You know, we’re always happy when we’re testing a Honda Accord. It’s like having a good friend come to visit. Yes, there’s plenty of time to talk about what’s new and exciting, but there’s also a lot of good feelings from the length of time you’ve known each other. And it’s not just us – the Accord is the best-selling car of the last 50 years.
So, what’s been going on with our trusted friend? Let’s find out!
The current Accord was already quite handsome, but we really like the upgrades they’ve made to keep Honda’s flagship sedan stylish. A wider, restyled grille gives a more of-a-piece look, while new-design LED headlights and smaller openings for the fog lights crisp things up.
The profile remains unchanged, but we love it – you could easily mistake if for an Audi A5 Sportbak. The lines are sporty and clean, with a nice shoulder above the door handles, pronounced lower panels, and a sweeping roof line that looks like a hatchback, even though it’s not. The 19-inch alloy wheels on the Sport remain one of Honda’s best – bold and aggressive.
The rear keeps up the athletic vibe with a tasteful contrasting lip spoiler, while 2.0T badging and twin exhaust pipes promise performance. Our favorite part of our tester had to be the new Sonic Gray Pearl color – a rich creamy gray that is super popular throughout the industry, and it gave our tester an upscale look that turned heads.
Familiar and Friendly Inside
The cabin sees a few small changes for 2021, but like the exterior, it was great to start with. This is a roomy space, with large power adjustable front seats that are super comfy, and the power lumbar support helps make it easy to find a comfortable spot. OK, no leather on the Sport trim to keep prices reasonable, but this is a good-looking fabric, and we really didn’t miss the cow.
Honda is always masterful at making tech simple and approachable. The gauge package looks like large analog speedometer and tachometer, but the tach is actually a clever digital display, that changes by mode – we really like the Sport mode that serves up a turbo boost gauge! You can also pull up displays including infotainment, driving aids and cool stuff like road signs including speed limits.
On the center console you’ve got a nice 8-inch touchscreen with both volume and tuning knobs (Yay Honda!!!), and an intuitive set-up for easy navigating. You also state of the art connectivity, including Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as wireless charging. Time to ditch the cords! (There are USB ports if you need extra charging capability). The climate controls are simple to use as well.
Our only beef is the pushbutton automatic transmission. Especially for a sport model, we’d like a shift lever that lets you nudge your way around the gearbox. Honda does give you paddle shifters, so there’s plenty of fun to be had, we just like a lever is all.
The rear seats are among the most spacious in the class, and it really is stretch-out room for adults – carpool? No problem. With the rear seats up the trunk is massive, and while it’s not a hatchback, you do get split folding rear seats and a nice large opening for larger items. Maybe you don’t need an SUV after all.
Sport means Sport
You know, any Accord is going to be a great daily driver. But it’s the Sport model that gets our hearts racing. There are two engine choices for the Sport model, and we’d highly recommend our tester’s more expensive 2.0-liter turbo, 4-cylinder. (A 1.5-liter turbo is available). This engine is a powerhouse, pumping out 252 horsepower and a fat 273 lb.-ft of torque at just 1,500 rpm.
There’s more goodness, since the 2.0T filters that power through a 10-speed automatic transmission (the 1.5t uses Honda’s ok CVT transmission), so you get a strong launch off the line, and it pulls hard to the redline in every gear. The exhaust sounds meaty and throaty as it does so.
That 10-speed serves up benefits with low rpm when cruising, and a 32-mpg highway rating when you keep out of the turbo zone. (Good luck on that!) You can get similar performance from a Camry V6, but you’ll be hard pressed to get close to the Accord’s fuel efficiency. Worth thinking about with today’s high gas prices.
Put the trans in Sport mode and the shifts come faster and more furious, and you always feel like you have plenty of power in reserve – even in freeway passing, you slide up past legal speeds in a hurry.
With front wheel drive and this much power, you can break the front wheels loose if you really get on it, but the steering has a nice weight to it, and the Accord is a sweet handler, happy to tackle your favorite twisty roads. Just as important, it’s equally adept at serving up a smooth and quiet ride in the daily commute. A nice balance.
Can I Afford to be the Sporty Type?
Yes! The best part of the Accord Sport is Honda was judicious in the goodies to keep things affordable – so no leather, no thumping audio or navigation – but we don’t think you’ll miss it.
The Accord lineup starts with the LX at $24,770 with great comfort, style and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus Honda Sensing – it’s a great value in a family sedan. If you love the looks of our Sport, but don’t want or need the powerful 2.0-liter turbo, the Sport 1.5T starts at $27,230 – a nice value.
Our tester is the way we’d get an Accord, and the 2021 2.0T Sport starts at $32,110. Sonic Gray Pearl was $395. Adding in $995 for destination, and we rang the bell at $33,500.
Competitors would include the Toyota Camry TRD V6 at $34,395, definitely a special vehicle, but you’ll pay more at the pumps, and if you like things like a sunroof, you can’t get it on a TRD.
We also liked the Kia K5 GT at $35,705 it’s a great performance value – although the Accord is even better – and it boils down to whether you like the more button-down traditional Honda look, or the zoomy K5 lines. Both great choices.
Gorgeous, comfortable, fast, and beautifully built. The 2021 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T is the perfect blend of sport sedan and everyday livability. A 4-door that can do it all!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.