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2005 Honda Accord Hybrid Preview
Trevor Hofmann
Canadian Auto Press

Now That's More Like It

The makers of hybrid cars have got to be smiling these days. With gas prices the way they are, sales of Toyota's Prius and Honda's Civic Hybrid have never been stronger.

After all, what other options do new car buyers who are concerned about budgeting fuel costs and saving the environment have? Diesel? OK, that's fair. Despite the poor quality high-sulfur diesel fuel currently available in North America the longtime alternative has still been proven better for reducing emissions and improving mileage than conventional gasoline.

But Hybrids (HEVs) are better at these tasks yet. That might be true but who wants to drive a tiny economy car with skinny tires? That stereotype is changing, with Toyota's sophisticated full-hybrid system now powering a much larger 2004 Prius. It will also be available soon in the brand's Highlander SUV, but not before Lexus brings out its RX 400h, and that's just the beginning.

Ford has its long anticipated Escape Hybrid arriving soon - using Toyota mechanicals by the way. Nissan's upcoming Altima Hybrid will make use of Toyota's hybrid system too, which makes it look a lot like the "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" motto is alive and well.

On January 5, 2004 at the Detroit auto show Honda Motor Co., Ltd., President and CEO Takeo Fukui announced plans to further advance the company's leadership in the development and application of leading edge environmental technologies with the introduction of a V6 powered gas-electric hybrid Accord.

While more models are expected, Honda recently announced that its popular Accord sedan will be the next in line to get the HEV treatment. And a good thing, with the Altima and Toyota's Camry coming on the scene over the next year or so, the Accord Hybrid will outpace these by quite a margin when it arrives during the summer.

Yeah, it's expected soon, and should be the most exciting hybrid to hit the market yet, at least from a driving dynamics perspective.

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