2021 Honda Accord Performance

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Honda Accord Performance Rating
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Accord Performance

The Honda Accord is powered by three engines that all do a good job of moving the sedan around with gusto while not using too much gas. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder unit with outputs of 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. As on every other version of the Accord, power goes to the front wheels exclusively, even though competitors like the Toyota Camry offer the availability of all-wheel drive. This engine provides decent, if not thrilling, acceleration. Of course, this will only cause problems if you regularly intend on taking your Accord to the drag strip. A much sportier option is the 2.0-liter turbo-four, which is optional for the Sport and standard on the Touring. It manages outputs of 252 hp and 273 lb-ft. In this guise, independent tests suggest that the Honda Accord's acceleration is enough for a brisk 5.5-second 0-60 mph run. Slotting in between the 1.5 and 2.0 gas engines is a hybrid alternative. It combines a 2.0-liter engine with two electric motors to generate 212 hp for the Honda Accord Hybrid. It isn't nearly as fast as the top gas-powered Accord but it delivers strong acceleration around town.

2021 Honda Accord Front-End View CarBuzz
2021 Honda Accord Rear-Facing View CarBuzz
2021 Honda Accord Rim CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is equipped to most gas-only Accords and produces 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. This smaller-capacity Accord turbo is paired exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In terms of output, the next most powerful version is the Accord Hybrid. It pairs a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine with two electric motors and an electronic CVT transmission. On its own, this four-pot produces 143 hp and 129 lb-ft but with the aid of the electric motors, power jumps to 212 hp. Finally, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft and is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. Sadly, the manual gearbox that was on offer last year has been dropped from the lineup entirely. Paddle shifters on most models can be used for drivers who want a bit more control, but these can't replace the engaging 6-speed manual that was offered last year.

Both gas-only powertrains are smooth enough and take full advantage of the sedan's relatively light weight to offer easy acceleration, but the Honda Accord 2.0-liter turbo offers ample passing power and much more grunt all the way up to its red line. Although the CVT is fine, the ten-speed automatic is more enjoyable for aggressive driving. As is typical for the hybrid model, it gets off the mark with urgency, thanks to the electric motors, but it doesn't feel as comfortable on the highway at higher speeds when the four-pot has to do most of the work.

Honda Accord Performance Specs:

Honda Accord TrimsLXSport 1.5TSport SE 1.5TEX-LSport 2.0TTouring 2.0T
Honda Accord Engines1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Honda Accord Horsepower192 hp @ 5500 rpm192 hp @ 5500 rpm192 hp @ 5500 rpm192 hp @ 5500 rpm252 hp @ 6500 rpm252 hp @ 6500 rpm
Honda Accord TransmissionsContinuously Variable Automatic (CVT)Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)10-Speed Automatic10-Speed Automatic
Honda Accord DrivetrainsFWDFWDFWDFWDFWDFWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While the Accord has its sporty side, it's not a compromise to comfort and good manners. The Sport trim firms up the ride, but without the risk of spilling coffee, let alone jarring anyone's teeth. Our test vehicle was the Hybrid model and, along with the other non-Sport trimmed vehicles, is an absolute pleasure for drivers and passengers to cruise along with. On top of the well-tuned ride, there's little road noise seeping through into the cabin. Also noticeable is the refinement in the engine management software. It delivers a more controllable and linear response from the throttle pedal to the engine. When mixed with the refreshed model's new braking system, there's no excuse for passengers to spill their beverages when negotiating rush hour.

None of the Honda Accord engine options lack power, and the hybrid drivetrain is no exception. It's quick off the line and happy to stretch its legs on the freeway before cruising along at an EPA rated 48 mpg. Usually, the word hybrid means a dull drive when the road starts to get twisty, but the Accord Hybrid bucks the trend. A quick twist of the wheel brings an equally quick turn-in response, followed by precise steering and predictable shifts in grip from the chassis. Understeer is inevitable, but the lost grip is quickly regained by easing off the throttle and letting the rear rotate.

We found ourselves caught in the snow on a mountain road during our week with the Accord Hybrid. Some of the safety systems shut themselves off due to the snow impeding some of the sensors, which is a typical issue regardless of brand. However, Honda's traction and braking control systems dealt with the fresh layer of snow and later icy conditions with surefooted confidence.

Accord Gas Mileage

If reducing your visits to the pumps is a top priority, the easy choice in the Honda Accord range is the hybrid, with its EPA-rated figures of 48/48/48 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Even so, the Toyota Camry Hybrid can return an even better 51/53/52 mpg, but both are brilliantly thrifty for large, comfortable family sedans. In Sport/Touring guises, the Accord Hybrid's numbers will dip to 44/41/43 mpg. With the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, the Accord sedan will see 30/38/33 mpg, while Sport or Touring variants with the same engine dip to 29/35/32 mpg. Finally, the 2.0-liter turbo engine is predictably the heaviest on gas, returning 22/32/26 mpg - it is by far the least efficient model in city driving. The Accord Hybrid has a 12.8-gallon gas tank so can travel in the region of 614 miles on a full tank. With a larger 14.8-gallon gas tank, the 1.5-liter turbo can attain a maximum range of 488 miles, but the 2.0-liter turbo can only get around 385 miles on a full tank.

During our very full week with the Accord Hybrid, it experienced freeways, back roads, mountain roads, LA traffic, and a daunting run at low speeds on snow and ice. It did all that and returned a more than respectable 40.2 indicated MPG.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.8 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 30/38 mpg
* 2021 Honda Accord LX 1.5T CVT
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