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Honda Accord Hybrid: Driving Tips & Tricks

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  • Definitely seasonal, a combination of temperature & gasoline for the most part. During the best parts of the year, I get 35-36mpg in mixed suburban driving (interstate will yield mid-40s or better). Avg is generally 33-34, and right now, I'm down to 31-33. I do have a lot of stop / go in the work commute (21mi). But even in my worst city stop/go scenarios (ie; Northside / downtown Chicago) I can pull 26-29mpg in those areas.

    Your 10mi commute is the killer for you. Until you see the temp gauge get almost up to its normal range, the ECU is running a fuel/air mix almost 2x as rich as normal, across all six cylinders.

    On your SoC - you'll see that the battery *stores* energy better in cold temps, but *distributes* it better in warmer temps. More a function of Ni-MH technology.

    Tires - I run mine at 38psi or higher, depending on where I'm driving. You'll often find tire salespeople inflating to 5lbs or so past the mfg's recommendation. Minimal discomfort vs. the stock 32, and I gain about 1mpg out of it. If you're willing to go higher (say, 45 or even 48), you can gain another 1-1.5mpg. But your ride harshness will increase - it starts getting noticable to me after 40psi.

    Autostop & VCM at 7-8mi out - yep, that sounds about right. You know what the real killer is ? When you've gotten the cat just warm enough to engage auto-stop, but sitting in traffic for a couple of minutes, the engine restarts because the sensors detected the cat got cold (at least, that's what I figure happened :(

    All northern climates get different gas in winter vs. summer. Car starts easier, but the gas doesn't hold as much energy, so your mpg drops (plus the cold, which we know about). Actually, except for the very warmest areaa, I'd guess that the entire country gets reformulated gas in winter.

    Finally, the gulf coast hurricanes prompted an earlier change than usual to winter gasoline production (it's slightly cheaper / easier to make than the summer blend).

    This may be a topic for a new thread, but I wonder how many HAH owners, now that they have a taste of what's obtainable w/o too much effort in the FE dept, are considering trading in their near-luxury Accord Hybrid for the new Civic Hybrid ? I actually have a deposit on one, and am waiting for it to come in so I can try it out.

    I figure if I can get 35-45mpg out of a car rated at 29/37, I may be able to get 55-65 out of a new HCH at a minimum - and probably more, since it's tuned for greater FE, and you don't get the hit of six-cylinder operation.

    In other words, I bought the Accord for its refinement and lack of sacrifices to achieve decent FE. I'm now willing to trade off some of that refinement for even better FE because having the hybrid for a year, learning how to achieve good results with it, and seeing the events of the past year has now changed my priorities. Has it for anyone else ?
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    Thanks for reporting on good performance of the traction control. I am happy it works real well. I better drive mine on icy roads sometime.
  • I've seen where several attribute a drop in mileage to cold weather gas sold in northern states. Here in AR, it doesn't really get cold enough to effect gas so I doubt it's any different in the winter down here. However, we've seen a substantial drop in mileage for the last say 4000 mi. We're down from getting about 37 highway to barely 30. In town, we're doing good to hit 23. For what it's worth, we've now got 31k on the car that we bought in April '05. It goes into the shop tomorrow, but I'm not expecting anything positive.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You are putting your car in the shop because of the mileage drops? They won't find anything wrong.

    All cars lose MPG in the cold. Hybrids are more noticable because people are expecting high MPG all the time "just because it's a hybrid."

    Unfortunately, the laws of Physics do not care what kind of drivetrain you have.

    Even moderate temp drops can negatively affect the hybrids MPG.

    In part, with the Hondas (I own an HCH myself) it's because the IMA system is used less when the car's engine is below optimium operating temps, and that happens more in winter weather. Until prime op temps are reached, the gas engine is used more, the RPMS are staying higher, and the battery is being charged with the gas from the tank.

    Your choices for helping maintain good MPG in the winter are:

    buy an engine block heater
    garage the car and use a space heater

    Other than keepin the antifreeze warm and/or keeping the car stored in a warm area, nothing else will help. These will help a little bit.

    But you need to come to accept the fact that your hybrid will suffer in coldish temps. I have been using a space heater for 25 minutes every morning, blowing 80 degree air under the front of my car from about 18 inches away. It helps a little bit - I do in fact lose LESS MPG every morning because of the heater usage.
  • No, that can't be all. On a recent rip, 150 mi non-stop almost all interstate, temp about 50 degrees, I still couldn't get better than 30.2 mpg. That's with only me in the car, using the cruise control. Heater was on, but not having to work much. I used WAY more electrical power when I drove the car 2000 mi this summer using the AC all the way, two passangers and our luggage. Got nearly 40 mpg then.

    Here it's not near cold enough to have a winter gas formulation. The car has no trouble maintaining engine temp. The car is switching to econ plenty soon enough.

    What concerns me is the overwhelming number of people who are getting substantially worse mileage than they did when they got the car. I supose we'll know more when next summer rolls around, but I don't see any particular reason to have high hopes.

    I will agree that I shouldn't expect the mechanics to find anything "wrong" with the vehicle. However, a 20% reduction in fuel mileage is rediculous in any case.

    You know, come to think of it, even if the car was having to run on all 6 cylinders all the time, I should still be getting better mileage than this. There are other comperable V6 cars with comperable engines that get mileage than I'm getting. No, something's not right here.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Here it's not near cold enough to have a winter gas formulation.

