The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Gets a Minor Styling Refresh and a Major Dose of Refinement

  • Available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Standard 8-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Quieter engine when accelerating
  • Part of the 10th Accord generation introduced for 2018

What is the Accord Hybrid?

If you guessed the Accord Hybrid is just like a regular Honda Accord but with a highly economical hybrid powertrain, well, you’d be right. Honda has compromised little of its already excellent Accord platform with its latest hybrid generation, which debuted for the 2018 model year. For 2021, Honda has made a variety of changes to enhance the car’s appeal.

Visually, the Accord Hybrid looks largely the same for 2021. Honda has made relatively minor changes to the front end, with the most noticeable being a restyled grille. The Hybrid now uses more distinctive badging on the grille and front fenders. For 2021, there are also some new and improved technology features. But we’re most excited about the mechanical changes. In particular, Honda improved the isolation of the Accord Hybrid’s engine to reduce excess noise and vibration. It also revised the car’s power delivery to have a more traditional and linear feel. These changes are welcome since prior years of the Hybrid were overly noisy during hard acceleration.

How does the Accord Hybrid drive?

Power for the Accord Hybrid hasn’t changed and remains 212 horsepower derived from the combination of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a hybrid system. The hybrid setup has a starter-generator paired to the gasoline engine as well as a propulsion motor that draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack. This combination makes more power than the Toyota’s Camry Hybrid (208 hp) and the Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid (192 hp) and gives the Accord Hybrid quicker-than-average acceleration for the class.

Honda’s improvements to the powertrain have indeed worked. Not only is the engine quieter and more refined, but it’s also less prone to use excessive (and noisy) revving when you ask for a little more acceleration. On the stopping side, Honda’s fiddled with Accord Hybrid’s brake setup to provide a smoother — and now nearly seamless — mix of regenerative and mechanical braking power.

How comfortable is the Accord Hybrid?

Because of the extra weight associated with a hybrid battery pack, most hybrid sedans typically don’t ride quite as well as their non-hybrid siblings. This is also true for the Accord Hybrid, although its ride comfort is still best in class by some margin.

We tested the top-trim Accord Hybrid Touring, which comes with an adaptive suspension as well as big 19-inch wheels. While we appreciate the extra features of the Touring (ventilated front seats, for example), we haven’t found that the adaptive shock absorbers contribute much to the ride quality. In fact, we’d go so far as to recommend either the EX or EX-L trim level if comfort is a priority for you. They cost thousands less than the similarly equipped Touring trim and still have a smooth ride thanks to their smaller 17-inch wheels that have cushier tire sidewalls.

How’s the Accord Hybrid’s interior?

If it ain’t broke, etc. The Accord Hybrid’s interior is unchanged from that of the standard Accord. With the exception of a few hard plastic panels, we have no real complaints about the premium look and feel. The front seats are a bit more firm than other offerings in this class, but on higher trim levels, they are highly adjustable and offer both heating and ventilation. Rear passengers see no loss in legroom due to the battery pack or anything else related to the hybrid powertrain.

How’s the Accord Hybrid’s tech?

Honda’s done quite a bit to bolster the Accord Hybrid by making the previously optional 8-inch infotainment touchscreen standard equipment. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are part of the deal and can be had with new wireless compatibility on the EX, EX-L and Touring trims. Wireless connectivity allows you to start these integration systems without having to plug in with a USB cord. Wireless charging is also available on those same trim levels.

For 2021, Honda has tweaked its adaptive cruise control for smoother, more natural deceleration. During our time in the Accord Hybrid, we found it to be responsive yet well mannered, even down to a stop. The lane-keeping assist system has also been refined and now provides more gradual steering corrections when you start to veer out of your lane. The top-level Touring trim also gets automatic low-speed braking that applies the brakes if parking sensors detect an imminent collision with an object in front of or behind the vehicle.

How economical is the Accord Hybrid?

Is the Hybrid the Accord to get? From a value standpoint, definitely. Compared to the non-hybrid Accord LX with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine, the base Accord Hybrid LX costs $1,600 more. For that you get an EPA-estimated 48 mpg in combined driving (48 city/48 highway), or 43 mpg in the Touring trim level.

A regular Accord with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine gets 33 mpg combined. So, yes, you save on gas with the Accord Hybrid, but it’s going to take a few years to recoup the cost. There are fringe benefits, however. The Accord Hybrid is quicker to accelerate, for example, and it has a longer cruising range of more than 600 miles on a single tank of gas.

Edmunds says

The Accord Hybrid takes all the comfort and refinement of the standard Accord and gains fuel efficiency, power and a few additional standard features. This year’s improvements to the powertrain have given the Hybrid a quieter driving experience, too, making it a top choice for a midsize hybrid sedan.

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