2021 Honda Accord Review
For a few decades now, the Honda Accord has been a paradigm for a midsize family sedan. Whether you've been looking for safety, fuel economy, performance or a reputation for reliability, the Accord has had something to offer. This continues to hold true for the 2021 Accord. This year's car gets a few updates, including a face-lift and the introduction of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which means you don't need to use a USB cord to integrate your phone's apps with the touchscreen.
The Accord has been our top pick for a midsize sedan the past few years, but a new rival has managed to just barely edge the praiseworthy Honda out of first place. The Kia K5 does almost everything as well as — or better than — the Accord, but at a lower price and with a bit more style. It's a very close battle between the two, and other contenders including the Mazda 6 and Hyundai Sonata aren't far behind. As close as all of these vehicles are, it may very well come down to personal preference and which dealer can cut you a better deal.
What's it like to live with?
The current 10th-generation Honda Accord has been a hit with Edmunds editors since it debuted in 2018. As a result, we added an Accord EX-L with the 1.5-liter engine to the Edmunds long-term test fleet and logged over 13,000 miles in a year. Check out our long-term Accord test, where we cover our real-world ownership experiences. Note that while we tested a 2018 Accord, most of our observations still apply to the 2021 model.
The Accord is a class leader. It's an undeniably compelling package, and it's enjoyable to drive. Some rival sedans might best the Accord in a few areas, but no other sedan puts it all together as well as this one.
How does the Accord drive?
We like how the Accord's engine and transmission respond quickly and provide sufficient power. The raw numbers aren't special — our as-tested 0-60 mph time of 8 seconds is average for a base engine in this segment — but the rapid response to driver input is. Honda's CVT automatic will lower engine rpm as much as possible to improve fuel economy, but it responds quickly and smoothly to provide more power when you need it.
The car corners well, sticking to the road with no drama, and the brakes are easy to control for smooth stops. Our panic-stop braking test from 60 mph resulted in an average stopping distance for a midsize sedan, and the Accord's brakes instill confidence thanks to arrow-straight stops. The steering, though accurate and easy, doesn't give you much feel for the road.
How comfortable is the Accord?
The Accord is quiet and comfortable in most situations. The front seats have well-placed headrests and comfortable back support, but the seat cushions don't have a lot of padding. Finding the right adjustment is important to staying comfortable on long drives. All climate settings can be adjusted with straightforward and clearly labeled manual controls, and the system's automatic setting regulates cabin temperature well.
We tested the top-trim Accord Hybrid Touring, which comes with an adaptive suspension as well as big 19-inch wheels. While we appreciate the extra features of the Touring (ventilated front seats, for example), we haven't found that the adaptive shock absorbers contribute much to the ride quality. In fact, we'd go so far as to recommend either the EX or EX-L trim level if comfort is a priority for you. They cost thousands less than the similarly equipped Touring trim and still have a smooth ride thanks to their smaller 17-inch wheels that have cushier tire sidewalls. The Accord's cabin is nicely insulated against wind noise, though tire noise is noticeable on the highway.
How’s the interior?
The interior of the Accord offers modern design, quality soft-touch materials, lots of room, and a user-friendly infotainment system and control layout. Basic functions are easy to navigate thanks to physical buttons, but the controls on the wheel aren't intuitively laid out and take getting used to.
The cabin is airy and open, but taller drivers will want to test the seating position since their knees might rub on a piece of hard plastic trim. The doorsills are high and wide, meaning other sedans are a little easier to get in and out of. Rear legroom is excellent, though taller passengers will run out of headroom and will have to duck while exiting the back seat.
How’s the tech?
The available navigation system's graphics look crisp, and instructions are easy to follow. Honda also did a nice job integrating the infotainment system with the gauge cluster screen and optional head-up display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work well, and the near-field Bluetooth pairing is a neat trick. However, the standard pairing method is easy enough that it's mostly a novelty. The premium audio system produces a lot of volume without distortion, but sound quality is unexceptional for an upgraded system.
Many active safety and driver aids come standard on the Accord, but blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert aren't standard on lower trims. The adaptive cruise control system mostly works well, but it sometimes picks up neighboring lanes in curves. Forward collision alert doesn't deliver false warnings but is very sensitive.
How’s the storage?
The Accord offers about as much utility as possible for a sedan. It has excellent trunk volume. The opening is wide, if a little narrow, and it's easy to maneuver objects in and out. The 60/40-split folding rear seats open up even more room for long objects. The cabin offers plenty of spots for small items. The center console armrest bin is generously sized, and the front charging ports and wireless charging pad (if equipped) are in a cubby with room for more than one phone.
For family duty, the Accord has car seat anchors that are located under clearly marked flaps and are close to the surface with no seating material impinging on access. Even bulky car seats shouldn't pose a problem.
How economical is the Accord?
The EPA estimate of 32-33 mpg combined with the base engine is excellent for a midsize sedan. But we only managed to average 28.5 mpg on our evaluation route. Other vehicles we test do a better job of matching the EPA estimates. The Accord's small turbocharged engine seems to get thirsty when driven in the real world.
Is the Accord a good value?
You get a lot of car for your money. The Accord's interior design is modern and upscale. The touch points are covered in soft-touch materials, and the panels are fit tightly together. Only a few of the textured surfaces reveal themselves to be somewhat tacky-feeling hard plastics. Equipment scales well through the trim levels, so you don't feel like you're being shorted for opting for a lower trim. Dollar for dollar, the Accord feels like it's in a different league.
You feel good getting in the Accord. It reminds you that you chose wisely as you settle into the low seat. You can sit low and back, ensconced in the vehicle, and it imparts a sensation of being in a much more expensive car. If the steering was sharper, this Honda could even be a sport sedan. As it is, the Accord is a sporty and competent sedan that's actually a lot of fun to whip through corners thanks to its stability.
Which Accord does Edmunds recommend?
The new Sport SE trim replaces the previous EX trim, which got our recommendation last year. Just like its predecessor, it delivers plenty of features for the money. In particular, the keyless entry, leather upholstery and heated seats are worth the price premium over the Sport trim. You also get a handful of other convenience items.
Honda Accord models
The 2021 Honda Accord is a midsize sedan available in six trim levels: LX, Sport, Sport Special Edition (or simply SE), EX-L, Sport 2.0T and Touring. Most Accords come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (192 horsepower) and a continuously variable automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. The Sport 2.0T and Touring receive a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (252 hp) and a traditional 10-speed automatic transmission. There's also an Accord Hybrid model that is reviewed separately.