2021 Honda Accord Review

Can a midsize sedan represent rebellion? Maybe, if it's a Honda Accord.

1 week ago
Colin Ryan
Contributor
PROS
  • The benchmark for midsize sedans
  • Great reputation for reliability
  • Documented history of solid resale values
  • Engaging driving experience
CONS
  • Only upper trim levels get the 10-speed automatic over the CVT
  • Coupe, hatchback, and wagon variants are just memories
  • No all-wheel drive option.

The 2021 Honda Accord is a popular midsize four-door sedan. Currently manufactured in Marysville, Ohio, today’s tenth-generation Accord began production in the 2019 model year. It is offered with two turbocharged powertrains with front-wheel drive, along with a hybrid variant (reviewed separately). Pricing for the 2021 Honda Accord starts at around $25,000.

Accord Exterior

The 2021 Accord receives a few styling revisions to the grille, new LED headlights (optional) and fresh designs of alloy wheels.

Classy and conservative might have been the words on the wall of Honda’s design studio when this current generation of Accord was being created. Steering clear of gimmickry gives the styling a better chance of wearing the years well.

There is still a nod to current trends, however, with the fastback roof style. But even that’s executed without drama. All the proportions are well-judged and rear headroom doesn’t suffer. Standard paint choices are black, silver or a metallic gray. Platinum White Pearl or Radiant Red Metallic cost about $400 more.

Alloy wheels are pricier. The standard 17-inch rims on the entry level LX are so-so, aesthetically speaking. But buyers can choose from four more interesting 19-inch designs if they’re happy to spend about $3,000.

Accord Interior

The classy theme continues on the inside of the Accord, while conservative has been pushed aside. There’s no conventional gear-selector lever, for example. A row of buttons in the center console handles the PRND duties. The first couple of hasty three-point turns will require some extra thought, but drivers should find things easier after that.

This does make the Accord’s cabin look extremely modern, and is reinforced by the high-definition 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen displaying crisp and bold graphics, which is standard across the range (another 2021 update). Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration is also now standard throughout, with a wireless version coming in the EX-L and Touring models.

These tech details blend agreeably with an otherwise welcoming interior that deploys superb materials with excellent build quality.

Space is generous, for people and their possessions. Rear legroom of 40.4 inches is as good as this class gets. The Accord also has ample hip and shoulder room, so fitting three passengers in the back is more than feasible.

Trunk space of 16.7 cubic feet is also plentiful. The rear seats split and fold in 60/40 fashion for extra versatility. But the trunk’s aperture tapers toward the bottom, which might be annoying for someone wishing to carry, say, a particular piece of furniture.

2021 Honda Accord

Accord Powertrain

The lower 2021 Accord trims have a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (192 hp/192 lb-ft of torque). A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) sends drive to the front wheels. This setup averages 33 miles per gallon.

The top two trims have a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (252 hp/273 lb-ft of torque). This engine pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission, a much more agreeable choice because of its more responsive nature.

Fuel economy does take a hit, though, averaging around 26 mpg. At least both engines are fine with regular gasoline — not always the case when turbochargers are involved.

All-wheel drive is not available in the Accord.

There’s also an Accord Hybrid model, which gets 48 mpg combined using a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain. We’ll be covering that model in a separate review.

2021 Honda Accord

Accord Driving Experience

Don’t underestimate the 2021 Accord. It doesn’t advertise any sportiness. It can be quiet and super-civilized when driven gently. But press on a little harder through some corners, and there’s an enjoyable composure and eagerness to its reactions.

Although it’s never going to make sport sedan owners jealous, the Accord will transition from one direction to the other without hesitation. Body roll is kept in check and the brakes feel confident.

Both engines have enough spark about them to keep drivers entertained. For this year, Honda has apparently sharpened throttle response in each unit for quicker launches from standstill, but that was hardly any issue before.Life behind the wheel is just one example of how the Accord appeals to a wide range of people, from the sedate to the spirited. It will devour highway miles. Yet when the offramp leads to more interesting roads, the Accord can tackle those too.

2021 Honda Accord

Accord Trim Levels and Pricing

Prices for the 2021 Accord range start in the region of $25,000 and go up to about $37,000.

