The Honda Accord is at its 45th year, in its 10th generation, and still holds its own as a compelling mid-size sedan. It has always been a good seller, an affordable, efficient vehicle for the masses. But its compelling starting price makes it a bargain for efficiency and one of the better tools for getting from point A to point B. I was treated with the top of the line Hybrid Touring, and it’s quite good…
Out of Spec Score: 73/100
The 10th generation styling changes are what brought the Accord into my full attention. It is beautiful, simply put. It has great proportions and is relatively timeless and unoffensive from any angle. It didn’t make any bold jumps into the ultra-modern language seen in some other cars, and that could be good or bad depending on your ideals. The only updates for 2021 include a slightly altered front fascia, better headlights, and sleeker fog-lights, but otherwise the same elegant shape. As a whole, it almost reminds me of the gradual arched curve of some Mercedes cars.
Taillights are elegant and symmetrical, with a “crab claw” design akin to the Civic and other modern Honda styling stereotypes. You also have 19” wheels on the Touring trim, which do inhibit fuel economy slightly but look impressive. There are a handful of 19” options from Honda, and I think these 5-spoke wheels are the only choice I would be okay with as I strut around town. Elegant, timeless, but not ultra-modern grants it an 8 out of 10 in styling.
This has the most realistic fake wood I have ever, ever seen. It’s very flat and non-porous, revealing it’s merely a veneer, but I had to mention it immediately, mostly out of sheer praise. The rest of the interior is fine, perfectly fine. The steering wheel feels nice to the touch, and there’s a fair amount of soft-touch surfaces, but also a fair share of plastic. It almost felt torn between the luxury and affordable segments. Another welcome feature was having five knobs, in an era where they don’t have guaranteed placement in modern interiors, and I will always love the experience of using a rotary knob for things like audio volume and climate control.
The screen was nicely placed, but angled up a bit too much, catching more glare than I would have liked. The climate control is further down, separated by vents. I truly love this separation, as it feels less cluttered by making infotainment and climate separate user experiences. Another note is the rear seats, with plenty of leg and head room for my 6 foot self, sitting behind myself. They’re even heated! Overall it’s a solid 7 out of 10.
There’s a few things to unpack in the performance department. The Accord comes with 3 possible power plants, a 1.5L turbo, 2.0L turbo, or in my case, a hybrid. The hybrid is a 2.0L inline 4 paired with an electric motor, providing total power figures of 212 hp and 232 ft lb of torque combined. Overall, it felt powerful enough, but if performance is at all a priority for you, I would consider one of the turbo options. The nature of the CVT revving got relatively annoying when trying to pick up speed quickly. I think I would choose the 2.0 turbo personally, but the hybrid fuel economy is hard to argue against, approaching 50mpg with conservative driving.
The canyon capabilities of this car are what really impressed me. The Touring trim brings with it adaptive dampers, so cornering was impressively planted. The wheels and tires were also a component in good handling. The small tire sidewall made for very direct steering feel, with 235 width tires giving ample traction. The downside with this setup is that bumps in the road were very jarring, almost like it was setup more for a track experience than a standard road experience. It’s engaging and it’s fun, but the hybrid and CVT combination really marred the experience. The 2.0 turbo would probably grant a higher score, but for this setup, performance provides a 6 out of 10.
In contrast with performance, practicality is a welcome trade-off. The hybrid power plant gives at least 45 mpg, a tremendous feat of practicality, but that’s only part of the story. The trunk is an impressive 17 cubic feet, though with the Hybrid you’ll find a lack of spare tire in exchange for a fix-a-flat kit. This is to save some weight added by the battery, but if you lift up the tray, it shows the mounting point for the OEM spare! Personally, I would source a spare tire immediately after buying a hybrid Accord, especially if it came with these thin 19” tires.
