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Experiencing the $8,000 Honda Hybrid You Can't Drive

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/15/2015 Zach Gale

The Civic Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid may have been discontinued, but Honda's got another hybrid that’s only $8,000. There's just one catch, you can't drive it in the traditional sense -- you blow snow with it. At a recent 2016 Honda Accord event ( read the review here ), the automaker was eager to point out how far the brand stretches beyond cars and motorcycles. When I had a chance to test the HS1336i, the flagship model of Honda's snow blower lineup and the least expensive new Honda hybrid I'll ever use, I jumped at the opportunity.

Experiencing the $8,000 Honda Hybrid You Can't Drive

Weighing a little over 500 pounds, the Honda HS1336i Hybrid is powered by a 390cc four-stroke engine that charges two 12-volt batteries. The engine is shared with the HSS1332, a model that has a clearing width of 32 inches and a rating of 83 tons/hour to the HS1336i's 36 inches and 91 tons/hour (the new HSS series will be available in September). The hybrid snow blower, which we tested on sawdust since San Diego doesn't see much snow in late July, is louder than any Honda hybrid you can drive, but Honda says the hybrid powertrain actually helps lower noise as well as reduce emissions.

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Honda Snow Blower© Provided by MotorTrend Honda Snow Blower But this is no first-gen Honda Insight -type hybrid, focused almost exclusively on efficiency. The HS1336i is a little more like the six-cylinder Honda Accord Hybrid of the mid-2000s, with performance still a high priority. Customers with heavy-duty snow-plowing needs may be well-served by this flagship model, whose hybrid powertrain helps propel the track system and is said to enhance performance when you're using it up a hill, loading it on a ramp or truck, plowing through a large snow bank, or going through slushy conditions. I plowed through some sawdust (what the Honda engineering teams use for research and development during the summer months) and was surprised by how easy it was. And for this Southern California resident, fun to watch piles of sawdust go shooting into the air, aiming with the electronic joystick chute control.

Of course, the HS1336i is meant for hard work, and so is the motor powering up and down the windows on Honda Civics. By searching through Honda's enormous parts database across divisions, the Power Equipment department determined that a motor used on a Honda car would work well with the chutes of its new HSS snow blowers.

The Honda HSS1332 non-hybrid snow blower© Provided by MotorTrend The Honda HSS1332 non-hybrid snow blower So if you can't wait for the more powerful and efficient 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, aside from the CR-Z hatch, there's always the HS1336i Hybrid, which for $8,000, will really blow.

Source: Honda Honda Snow Blower© Provided by MotorTrend Honda Snow Blower

Honda Snow Blower© Provided by MotorTrend Honda Snow Blower
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