In its sixth decade, the Honda Accord is part of a small fraternity of vehicles that changed the automotive industry.
Unveiled in 1976, the Accord was joined by the Toyota Camry six years later. The vehicles’ rivalry has continued since, with the carmakers’ healthy competition a constant in the always-in-flux family sedan segment.
The Honda Civic was successful for several years when the carmaker decided it needed a more comfortable, more powerful, larger and quieter offering. The Accord and Camry were unveiled as compacts, but the segment leaders advanced to the midsize ranks where the competition now includes Kia, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan and Subaru models.
As such, Honda and Toyota have offered new generations, tweaked trims, altered interiors and exteriors and added and dispatched models.
Since 2005, Honda has also offered a hybrid. It’s available in base, EX, EX-L and Touring trims. All choices offer a four-cylinder gas engine and a hybrid system that combine to produce 212 horsepower.
Honda Accord: Enduring Legacy
For 2021, the Honda Accord, the continuation of the vehicle’s 10th generation, a hybrid joins its stablemates. It had refreshed styling and other upgrades, including a new grille. The high-mileage sedan erases any remaining notions of hybrid stodginess.
New 19-inch wheels also enhance the new look, and the hybrid is now more sport sedan than family task-master. But economy still reigns with combined city and highway 43 miles per gallon estimate.
One disappointment for this year: The Accord joined the growing manufacturer trend. It’s no longer available new with a manual transmission.
The technology and efficiency of the Accord’s hybrid powertrain, according to the manufacturer, is its power delivery via automatic switching between EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive. The hybrid’s brake-by-wire technology offers consistent performance using regenerative braking and less brake-pedal input.
Honda has in part built its stellar reputation through the years with an impressive standard features list. Besides the healthy offering from other trims, the Hybrid Touring model further solidifies the car’s popularity.
Also included: adaptive suspension dampers, automatic wipers, head-up display, heated rear seats, a navigation system, an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot and ventilated front seats.
The Honda Accord does everything right. Acceleration to comfort, durability to resale value, design to versatility. It’s a family sedan also ideal for a solo owner. Its stodginess is gone for a modern appearance, inside and outside.
Honda has also kept up with innovation, most of which the carmaker believes should be standard, increasingly notable for 2021. An 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration are now standard on all 2021 Honda Accord and 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid models.
Apple CarPlay and Android are new this year. The feature is standard on EX-L, Touring, Hybrid EX and higher trim levels. For seamless access when connecting a smartphone, all front USB ports are now located at the front of the center console. Rear-seat passengers in Sport and Hybrid EX (and higher-level) models get 2.5-volt USB ports.
Honda safety features are top-line. A standard rear-seat reminder alerts the driver to the possible presence of passengers or items left in the rear seat. Standard rear seatbelt reminder determines whether or not belts are secured properly. Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep-assist features in the Honda Sensing system are also updated for smoother braking when following another vehicle. It also maintains a more centered lane position.
Modern-day sedans are increasingly a “forgotten” car segment, overwhelmed by the convenience of pickup trucks and SUVs. Honda Accord yearly sales in 2020 were nearly half of the car’s peak of nearly 400,000 in 2014.
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid, fully equipped is priced at $37,830. SUVs and trucks are great. A top-notch season about $3,000 less than the country’s average price of a new car? Here’s to the Honda Accord, any model will do but particularly the Hybrid.