  • LX 1.5L Turbo (from around $25,000) — The Accord’s base model comes with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and 17-inch wheels.
  • Sport 1.5L Turbo (from around $27,000) — Adds LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, two more USB ports, power-adjustable driver’s seat and a decent audio system.
  • Sport SE 1.5L Turbo (from around $29,000) — Includes Smart Entry with Walk-Away Auto Lock, power-adjustable front passenger seat and leather seating surfaces.
  • EX-L 1.5L Turbo (from around $31,000) — L signifies leather, but this version also adds more standard driver assist features and other tech.
  • Sport 2.0L Turbo (from around $32,000) — Now the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine comes into play. The 19-inch alloys are back as well. Sadly, so is the 8-speaker audio system.
  • Touring 2.0L Turbo (from around $37,000) — Adaptive suspension, heated/ventilated front seats, low-speed braking control, wi-fi, wireless smartphone integration, voice-controlled navigation and a head-up display distinguish this range-topping trim. Naturally, it also has the 450-watt/10-speaker sound system.

There’s also an Accord Hybrid, starting at about $26,500, which is reviewed separately.

If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can build and price an Accord on Honda’s official web site. 

2021 Honda Accord

Accord Best Features

Some of the many elements that make the Accord shine apply to Honda vehicles in general. Reliability, for example. Honda has a well-deserved reputation in this area. Excellent engineering and build quality are other parts of this equation.

This all contributes to another strength — resale value. Although buying a new Accord is not usually the time to think about selling it, it’s good to know that it is likely to retain its worth better than any rival.

2021 Honda Accord

What is Our Favorite Version of the Accord?

We are drawn to the Sport 2.0L Turbo trim – but not just because of the bigger engine, which mates so well with the Accord’s well-calibrated chassis. Selecting the Sport 2.0L Turbo trim also means that we don’t have to live with the CVT, and gain a really good 10-speed automatic transmission instead. 

There are two more good reasons for skipping over the base LX and going for the Sport 2.0L Turbo trim. One is the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Drivers spend all their time holding it, after all, and plastic feels horrible. The other is the 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with 4-way lumbar support. Hours in the saddle might as well be as comfortable as possible.

Granted, many people won’t care about such details and would rather buy a well-equipped car with reasonable fuel economy for a decent price. In which case, check out the Sport SE 1.5L. It has just enough premium touches.

Accord Notable Safety Features

Several driver aids are standard right from the base model, including forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and automatic high beams. These are all part of the Honda Sensing array.

The low-speed braking feature in Touring trim works in tandem with the front and rear parking sensors. As well as the usual beeping if the car maneuvers toward a hazard unseen by the driver, this system can also apply the brakes if necessary.

2021 Honda Accord

Who Should Buy a 2021 Honda Accord?

The Accord crosses many boundaries, sociological and economic. It is a smart buy for empty-nesters ready to downsize from the minivan or SUV to a sensible sedan. 

It is also a significant step up for a rising professional seeking a more mature vehicle than their entry-level compact hatchback or sporty coupe. 

We’ve also heard of Millennials who are seeking out midsize sedans like the Accord as an act of rebellion, rejecting their parents’ ideas of what a youthful vehicle might be. If you’re going to rebel by buying a midsize four-door sedan, the Honda Accord is a great choice that won’t harm anyone.

CarExpert’s Take on the 2021 Honda Accord

The 2021 Accord is impressive in many areas and it balances passenger comfort and driver engagement exceptionally well. The infotainment system is a pleasure to use, the engines are fuel-efficient and safety scores are top-notch. Of course there are several competent competitors in the midsize sedan category with lower prices, but spending a bit more for the Accord is all but guaranteed to deliver a very happy ownership experience – and the Honda Accord’s strong resale value will be a nice parting gift when you finally let it go.

2021 Honda Accord

Accord Competitors to Consider

  • Kia K5
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Mazda6
  • Nissan Altima
  • Subaru Legacy 
  • Toyota Camry
  • Volkswagen Passat


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OVERALL RATING8.4
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8.5
Ride Comfort 8.7
Safety 8.5
Fit for Purpose 8.6
Handling Dynamics 8.1
Interior Practicality and Space 8.4
Fuel Efficiency 8.4
Value for Money 8.1
Performance 8.4
Technology Infotainment 8.5