIOUS ramifications to this but so far it seems to be ok. It may leave the tranny in a state that is not ideal for restart but I've only noticed the occasional hesitation into drive after starting the car.

    Thoughts on that?
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