Excellent Tips For Finding Better Auto Repair

Your car is something that costs you quite a bit of money and time if you don’t know what it takes to care for it. In addition to knowing some basic facts about your car, there are other things that can help you out. This article will teach you about the more general tips you need to know.

Make sure you often check the radiator. Keep your car running then shut the engine for several minutes before opening the hood. Never open the radiator cap if the engine is running. Use a dipstick to check the fluid level in your radiator and mix some coolant with water if you need to add more fluid.

Wash your car often so you can prevent rust. All cars will eventually rust out, but you can delay the process considerably by making sure any salt or chemicals are washed off as soon as possible. Use a good wax to protect your paint job as much as possible.

TIP! Check your radiator frequently. Allow your car to run for a bit and then turn it off and pop open the hood.

Keep your car records on hand. It’s wise to keep them in your glove compartment in case you need to go to a auto repair shop on the fly. Professional mechanics are going to ask for those records. This will help them assess the problem quicker and more precisely.

Ask for OEM parts. These are original parts direct from the manufacturer. Although using generic parts may provide some short-term savings, it’s impossible to know whether or not they’ll hold up as well as OEM parts. It may seem like you are getting a deal now, but it may end up costing you a lot in the future.

See if you can find someone who is knowledgeable about cars to do the work for you. Mechanics who work from home are often able to charge less because they don’t have the overhead that shops do. This is a good way of saving money while investing in your local community.

TIP! As the mechanic whether they’ve worked on your make and model before. If they have, they probably know what it takes to make the needed repairs.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to becoming educated on auto repairs. In addition to being able to help others and yourself, you can save money. Use these tips and fix problems yourself only if you are comfortable enough.

Solid Advice That Eases Your Auto Repair Troubles

Anyone who has experienced car trouble know how much of a hassle it can be to get their vehicle fixed. It is tough to find a reputable repair shop, and finding one at the right price is challenging. Fortunately, this article will help you learn how to choose a good auto mechanic.

Always know how much your repairs will cost before handing your car over to a service department. If you do not understand something, have it cleared up with the mechanic before he or she makes the repairs. Don’t end up surprised by extra fees.

When you have problems with your car, you may not need to visit a mechanic. There are a few things that could be fixed very easily. If you would like to try it, you can research on the problem online. Simple repairs that do not require special tools can be done by yourself, and can save you money.

TIP! Asking around for recommendations is a great opportunity to locate a mechanic you can trust. Speak with others you know to see if they can recommend someone to you.

Each time you get your vehicle repaired, no matter what the reason, be sure you have a record of it. If you have problems with your vehicle later on, you will find it helpful to have some records for the next technician to look at. No records means a blank slate to go on.

If possible, test drive your car prior to paying for repairs. A lot of people do not do this; therefore, they wind up with the same issues that existed before taking their car to the shop.

Look for signs that should serve as a warning that your repair man is no good. If they beat around the bush and act shifty, they may not be the one you want to work with. It’s best to feel that you trust your repair person, so don’t hesitate to move on.

TIP! Keep all of your car records handy. You may want to store them in the glove compartment for easy access.

Sometimes you can find a good mechanic who works in their home garage. For basic repairs they can charge far less and you both can be happy. The costs will always be much lower.

Find out how much a mechanic charges for the repair, including labor, before you hand over your keys. Some shops have these costs in conspicuous places, so you need to carefully read and ask any questions you have if something doesn’t make sense. You must know what you’re being billed. Some mechanics bill you for estimated labor times established by the manufacturers they work with. Minor repairs can be considered jobs that require a full day of work to some manufacturers.

No matter how onerous car repairs are to deal with, we still have to get them done. The next time your car needs repairs or maintenance, the tips you’ve learned about here will surely come in handy. Doing things right the first time will relieve your stress in the long run.

TIP! Check online reviews for any mechanic you’re considering. This lets you know how other customers have felt.

Learn About Car Repair With These Great Tips

Is your vehicle in need of repair? Maybe you do not have any urgent issues, but you know the stress that car trouble can bring. You may be feeling overwhelmed because you’re not sure of what to do. So, what is the right thing to do? Keep reading to understand what you can do when your car needs repairs.

Have a battery charger in your car at all times. People commonly experience dead batteries, making battery chargers good for helping stranded drivers. Make sure you know how to connect the charger to your battery.

