Effortless Brilliance: The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

When Honda's Accord first hit the streets in 1976, it was a revelation. The ground was not at that time thick with meticulously crafted, utterly reliable, comfortable and economical vehicles. It, I will argue, more than any other car, re-calibrated American drivers' expectations of what an automobile should be and do---to the eternal regret of the then-Big Three (GM, Ford and Chrysler).

Fast-forward 45 years and the story, no longer novel, remains the same. The Honda Accord is, hands down, the standard for family sedans. And, in Accord Hybrid form, it's crazily economical while being more powerful than the standard Accord.

This year's Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. It makes 212 horsepower, which is 20 more than a standard 1.5-liter turbo gasoline Accord. Zero to 60 miles per hour happens in 6.7 seconds. And the EPA fuel economy estimates are 44 miles per gallon city/41 highway.

For 2021, Honda has spread features that were previously reserved for EX and Touring models across the Accord Hybrid line. Display audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear seat USB chargers---all now standard on all Accord Hybrids.

There have also been improvements to the adaptive cruise control, making it smoother, and to the lane-keeping assist function, providing more natural lane-centering feeling. And the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid also has a new low-speed braking control, new rear seat reminder and new LED headlights. There are four Honda Accord Hybrids available---the base model, which starts at $26,570, the EX, beginning at $30,520, the EX-L, which has an MSRP of $32,890 and our tester, the top-of-the-line Touring, which has a base price of $36,440.

The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a ten-speaker premium audio system, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels and a power moonroof.

And thanks to Honda's policy of equipping each level a certain way with zero options, the Radiant Red Metallic paint was the only extra-cost option, at $395. So, with $995 destination and handling charges, the as-tested price of the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring is $37,380.

Fun fact: The average new car price in the USA right now is $38,723. So the top-of-the-line, fully-loaded Honda Accord Hybrid Touring---by no means an average car---is $1,343 less than that. And that is as compelling a value argument as you are likely to find.

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