“What car should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would senior production editor Zach Gale drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.
When I turn the knob, I giggle. It’s stupid, I know, but turn a 2019 Honda Accord’s temperature dial, and watch as the accent lighting turns blue or red, depending on whether you made the air hotter or colder. Cool, right? If I were in the market for a new car, however, green is the most important color to me. Because I believe humans are doing serious damage to the planet, my new-car purchase would be limited to hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and full EVs. But as I mentioned in my Toyota RAV4 Hybrid fantasy-SUV buying story, I’m cheap. So regardless of my personal budget, I’m not interested in cars that cost too much to begin with and then slap you with enormous maintenance bills down the road.
The smaller Insight hybrid sedan would probably meet my needs most of the time, but I prefer the Accord’s interior and higher seating position. Upgrading to a midsize sedan means more rear-seat space. And since I haven’t selected the gorgeous-for-a-midsize-sedan Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, my new car will actually come with a full-size trunk. That’s right, if you go for the hybrid version of the spacious Accord, trunk space goes from 16.7 cubic feet to … 16.7 cubic feet. The Ford’s many hybrid displays make commuting more fun, but the Fusions aren’t as roomy for people or cargo. So I’ll stick with Honda even though I’m tempted to snag a great deal on a Fusion before they disappear from dealer lots.
The Accord Hybrid has another advantage over the more attractive Ford: acceleration. The Honda hits 60 mph in a MotorTrend-tested 6.7 seconds, quicker than any hybridized Fusion. That’s also quicker than a base-engine Accord or Clarity plug-in, which is the other car I’d strongly consider. I remember being impressed by the Clarity’s ride, and its EV range is exceptional. The overstyled Clarity plug-in will get you 47 EPA-rated miles on EV power before the gas engine turns on to power you through another few hundred miles.
The truth is that I wavered between the Clarity plug-in and Accord hybrid while writing this story. The Clarity’s matte wood-like trim and suede-like trim feel upscale, but I prefer the Accord’s higher infotainment screen placement and volume knob for when my husband is serving as in-car DJ. Driven back to back on the world-class driving roads near me in Southern California, I bet the Accord—which is about 700 pounds lighter—will be more fun. With no stylistic middle ground between these two cars, I’ll drive the more subdued Accord even though I prefer the last-gen model’s wheel design to the current one.
The Clarity would be better for avoiding visits to the gas station, but as it is, the Accord Hybrid’s 48/48 mpg city/highway rating and 600-plus-mile driving range mean I won’t need to refuel often. I’ll take mine in Touring form (for the ventilated front seats), wearing Obsidian Blue Pearl paint and a black-chrome grille to avoid the Accord’s overchromed stock look.
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