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2006 Honda Accord

Martha Hindes

Honda Accord Hybrid Review
Honda Accord Interior

High performance and hybrid don't mix, do they? Don't tell that to the folks at Honda. After two successful, albeit smallish, forays into putting the American car driving world on green wheels, the Japanese auto maker has come out with something truly sporty for the performance buff who wants her or his driving kicks without leaving tracks.

Enter the hybrid Honda Accord, now in its second year for 2006. In the "you'd never guess" department, it's a departure from Honda's original Insight hybrid venture where being green also has meant looking as noticeably different as possible. Accord makes no such tree-hugger statement. Once Insight had proved its point, it was time to move beyond the need for eccentricity to catch attention. Instead, the Accord purrs with classic good looks, plush interior amenities, and the guilty pleasure thrill of being Honda's gutsiest-ever performer when rubber meets the road.

If you treasure not polluting the air, then smile as you drive by in your Accord. Honda execs are all smiles noting that the vehicle has been named one of the California Air Resources Board's cleanest ever vehicles, with AT-PZEV (for partial zero emissions vehicle) certfication for 2006. The special 16" lightweight alloy wheels help keep the hybrid on a fuel diet. And the five speed automatic gains nine miles per gallon and eight highway over the internal combustion-only model, reaching 29/37 on regular unleaded despite its penchant for a chase.

All those earth-friendly credentials don't damage the performance aspect one bit. Horsepower for the V-6 powerplant jumps from 244 for the IC-only version to 253 for the hybrid, with assistance from its electric motor. Torque increases from the IC's 211 lb.ft. to 232 lb.ft. for the hybrid. Lest you doubt it's powerful, the speedometer soars to 160 mph, but the driver who behaves is awarded with a small, lighted "eco" sign.

For '06, there are some changes in appearance from standard, internal combustion engine-powered Accords. Added outside are a front chin spoiler, and rear spoiler and rear diffuser. Heated sideview mirrors now have built-in turn signals and a model-defining taillamp configuration replaces that on the gas-powered-only Accord. New colors available are Silver Frost Metallic along with Premium White Pearl reserved only for the hybrid model. For those with a taste for ameities, power moonroof and a temporary-use spare are standard. Daytime running lights now join the list of enhanced safety features. And Honda's Smart Maintenance System remnds the errant driver when scheduled service is due. Base priced around $30,000, plan on an extra $3,000 for a nav system.