Hybrid sedan With Upgraded Performance
The Honda Accord Hybrid is back for 2021 undergoing a mid-cycle refresh that is more than skin-deep, the partially electrified sedan also receiving a performance upgrade. We took one out for a week to get a closer look at all the changes.
“The new Honda Accord Hybrid is really the Accord to buy, offering customers more of everything they like about Accord — more power, refinement and, of course, excellent fuel economy ratings,” says Dave Gardner, executive vice president of national operations at American Honda, in a media release.
All models are restyled and feature a wider, more expressive lower grill opening that does a better job of concealing the Honda Sensing driver assist system radar unit. Though visually looking similar, the beam pattern of the LED headlights does a better job of illuminating the road by covering a larger area. The foglamps are smaller, housed in sportier black bezels.
From the side, the car retains the same sleek and stretched out fastback profile, its sizable 4,882-millimetre length translating into a generous 1,026 millimetres of legroom for rear passengers inside.
The interior is well equipped and laid out in a fairly intuitive fashion, utilizing a healthy mix of digital and physical controls. The decision to use transmission buttons vs. a traditional shifter may be polarizing, however does free up space. I still find the Display Audio infotainment system with eight-inch touch display tricky to use, particularly locating certain settings that are superfluous or buried in submenus.
For example, the trip computer app seemingly doesn’t allow an on-the-fly manual reset on screen — you have to perform the command holding down a button hidden on the lower left of the dashboard.
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are now part of standard equipment, and offer wireless pairing eliminating the need to plug in a USB cable. A new rear seat reminder alerts occupants to check the back for items or children prior to exiting the vehicle.
A 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle inline-four-cylinder engine paired to two electric motors continues to power the four door, generating a net 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the ingenuity of Honda engineers, the setup has been tuned to yield better and more responsive acceleration feel when stepping on the pedal.
As with most hybrids the pickup is quick, but once internal combustion kicks in an unrefined, buzzy noise fills the cabin. The powertrain is great at recapturing kinetic energy from braking to recharge the battery, and drivers can squeeze the steering wheel paddles to vary the amount of effect — left to increase, right to decrease.
The Accord Hybrid has three optional drive modes: Econ, Sport and EV. The latter shuts off the gasoline engine and allows (limited) zero emissions travel, which is only good for about 1.6 kilometres of range or tooling around a parking garage. Sport firms up the steering and alters the throttle mapping to give a bit of a peppier ride, though the novelty wears off fairly quickly.
Even just operating the car in normal mode the fuel economy is excellent for a mid-size sedan. Spending a week behind the wheel I averaged approximately 5.8 L/100 km in mixed city and highway driving. Prices start at $35,805.
Motor: 2.0-litre four-cylinder + two electric motors
Horsepower: 212 @ 6,200 rpm Torque (lb-ft): 232 @ 2,000 rpm
Layout: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 5.8 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)
Photos: HONDA pressroom