The base Accord Hybrid has the same advantages of every other more expensive Accord Hybrid trim: It’s quicker than the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata hybrids and has excellent brake feel, too. The interior is just as spacious as the non-hybrid Accord, which starts just $1,600 lower than the base hybrid model. Every 2021 Accord now gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base hybrid even gets hands-free keyless access, which greatly increases its everyday convenience.
Before considering regional incentives, the 2021 Accord Hybrid even manages to undercut the Hyundai and Toyota in price. But what those two competitors offer is superior fuel economy. You’ll see an EPA-rated 50/54 mpg city/highway for the Hyundai Sonata Blue hybrid and 51/53 mpg with the Toyota Camry LE hybrid. The Accord earns 48/48 mpg in all but the top Touring trim, which gets 44/41 mpg.
What’s especially nice about the base Accord Hybrid trim is that it rolls on the same 17-inch alloy wheels as the higher trims (except for the Accord Toruing)—that’s not true of the more efficient base Toyota and Hyundai models. Even so, if it were our money, we would move higher on the trim ladder.
The 2021 Accord Hybrid starts to hit its sweet spot in the EX trim. It’s here that Honda fits the car with newly improved LED headlights (the base trim gets LEDs, just not the same spec) as well as blind-spot monitoring plus a wireless version of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The EX also gets a moonroof and a 12-way power driver’s seat. Also, compared to the base trim’s four-speaker 160-watt sound system, the EX adds four additional speakers in its 180-watt setup.
What will make the 2021 Accord Hybrid EX trim appealing to some buyers is the fact that the non-hybrid Accord no longer offers one; the Sport Special Edition basically takes its place for the 1.5T engine. So if you don’t like the Sport trim’s flashy 19-inch wheels or reduced fuel economy, the Accord Hybrid EX could be a real option.
Although the price jump from EX to EX-L is only $2,370 compared to the near $4,000 increase from base to EX, this is where the decision becomes a bit more difficult. Aside from leather, the EX-L also throws in a four-way power front passenger seat, parking sensors front and rear, a 450-watt 10-speaker sound system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
This trim might be worth it for the upgraded steering wheel and sound system alone, though some buyers may see value in the power front passenger seat.
And unlike in previous model years, it rolls on different wheels than the rest of the range. The 2021 Accord Hybrid Touring looks good on the 19-inch wheels it shares with the 2.0T Touring model, but the larger wheels and tires cost too much in ride quality, tire noise, and fuel economy to warrant a recommendation. We’d reluctantly say goodbye to the Touring’s ventilated front seats and to its new Low Speed Braking Control tech, which is supposed to help save your car from front and rear bumper dings when it turns out that parking space isn’t as big as you thought.
In our test car, no setting made viewing the head-up display comfortable for my taller-than-average 6-foot-4 frame, so I wouldn’t miss that. That leaves rain-sensing wipers, heated rear outboard seats, and a passenger-side mirror that tilts down in when you’re in reverse (like a luxury car). These are all cool features but not must-haves for the roughly $3,500 jump from the EX-L.
The Accord Hybrid does its best work in the EX and EX-L trims. Although the Accord’s leather itself didn’t impress, the EX-L trim’s added feature content could be enticing. But if you don’t find a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power passenger seat, and a superior sound system worth stretching the budget for, try the EX.