The current-generation Honda Accord Hybrid appeared in 2018 and has undergone a few updates since then to stay tech-relevant. The most striking thing about the Accord Hybrid is that it’s an Accord, but with a more efficient gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. There are zero compromises made to the excellent Accord sedan in order to create the Accord Hybrid. That’s likely the greatest selling point that could be made for this Honda. And it’s a good one.
Swerve Autos Score: 81/100
Honda has finally walked away from the heavily-lined and edgy styles of the last decade and took this generation of the Accord into a more modern, near-minimalist realm. That’s a good thing, we think, pushing the Accord Hybrid into a more premium space in terms of exterior looks.
Body lines for the Honda Accord Hybrid are simple, slightly curvy, and to the point. The silhouette of the car runs smoothly from fascia to tail, curving nicely along the roof, while the beltline beneath hints at the curve above for a symmetrical look. Creases and edges are kept at a minimum, allowing underlying bone lines to do much of the light-catching work on the Accord Hybrid’s body.
There are some missed points, of course, such as the rather blasé front grille and fascia and the somewhat bulging tail lamps, but the overall design for the Accord Hybrid is nicely done.
The 2021 Accord Hybrid has a comfortable, ergonomic interior with easy tech features and roomy seating. In the front seats, headroom and legroom are excellent while the rear seats feature the signature Honda roominess and close-to-cramped headroom. For most adults, four of the five seating positions in the Accord Hybrid are more than accommodating. The middle seat in the back, of course, is still only barely suitable for the double dates’ third wheel.
Storage throughout the Honda Accord Hybrid’s interior is smart. There are places to put most things and plugs for charging devices in convenient locations. Much of the storage is concentrated up front for the driver and passenger, of course, but seat back pockets and door pockets are there for the back seat’s voyagers. A fold-down cup holder and arm rest is also useful.
The most signature trait of Honda vehicles is their fast pick-up from a standstill. “The first 10 mph,” as Honda enthusiasts will extoll, “is where it’s at.” That’s true of the Accord Hybrid, whose acceleration from a stop is pretty good for the first few feet. Almost to the point of being jumpy, which is just how Honda fans like it.
Powering the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Combined, these produce 212 horsepower to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Those motors are the key to the Accord Hybrid’s get-up, offering a fair amount of torque the moment the pedal is pressed, making for some strong off-the-line throttle response. Once up to speed, however, the Accord Hybrid becomes far more sedate, earning its fuel-sipping nature as the relatively weak engine takes over for the motors.
Those metrics work well for the Accord Hybrid, giving it a sporty feel around town and a comfortable, cruising appeal on the highway. Overall, MPG ratings are well above par at 48 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway in all but the Touring model. That model has larger wheels and reduces economy to 44 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. During our time with the 2021 Accord Hybrid Touring, we managed 43 mpg on the highway and 44 mpg in overall driving as an average. Not bad considering we’re at very high altitude compared to the rest of the U.S.
Beyond its excellent seating, the Honda Accord Hybrid comes with stain-resistant cloth upholstery or with a leather upgrade. Both are well done and easy to clean. In the back, the 2021 Accord Hybrid sports 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space–identical to its standard gasoline sibling. That’s about the right amount of space for two sets of golf clubs, a checked bag and a couple of carry-ons, or a few bags of concrete mix and “shoe forms” for those living in Jersey.
The high ride quality, low highway noise levels, and excellent seating in the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid all come together for good comfort levels throughout. For the driver, steering inputs and feedback are just enough to stay interested in everyday driving while spaces for a smart phone, coffee, and other essentials are all at hand and easy to access. In the upper Touring level, the Accord Hybrid has enough well-placed technology to keep the driver focused on the road with little distraction.
Inside the base model 2021 Accord Hybrid is an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, and a four-speaker audio system. Upgrades add navigation, more stereo, two more USB ports, a WiFi hotspot, wireless device charging, and a head-up display. All nice to have. Most everything is placed well for everyday use without becoming distracting or intrusive, though the navigation is at times a little clunky and the wireless options for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto don’t come cheap.
Most of the technology in the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid has a short learning curve, but the touchscreen interface can be frustrating when used on the go. Hard buttons and knobs for common tasks such as station tuning and volume are still a boon there.
Connected Services 6/10
Honda includes HondaLink with upper trims of the Accord Hybrid. This is a Honda-branded app that allows the vehicle owner to have some control over items like remote start and remote locking/unlocking. Most of the connected services are automated, though, and redundant with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto features. Many only work some of the time, as our test of the Key by Amazon feature was unsuccessful after several tries and the Geofence Alert service often failed to notify until long after the car had left the map zone designated.
Still, these services can be convenient for many and the other, latent emergency services may be worth the small annual fee paid for the app and connectivity.
Active Safety 8/10
The Accord Hybrid comes standard with forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking, lane departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Upgrades include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, and automated windshield wipers. These are well-tuned systems that are usually non-obtrusive until needed. We did note that the lane departure system is a little aggressive at times and the adaptive cruise control can be slow to respond when the way becomes clear for acceleration back to cruising speed.
The roughly $2,000 price premium paid for the Accord Hybrid over the standard Accord is about par for the overall hybrid premium paid in the segment. The payoff is far better fuel economy than that found in the gasoline-only model and more early umph in powertrain output. The losses are nothing beyond the price premium as the Accord Hybrid has all of the same interior and cargo specifications as its gasoline sibling.
The overall value proposition for the Accord in any format is good, with the model having a high resale value historically. We’d rate it as one of the better options in terms of value for this point alone, but the added high fuel efficiency of the Accord Hybrid pushes it to the top.
Editors Influence 8/10
We enjoyed our time with the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid and found it to be a well-done daily driver and small family car. As a mid-sized sedan, it checks all of the marks for the buyer in that segment and definitely fits the bill for nearly everyone looking there.
Like most sedans, however, it suffers from a few downsides that are often covered by the more popular crossover-SUVs that can be comparable in size. Similarly-sized crossovers like the Honda CR-V offer more headroom in the rear seats, a lot more cargo space, and similar fuel economy numbers when compared to the Accord. With the Accord Hybrid, however, the over-40 MPG numbers are undeniably attractive as are the more refined looks of the Accord when compared to the bulkier SUV options.