2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
Practical but powerful, the Honda Accord has been a staple of the sedan segment for decades. And with 2021's revisions, the Accord is an even stronger contender than ever in this ultra-competitive market. Although the manual transmission is no longer available, there are still plenty of options available on the 2021 Honda Accord to help you customize it.
The 2020 Accord hadn't been refreshed from its previous iteration, so the changes made to the 2021 are both exciting and necessary. Wireless smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now comes equipped, thereby eliminating the cord clutter that can happen on the center console.
What else is new? Well, the line-up looks a little different with the insertion of the Sport Special Edition (or SE for short) and Sport 2.0. This means you can choose from the base LX, Sport, Sport SE, EX-L, Sport 2.0T, and Touring. Notice anything missing? The Sport SE is basically the former EX in disguise. It has some of the same features, so it will feel similar to anyone who has owned an Accord EX before.
Could the 2021 Honda Accord be the right pick for you this year? It is hard to pass by this sedan, which is consistently rated highly by experts and consumers alike. But you need to know what you could be getting into. Let's take a deeper look at the Accord's trim levels, tech specs, driving performance, safety and reliability ratings, and how its interior looks and feels. Hang around until the end; that's where we will give you a few suggestions for other mid-size sedans to test-drive.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
As we already mentioned, the 2021 Honda Accord's line-up looks different than the 2020's. Most of its trims are powered by a standard 1.5-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that generates a power output of 192. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive are standard. If you opt for the Sport 2.0T or the Touring, you get a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is good for 252 hp. It comes paired up with a 10-speed automatic transmission. You can also opt for a hybrid variant of the Accord.
The base LX comes with features such as 17-inch wheels, a dual-zone climate control system, and cloth upholstered seats. You also get an 8-inch touchscreen display, smartphone app integration, and a 4-speaker audio system. What's more, all Hondas now come equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver aids. This bundles handy features like forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Upgrading to the Sport gets you 19-inch wheels. You also receive a rear spoiler, foglights, a steering wheel and gear shift knob that are wrapped in leather, paddle shifters, USB charging ports in the rear seat, a power-adjustable driver's seat, special upholstery, and an 8-speaker sound system.
The EX - ahem, excuse us, the Sport Special Edition - equips keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, remote start, and a power-adjustable front passenger's seat. Unlike the old EX, it does equip the Sport's 19-inch wheel and paddle shifters.
The EX-L builds on that with more creature comforts. It ditches the Sport's features and adds memory settings for the driver's seat, a sunroof, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, wireless smartphone app integration, a wireless charging pad, a 10-speaker premium sound system, and satellite radio. Front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring beef up the list of driver aids.
The Sport 2.0T - which is built off the Sport SE - gives you the more powerful turbo engine, plus the EX-L's sunroof, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, wireless charging pad, and wireless smartphone app integration.
Finally, the line-topping Touring goes even further with its luxury orientation. It adds back the paddle shifters and equips windshield wipers that are able to detect when it rains. You also get a nifty head-up display, ventilation on the front seats, heated rear outboard seats, built-in navigation, and low-speed anti-collision braking.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
We'd recommend the EX if it was here, but its replacement - the Sport SE - will certainly make do in its place. It gives you a ton of standard features with a sportier edge that what you got on the old EX. It is a nice combo. Of course, the EX-L is also a great option since it adds even more creature comforts. We'd honestly have a hard time choosing.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
Technology is outstanding on the Accord. The navigation system has sharp graphics and isn't clunky at all. The infotainment system and gauge cluster are paired nicely together, and the head-up display is really cool (and helpful since it still keeps your eyes on the road). The 10-speaker sound system's sound quality could be slightly better, but you won't get any distortion when you crank the volume and rock out.
How Does It Perform?
Honda nails it with performance here. Both engines pair well with their respective transmissions. The CVT is much more economical, but the 10-speed also delivers uninterrupted power flow to the front wheels. You can easily corner without drama, and the steering is simple and precise despite the lack of feedback it gives the driver.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
Honda's emphasis is safety and reliability. You can drive almost anywhere and see old Honda Accords still on the road. The 2021 has a perfect 5-star rating from NHTSA without points taken away, and IIHS has given it "Good" marks.
What's the Interior Like?
Everything is easy to use inside of the Accord's cabin. Dash controls are laid out in a way that the driver can reach without hassle, but some of the steering wheel-mounted controls seem counterintuitive. There are some hard plastics, but they don't look cheap and tacky.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The new Kia K5 is worth a look if you aren't settled on the Accord. This used to be known as the Optima, but there's more to it than just a name-switch. The K5 is slightly more affordable than the Accord and has many of the same creature comforts and a strong performance. The other choice here would be the Mazda 6. It is sporty, chic, and overall engaging to drive. It just doesn't have the same smooth ride quality as the Accord or the K5.
Note: All Honda Accord lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.