2021 Honda Accord Hybrid first drive review: The right amount of smooth

Honda’s midsize hybrid sedan is thrifty as heck, comfortable and still fun to drive.

Midsize sedans are about as exciting as buying a new brand of chicken stock for the first time, and their ultra-efficient hybrid variants aren’t much more riveting. They are, however, hugely important vehicles. Midsize sedans were long the staple of families across America, and while crossovers have eaten into that segment in a large way, this segment is still a hotbed of competition. In the last year we’ve seen new or refreshed midsize hybrids from both Hyundai and Toyota, and now, it’s Honda’s turn with the updated 2021 Accord Hybrid.

Most folks are going to look at the 2021 Accord Hybrid and say, “Well, it looks the same as before.” But there’s actually some newness hidden in that front end. Namely, there’s a wider grille that leads into a set of LED headlights (on most trims), which are redesigned to better illuminate the road, hopefully launching the Accord Hybrid to the top of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings, an issue the car had in the past. That’s it, though. Oh, wait — the radar emitter is tucked away slightly differently toward the bottom. OK, now that’s it.

Inside, there isn’t much different, at least in terms of the visuals. I’ve always liked the current Accord’s interior, and that story stays the same in the 2021 model. The layout is simple but not necessarily boring, with some interesting angles on the dashboard and, on my Touring-trim tester, some nice matte-finish wood trim between the dark upper dash and the white leather beneath.

The lower half of the interior has cubbies and pockets galore for stashing all my stuff, the cup holders are large enough to accommodate most large-format bottles and the back row has legroom aplenty, even for my lanky, 6-foot frame. Directly under the climate controls, EX trims and up have a wireless device charger, but it can be switched off and used for regular junk as desired. Out back, there’s a positively cavernous trunk, its 16.7-cubic-foot capacity out-swallowing the Toyota Camry Hybrid’s 15.1 and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s 16.

While the interior itself is largely unperturbed for 2021, the tech tucked within gets an update. From base to Touring, all 2021 Accord Hybrid models now come standard with Honda’s 8-inch Display Audio infotainment system. On EX trims and above, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be used wirelessly. Display Audio is a solid getup, with a straightforward home page of tiles for quick access to media, navigation (Touring only) or a phone connected via Bluetooth. There are also some hybrid-specific pages, like one that tracks the flow of power from the battery through both electric motors to the wheels. There’s also a trip computer that tracks fuel economy if you want to nerd out over mileage.

The car industry’s addiction to screens means the middle of the dashboard isn’t the only place you’ll find ’em. The Accord Hybrid’s gauge cluster also includes a large digital display on the left side that houses a power meter showing the car’s current output, as well as a variable portion that can tell you what’s playing on the radio or show the turn-by-turn directions. It’ll also give you a reminder that something might be in the rear seat, which is a new addition for 2021.

Source (Cnet)

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