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Honda Accord Hybrid 2021 review: VTi-LX


SUVs are all the rage these days, with buyers abandoning the once-thriving mid-size sedan landscape for something higher riding and, arguably, more practical.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any options left for those wanting a traditional three-box sedan.

Toyota still offers its Camry, Hyundai is about to launch its new Sonata, the Mazda6 is still alive and kicking, and the sexy Peugeot 508 has hit the market.

Over in Honda’s corner though, the Accord – now in its 10th generation – continues to fly the flag for the Japanese brand, but does it do enough to justify continuing its low-volume sales in Australia?

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid we’ve tested wears a pricetag of $55,800 before on-road costs, but those that can do without the electric assistance can score one for just $52,800.

The Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid we’ve tested wears a pricetag of $55,800 before on-road costs. The Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid we’ve tested wears a pricetag of $55,800 before on-road costs.

A $50,000-plus asking price for a Honda sedan might seem steep, but the VTi-LX grade comes with all the fruit you’d expect out of a car in this price range.

As standard, the Accord comes with an 8.0-inch multimedia system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, satellite navigation and digital radio, outputting to an excellent 10-speaker sound system.

Seriously, this isn’t something we usually bring up in reviews but the Accord’s sound system is truly great, offering clear and crisp audio whether listening to the radio or streaming music via Bluetooth.

As standard, the Accord comes with an 8.0-inch multimedia system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support. As standard, the Accord comes with an 8.0-inch multimedia system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support.

Other key specification appointments include automatic LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, auto-folding side mirrors, woodgrain interior dashboard, electronic sunroof, black leather upholstery, electronically adjustable front seats, heated front seats, wireless smartphone charger, active noise cancellation, 7.0-inch driver display, 6.0-inch colour head-up display, keyless entry, push-button start, and remote engine start.

It’s a long and exhaustive list of equipment, but what about the options?

Well, there aren’t any.

The petrol model comes with a choice of four colours (two metallic and two pearlescent), while the Hybrid option adds ‘Passion Red’, but each hue comes at no extra cost.

Likewise, the standard 18-inch wheels are the only ones available across the Accord range, with no option to black them out or go an inch or two up in size.

The standard 18-inch wheels are the only ones available across the Accord range. The standard 18-inch wheels are the only ones available across the Accord range.

Sure, those that want a frugal petrol-electric hybrid powertrain at a cheaper price can opt for the Camry Hybrid (priced from $33,490-$46,990), but the fit and finish of the Accord VTi-LX does feel a step above what Toyota has to offer.

It's worth pointing out that the top-spec Camry Hybrid features a powered tailgate and cooled front seats, which the Accord misses out on, while the former also boasts a larger 9.0-inch multimedia screen.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

Sedans might be as daggy as all get out right now, but we think the Accord actually looks pretty handsome (don’t @ me).

With its long bonnet and athletic profile, the Accord wears Honda’s current design language well, and thanks to the chrome touches on the outside, dare we say it even looks a little premium?

The Accord wears Honda’s current design language well. The Accord wears Honda’s current design language well.

The chrome isn’t for everyone though, and we’d have liked to see darker accents like a ‘Shadow Chrome’ gunmetal grey colour that might age a little better than the ultra-reflective material.

In profile, the gently sloped roofline also adds to the aesthetic factor, while it's great to see Honda has opted for comfort in the 18-inch wheels rather than style, by going a few sizes bigger.

The rear end features unique wraparound tail-lights and a pinched derriere that slims things down a little, while the hidden exhaust outlet hints at the Accord’s green-car credentials.

The rear end features unique wraparound tail-lights. The rear end features unique wraparound tail-lights.

Overall, the Accord is inoffensive, and certainly scores points for being much less common than the Toyota Camry and Mazda6, and a little less divisive in styling than the Skoda Octavia.

Step inside the Accord and it’s mostly a sea of soft-touch materials and plush leather.

