Test Drive: 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
Class: Midsize Car
Miles driven: 335
Fuel used: 7.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 46.5 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||A-|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||212-hp 2.0-liter|
|Engine Type||4-cyl hybrid|
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 44/41/43 (mpg city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $36,240 (not including $955 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Platinum White Pearl paint ($395)
Price as tested: $37,590
The great: Our observed fuel economy beat EPA-estimate numbers; quick throttle response; satisfying acceleration; rear-seat space
The good: Smooth hybrid-powertrain feel; pleasant interior trimmings; good selection of comfort and convenience features
The not so good: Touring’s 19-inch wheels diminish ride quality a bit; oversensitive object-detection sensors occasionally give false warnings; seating position might be too low for some people
More Accord price and availability information
In the Accord, Honda already makes one of the best midsized sedans on the market—Consumer Guide finds it good enough for a “Best Buy” designation—and it gets a raft of improvements for 2021. A number of them accrue to the line’s four gas/electric hybrid models.
CG had the chance to sample the plushest of the two-motor-hybrid Accords, the Touring, which starts at $37,435 with delivery. Only a cloak of Platinum White Pearl paint nudged the bottom line of the test car to $37,830.
Still based on the generation-10 design that arrived for 2018, the ’21s have a wider grille with improved integration of the Honda Sensing radar unit, and all but the base LX get reconfigured LED high- and low-beam headlights. In addition, the Touring wheel size grows to 19 inches in diameter. In the tech arena, EX, EX-L, and Touring models adopt wireless functionality for their Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone capability and add dual 2.5-volt USB ports for use by rear-seat passengers.
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Beyond that, Honda claims to have taken steps to quicken throttle response. The car is undeniably eager for a hybrid, but considering that CG was already impressed with its get up and go as far back as 2018 (when our tests clocked a 6.87-second run from 0 to 60 mph), the gains aren’t dramatically obvious. Engine outputs are the same 212 system horsepower at 6200 rpm and 232 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm as before. “Sport” mode injects a little more life into the driving experience, but the engine is a touch louder under acceleration this way—and it’s not an especially “powerful” sound.
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Sterling fuel economy remains an Accord Hybrid trait. EPA ratings for the Touring are “only” 44 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway, and 43 combined (we say “only” because the lower-trim models earn straight 48-mpg ratings), but this driver recorded 51.1 mpg after covering 106 miles, 50 percent of them in city-type driving. “ECON” and “EV” modes enhance gas-stretching capability—the latter permitting limited periods of purely electric operation. Transitions from hybrid/EV running to gas-engine operation happen with great smoothness.
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The Accord steers and handles easily yet responsively. A standard Touring feature is an adaptive-damper suspension but ride on the test car’s new larger rims did seem a little brittle at times, though. The brake system does a pretty good job of delivering a natural, confidence-inducing feel as it captures regenerative force to charge the lithium-ion battery—something not every hybrid does as well.
Another plus to the Accord Hybrid design is in trunk capacity. The motor battery is located under the rear seat, which means there’s the same 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space in all-gas or hybrid models. The test car had some organized small-item storage in foam trays under the trunk floor. With the benefits of full capacity come several shared limitations, however. The trunk floor isn’t uniformly flat at the sides or just behind the rear seat. Also, a bulkhead restricts passage when the 60/40-split seats are lowered to extend the cargo area. A further bother is that the wider portion of the split seat carries a triangular hook that serves as a catch when the seat back is raised. When lowered, the hook sticks up, raising the risk of damage to items that might be pushed into it.
The Touring interior is one of the things CG particularly likes about the Accord. The cabin is quiet and well finished. Leather covers the comfortable seats and steering wheel. Seats at the four corners are heated, and the front ones are ventilated as well. Curiously, Honda pinches a few pennies by applying grained plastic to the tops of the rear doors but otherwise broadly spreads soft-touch materials throughout the space. A head-up display, HondaLink subscription services, and satellite-linked navigation are standard items reserved for the Touring.
Passengers will find things roomy and comfortable in either row—though some may find the seating position a little lower than they would prefer. There’s space for a third adult in the center of the back seat if the need arose. Ample glass area—almost a cliché in Hondas by now—results in good driver vision. Controls include Honda’s somewhat-odd button-and-lever transmission selector in the console. It’s easy to take advantage of the 10-speaker premium audio system, with inputs easily made on the 8-inch touchscreen. Convenient dials for temperature and fan speed on the dual-zone climate-control system leave just a few additional functions that require buttons. Cabin storage is handled by a small glove box, large console box with adjustable tray, pouches on the backs of front seats, doors pockets with bottle holders, and cup holders in the console and the pull-down rear armrest.
Additional standard features of the Hybrid Touring include body-colored parking sensors front and rear, heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, LED fog lights, power moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, 12-way power driver’s seat with 2-position memory, 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat, 7-inch driver-information display, satellite and HD radio, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, wireless charging, remote engine start and entry, push-button starting, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic low-speed braking control. All Accords come with the Honda Sensing safety-technology suite with collision-mitigating automatic braking, road-departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist, traffic-sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control.
Any 2021 Honda Accord gets so many things right that it is hard not to see it as a leading-edge midsize car. The hybrids extend this high level of goodness to another corner of the modern motoring world.
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2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Gallery
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2021 Honda Accord Hybrid
2021 Honda Accord Hybrid
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