If you are in the market for a hybrid sedan this year, then the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid might have already caught your attention - as well it should. This mid-size hybrid sedan offers a blend of powerful performance with a high fuel economy, and there is no skimping on the interior design. If you have previously purchased a gas-only Accord, then you might find the new hybrid to be just as likable, maybe even more so.
Fuel efficiency is the name of the game on the Accord Hybrid. The powertrain is composed of a gas-powered Atkinson-cycle 2.0-L inline-4 cylinder engine and two electric motors. Put together, they create 212 horsepower. There are three drive modes that are enabled here: EV Drive (which utilizes power strictly from the battery), Hybrid Drive (where the gas engine powers the generator and the battery's electric charge propels the car into motion), and Engine Drive (which engages a clutch to connect the engine with the front wheels when driving along at highway speeds). What does this make for? A hybrid that gets about 48 mpg combined while also being capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds. We can dig it.
We think you might dig it, too. Buyers of the Accord Hybrid tend to enjoy its sporty handling quality, which makes it a more thrilling ride than you might expect. If you have never been behind the wheel of an Accord, then you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by how much road feel this standard front-wheel drive vehicle gets. You might also find yourself taking long drives just so you can enjoy the cozy seats and bounty of standard infotainment features. The long list of driver aids is also quite the bonus.
There are a few issues you might take with the Accord Hybrid though. This is not the quietest sedan out there, and the hybrid powertrain grows coarse when you push the pedal to the metal. The Accord also has a low seat height, which means that getting in and out might pose some challenges for even average-height adults.
That being said, there are a lot of things you need to know about the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid before you settle on buying it. This review will go over what is new for the model year, what we like about the Accord Hybrid, what we would like to see improved upon, and how it stacks up against the competition. Be sure to read through to the end, as that is where we will give you our final verdict on the Accord Hybrid.
What's New for 2021?
Only a few changes have been made to the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid. You can order the Accord Hybrid in Solid Gray Pearl if you so desire. There is also a restyled grille mounted onto the front fascia, optional LED headlights, and a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless smartphone app integration available on the EX-L and Touring trims. The USB ports have been given a new, easier-to-access location, and throttle response has been re-calibrated for improved performance. There is also a new rear seat reminder alert that will warn you to check the rear if a door was opened prior to you starting your journey.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid – The Pros
1. Impressive Fuel Economy
One of the biggest selling points for the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is its fuel economy. While the overall numbers fall slightly short of a few top competitors, the Accord Hybrid pulls in some respectable ratings. The Accord Hybrid now has an EPA estimate of 48 mpg combined, but people are reporting that they get over 50 mpg in combined daily driving. Color us impressed.
2. Three Drive Modes
The three selectable drive modes (EV, Hybrid, and Engine) work to give the Accord Hybrid its great fuel economy. When you want to utilize the battery's charge, just flip it into EV. When you are driving along at highway speeds, Engine Drive is optimal. Hybrid works well in just about any driving scenario. You get to choose which works best for you and how you want to save on fuel with the hybrid powertrain.
3. A Spacious Interior
The Accord models might look small from the outside, but once you hop into the cabin, you will realize just how cavernous they feel. Space abounds up front, and the rear seat offers a decent amount of hip and leg space. Shorter adults and kids will feel right at home back there, and only taller folks will have a hard time with head space. Rear-facing car seats can even be fit into the rear outboard seats without issue.
4. High-quality Interior Materials
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is designed with quality in mind. There are more soft touch surfaces the higher up you go, but even the hard plastics do not look or feel cheap. Nothing should shake or rattle as you roll along. The standard cloth seating feels pleasant, and the optional leather upholstery is certainly chic.
5. Sporty Handling Capabilities
Handling is the Accord's forte, and the Hybrid maintains a sense of composure while rounding through turns. The wheels stay firmly planted, and there is no real body roll to speak of. Cornering feels hassle-free and secure, a true staple of the Honda design.
6. Honda Sensing
Every Honda now comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids. This means that, regardless of which trim level you buy, you have access to features like forward collision warning, a road departure mitigation system, lane keep assist, and a low-speed following feature with the adaptive cruise control. If you want a blind spot monitoring system, you will have to upgrade to add it.
7. Smartphone App Integration
Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard across the line-up. However, you can get wireless smartphone app integration if you upgrade to the Touring. This eliminates the need for excess cords and chargers galore, and it really comes in handy when you want to use your favorite app instead of what is available on the infotainment system.
8. A Snappy Acceleration Speed
Acceleration is not something that hybrids are typically known for. The Accord Hybrid, though, has been clocked going from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, which is considered great for this segment. The hybrid powertrain does a thorough job of sending power to the front wheels via the CVT, thereby getting that initial thrust of power the vehicle needs to get going.
9. A Responsive CVT
Speaking of the CVT, we have to give it serious props. Why? Well, CVTs are known for being thrifty for fuel but kind of clunky. The Accord Hybrid's CVT defies expectations and does well with giving a smooth power delivery. It works well in conjunction with the hybrid powertrain and is one of the better CVTs you will find on the market.
10. Controls are User-friendly
Honda leaves a lot of physical controls that are well-labeled and well-organized across the front console. Enough controls are also mounted onto the steering wheel for easy access, allowing you to control your audio and cruise control settings. The physical knobs and buttons on the console are all within reach as well, and there is no guessing which does what function.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid – The Cons
1. A Noisy Powertrain
There is no denying the fact that, when you push down on the accelerator, the hybrid powertrain can get loud. Hybrids do tend to run louder than gas-only engines, so you will notice a difference between the regular Accord and the Accord Hybrid. The amount of noise can depend on which drive mode the Accord Hybrid is in; expect it to be loudest when you are pushing it in Hybrid Drive.
2. Low Seat Positioning
The low ride height and, therefore, low seat positioning makes it difficult for taller people to get in and out of the car. While stepping in can be easy if you're short, tall people will have to coordinate their step with their stoop, being ever mindful not to bonk their heads on the top of the door frame. This is typical for an Accord and something that previous Accord owners know all about.
3. Forward Collision Warning is Overly Sensitive
While most of the Honda Sensing driver aids work well, the forward collision warning system is too vigilant. It does not seem to issue any false warnings, but it pays far too much attention to any vehicle in front of you that it thinks you might potentially collide with (even though you likely will not).
4. Rear Head Space is Lacking
Taller passengers will feel cramped in the rear since head space is cut down. This is a design flaw common with sloping rooflines. The Accord Hybrid is far from being the only sedan with this problem.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Honda Accord Hybrid vs. 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid
With its high fuel economy, the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a favorite among buyers this year. The cargo area and cabin are plenty spacious, and the driver gets a commanding view from all around. However, the regenerative brakes make it so that the Camry Hybrid has a hard time making a quick panic stop. Also, while on the highway, the ride quality gets float-y.
2021 Honda Accord Hybrid vs. 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid also has a cozy ride quality and excellent fuel economy. Additionally, the tech and safety features on it are abundant and mostly easy to use. While the Sonata Hybrid is fun and easy to drive, it does get some noise coming it at highway speeds and has questionable quality when it comes to interior materials.
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is a mid-size hybrid sedan that efficiently blends fuel economy with power. The CVT and hybrid components surprisingly work well together to make the Accord Hybrid a delightfully thrilling vehicle to drive.
• Why buy a 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid? w/ pros vs cons