The seats are especially notable because of their supportive design and wide base, ensuring driver fatigue doesn’t set in until you're several hours into a journey.

The 7.0-inch driver display is a little small, but the large head-up display is excellent at putting all the data you need front and centre.

As for the multimedia system, an 8.0-inch screen seems large, but because it is flanked by physical buttons and knobs, it actually looks a bit smaller than the units found in some rivals.

I did appreciate the old-school buttons, though, and the touchscreen is quick and snappy, even if the graphics and user interface are a little clunky and cheap looking.

How practical is the space inside?

Measuring 4904mm long, 2137mm wide, 1450mm tall and with a 2830mm wheelbase, the 2021 Accord is actually pretty close in size to the Holden VF Commodore.

Up front, the electronically adjustable seats offer plenty of variability to get into the perfect position. Up front, the electronically adjustable seats offer plenty of variability to get into the perfect position.

And it flexes its bigger dimensions with a roomy and spacious cabin, regardless of where you are sitting.

Up front, the electronically adjustable seats offer plenty of variability to get into the perfect position, and the driver’s seat also has a memory setting if you are sharing the Accord with different people.

The door bins are a little on the smaller size and struggle to fit a full-sized water bottle, but the centre console boasts a deep cavity, with two cupholders also featured next to the shifter.

The wireless smartphone charger position , which is between the shifter and climate controls, does eat up an entire storage hole because once you put your phone down, you don’t want to put your keys or wallet on top of it and risk scratching your screen.

In the rear, space is excellent for occupants of all shapes and sizes. In the rear, space is excellent for occupants of all shapes and sizes.

it would have made more sense for the wireless smartphone charger to be placed under the armrest, like it is in BMWs, to retain another storage option.

In the rear, space is excellent for occupants of all shapes and sizes, affording plenty of head, shoulder and leg room.

In the back, there are two air vents. In the back, there are two air vents.

The middle seat can be a little squeezy, but the soft-touch leather and seat shape offer plenty of support and would be supremely comfortable over long journeys.

In the back, there are two air vents, two charging ports and a fold-down centre armrest with two cupholders.

Opening the boot reveals a cavity that will accommodate 570 litres of volume, but the back seats can be folded down to stow longer objects.

The rear seats are one piece, rather than split fold, meaning you’ll have to choose between having rear passengers or taking that trip to Ikea.

Opening the boot reveals a cavity that will accommodate 570 litres of volume. Opening the boot reveals a cavity that will accommodate 570 litres of volume.

There is a lockable ski tunnel through the middle, though, which means long and narrow items can be carried without folding down the rear seats.

Two bag hooks are found in the boot, which helps keep your groceries in the bag and not all over the boot floor.

The back seats can be folded down to stow longer objects. The back seats can be folded down to stow longer objects.

What are the key stats for the drivetrain?

Powering the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid is a 2.0-litre petrol engine and dual-electric motor combo, for a total output of 158kW/315Nm.

Drive is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Compared with the Camry Hybrid, the Accord is down 2kW in power, but out in the real world it is very hard to tell the difference in outputs.

Being a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, there is no need to plug in the Accord Hybrid as the petrol engine works to charge the battery.

Powering the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid is a 2.0-litre petrol engine. Powering the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid is a 2.0-litre petrol engine.

How much fuel does it consume? What’s the range like, and what’s it like to refuel?

One key to the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid’s appeal is its ultra-frugal fuel consumption figure of just 4.3 litres per 100km, and low 98 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre.

In our week with the car, we managed an average of 6.1L/100km in a mix of varying drive modes, including ‘Sport’.

No doubt if we were hypermiling that figure would be much closer to the official numbers, but our time with the Accord consisted of various short inner-city trips (where the hybrid powertrain excels) and a blast down some country roads (where the hybrid powertrain does not excel).

Regardless, the fuel economy figure is still a respectable one for a hybrid, especially one of this size and with this much practicality.