The rear seats fold down, leaving a large pass-through to the trunk. In fact, it would be entirely practical to camp in this car with a sleeping bag and pad! This earns a well-deserved 8 out of 10 for practicality all things considered.
The seats are fine, but nothing worth writing home about. They are heated and ventilated, which is a welcome feature in an affordable sedan, but the ventilated feature only comes on the highest Touring trims. Support isn’t the best, but that is subjective given your build, and I don’t know if they would suit me as well for a long trip. The steering wheel is also heated, so it’s well equipped for cold winter days. There’s dual-zone climate control, and the leather finish on the seats is good enough.
The rear seats have comfortable legroom and headroom, plus the same heated soft-touch leather finish is definitely comfortable. I can’t speak to the cloth options, but I think comfort in my experience would be a 7 out of 10.
I had to keep reminding myself I was driving a Honda Accord, if that makes sense. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is an incredible feature and I’m glad it’s available. There is also a wireless Qi phone charger well-placed beneath climate control. While it does require the EX trim for this, even the base hybrid trim gives you remote start and dual zone climate control. I also had the head-up-display, which was adjustable up/down and side to side.
Then there’s the digital gauge cluster. Interestingly, when you start the Accord, the 2 needles in the gauge cluster “wind up”, but one is fake and one is real. It fooled me the first couple times. The digital part of the gauge is dynamic, with adjustable viewable content. The main infotainment is perfectly fine, but not much more than fine. I’m not incredibly partial to Honda’s style of user interface, but it is functional. I don’t think it’s particularly modern or visually pleasing, but all in all, they deserve 8 out of 10 for technology.
Connected Services 8/10
Again, Wireless CarPlay, don’t knock it ’til you try it. Beyond that, there’s also WiFi hotspot connectivity and the HondaLink app. Remote start is a great option available on most trims, and possible from within the app. HondaLink also lets you lock/unlock the doors, enable lights, horn, and location of your car. There’s also an overview of vehicle information, such as range/fuel, mileage, maintenance interval progress, and even tire pressure. There’s a lot available for connected services, giving this a solid 8 out of 10.
Active Safety 7/10
Safety is definitely not an after-thought, with the Honda Accord Honda Sensing® Suite. This provides Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Lane Keeping Assist System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Traffic Sign Recognition System. These all worked fine in my testing, giving peace of mind to the average drive. It was nice to see so many features on an Accord.
Perhaps that’s the importance of this review, reminding myself that even a Honda Accord can be extremely well-equipped in this day and age. They even went as far as rear seat warnings, to check them for occupants or pets when departing the vehicle. In some ways, I think it could be too cautious though. If your passenger unbuckles briefly at a stoplight to remove their jacket, the car will not only beep at you, but a verbal warning will make itself known demanding that you address the safety concern. In some ways that’s good, but it’s also a bit nerve-racking. All things considered, 7 out of 10 is a safe bet for a safety score.
Entry level cars aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but you also have to weigh all the improved features and safety and capability. The Honda Accord is a fantastic option for starting just under $25,000. The hybrid starts at not much more, and you get many, many options for building it just a bit higher. Even at the highest end, in my case optioned to $37,000 or so, it’s a fantastic bargain. I’ve tested recent cars with higher MSRP and less features, so you can be reassured you’re getting a good value. There are a few minor complaints with comfort, and I think certain things like a 360 camera would have been great additions, but overall it earns a respectable 7 out of 10 in value.
Editors Influence 7/10
I know it seems like a lot of 7 out of 10 scores, more or less, but that’s a genuine representation of this car. It’s not perfect, but it’s far from inadequate. For decades, the Accord has been a staple in affordable transportation, in both the used and new markets. I’ve always approved, but never given it a second glance. Until now. The newest generation genuinely performs and looks above its pay-grade, and I can feel even more confident recommending it to friends and family, really anyone in the market for a sedan. It may not be my exact first choice, but I was more than happy to take it for a spin every time I tried. My input gives a 7 out of 10.