It is important that you fully understand what all the charges will be upfront, before handing the mechanic your car keys. If something is not clear, clarify it with the service adviser or mechanic before starting any repair on the car. Don’t end up surprised by extra fees.

TIP! Ask all the questions you have at the shop. Your questions should focus on the problems your car has and also what steps you can take to prevent this problem from occurring in the future.

Referrals are one of the best ways to find a reputable auto mechanic. Therefore, do not hesitate to ask your family and friends for their recommendations. You can gain information about prices and level of quality. People will let you know how their experience went.

Look for online reviews about your chosen body shop. This will also allow you to know what the public thinks of how they handle customers and how good they are at solving any problem you may encounter. Use this information to choose a shop that you’re comfortable with giving money to.

Be wary of mechanics that try and make unnecessary repairs to your car. Good mechanics will tell you about worn down pieces without replacing them automatically. Never bring your car to someone who doesn’t do the right kinds of repairs.

TIP! Know what your costs will be before handing your keys over to the mechanic. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do.

Examine your headlights if they appear dim; they may simply need a good clean. Residue can diminish their light output. Wash them with glass cleaner and you should be able to see better.

Do you know the signs of a low quality mechanic? If you are being talked to in circles and your questions aren’t answered, then you will want to go elsewhere. Make sure that you trust the person that you are working with.

Replacing the bulbs on your taillights or headlights yourself can save you both time and money. Hiring a professional to install new lights costs a lot of money. Ask someone you know if they can instruct you on how to do it.

TIP! There are certain repairs that you can do yourself. Some repairs are easy to make.

Pay attention to the condition of your car’s wiper blades. You need new windshield wipers if they are making noises or leaving streaks. You need to replace the wipers on your car about every year or even more often if there is a lot of rain where you live.

It is important to have your oil changed regularly. If you wish for your automobile to run great for a long time, the oil needs to be changed on a regular basis. Failing to get routine oil changes will shorten you car’s life, so set reminders if necessary.

Repairing your car yourself could be hazardous. Always have a buddy to help you. Invest in high quality tools that won’t break on you. You definitely don’t want to skimp when it comes to the items you use for tire changing. The jack has to be strong enough to keep the car secure above you. This is why it is wise for you to use quality hydraulic floor jacks and jack stands.

TIP! You should wash your car often to avoid rust. Although all cars rust at some point in time, it is possible to delay this from occurring by washing off salt and chemicals immediately.

Using these tips will guide you towards great car repairs. Keep doing research on this topic and find people who can teach you a few things. When you are up to date, you’ll make the right choices.

If you are in need of auto body repair NJ, consider the best choice.

Know Exactly What To Do The Next Time Your Car Needs Fixed

If you’re like a lot of people,, you probably don’t know much about auto repair. To fix this, you will need to learn as much as possible on auto repair, so you can fix your vehicle when a problem arises. The article below has auto repair tips and tricks you need to know.

You should wash your car often to avoid rust. Salt and other harmful chemicals will speed up the rusting process. If you want to avoid rust at all costs, do your best to clean the car thoroughly after contact with these substances. A good wax is your best friend: a friend that will protect that shiny new paint job for a long time.

Read as much of your auto manual as you can, marking anything that is important. During auto repair visits, your mechanic will probably need to gather some information from you, about your vehicle. The manual may give you information to help you easily fix a problem.

TIP! You want to be sure that the mechanic working on your vehicle is A.S.

Before making your payment to the mechanic when picking up your car, take it out for a spin first to check that everything is working. If you don’t do this, it’s possible that the problem isn’t even fixed.

Remember that getting OEM parts is important. These parts are original and from the manufacturer. Generic are cheaper, but also less reliable. It may cost you more in the end to use generic parts even though you save money now.

Major repairs should always be accompanied by more than just one estimate. Although most auto shops are reliable, you don’t want to pay too much. Find a shop that specializes in your particular make of car. Shops like this may understand your car’s needs better.

TIP! Always have a good battery charger in your car. Dead batteries are a common problem, and you should always have a charger or cables on you at all times.

Wiper Blades

You shouldn’t forget about your wiper blades. If you don’t have wipers that work well or streak your windows, you need to purchase newer ones. Wiper blades should at least be changed yearly, and sometimes you need to do this more often.

Speak with friends and family about where they get their auto repairs done for some good ideas. Personal recommendations are usually honest and forthright. Don’t rely entirely on what your friends tell you, though; do your own research. At least look for online reviews of those recommendations.

TIP! You don’t always have to call a mechanic when your car is giving your problems. There are a lot of things you can do easily.

You should have more knowledge now with the information from this article. So, whenever an auto problem occurs, you can fix it on your own or find someone to do it for you. You are deserving of a good vehicle.

2015 Chevrolet Spark

The Basics:

Car buyers who consider minicars just too impractical–and impossibly tiny–are in for a shock with the 2015 Chevrolet Spark. The littlest Chevy in many years may be a five-door hatchback that’s precisely 3 feet shorter than a compact Cruze sedan, but it will actually hold four adults. The quarters are close, but there’s ample headroom, and it’s possibly the best value among a wide array of competitors in the basic-transportation category. The Spark’s sticker price may be inexpensive, but its stylish (if stubby) lines are generations away from the old “econobox” stereotype.

Contenders for that title include the Spark, now in its third model year, and the underpowered and underwhelming Mitsubishi Mirage, its most direct competitor. You might include the two-seat Smart ForTwo and three-seat Scion iQ, and there are also the retro but fashion-forward Fiat 500 and MINI Cooper. Those are both three-door hatchbacks that sacrifice any real-world uses of their rear seats (though the MINI is far better in the new 2015 model than previous generations were).

The proportions of the 2015 Spark hide its size, and it doesn’t look as small as it is unless you park it next to something really big–a Chevy Suburban, say. Up front, the traditional Chevrolet twin-opening grille and big wraparound light units eliminate much of the snub-nosed look. Its accent lines, exaggerated wheel-opening flares, and black-plastic panels that continue the window line all help alleviate the tall-box-on-little-wheels look, as does a spoiler at the top of the tailgate that extends the horizontal line of the Spark’s roof. 

The materials used for the interior don’t make a lot of attempt to be upmarket; the dash is textured hard plastic, and the synthetic cloth seats look like what they are. But the body-color trim inserts on the dash, doors, and inside the door bins are a nice touch that harkens back to painted metal panels on inexpensive cars of the Sixties.

The instrument cluster is “motorcycle-inspired,” meaning it’s a small pod mounted on the steering column, and has one large dial gauge and quite a few colored lights and monochrome graphics. We give the Spark’s interior designers credit, though, for lots of useful storage in the doors, console, and the dash face itself–including a slot on each side of the center stack that’s perfect for a smart phone. On the top-end LT trim levels, a 7-inch color touchscreen display sits in the center of the dash.

Inside, the front seats are small and and a little narrow for American-sized occupants–and a little more rearward travel would be good too. Taller drivers may find that their right knee brushes the climate controls at times. With a bit of negotiation between front- and back-seat riders, four adult humans can occupy the Spark and travel in reasonable space–even in the upright rear seat–which can’t be said of the Fiat 500, MINI Cooper, or the two-seat Smart ForTwo. The Spark offers 11.4 cubic feet of cargo space–enough to hold 10 to 12 full paper grocery bags with ease–with the rear seat up, which can be expanded to 31.2 cubic feet if you flip and fold down the 60/40 split rear seat.

The Spark is powered by an 84-horsepower, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine, with a five-speed manual gearbox standard and a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) as an option. The manual can be hustled along to keep up with traffic if you drive it aggressively; the CVT gives automatic ratio adjustment and still delivers tolerable performance while avoiding the drone that can afflict small cars with CVTs. Fuel economy is 34 mpg combined and 39 mpg on the highway cycle with either option; the manual’s city rating of 31 mpg is 1 mpg better than the CVT’s 30 mpg city.

While the Spark holds the road decently, the ride is somewhere between firm and hard, and passengers will feel nearly every bump, pothole, ridge, and ripple in the road. They’ll also feel some body roll on corners, the inevitable price of a narrow car in which passengers sit up tall and ride on small wheels and tires. While the Spark is no MINI Cooper, its electric power steering provides some road feel, and it’s easy to slip into vanishingly small spaces in traffic–or parking spaces–that other cars won’t attempt.

The Chevy Spark was the sole minicar to receive an “Acceptable” rating in the new and tough small-overlap frontal crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It also earned a four-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with impressive five-star side and side pole ratings. Outward vision is good, too, despite the lack of a rear camera system. Ten airbags are included as part of the Spark’s standard equipment, as are electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.

