How far have cars come in 30 years? Surprisingly, the Pontiac Trans Am and Honda Accord Hybrid are closely matched!
Our recently acquired 1995 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is lighter and more powerful than the 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid. This old-school coupe has a 305 horsepower 5.7-liter LT1 V8, making about 330 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a Borg Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission.
For many of us, the Honda Accord Hybrid is remarkable more because of its efficiency than its performance. This is a family sedan that gets remarkable MPG numbers (51 City / 44 Highway mpg), while still being an engaging car to drive. Rather than the standard, gas-only Accord’s 1.5-liter turbocharged unit, the Hybrid has a 204-horsepower combined output from its gas engine and electric motor, the latter of which feeds the front wheels via an e-CVT. The thing is, the “e-CVT” isn’t a conventional transmission at all.
Instead of using the gas motor to occasionally drive the front wheels, this system uses two electric motors to work out power delivery takes most of the time. The gasoline engine largely works as a generator, sending its energy through the battery, then an electric motor to drive the front wheels. Under hard acceleration or when the hybrid battery is low, though, the gas engine and electric motor work together to power the front wheels.
Nevertheless, the whole mileage and efficiency high point of the Accord hybrid are completely inconsequential to this test. What we’re looking at is acceleration, in a standing-start quarter-mile and a rolling start drag race. We’re also measuring braking and, for the first time, handling!
This video may not be what you expect, because the results were remarkably close!