I Really Didn’t Want to Test Drive the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid. But I Did Anyway

Honda Accord Hybrid
Honda Accord Hybrid featured image

Because, well, Honda + Accord + Hybrid = ❤️

When Honda offered me the chance to test drive the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid I almost said thank you, but no thanks. I test drove the last model and flat out loved it. It had premium features, a great drive experience and great MPG at a very affordable price. What could Honda have done to improve it? 

But of course, never count Honda out when it comes to improving and delighting you. They simply know how. 

The first thing Honda improved, which is actually not an improvement at all, is the price: It’s about the same as the 2020 model. So if you missed out on it and think dang, now it’ll cost more, well, not really. The base Hybrid model is about $950 more but at the top Touring level, the price only went up $190 and all trims add more features for the price. And overall it’s still only a $1,600 premium over the gas engine model. Will you recoup that savings in fuel economy? You can read all about that right here (it depends, so we did the math for you).

For that extra $950 (or $190 if you’re going all out, which we recommend) you get all the new stuff that Honda added to the Accord, including: 

  • The new face of the Accord, with a wider grille, new LED headlights on the top trims and new fog lights; still the same Accord face with a slightly fresher look
  • A better positioned radar system that allows functions like adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist to be even more accurate 
  • New tech features such as a new media display, and it’s standard equipment
  • CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on all models
  • A rear seat reminder (yay!)
  • Wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in EX and higher trims, as well as USB chargers for rear seat passengers

And, the hybrid system has been upgraded; the “smart hybrid” system moves seamlessly between gas and hybrid mode so you don’t lose momentum on the road. And of course, you get all the other goodies: a 212 horsepower engine that is estimated to get 48 MPG, both in the city and on the highway (though I averaged about 38 MPG during our test drive, but that could be that I’m addicted to sport mode), Honda Sensing system of driver assist and safety features, ample passenger space, ample trunk space and that lovely Honda reliability. 

Related: 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring Review: This Might Be the Most Luxury For Your Money, Ever

Honda Accord Hybrid

The amount of power being redirected to the battery can be increased by pulling the left paddle on the steering wheel in the Honda Accord Hybrid. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Smarter Hybrid System in the 2021 Model

The hybrid model has a dual motor system that has been refined to more seamlessly transition between gas and battery systems so you don’t feel it; it just drives nicely.

But if you want to feel the hybrid at work, you can do that too. The regenerative braking paddles, or ‘regen’ paddles, on the back of the steering wheel allow you to capture and store unused power. Pull the left paddle to increase this effect and the right paddle to release it (which you never really need to do since it automatically releases after a short time). 

Once you pull the left paddle the system re-routes extra power to the battery for storage; this extra rerouting means there is less power to the wheels and the car slows, as if you’re lightly applying the brake. Pull the paddle twice, or three times and even more power is sent back to the battery. This effect a minute or so and then the system reverts to normal regen mode; if you want to keep it going you can pull the regen paddle more often and watch on the media screen as your battery power climbs. Yes, it’s sort of a video game on wheels. Recharge the battery and use less gas for the win! 

Related: The Perfect Bubble Car? A Hybrid: How I ‘Bubbled’ for a Week in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

Honda Accord Hybrid

Head up display lets you customize what you see, from speed and speed limit to charging status. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Lovely Drive Experience 

The Accord Hybrid is fun to drive, confident on the highway and easy on gas, just like its gas-powered sibling. Part of the ‘fun to drive’  includes all the great technology that keeps you on mission—moving along with traffic while navigating, watching the road and texting with your partner (yes, you can do all that at once). Among the things that add to the seamless drive experience include Wireless Apple CarPlay; once you connect your phone with the system, it connects automatically every time you get in the car. Turn on the car and your phone’s screen pops up on the media screen. This is quite nice. 

Another thing that keeps you going easily and efficiently is the head up display (only featured on the Touring edition, unfortunately). This great little projection system puts key information right in front of you so you can see your speed, the speed limit on the road or other information; you can even display your battery usage. How’s that for keeping eyes on the game! 

The cabin of the Accord Hybrid Touring edition that I tested has luxe touches like leather trimmed door and dash panels, leather seats and woodgrain accents. The standard size sunroof and the roomy rear seats add a light overall feeling. All together, it’s easy running errands, especially on those days when there’s a lot of in-and-out in the car.

Related: 2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XSE: The Sporty Hybrid Full-Size Sedan

Honda Accord Hybrid

The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid still cuts an elegant silhouette. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What the Honda Accord Hybrid Costs

The difference in price for the 2021 model vs 2020 is slim; while the base model price increased by $950, the Touring edition only increased by $190. Here’s how it breaks down:  

  • Base Hybrid model includes the two-motor hybrid system, continuously variable transmission, sport mode, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Honda Sensing suite of driver assist and safety features, folding rear seats, multi angle rearview camera, push button start and automatic high beam headlights, $26,570
  • EX model adds wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charger, blind spot monitor, remote start, smart key with smart entry and lock, deceleration paddles and an 8” media display, $30,520
  • EX-L model adds parking sensors, 10-speaker premium audio, leather trimmed interior, sunroof and power front passenger seat, $32,890
  • Touring model adds 19” wheels, head up display, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, satellite navigation, interior ambient lighting, rain sensing windshield wipers and side mirrors that tilt down in reverse, $36,440
  • Delivery, $995
  • Price of the model we tested, about $37,435 
Honda Accord Hybrid

The media screen is customizable so you can set it up however you like in the Honda Accord Hybrid. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Yes, It Was Worth the Test Drive

Surprisingly, there is a lot more to like in the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid: All the things that we liked about the 2020 model plus the new conveniences like wireless phone charging and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the new media system and a smarter, more efficient hybrid system with some nice driver feedback (or, game-like) function. And actually, it’s probably not worth the test drive. If you know that an efficient, luxe-filled sedan is what you need, this one is a good bet. 

Disclosure: Honda provided the Accord Hybrid for this test drive. All opinions are my own.

Honda Accord Hybrid

The new media touch screen in the Honda Accord Hybrid also has buttons and dials so you can quickly access what you need. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss