2021 Honda Accord vs Insight
Fuel economy and power are two things that Honda knows how to blend into its powertrains. Both the 2021 Honda Accord and Honda Insight are exceptional at achieving high fuel economy numbers without coming off as boring rides. If you want a sedan with a lot of efficiency and power, these are going to be some of your top choices. The Insight is a compact hybrid that comes off as being just as cool as any regular Honda sedan. And, of course, you have the Accord, which offers its own hybrid variant. But which one is the better option?
For the 2021 model year, Honda has updated the Accord's front end style and revised the trim level line-up. The old EX trim has been replaced by the new Sport SE, which builds on the regular Sport trim level but keeps a lot of the EX's features. You get keyless entry, remote ignition, heated mirrors, leather upholstery on the seats, heating on the front seats, and power adjustability on the front passenger seat. If you ask us, it is a pretty good blending of trim level offerings. Although the manual transmission is no longer available (a sad sign of the times, perhaps), you can now get wireless smartphone app connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Both of the Accord's engines offer a solid blend of power and efficiency, but that is not all there is to enjoy about the Accord's performance. Its sporty handling abilities make it a genuine delight to drive. Also, you can enjoy doing so inside of its cavernous, thoughtfully crafted cabin that is laden with standard safety and infotainment features.
There are, of course, a few drawbacks to owning the Accord, but they are minor at worst. The Accord is not the quietest mid-size sedan out there, even though most of the noise is not terribly intrusive. On top of that, getting in and out can be somewhat difficult due to the low seating position.
The 2021 Honda Insight is, in some ways, a lot like the Accord. But it is definitely its own vehicle. The Insight has made a few changes for the model year, including putting blind-spot monitoring on its EX and Touring trims. The Touring gains more standard features, including dual-zone climate control, built-in navigation, and leather upholstered seats.
Like the Accord Hybrid, the Insight nets some high fuel numbers. In fact, it gets somewhere around 50 miles per gallon combined. So, really, if you are going for efficiency, the Insight has it for you. It also has a quicker acceleration than what you would expect to find on a hybrid. Also, the Insight features chic design elements much like what you see in the Accord.
On the downside, the Insight has a gas engine that sounds pretty rough when you push her hard. You also have to deal with a brake pedal that feels rather detached when you have to push down hard on the brakes. Other than that, though, the Insight is a rather enjoyable hybrid.
The 2021 Honda Accord receives its power from one of two engines. The base engine - which comes equipped on the LX, Sport, Sport Special Edition (SE for short), and EX-L - is a 1.5-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that generates a power output of 192 horsepower. There is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that comes paired up with it and delivers the power supply to the front two wheels.
You do have the option of upgrading to the Sport 2.0T and the Touring in order to get a higher powered engine. This engine is a 2.0-L turbo 4-cylinder that delivers 252 hp. A 10-speed automatic transmission routes that power to the front wheels.
If you prefer a hybrid Accord, you can get one. On its four trim levels (the base, EX, EX-L, and Touring), you get a standard 4-cylinder gas powered engine and hybrid motor powertrain system that produces a combined 252 hp. A CVT sends this power to all four wheels with the all-wheel drive (AWD) system coming standard, as is the case for most hybrid models.
Of course, the 2021 Honda Insight is a hybrid itself, so there are no gas-only options here. It comes with a 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine and electric motor and batteries that give it power. It gets 151 hp, which it delivers to all four wheels via a CVT.
Is the 2021 Honda Accord fun to drive? Oh yeah. The Insight too. But what makes them so enjoyable? And what detracts from their performance? When we talk about drivability, we are really talking about the multiple factors that make or break a performance. Acceleration, braking, handling, steering, tech functionality, and ride comfort are all things that we consider - and that we think you should, too - when assessing a vehicle's overall worth. After all, this is your hard-earned money you are about to spend. So let's talk about what makes the Accord and Insight both so darn drivable.
First up, we have the 2021 Honda Accord. Accords have an incredibly long history of being reliable vehicles. They do more than just get you from Point A to Point B. And when they don't, they're typically easy and affordable enough to repair. There is a good reason why so many older Accord models are still on the road to this day. The 2021 Accord seeks to uphold this trend.
