Widely regarded by experts as the benchmark midsize sedan, Honda raises the Accord’s game for the 2021 model year with a refresh that includes updates to styling, technology, drivability and safety features. In addition, unique upgrades were made to performance and design for the ultra-efficient and refined Accord Hybrid. On-sale at Honda dealerships beginning Oct. 13, the 2021 Accord will carry a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $24,770 (not including destination and handling), while the 2021 Accord Hybrid will be available at a starting MSRP of $26,370.
“The new Honda Accord Hybrid is really the Accord to buy, offering customers more of everything they like about Accord — more power, refinement and, of course, excellent fuel economy ratings,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations at American Honda.
2021 ACCORD UPGRADES
For the 2021 model year, all Accords boast a wider, restyled grille for an even more sophisticated look, along with improved integration of the Honda Sensing® system’s radar unit. Flanking the new grille on Sport and above trims (EX and above on Hybrid) are new LED high- and low-beam headlights with longer and wider down-the-road illumination. Also new are smaller openings for the fog lights. Additionally, LX, EX-L and Touring trims all receive new alloy wheel designs, while a new color is available for Sport, Sport Special Edition (SE) and Touring trims: Sonic Gray Pearl.
Inside, further enhancements to the class-leading style and sophistication of Accord’s cabin include an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen entertainment system now standard on all trims (previously, EX and above). Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration also are now standard (previously EX and above), and EX-L and Touring trims (EX and above on Hybrid models) get new wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration.
The combination of wireless charging and wireless smartphone integration eliminates the extra step of physically connecting the phone, making Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ ready to go and freeing up an additional USB port for charging a separate phone. Front USB ports on all grades have been moved to the front of the center console for easier access, and Sport and higher trims (EX and higher trims for Accord Hybrid) now include dual 2.5-volt USB ports for rear seat passengers.
All Accords also receive a new Rear Seat Reminder, while upper grades gain a new Low Speed Braking Control system.
The 2021 Accord Hybrid benefits from updates to the innovative Honda two-motor hybrid system for a more direct and immediate throttle response with a more natural acceleration feeling as engine revs climb in concert with the driver’s throttle input. With a peak total system output of 212 horsepower and peak torque delivery of 232 lb.-ft. right off idle, Accord Hybrid has the most power and torque in its class, with a top fuel economy rating of 48 mpg2.
Thanks to the unique configuration of the two-motor hybrid system, the Accord Hybrid also can spend more time operating solely on electric power than competing hybrid models, imbuing Accord with a smoother and more refined driving feel. Also, Accord’s sophisticated brake-by-wire technology offers more natural and consistent braking performance and pedal feel versus competing models, seamlessly blending mechanical and regenerative braking force.
Honda’s two-motor hybrid system uses a propulsion motor and a generator/starter motor built with a patented Honda design made with magnets using no heavy rare-earth metals. This reduces magnet cost and weight, while also reducing reliance on rare-earth metals, helping avoid the often negative environmental impact of mining them.
The hybrid powertrain control system manages the power delivery between each component and seamlessly switches between EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive for maximum efficiency with no input from the driver. Accord Hybrid drivers can further maximize fuel efficiency, or power, by selecting between Sport, EV and ECON modes using the three buttons behind the push-button gear selector.
Already, Honda leads all full-line automakers in fleet-average fuel economy and low CO2 emissions according to the U.S. EPA, with 27 vehicles that received EPA combined fuel economy ratings of 30 mpg or higher.
Visually, Accord Hybrid adds its own unique touches to the styling updates made to the entire 2021 Accord lineup, including a blue H-mark on the grille and Hybrid badges on the front fenders and trunk lid. This year, Accord Hybrid Touring grade features 19-inch wheels, giving it an upscale and sporty appearance.
NEW SPORT SPECIAL EDITION
The Accord Sport SE is new to the lineup for 2021, replacing Accord EX 1.5T and expands on the popular Sport trim with additional sought-after features. The new Sport SE adds leather seats, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat to complement the addition of 12-way power driver’s seat, heated mirrors, Smart Entry, and remote engine start to the popular Accord Sport 1.5T grade. This is in addition to the already generous equipment on the Sport 1.5T, which includes dual rear USB ports, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather-wrapped shift knob, and an 8-speaker audio system. Visually, Accord Sport and Sport SE are distinguished from the other trims by a rear trunk lid spoiler, trim-specific 19-inch wheel design, LED fog lights, dark-chrome grille and chrome exhaust finishers.
POWERTRAIN AND DRIVING DYNAMICS
In addition to the updates made to Accord Hybrid’s two-motor system, the 2021 Accord’s two turbocharged engines receive updated engine management software for more linear and responsive throttle control. In addition, the 1.5-liter turbo has improved Idle Stop performance, with quicker engine start-up when the driver releases the brake.
A 192-horspower 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo® engine is standard in Accord LX, Sport, Sport SE and EX-L grades, while Accord Sport 2.0T and Touring are available exclusively with a 252-horsepower, 2.0-liter VTEC Turbo®.
The braking system has also been updated for smoother engagement, especially at low speeds such as in stop-and-go traffic and in parking situations.