When it comes to the world of hybrid powertrains, Honda gets a lot right. The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is proof of this. With up to 48 mpg in city and highway driving combined, buyers will find that they like the fuel economy provided by the powertrain. On top of that, they will be a bit surprised to find out that this hybrid is quick to accelerate. It is a lot like the gas-powered Accord models in this regard.
Actually, the Hybrid is a lot like the gas-powered Accords in many ways. Even trunk space is just about the same since the Hybrid's battery pack does not take up space back there. With its 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space when all seats are left upright, the Accord Hybrid offers a best-in-class trunk size. You can fit a few weeks' worth of groceries back there or a few bags of golf clubs.
Not only that, but Honda adds a lot of practically designed small items storage spaces to the Accord Hybrid's cabin. The center arm rest's storage bin is considerably large and can fit multiple devices in there for safekeeping. The front console is designed with a cubby hole for a wireless charging pad (which is optional) and several smartphones.
The cabin itself is more than generous on space. The rear seats can accompany rear-facing child safety seats without an issue, and taller adults can stretch their legs out in the back without feeling cramped for space. We also have to mention how easy the LATCH system is to use for those child safety seats. The anchors are easy to find and are clearly marked, and no seat fabric gets in the way.
One of the things that holds the Accord Hybrid back from being a totally solid ride is the brakes. You will get some seamless passing off from the regenerative brakes, and the pedal itself feels firm enough under your foot. However, panic stops take a while, and the distance to make them is actually in line with what you would expect to make on a larger SUV or truck.
Overall, though, the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is a top contender in its class this model year, as it has been basically since its inception. A more spacious option than the likes of the Toyota Prius, the Accord Hybrid has a lot to offer. Could it be what you need? Let us go through its different trim levels (most of which also come on the gas-powered Accord line-up) to see which one has the best value for the everyday buyer.
Compare the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Base vs EX Trim Level. - What is the Difference?
Make no mistake - the base Accord Hybrid is well stocked with standard features. First and foremost, Honda Sensing - a bundle of driver aids - comes standard on each trim level. This gives you access to a collision mitigation braking system, a road departure mitigation system, low-speed follow on the adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition. Other standard driver assistance features include automatic high beams. The EX upgrades you with a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert.
Listen to your favorite tunes on the Hybrid Base's 4-speaker, 160-watt sound system or on the EX's 180-watt 8-speaker system. The Base gets one 1.0-Amp USB audio input up front, but the EX gets a pair of 2.5-amp USB smartphone/audio inputs and a 2.5-amp charge-only USB port for the rear. Smartphone app integration is standard but becomes wireless on the EX trim level. Both vehicles have an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity, a radio data system, and HondaLink. The EX gives you multiple additions, including the wireless phone charger, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and a SMS text messaging function.
As far as creature comforts go, the Accord Hybrid's Base trim is packed, as is the EX. Standard convenience features include a dual-zone climate control system, power windows with auto-up/down on both front windows, auto-locking power doors, cruise control, push button start, one-touch indicators, front and rear beverage holders, a capless fuel filler, two 12-volt power outlets, a defroster for the rear window, side door pockets, floor mats, illumination on the steering wheel controls and power window switches, and a locking glove box. The EX adds a seatback pocket on the driver's seat.
On the EX, the front seats are both manually adjustable, but on the EX, the driver's seat is 12-way power adjustable with 4-way power lumbar support. The front seats also gain a standard heating function. On both, the rear seats are 60/40-split folding.
On the outside, the Accord Hybrid Base and EX trim levels both come with an aluminum hood, trunk release and remote entry with the security system, body-colored door handles, and variable intermittent windshield wipers. There are taillights with integrated LED light bars and LED brake lights. The power side mirrors are body-colored, as is the fin-style roof-mounted antenna. The only differences are that the EX has LED headlights with auto-on/off, LED fog lights, and a tilting one-touch power moonroof. Also, the side mirrors gain a heating function.
Now, let's talk mechanical specs. The Base and EX are both powered by a gas inline-4 cylinder, a lithium battery, and an electric motor. This amounts to a grand total of 212 hp. These two trims have port fuel injection, as well as standard Hill Start Assist, the Eco Assist System, automatic brake hold on the electronic parking brake, Active Noise Cancellation, Remote Engine Start, and an engine immobilizer.
Matched up with a standard Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT), these trims both get a combined 48 mpg (with 48 mpg in the city and another 48 mpg on the highway). This sets the bar high for the hybrid sedan segment. The body and chassis include wheel resonators, a MacPherson front strut suspension, a rear multi-link suspension, 17-inch machine-finish alloy wheels, and all-season tires.
As a nice little bonus, Honda gives every vehicle a tire repair kit as well as 24-hour roadside assistance.
Compare the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid EX vs Hybrid EX-L - What is the Difference?
Time to move up a rung on the trim level ladder and examine what comes on the Hybrid EX-L. As you can imagine, this trim takes what is on the EX and adds an extra layer of luxury.
Like the Hybrid EX, this trim comes with the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). Its list of standard driver aids remains the same, but there is an upgraded 10-speaker 450-watt premium sound system with a subwoofer to beef up the list of audio and connectivity features.
You also get a few more convenience and comfort features. This includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, the HomeLink remote system, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The driver's seat gains two-position memory settings, and the front passenger seat becomes 4-way power adjustable. Leather upholstery is swapped in for the lwoer trims' cloth.
On the outside, the EX-L Hybrid gains integrated turn indicators in its side mirrors, courtesy lights, and body-colored parking sensors (with two up front and four in the rear).
Mechanically, the Hybrid EX-L is a little bit different since its engine is turbocharged with a boost pressure rating of 20.2 psi. This vehicle redlines at 6500 rpm and still utilizes the eCVT.
Compare the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid EX-L vs Hybrid Touring Trim Level. What is the difference?
The line-topping Hybrid Touring trim level is a borderline luxury vehicle. Honda's Touring trims are known for being crammed full of top-notch, highly sought-after features. This year's trim level comes with more driver assist technology, adding on a head-up display and low-speed braking control.
Of course, the list of infotainment features gets maxed out too. Drivers will get treated to Near Field Communication (NFC), Wi-Fi hot spot connectivity, HondaLink's subscription services, and the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. The latter comes with an HD digital traffic function and voice recognition that can recognize natural speech patterns.
Inside of the cabin, the biggest change you will notice is the door pull ambient interior lighting. The rear outboard seats gain a heating function, and the front seats gain standard ventilation in addition to the heating function. This means that you can adjust the seat's temperature to either warm you up or cool you down depending on the outside weather extreme.
The exterior is adorned with a lot more chrome. The door handles are done in chrome, as are the exhaust finishers. The windshield wipers gain a rain-sensing capability, and the passenger-side side mirror has a reverse gear tilt-down function. The front end also gains two body-colored parking sensors, bringing the grand total to eight (four up front and four in the rear).
Mechanically, not a lot is different. The psi boost is marginally raised to 20.8, and displacement increases from 1498 cc to 1996 cc. Horsepower remains the same, and the eCVT is also still standard equipment. There is, however, an adaptive damper system that does create some changes in ride quality and body roll control. Other than that, everything else is basically the same as it is on the Hybrid EX-L.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid offers a solid line of hybrid powertrains that provide a balance between power and fuel economy. The only time you will feel the Accord Hybrid gassing out is after you have forced it up-to-speed and to pass others on the highway. Even then, there is not a significant loss of power, showing just how capable this hybrid model is at accelerating. We just wish the brakes felt a bit more secure during emergency situations. But, to be far, the brakes modulate pretty well in everyday braking scenarios.
That being said, there is one trim level that stands above the rest as the best deal you can get. And that trim level? It is the EX. It hits the right spot, providing ample power and fuel economy while adding just enough standard features to make the vehicle worth its price tag. Sure, it costs quite a bit more than the base Hybrid trim level, but we think the extra money is well-spent.
Why do we say that? Well, having wireless smartphone app integration is a huge bonus for many drivers. You can do this with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and it means you can simply use your smartphone apps without having to go to the trouble of physically connecting your phone. You just do it wirelessly.
While you don't get the leather upholstery that comes on the EX-L, the EX has an interior that looks refined and feels downright cozy. The standard heated front seats are helpful at warming you up on a cold morning and take very little time to get to a cozy temperature. If you live in a cooler climate, they alone might be worth the upgrade.
• Compare the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid Trim Levels