Several years ago I saw a really cool Jeepster Commando at the Big Rock car show in Duvall. I thought that I should have one. Well, I didn’t see any more and had somewhat forgotten about it until this spring when I got to drive one at the Mecum Auction in Seattle. It was a perfect restoration, was like brand new and sold for $26,000 plus 10 percent buyer’s premium — a little too nice and too pricey for me, plus I didn’t have a bidder card anyway.
My Saturday mornings are usually reserved for golf or hiking but recently neither of those options were available so I thought I should finally check out the Saturday morning car show at Redmond Town Center. It’s held every Saturday morning (during the “nice” season) in the big back parking lot.
MSRP $29,305 Base $35,845 as driven MPG: 50 city, 45 hwy
Road trip 2015: Wenatchee, Washington to Grand Targhee, Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth, Wyoming. This was our biggest road trip ever and we were grateful to have a solid vehicle to get us safely there and back.
I normally drive a 2004 Honda Accord so this was a comfortable car for us to begin with, but a serious upgrade to the “Momda.” We were a bit skeptical of how this would pan out when Jack opened the trunk to find it’s about half the size of a standard Accord. The battery takes up quite a bit of storage space. I had to rethink our packing. Two nights of camping added to our five nights of hotelling meant extra items for the beginning of our journey. I squashed everything in, including the kids, somehow. Thankfully, our friends took our extra camping gear home and we didn’t have to repack my original masterpiece for the remainder of the journey.
We covered close to 2,160 miles on this trip and I spent about $135 on fuel, averaging 40.6 mpg. The web site www.fueleconomy.gov allows you to calculate the estimated fuel costs on trips and compare vehicles. Roadtrippers.com also estimates your fuel costs and I was expecting to pay closer to $350 in my Accord, or similar rental car. One day we drove 150 miles around Yellowstone and the gas gauge didn’t move. The hybrid runs on the battery most while braking or going downhill. The steady foot-on-the-gas highway driving is where you’re going to see the fuel usage increase.
The 4-cylinder engine definitely did not mean we were being passed by everyone on the highway. The highway speed limits in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana were a bit higher than Washington’s 60-70 m.p.h. limits and we maintained those speeds without a problem.
There is a period of time getting used to the battery and engine noises. Starting the car is a quiet process and we found out it did not wake our camping neighbors when we headed out of Wenatchee at 6 a.m. Recharging of the battery and speeding up were the times when we weren’t sure if the sounds were normal or not. We quickly realized the winding sound was normal. Although these are fairly standard, our favorite things were:
• Air conditioning! I almost slept in the car a few times. • XM Radio • Cruise control
The Accord Hybrid is an aesthetically pleasing car. We were driving the Obsidian Blue Pearl colored Honda. It was covered in a billion bugs by the time we reached home but two car washes later, she was as good as new.
I probably wouldn’t suggest this car for major road trips for a family larger than three. We definitely used the back seat for storage of soft items and a small cooler for camping. We would not have had room for a fourth human or a pet. For a daily commuter and for a smaller family, this is a fantastic drive.
For more information: automobiles.honda.com/accord-hybrid.