The base 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS starts at about $13,000. All Spark models come standard with air conditioning, power windows, a rear-window wiper, and a trip computer. And even base cars have 15-inch painted aluminum wheels–no plastic covers over slotted metal wheels here. Infotainment is actually much better than what’s offered in most other small cars, and even better than the systems in some much more expensive vehicles.

Throw in an extra $1,500 to upgrade from the base LS to the 1LT model, and you’ll add Chevrolet MyLink with the 7-inch touchscreen dashboard display, audio controls on the steering wheel, a USB port, Bluetooth audio pairing, and built-in Sirius XM radio with 3 months of free service. It also includes remote keyless entry, power door locks, an anti-theft system, power door mirrors, cruise control, and floor mats.

Move up to the top-of-the-line 2LT model and you add 15-inch alloy wheels,leatherette seats with heated fronts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps, and a long list of cosmetic upgrades. Automatic headlamps and daytime running lamps were made standard last year, along with heated power-adjustable body-color side mirrors with integrated turn signals on the 2LT model. For 2015, the main changes are 4G LTE connectivity through the OnStar built-in cellular connection, and an available WiFi hot spot. The array of dealer-installed accessories has grown somewhat, and colors include both predictable hues (white, silver, red, black) and some startling shades like Techno Pink, Lime Green, and Denim (a kind of baby blue).

 The Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system includes an AM/FM stereo with the 7-inch display (Sirius XM can be added), Bluetooth streaming, and compatibility with Pandora and Stitcher apps. The Spark is the first Chevy to offer a navigation system that’s not built into the car, but runs via an optional $50 smartphone app called BringGo. It compresses the entire North American map database into a 2GB app that runs on the user’s smartphone and essentially transmits the display to the vehicle system. New for this year, if you have an iPhone, you can use Siri hands-free through the system (using your smartphone’s data connection, again). It’s a smart solution and works well, although we don’t know whether Spark owners will pay even $50 to get a more integrated solution or simply spend $12 on a bracket to hold their smartphones running Google Maps (or listening to the voice instructions with the phone tossed in a cupholder).

That the Chevy Spark may be the best all-around value among its varied small-car competitors is a real testament to the little minicar, which sells in much higher volumes in India and Asia (where it’s sometimes known as the Beat).

There’s another Spark model, the Spark EV battery-electric version, but it’s sold only in small numbers and only in California and Oregon. It’s by far the most powerful Spark–and hence the most amusing to drive–with a 105-kilowatt (140-hp) electric motor powered by a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. (A new and slightly lower-capacity pack for 2015 delivers the same range and efficiency as its predecessor). Chevy quotes a 0-to-60-mph time for the Spark EV of just 7.6 seconds, and the EPA rates the electric Spark at 82 miles of driving range and 119 MPGe, making it the second most-efficient car sold in the U.S. this year. 

2015 Volkswagen Jetta

The Basics:

The best-selling model offered by VW in the United States, the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta has gotten a number of upgrades over the past two years to keep it viable in the face of tougher competition from new and revised compact four-door sedans. Now in its fifth model year, the Mexican-built Jetta gets two new and more fuel-efficient engines–one gasoline, one diesel–along with a slightly refreshed interior, a handful of very minor updates to the exterior styling, and various new active-safety features.

The Jetta offers a multitude of powertrains, not only gasoline and diesel, but also a low-volume hybrid version. Their range lets the VW sedan be many things to many different buyers, though it has a lot of ground to cover. It must squeeze in what might be the most usable amount of interior space in the compact class; deliver an impressive sweet spot of performance, refinement, and fuel economy; and pack in plenty of features, all while keeping the price point in the mid-$20,000 range. Somehow, the Jetta seems to accomplish all of that, and its sales reflect that success.

From the outside, however, the Jetta remains one of the more conservatively styled options in the segment. If you want style and flair in a compact sedan, you’d probably be better served going for a model like the Mazda 3, Ford Focus, or Dodge Dart. The Jetta’s latest refresh brings a few subtle changes to the front and rear fascia, which VW claims should improve the Jetta’s aerodynamics. At the rear, there’s a new trunk lid with an integrated aerodynamic trailing edge, and GLI and Hybrid models get newly optional LED taillights. The rear-end changes give the car a conspicuous premium look, as it resembles very closely the current Audi A4. The car’s interior has also been updated with a new steering wheel and revised infotainment and climate controls. 

