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Practical and Well-Designed: 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid on Everyman Driver

The Honda Accord has been a mainstay of the midsize family sedan class for years, thanks to its comfortable cabin, practicality, and sporty driving characteristics. Priced competitively amongst other top segment rivals, the Accord excels with easy-to-use technology and impressive fuel economy; an available hybrid powertrain provides up to 48 MPG. Many advanced driver aids come standard, and the Accord has a reputation for safety and reliability.

What’s New: Accord’s exterior gets subtle styling updates; New Sport Special Edition has premium features; EX-L trim comes with wireless phone charging; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now standard

The Honda Accord is one of the sportiest non-luxury sedans on the market, thanks to its powerful engine lineup and agile handling. The LX, Sport, Sport SE, and EX-L trims come with the base 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that links to a single-speed continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel-drive is standard on all Accords, but all-wheel-drive is not available like on some competitors. The compact four-cylinder engine makes 192 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty for driving around town and passing cars on the highway. The powertrain has received praise for its quick acceleration and quietness. It’s also very economical, getting an EPA-estimated 30/38/33 MPG city/highway/combined — amongst the best numbers for a non-hybrid family sedan with this much cabin space.

Next is the 2.0-liter turbo, which is optional on the Sport and standard on the Touring. It generates 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, and this engine connects to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters sit behind the steering wheel. This motor transforms the Accord’s driving experience into one of the sportiest in its segment.

Hybrid powertrains are all the rage these days, providing car owners with everyday drivability and incredible fuel efficiency. The Accord Hybrid comes in four trims, and all use a 2.0-liter gas engine and two electric motors. One of the motors propels the Accord at low speeds, while the other is a starter/generator that conserves energy for cabin electronics. The total power output is 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque, available immediately from idle. The hybrid powertrain control system seamlessly switches between Engine Drive, Hybrid Drive, and EV (Electric Vehicle) Drive modes, without the need for driver input. It gets an EPA-estimated 48 MPG.

Honda incorporates its trademark sporty style into the Accord, with sleek surfaces, excellent driver controls, and integrated safety and infotainment technology. The Accord’s cabin is large and roomy, with plenty of space in both rows. Rear-seat passengers get over 40 inches of legroom, which is nearly best-in-class, and it gives the Accord the feel of a larger vehicle. Hondas tend to have some of the best in-cabin storage options, and the Accord doesn’t disappoint, with deep door bins, an expansive center console cubby, and several trays for small items. Front and rear occupants get cupholders.

Another Honda trademark is meticulous interior quality. The materials used throughout the cabin feel premium and well crafted, with virtually no panel gaps. The tech is nicely built into the car’s interior surfaces, with large climate control knobs in the dashboard. An electronic gear selector lies flat between the front seats, giving the car a more streamlined feel. The steering wheel is thick and comfortable, with controls for adaptive cruise control, hands-free calling, music, and more.

The Accord’s 8.0-inch touchscreen sits atop the dashboard. It handles all of the vehicle’s infotainment functions, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system also lets the driver change several vehicle settings, allowing them to temporarily turn off certain active safety aids, change how long in-cabin lighting remains on, and much more. Unlike many modern cars, the Accord has a physical knob for the audio system volume. Upper trims come with navigation, a heads-up display, an eight- or ten-speaker audio system, and wireless device charging.

Overall, the Accord’s standard features compete well against rivals, though some have larger infotainment screens and higher-end audio systems. The Accord’s cabin remains very quiet on the road, and the ride is soft over most surfaces. The Sport trims’ larger wheels and a tighter suspension tuning impact the ride quality and fuel efficiency somewhat. The Accord has one of the biggest trunks in its segment, with 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Should more room be needed, the rear seats fold down.

Overall, the Honda Accord remains one of the best midsize cars on the market. It does many things very well. The Accord prioritizes safety, and several active driver aids are standard on all trims. The Accord tends to do well in crashworthiness tests, too. While it has a quiet ride and a roomy cabin, it’s also one of the more fun-to-drive choices in its category. The Accord’s agile handling and turbocharged engines put it ahead of most competitors in driver engagement. The available hybrid powertrain gets a remarkable 48 MPG without feeling underpowered. The Accord’s cabin is straightforward and user-friendly, with many standard amenities. The value-priced Sport SE trim combines a playful attitude with heated front seats, leather, and remote start. Passenger space and cargo capacity are excellent. While some rivals come with fancier available infotainment, the Accord continues to be one of the most well-rounded sedans on the market.

Pricing for the latest Accord ranges from around $25,000-$37,000, before options. The Accord comes with front-wheel-drive, and most trims are also available with a fuel-saving hybrid engine.

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