Its base 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine is spunky enough, and the 2.0-L turbo engine is phenomenal. It gives you a quick acceleration time for this segment of 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8 seconds. And there is no hesitation on the upstart, which is what makes that initial burst of acceleration feel so powerful. The CVT does, of course, lower the engine's rpms as much as possible in the name of efficiency, but it sends you the power you need right when you need it. Honda has certainly made an art out of crafting a CVT.
Handling on the Accord is downright inspiring. The Accord cuts corners with ease and takes on winding roads without any problem. The brakes can be quickly applied in a panic situation and bring the Accord to an arrow-point halt. While the steering could do with a little more road feel, it is light enough and easy to maneuver.
Honda nails it with comfort as well. The Accord's seats provide plenty of support, and the front headrests are placed just in the right spot. The rear seats do not have too much padding, but they hold up well over long drives. Up front, the controls are thoughtfully laid-out and appropriately labeled. There is no guesswork as to each one does, and fiddling with them is simple. The adaptive suspension on the two top trim levels is firm but has shock absorbers that don't make much difference in terms of ride quality. The quality is comfortable and quiet, with only moderate amounts of noise making their way into the cabin when you zoom along on the highway. That is mostly noise from the tires, especially the optional 20-inch wheels on the Sport 2.0T and Touring.
Overall, the cabin is contemporary yet not in-your-face high-tech. The materials are of high quality, and the cabin is generous on space. Getting in and out is where you might encounter some problems if you are over 6 feet tall since the seats are positioned fairly low. The rear seats could use more headroom for taller folks, but it is kind on leg space.
Technology is mostly a high point for Honda. On the Accord, you get options like integrating a head-up display and navigation display with the standard touchscreen display and digital instrument cluster. Smartphone app integration is simple to use, and Bluetooth near-field pairing comes equipped. The only hindrance is the optional premium sound system. It works without any sound distortion, but the quality is just average for the price.
Now, let us take a look at how the 2021 Honda Insight compares in terms of drivability. The 2021 Insight is easy to drive around town due to the smooth power delivery from the CVT. It can get from 0 to 60 mph in just 8.1 seconds, which is quick for a hybrid model. It is the brakes that are a little disappointing; there is a disconnect between your foot and the pedal that happens when you have to quickly press on the brakes. Also, the automatic regenerative braking sometimes resets itself while Normal mode is engaged.
Aside from some bouncing over bumps, the Insight is packed with comfort. The seats have a moderate level of firmness with just the right amount of sculpting for support. Lumbar support is not adjustable, so some drivers might have a hard time getting situated. The automatic climate control system is at least easy to use with its clearly labeled physical controls, and it distributes air flow pretty evenly throughout the cabin. Although it runs quietly, the engine is too growly for comfort.
The cabin is all about functionality. There is nothing terribly fancy at work here, but it is all user-oriented. Even the infotainment system is a breeze to use. There are some helpful physical shortcut buttons on the left of the screen, and you can sync up your smartphone with ease.
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Safety features can help keep you on the road for years to come. As far as Honda is concerned, it is paramount in manufacturing a great vehicle. That is why they equip all Hondas with Honda EyeSight, a bundle full of advanced driver aids. Frontal collision mitigation alerts you to a possible impending crash, and the system will apply the brakes for you if it senses that you will not be able to in time. Adaptive cruise control sets and maintains a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Lane keep assist applies gentle steering to correct the vehicle if the system detects it straying over the line.
Upgrading can get you features like a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert. This warns you when a vehicle is driving in the lane next to you, in your blind spot, or if something is in the way while you are going in reverse. You can also get front and rear parking sensors and a head-up display to see all of your driving info projected onto the windshield in front of your eyes.
Which Has the Best Value?
We honestly like the 2021 Honda Insight and generally label it as one of the best hybrid sedans for the year. However, there are a few features of its performance (namely, the engine growl and bumpy ride quality) that keep it behind the Accord. The price you pay is about average for a hybrid sedan, but you get a more well-rounded nature from the Accord.
Which is Better?
Both of these models should be on your list of vehicles to test-drive. But we do prefer the 2021 Honda Accord a little bit more than the 2021 Honda Insight. The Insight's engine is too coarse, and the suspension could be better tuned. The 2021 Honda Accord delivers a more spirited performance while still giving you a good fuel economy.