The 2015 Jetta is still so spacious, it barely squeezes into the compact class. A great driving position, the back-seat space of a mid-size sedan, and obvious German heritage throughout, from the first turn of the steering wheel: It’s all part of the experience in the Jetta, which is one of the most livable and refined of its kind.

Most Jetta models will be powered either by a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (1.8T) or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel (TDI). Both models now receive an active radiator shutter that closes to shorten engine warm-up times and also reduce aerodynamic drag when extra cooling isn’t needed. The diesel engine in the TDI models is a new unit, and delivers 36 mpg combined with either the manual or automatic transmissions. Real-world fuel economy could reach 40 mpg or more, however, as diesels often achieve on their ratings–especially in high-speed use, where the EPA highway ratings are 45 or 46 mpg. The anemic naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four returns to the lineup in base models.

The Jetta Hybrid also carries over, with its 1.4-liter turbocharged four, hybrid system, and additional battery pack—all adding up to a car that’s more fun to drive than a Prius, albeit not quite as efficient. And the GLI, with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four and sportier demeanor, will continue as the Jetta that packs the most fun. The Hybrid and GLI models are expected to go on sale early in 2015.

The other important news for 2015 is that VW has decided to bring some of its advanced-tech features and active-safety equipment to the U.S.; previously, these expensive items were only available in Europe and other overseas markets. Blind-spot detection, frontal collision warning, and rear cross-traffic alert are all newly available this year. It also has a beefed-up front crash structure (though you’ll never know it–the changes are all under the surface), which lets the 2015 Jetta ace the new and tougher IIHS small-overlap front crash test. It gets not only the top “Good” ratings on every IIHS test, but also the coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Shoppers interested in well-equipped models will have the option of adding bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive lighting and LED daytime running lights, which were previously exclusive to GLI and Hybrid Jetta trims. We’re glad to see the inclusion of these technologies, seen in many luxury cars, because when this Jetta generation was launched in 2011 it fell victim to U.S.-centric cost-cutting that denied our market of many of the premium-feeling materials and features available on Jettas elsewhere.

One other Jetta program note: For 2015, the SportWagen gives up its Jetta name, with an all-new SportWagen now becoming part of the Golf lineup. It had always been based on the Golf platform, so Golf SportWagen is a more honest name, even if the change might throw some consumers.

2015 Honda Accord Hybrid / Plug-In Hybrid

The Basics:

The 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid, along with its rare and low-volume sibling the Accord Plug-In Hybrid, offers not only the most fuel-efficient model in the Accord lineup but a genuinely desirable hybrid mid-size sedan that competes very effectively against similarly sized hybrid sedans from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota.

The Accord was last updated and redesigned for the 2013 model year, though the pair of hybrids didn’t launch until the 2014 year. While the plug-in hybrid built in Japan is Honda’s first-ever, it is sold only in a handful of states, and not even 1,000 have been sold in 24 months. The plug-in model actually went on sale first, in January 2013, while the conventional Accord Hybrid entered the market in the fall of that year.

The Accord Hybrid, on the other hand, is built in Ohio, but has been supply-limited due to shortages of some key components. While its outstanding 47-mpg combined fuel economy rating is higher than that of any of its competitors, it too remains frustratingly rare to buyers on the ground–which means that if you find one, you’re not likely to be able to bargain too hard for it.In the fall of 2014, Honda said it was working hard to boost production.

Honda has sold mild hybrids–which don’t offer all-electric running–since 2000, although it is now phasing them out with the withdrawal of its Insight model last year. There was a previous Accord Hybrid, sold from 2004-2007, but its mild-hybrid system was tuned for extra performance rather than fuel economy. Confused consumers didn’t get it, and the model largely failed to sell and was withdrawn.

Now Honda has developed a clever and compact two-motor full hybrid system designed specifically for larger vehicles. It offers electric running at low speeds and under light loads, electric torque to assist a downsized gasoline engine, and regenerative braking to recapture and reuse energy that would otherwise be wasted as brake heat. Competitors for the Accord Hybrid, including the hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Toyota Camry. In turn, the plug-in version competes with the Ford Fusion Energi–also a plug-in hybrid–and the Chevrolet Volt.

The styling of both hybrid Accords is largely that of the current Accord gasoline models, although the plug-in has more differentiation in its grille, lights, and trim. It’s a clean, handsome sedan very much in the mold of Accords past, and we give Honda’s designers special praise for keeping the beltline low–improving the driver’s rearward visibility and making it possible for shorter rear-seat passengers to see out the windows.

