Redesigned Honda Accord puts the sport in 2.0T Sport
Slide into the 2021 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T, and you may think it's just another Accord, especially if you'd just parked a Lexus LC500. But press the Sport mode button, and buckle up.
2021 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport: Accord Sport. Ha-ha, right?
Price: $32,865 as tested. No options on test vehicle.
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver reports, “Highs: 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, upscale refinement, capacious interior, strong grip if you’re turning left.” “Lows: No more manual transmission, latest updates are almost undetectable, less-great grip turning right.”
Marketer’s pitch: “Redesigned Accord.” Not so clever.
Reality: And who needs clever? Honda really put the sport in Sport.
What’s new: The Accord gets a bit of a refreshed look, some integration of sensors and lights, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Up to speed: You’d think it would not be fair to the Accord to drive a Lexus LC500 to Valley Forge, and then meet the car service and switch into this before leaving for home. Surely the performance felt very suburban sedan-y after a supercar.
But the Accord does have a secret weapon: the Sport mode button. Push the button and the car will blast to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, as noted above. Outside of this mode, though, the Accord barely makes use of its 2-liter turbo four engine and its 252 horsepower.
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On the curves: The Sport mode also livens up the curves. The sedan takes on those ribbons of country road that meander through Chester County hills and dales with pretty spirited feedback. Drivers won’t mistake it for the LC500, but for a third the price, it does fairly well.
It does handle like a front-wheel-drive vehicle, with serious pull into the curves. I also found wet-weather starting and stopping to feature some unnerving burnouts and long stopping distances.
The Accord does rattle over bumps pretty mightily, although I kept it in Sport mode for most of the driving. Drivers who may be sensitive to the road jostling may want to pay extra attention to how this feels during test-drive time.
Friends and stuff: Passengers will definitely not mistake it for the LC500. See, we planned a day at Valley Forge with family, but, being us, we did not plan it well. Sturgis Kid 4.0 was not getting back there.
But on the return trip, the Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat could sit in the front seat! No one had to stretch his or her legs through the front armrest! What a delight!
The Accord actually merits applause for the spaciousness of the rear seat; the accommodations are definitely business class. Lots of legroom, foot room and headroom.
Cargo space is a generous 16.7 cubic feet.
Driver’s Seat: But the Accord Sport suffers in all seating positions from uncomfortable, slippery seats. The fabric feels straight out of Papa Driver’s Seat’s long-gone 1970 Ford LTD, the one that featured a resident beach towel covering the shredded front bench at six years and 50,000 miles.
At least we have bucket seats here, and I’m betting durability will be stronger, but comfort is not much better. My previous Accord test vehicle was a Touring model, which featured truly delightful seats covered in material brought to you by several selfless bovines. (Bonus: A 2.0T Touring model is also available.)
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Shifty: The 10-speed automatic transmission is controlled by the standard Honda row of buttons. Not my favorite setup but it works fine.
The shiftability happens with steering wheel paddles, and that works fine, as well. But 10 gears is a lot and so I mostly let the Accord handle things.
Play some tunes: The Accord stereo sound impressed me. It has a way of drawing focus to the percussion and makes many songs sound more lively than they do almost anywhere else. An A+.
Operation of the system features dials for volume and tuning and an easy-to-follow touch screen for everything else.
Keeping warm and cool: Dials control temperature and fan speed while buttons handle the air source adjustments. The dials feature lights that glow red for a second when you raise the temperature, or blue when you lower it, a nice touch.
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Fuel economy: I was averaging a mere 22 mpg until I happened to take a late-night rainy trip to Philadelphia, then the numbers boosted to 24. Feed the Accord whatever.
Where it’s built: Marysville, Ohio.
How it’s built: Consumer Reports predicts the Accord reliability to be a 3 out of 5.
In the end: The Accord has long been one of the standard bearer sedans, and it remains one of my favorites. The addition of all-wheel drive would be a great enhancement, though, and I’m not sure why Honda never got around to it.