    Even in CA they force the ethanol winter formula. It is an EPA mandate. I think CA is about 11% ethanol. It will cost you at least a couple MPG. Do you have a non-hybrid to make some comparisons? I agree that long highway miles should not be affected by the cold as much as short in town driving. At least by taking it to the dealer you can register a complaint.
  • According to their web site, the EPA only mandates reformulated fuels in 9 metropolitan areas nation wide. Many states have their own requirements. AR is not one of those states.

    I know that ethanol-containing fuels don't do as well as fuels without, but I really don't think it's anywhere near the 15%, 20% or even more that many are reporting. Hey, I want my hybrid to work out as much as the next guy. But I'm not willing to overlook this point.

    In highway driving, so long as the engine can reach normal operational temperatures, which it does at least for me, even reformulated fuels will result in maybe a what, 5% loss in fuel economy? In distance traveling, my mileage should not drop any more than or perhaps less than a similar conventional car with reforumulated fuel (which I'm still convinced I'm not using).
  • It does sound like you have something else going on beside the typical things others have mentioned in previous posts. I'll be interested to hear the prognosis.

    this morning was a light traffic day in the DC area, and the temperature was in the 40s, and my HAH topped 39 mpg for the 55 mile trip. Good to know she's still got it in her!
  • rhcolerhcole Posts: 5
    I was out driving around 45 MPH on a country road with an even, gently declining surface. The car jumped up to over 72 MPG! I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but it held to between 52 - 72 until I had to slow down for stopped traffic. I can easily top 40+ MPG on the freeway, and even have hit 38 or so MPG driving around city streets.

    The killer for MPG is, of course, rapid acceleration. When I have to punch it for getting on the freeway, my MPG rating is around 7. So, stop and go city driving drops me way down to around 20. Seems like the HAH is very sensitive to these issues, and also requires a skillful driver.

    No one has mentioned the gas savings from the car turning off at stop lights. This must create savings, but can't be measured on the MPG because the car isn't moving.

    Here are my real figures after a little over a week's comparison: my Infiniti is rated at 18 to 24 MPG; I spent about 1/3 less on gas this week than last week. This would make the HAH comparable at about 27 - 36 MPG. However, if you are able to get the HAH into Eco mode, all bets are off, because the car is using about the same amount of gas as a big motorcycle. On the other hand, I'll bet that if you have to constantly accelerate and slow down at city speeds, you'd approximate the MPG of the regular 6 cylinder Accord.
  • fapfap Posts: 12
    OK - So what are your skillful tips for 40+ MPG on the freeway - my best is about 31 - 32 mpg (it's a New car - less than 2500) miles and about 22 city when its not constant stop and go. And, when I start in the a.m. and go to work, I have a 10 minute drive of less than 2 miles and my mpg is closer to 16 mpg - my Suburban does as well.

    Also, do you understand the electric assist - mine rarely kicks in but when it does, the longest it's been on is about 5 secs - and it kicks in going downhill as much as going uphill. Go figure.
  • nocapiscenocapisce Posts: 2
    The Accord (2006) is my third hybrid. The others 2001 Prius followed by a 2004 Civic CVT. Combined about a 110,000 plus mile total hybrid driving as primary car.

    My Accord is great performance appears about as advertised for the most part. In Plano Tx I am averaging 30 mpg city. Plano has a fair amount of boulevard driving. Plano to Fort Worth I average 37 to 39 mpg. That being said there seem to be glitches.

    At highway cruise my rpm stays the same after I get to cruise as the rpm that got me there -2000 rpm. I fell it is not dropping into fifth gear. There should be a rpm drop off after 60-65-70 mph cruing speed is reached npt stay at the accelerate rpm. If I accelerat to 45 mph at 2000 rpm the rpm drops to 1200 when I go steady speed -- all on flat Texas ground.

    The IMA is fickle it only stays on for over 3 or 4 seconds and 3 to 5 bars if I really punch it taking off from a stop. I have gone zero to 45 from a light with out the IMA kicking in. Also, I have gone from 45 to 65 mph with out the IMA kicking in. The Ptrius group engineers and all recommended quick acceleration up to speed. I can't tell if it works as well with my Accord.

    It seems as with the Civic and Prius that for every 3 psi below max allowed tire sidewall tire pressure you lose 1 mpg. That seems to ho;d fpr the Accord. I inflate the Accord to 40 psi front and rear.

    In short the Hybrid system is marginal at best. The economy mode is what get the mileage that part seems to work well.

    nocapisce in Plano
  • rhcolerhcole Posts: 5
    I drove for hours yesterday in bad Bay Area traffic. When I was on a decline, I took my foot off of the gas and let the HAH ride in eco mode as long as possible, just braking- this produced 80MPG.

    I then rode smoothly in eco mode on a continuous basis. On a typical freeway in eco it averaged at least 38 MPG. Why it would go over 40+ on apparently similar stretches of road is a mystery to me. Usually, I get the best MPG at slightly below freeway speeds 35 - 55, sustained driving in eco mode.

    I also hit miles and miles of bumper to bumper. A real drag because the auto-shutoff wouldn't even kick in as the car wasn't reaching 8 miles per hour. I didn't check, but I'm sure the car was averaging 16 MPG or some similar awful number.

    City driving plus freeway congestion plus back roads and regular freeway traffice yielded 32 MPG for a trip of 160 miles. I figure I saved about $12 over my Infiniti for this one trip.
  • vietviet Posts: 847
    For my HAH '05 I got almost 32MPG mixed driving and about 37+ MPG on freeway trips with 1 hour of traffic congestion in Los Angeles area. It runs eerily quiet like dream.
  • Though I do think the traction control is a nice feature I would think you would have the capability of being able to turn it off if you wanted too. In some cases this feature can be a hindrance. Is there a switch for this feature in the 05's?
This discussion has been closed.