Inside, the new hybrid 2014 Accords are pretty much standard-issue Accord, with different displays on the gauge cluster and the central touchscreen that provide more detail about the car’s operation and energy usage. We particularly liked Honda’s power-meter graphic to the left of the speedometer, which was easily intuitive, with a job in the bars to show where the engine would have to switch on under acceleration

The Accord Hybrid’s 137-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine runs on the ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle, and has one electric motor–which serves as a generator to charge the battery pack on engine overrun–fixed to the back of it. A second electric motor that powers the vehicle is fixed to the differential that transfers power to the front wheels, and can also recharge the pack under regenerative braking.

Unusually, Honda’s new large hybrid system offers three different types of operation–all of them automatically chosen by its control software. It can accelerate electrically up to 30 mph, and it will also drop into electric-only mode under light load at higher speeds up to 60 mph. It also functions as a conventional parallel hybrid with engine and motor together contributing torque (with the clutch engaged). Then, at higher speeds, the engine alone powers the front wheels, with no electric involvement. But the engine is well muffled and comes on smoothly as needed, so the driver won’t necessarily know what’s happening under the hood.

Both hybrid Accords have stronger all-electric acceleration and a longer electric range than their Prius equivalents. The one drawback we found is that both cars, the plug-in especially, feel considerably heavier on the road than do the conventional four-cylinder Accords, which are relatively svelte. The handling and roadholding were fine, but the hybrid Accords feel somewhat larger and a bit more ponderous than the light, easier-to-toss-around four-cylinder Accord gasoline model. It’s not objectionable, but it’s a notable difference in a car that looks more or less the same.

With a larger 6.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the trunk behind the rear seat, the plug-in hybrid adds an additional mode (and more weight). It can operate as a Volt-like series hybrid with the engine turning the first generator to produce electricity that powers the second motor (with the clutch between the motor opened). It too reverts to all-electric running under light loads, just as the hybrid does, at speeds as high as 60 mph.

The plug-in hybrid gives drivers an “HV” button that allows them to direct the plug-in hybrid Accord to operate only as a hybrid, to conserve the battery charge for when it may be needed later. There’s also an “HV Charge” mode that keeps the engine on longer to recharge the battery pack up to its capacity for maximum electric range later on. The standard Accord Hybrid, however, doesn’t offer those.

On the road, the plug-in Accord stays in electric mode under all but the most aggressive driving circumstances–and under conditions in which the plug-in Prius would long since have switched on its engine. Under acceleration, it stayed in electric mode up to 45 mph, and frequently switched back to electric running with the accelerator steady at speeds as high as 60 mph. When the engine did switch on, it only became noisy under foot-to-the-floor acceleration, and even then it was more of a muted turbine noise than the anguished howl of the plug-in Prius engine.

The 2015 Accord Hybrid is rated at 47 mpg combined (50 mpg city, 45 mpg highway), which is better than any other hybrid on the market except three of the four members of the Toyota Prius family. Notably, it’s higher than the Ford Fusion Hybrid (recently adjusted down to 43 mpg), the Camry Hybrid, and the mechanically identical Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima sedans. Our experience in several road tests of an Accord Hybrid was that real-world mileage was between 41 and 48 mpg, meaning that the ratings are roughly on target if you factor in the 10-percent variation most hybrid owners expect.

The plug-in hybrid Accord is rated at 13 miles of range–higher than the plug-in Prius at 11 miles, but lower than the Fusion Energi at 20 miles and the Volt at 38 miles–and 46 mpg when running on gasoline, better than the Volt’s 37 mpg and the Fusion’s 38 mpg. The EPA rates the Accord Plug-In Hybrid’s efficiency in electric mode at 115 MPGe, higher than the Fusion Energi’s 100 MPGe and the Volt’s 98 MPGe. (Miles-Per-Gallon-Equivalent measures the distance a car can travel electrically on the same energy as contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.)

Various trim levels and options are available on the Accord Hybrid, although–once again–availability has been so limited in its first year that eager buyers will take whatever model arrives on the local Honda dealer’s lots. The very low-volume Accord Plug-In Hybrid is at the highest end of the Accord range, with essentially every feature that’s offered on the top-of-the-line Accord EX-L gasoline model, including LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control, and other features.

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