2021 Honda Accord and Accord Hybrid: Keeping a Winning Formula Fresh
Competes with: Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Kia K5, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat
Looks like: The current Accord with a slightly different face and a new Sport SE trim
Powertrain: Turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (LX, Sport, Sport SE, EX-L); turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 10-speed automatic transmission (Sport 2.0T, Touring); 2.0-liter four-cylinder, electric motor and battery pack (Accord Hybrid); front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Tuesday
Honda’s popular Accord and Accord Hybrid roll into the 2021 model year with minor, but important, enhancements as well as refreshed front styling. It makes sense that Honda wouldn’t want to alter too much a successful formula like the Accord’s, choosing instead to make incremental improvements and replacing the Accord EX 1.5T with a new Sport SE trim.
Related: Honda Passport: Which Should You Buy, 2020 or 2021?
The announcement of these changes comes just a day before the new 2021 Accord and Accord Hybrid are scheduled to arrive at dealerships. Honda is also making a significant push for the Accord Hybrid as the “best Accord of them all” (the company’s words). On the heels of the elimination of the manual transmission from the Accord lineup, one wonders if the gas-only Accord is long for this world.
Styling changes to the 2021 Accord and Accord Hybrid are minor, and focused mostly on the front, which has a new, wider grille with new chrome accents (Sport models get dark chrome grille accents) and updated LED headlights on all but the base models. The lower front bumper and foglight surrounds are also updated. Honda also says it’s done a better job of integrating the Honda Sensing radar pod into the grille.
Three new wheel designs are now available, and the Accord Hybrid Touring now gets 19-inch wheels instead of the previous 17-inchers. Sport, Sport SE and Touring also get a new Sonic Gray Pearl color option.
Honda’s 8-inch Display Audio infotainment system is now standard on all models, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Both were previously only available on the EX and above. New for 2021 is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, standard on the Accord EX-L and above, and Accord Hybrid EX and above.
The two front USB ports have been moved to in front of the center console and gear selector, while Accord Sport and Accord Hybrid EX and higher get two new USB ports for rear passengers.
The new Sport SE trim adds upgraded interior features like leather upholstery, heated front seats and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.
Engine and Fuel Economy
Engine upgrades are similarly subtle, with the same power figures for all engines as in 2020: 192 horsepower from the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, 252 hp from the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 212 total system horsepower for the Accord Hybrid. Instead, Honda updated the engine management software for the gas engines to give them what it says is “more linear and responsive throttle control.” The Accord Hybrid’s powertrain gets similar updates to improve acceleration feel, and Honda says the Accord Hybrid can spend more time being powered solely by its electric motor.
According to EPA fuel economy estimates, the Accord Hybrid averages 48/48/48 mpg city/highway combined, except for the Touring, which drops to 44/41/43 mpg. Gas models are lower, with the Sport 2.0T and Touring 2.0T rated at 22/32/26. The 1.5-liter Sport and Sport SE are rated 29/35/32, while the same powertrain in the LX and EX-L is rated 30/38/33.
All Accords and Accord Hybrids get standard Honda Sensing, which includes forward collision detection with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist.
For 2021, Honda updated the adaptive cruise control to provide what it says is smoother braking when behind another vehicle, and the lane keep assist is also updated for “more effective and natural lane centering.” The new LED headlights also provide longer and wider illumination, according to the manufacturer.
Two new features for all 2021 Accords and Accord Hybrids are a reminder to check the backseat before leaving the vehicle and a rear seat belt alert that detects whether rear occupants have buckled up. Accord Touring and Accord Hybrid Touring also get a new low-speed front and rear automatic braking system that uses the parking sensors to detect an imminent collision, warn the driver and brake automatically if necessary.
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Pricing and Release Date
The 2021 Accord and Accord Hybrid go on sale on Tuesday. Prices for the Accord start at $25,725 for the Accord LX and range up to $37,655 for the Touring. The Accord Hybrid, meanwhile, starts at $27,325 and climbs to $37,195 for the Touring. All prices include a $955 destination fee.
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