The Accord VTi-LX Hybrid is both more fuel efficient and less pollutant than the top-spec Toyota Camry Hybrid SL, which returns 4.5L/100km and 103g/km respectively.

It's also worth nothing that it’s 48-litre fuel tank will be enough to get around 1000km of driving range before requiring filling with 91Ron petrol.

The fuel economy figure is still a respectable one for a hybrid. The fuel economy figure is still a respectable one for a hybrid.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The 10th-generation Honda Accord has not been crash tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP and, as such, does not have an official safety rating.

However, all Accords come with Honda’s Sensing suite of advanced driver-assistance systems, which include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.

The Accord also boasts automatic headlights and wipers, active cornering headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view monitor, hill-start assist, tyre-pressure monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors.

The 10th-gen Accord wears a maximum five-star crash safety rating in North America (with full marks for frontal crash, side crash and rollover protection), where it was tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Despite sharing many safety features, the US and Australian Accords differ in production location, with ours coming from Thailand.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Like all new Hondas, the Accord comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty plus six years of anti-corrosion assurance.

After the first free 1000km service, the scheduled maintenance intervals for the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid are every 10,000km/12 months, whichever occurs first.

According to Honda’s tailored service price guide, the first five years/50,000km of ownership will total $1816 in maintenance costs, which averages out to be about $363 per year.

While the 10,000km service intervals are a little short compared with the Camry’s 15,000km period, the Accord is actually quite cheap to get serviced.

Each of the Honda’s services for the first 100,000km costs only $312, with costs going up depending on additional service items.

However, the Toyota Camry Hybrid still edges ahead with its longer intervals and $220 per service costs for the first five years, although the numbers increase dramatically after that.

The cheap service pricing combined with the excellent fuel economy of the hybrid engine mean the Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid keeps running costs down.

What’s it like to drive?

While the Accord was once a nameplate that delivered a dynamic and engaging driving experience (remember the Accord Euro with its wonderful K24 engine?), it seems Honda’s mid-size sedan has matured somewhat in its older age.

The steering wheel feels light, progressive and unsurprising. The steering wheel feels light, progressive and unsurprising.

Its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain is designed for frugality, not fun, so being aware of this before purchasing an Accord is vital, particularly if you're an enthusiastic driver.

In this regard, the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid is a safe and predictable car, never surprising with understeer or tyre squeal, but also delivering a comfortable and cosseting experience.

You kind of know what you are getting out of the box, which is certainly no bad thing for anyone after a quiet and calm driving life.

Tipping the Accord into a corner, the steering wheel feels light, progressive and unsurprising, but offers plenty of feedback for what the front-drive sedan is doing.

The suspension also feels much more geared towards comfort than sportiness, with bumps and road imperfections soaked up with ease.

The quietude of the cabin is what probably stands out the most when behind the wheel of the Accord VTi-LX Hybrid, thanks to the electrified powertrain and clever active noise cancellation.

When running in EV mode (available, depending on conditions, at the push of a button), the Accord is a serenely quiet and comfortable place to be, even rivalling premium marques like the Lexus IS200, let alone the mainstream Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Three driving modes are on offer – Eco, Normal and Sport – and with the electric motor assist, even in the Eco setting, the Accord still offers decent punch off the line.

Sport mode turns things up a little, but the CVT tends to feel a little elastic with the throttle pedal pinned.

Our recommendation is to drive the Accord in Eco mode and reap the benefits of a low fuel-economy, figure rather than trying to relive the glory days of Honda’s high-revving, VTEC-laden sports sedans.

The Accord VTi-LX Hybrid might seem like an odd choice for those after a mid-size sedan, but Honda has done more than enough to justify its existence in its current stable.

Sure, the price is a bit high, but it comes fully loaded and has a cutting-edge powertrain to keep running costs down.

In a segment that is dominated by the Toyota Camry, Honda had to do something to stand apart, and pushing a little more upmarket with spec and refinement is definitely the right way to go.

$55,800

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

4/5
Price Guide

$55,800

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.