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The hybrid version of the popular midsize sedan offers more power and better mileage.

COURTESY HONDA - The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is a striking midsize family car with a smooth ride and available luxury.The Honda Accord Hybrid upends the conventional wisdom about such fuel-efficient vehicles. In the past, hybrids were much slower than equivalent gas-powered vehicles, which was the trade-off for getting better mileage. For example, the original Toyota Prius — the first mass produced hybrid — was so slow that being stuck behind a Prius driver became a punch line.

But the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is significantly more powerful and faster than the turbocharged 1.5-liter gas version. The hybrid version offers 20 more horsepower and 40 more foot-pounds of torque, which translates to one second faster zero to 60.

COURTESY HONDA - The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid looks good from any angle and can carry five adults in comfort and style.

Despite the additional power, the Accord Hybrid gets substantially better mileage than the gas version — 18 more miles per gallon in the city and 10 more on the highway.

But more than that, the hybrid version drives better because it has a more refined power train. Honda didn't merely add an electric motor and battery pack to share duties with an existing gas engine. Instead, it installed two electric motors and a battery pack, and dedicated the gas engine to driving a generator. Honda also did away with the transmission, employing a direct drive system it calls Electric Continuously Variable Transmission, or eCVT for short.

COURTESY HONDA - The interior of the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid comes loaded with luxury and tech.

The results is an incredible smooth and quiet ride, which is only broken by a low growl from the exhaust under heavy acceleration. The overall experience exceeds the feel of many more expensive luxury cars, which is remarkable considering the Accord is actually an affordable economy car.

Even more amazing, the hybrid version is not that much expensive than the gas-only Accord. The price difference of the entry-level versions is just $1,600, which will easily be made up in gas price savings in a few years, at most. That slight difference demolishes the long-held notion that hybrids never pay for themselves, so are only bought by families that put the environment ahead of their own finances.

COURTESU HONDA - The rear seats of the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid can hold three adults but also be folded down for extra cargo space.

The Accord was also completely redesigned just three years ago and is now one of the best looking midsize sedans on the market, regardless of price. It is sleek and — dare we say it — sexy on the outside, which being thoroughly modern on the inside. Benefits include a huge back seat that easily holds three adults in comfort and style.

Our test 2021 Accord Hybrid was a top-of-the-line Touring version, which achieves true luxury levels with a complete leather interior and practically every comfort, infoainment and safety feature on the market today. At under $38,000, it raises the question of why anyone would even consider buying an entry-level German sedan instead. The supposed benefits of the prestige names are just not clear.

COURTESY HONDA - The powerplant in the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is more powerful than the gas-only version but still delivers much better mileage.

A lot of people already understand this. The 2020 Honda Accord was the retail #2 midsize car with the lowest incentives, accounting for nearly one in four midsize car sales in America. That's one big reason why Honda finished 2020 as the #4 retail brand in America — and the #1 brand for Millennial, Gen Z and multicultural buyers.

If you're in the market for a well-made midsize sedan that's a cut above, you owe it to yourself to test drive the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring first. That is the model every other choice should be judged against.

COURTESY HONDA - The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is available with unique and very attractive alloy wheels.

2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

Base price: $26,570

Price as tested: $37,435

Style: Midsize sedan

Engine: 2.0 inline 4, two electric motors and lithium battery pack (212 hp, 232 lbs-ft)

Transmission: Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (direct drive)

EPA fuel economy: 44/41

Length: 192.2 inches

Weight: 3,404 pounds

Final assembly: Marysville, Ohio


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