In the shrinking segment of family sedans there are still some great cars to choose from, but one stands above the rest for its impeccable driving dynamics, practical interior, and value: the 2021 Honda Accord. So impressed are we with the Accord that it’s become a nearly permanent fixture on our annual 10Best list. Buyers can choose from two turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains; there’s also a fuel-sipping hybrid model available. No matter what engine powers the Accord, its handling is effortlessly balanced, which makes navigating twisty roads a joy and long highway journeys a pleasure. The Accord boasts a spacious trunk that will make grocery runs a snap and a back seat is commodious enough for two adults for long road trips. The roomy interior also easily accommodates multiple child seats for growing families.
What’s New for 2021?
Honda has given the Accord and Accord Hybrid models a light styling refresh for 2021 that includes a tweaked grille design, new optional LED headlamps, new alloy wheel designs, and a new color: Sonic Gray Pearl. The cabin gains the previously optional 8.0-inch infotainment display as standard equipment across the range and now also boasts standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which offer a wireless connection on EX-L and Touring trims. Honda has relocated the Accord’s USB ports for easier access and has also introduced a Sport SE trim which combines the equipment of the now-defunct EX trim with the styling of the Sport trim. Honda says it has recalibrated the throttle response on all Accord models for better off-the-line performance; a new rear-seat reminder feature alerts the driver to check the back seat when exiting the vehicle if one of the rear doors was opened prior to the journey. Sadly, the Accord is no longer available with the six-speed manual transmission.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Since the six-speed manual transmission is dead for 2021, we’d select an Accord with the optional ten-speed automatic since the only other option is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). That leaves us looking at the Sport model with the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The lineup starts with a 192-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, but our favorite is the 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that sits atop the engine pyramid and can come with either a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic that shifts with an almost seamless nature. Both engines are smooth operators, but the 2.0-liter offers a rush of power that can easily spin the front tires in first gear. A hybrid is also available and is powered by a four-cylinder and two electric motors. The Accord’s chassis is well sorted and encourages the driver to push the car hard through corners, where it exhibits a minimal amount of body roll. The steering is light, as befits a car in this class, but we wouldn’t mind if it transmitted a little more feedback from the road. Still, it’s hard to complain about a helm that’s accurate and predictable. The Accord’s ride is firmly controlled but never harsh, which helps it strike a winning balance between a sports sedan and a practical family car.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
This latest version of the Accord has nixed the previous generation’s V-6 and naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines in favor of a pair of downsized turbo fours, and the results are generally positive. Both engines returned strong results in our real-world highway fuel-economy testing. On our highway loop, the Accord Touring 2.0T with the 10-speed automatic bested its own EPA highway ratings by delivering 35 mpg. It also did much better than a 2018 Camry we tested with its 301-hp V-6 engine, which earned 29 mpg. Our test of an Accord Sport 1.5T with a six-speed manual transmission delivered even more promising returns at 38 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Accord’s interior is surprisingly spacious, and rear-seat passengers in particular will be happier in an Accord than in almost any other mid-size sedan. Honda’s no-options trim structure means that most decisions about its features are made for the driver, but virtually every Accord has handsome interior furnishings and at least some creature comforts. The top Touring trim is thoroughly decked out, with heated and cooled leather front seats, heated rear seats, and a head-up display. Lower trim levels have their own charms, however. Among them: Honda’s attractive and comfortable cloth seats and interior trim. Not only does the Accord’s 17 cubic feet of cargo space beat out the next-best car in the class, but the Accord hybrid doesn’t lose any cargo space as a result of its electric-powertrain components. In our testing, the regular Accord held two more carry-on bags with the rear seats folded than we fit in the nearest competitor. The Accord’s interior storage space is middle of the road in this class, and its interior storage setup isn’t nearly as useful or as thoughtful as those of the Honda Civic or the Hyundai Ioniq, for instance. Still, the Accord should meet the basic needs of most drivers.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All models come standard with touchscreen infotainment an 8.0-inch display. Bluetooth and USB connectivity are also available across the board, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. We found the system to be quick, attractive, and easy to use; even low-tech folks should find it intuitive. Honda offers a 10-speaker premium audio system with a 450-watt amplifier on the EX-L model, but lesser Accords have either a four- or eight-speaker system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Honda Accord boasts a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Transportation Administration as well as a Top Safety Pick classification from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. An array of standard driver-assistance features puts crucial crash-avoidance technologies in every Accord, including automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. That doesn’t mean that every piece of safety tech is standard, however. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors still cost extra. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Honda’s warranty coverage is adequate but falls short of the class-leading coverage periods provided by Hyundai, while the Chevrolet Malibu and the Toyota Camry stand out in this class by offering complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs