New Model News

2021 Honda Accord gets a fresh face, Special Edition trim, upgraded tech

The Honda Accord has been revised for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The 2021 Honda Accord has undergone a mid-genenration refresh. For the new model year, the midsize Accord gets a host of styling updates, upgraded technology, a new trim level, and additional safety features. The Accord Hybrid is also getting powertrain upgrades and new wheels.

Honda will sell the 2021 Accord in five trim levels: LX, EX-L, Sport, Sport Special Edition (SE), and Touring. The SE grade is new for 2021 and replaces the EX trim. There's also a revised Accord Hybrid.

2021 Honda Accord Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda has restyled the front of the Accord to feature a wider, less segmented-looking grille. The look adds sophistication and draws comparisons to the Mazda6 and Audi. With the redo, the Honda Sensing suite of safety technology's radar unit is now housed in the grille. Flanking the grille are new LED high- and low-beam headlights with longer and wider illumination. The fog lights are now housed in smaller offerings.

Honda differentiates the Accord Sport and Sport SE from the other trims by adding a rear trunk lid spoiler, trim-specific 19-inch wheel design, LED fog lights, dark-chrome grille, and chrome exhaust finishers.

The Accord Hybrid is set apart from the rest of the crowd stylistically with a blue H-mark on the grille, adds its own unique touches to the styling updates made to the entire 2021 Accord lineup, including a blue H-mark on the grille and Hybrid badges on the front fenders and trunk lid. This year, Accord Hybrid Touring grade features 19-inch wheels, giving it an upscale and sporty appearance.

Accord LX, EX-L, and Touring receive new alloy wheel designs. The Sport, SE, and Touring trim levels have a new available wheel color: Sonic Gray Pearl.

The Accord Hybrid has gotten a powertrain update designed to improve the car's performance. Engineers have recalibrated the hybrid system for a more immediate throttle response. The car's acceleration will now feel more traditional and this should follow a trend that is seeing automakers offer more responsive performance from their hybrid models. It will also spend more time operating solely on electric power than competing hybrid models.

The Accord Hybrid has a total peak output of 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. It achieves 48 mpg combined. Honda was recently named the most fuel-efficient automaker in the North American market.

The cabin of the Accord remains relatively the same. It now includes a standard 8.0-inch Display Audio infotainment touch screen. Accord EX gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which requires a cord to connect a smartphone to the system, while Accord EX-L and Touring get wireless versions of the same tech.

The Accord's USB ports have been moved to the front of the center console. Accord Sport and higher trim levels now include dual 2.5-volt USB ports for rear seat passengers. A wireless charger is available.

For 2021, the new Accord Sport SE replaces the Accord EX 1.5T. It builds on the Sport trim adding leather seats, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, 12-way power driver's seat, heated mirrors, Smart Entry, and remote engine start. Its dual rear USB ports, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather-wrapped shift knob, and an eight-speaker audio system will carry over from the EX 1.5T model.

All Accords also get rear seat reminder technology while upper trim levels get Honda's Low Speed Braking Control system.

The 2021 Accord goes on sale October 13. It has a starting MSRP of $24,770.

The 2021 Accord Hybrid starts at $26,370.

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The new Si gets many improvements over the standard Civic.

Honda

The 2022 Civic and Civic Hatchback are just starting to hit our streets, but Honda's already moved on to higher performance versions of the car. The automaker just announced the Civic Si, which lands between the standard cars and the red-hot Type R in the Civic lineup.

2022 Honda Civic Si The Si's manual transmission gets rev-matching from the Civic Type R.Honda

The 2022 Civic Si gets a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The VTEC unit has been updated with broader power curves and better output at the top of the rev range. It's paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission that features the handy rev-matching feature from the Civic Type R. The system can detect downshifts and blips the throttle to perfectly align engine revs with the shift.

Honda tightened up the new Si's body with an 8 percent bump in torsional rigidity and a 13 percent increase in bending rigidity over the previous model. The 2022 Civic Si also rides on a longer wheelbase and has a wider rear track for better stability. Honda says that at 107.7 inches, the Si has the longest wheelbase in its class, which should give the car a stable and comfortable ride.

2022 Honda Civic Si The 2022 Civic Si's interior is clean and sporty. Honda

The Si's cabin borrows heavily from the standard Civic, but the sporty car gets more aggressive front sport seats with stronger bolstering and better thigh and shoulder supports. Honda raised the seats' bottom cushion by half an inch at the front for better thigh support. A 9-inch touchscreen display is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 12-speaker Bose stereo with Centerpoint 2 tech and SurroundStage digital signal processing are also standard.

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The Passport was lightly modified for competition.

Honda

Honda recently announced a line of off-road-oriented trims and packages for its vehicles. Called TrailSport, the trim brings rugged appearance upgrades to the Honda Passport and will eventually offer more performance upgrades for other vehicles in the automaker's catalog. To further prove its mettle in the off-road space, Honda built a 2022 Passport rally truck to compete in the American Rally Association race series. The truck debuted over the weekend in Michigan and had a reasonably successful run for its first time out.

2022 Honda Passport Two Honda engineers handled driving duties.Honda

Importantly, the Passport's drivetrain and suspension were left untouched for the rally. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6, nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and suspension in the rally vehicle are the same components that you or I would see if we bought a new Passport today. Honda did add a transmission fluid cooler, but even then, it's the unit that everyday buyers can get with the available towing package. The SUV's interior was stripped and modified for safety and performance.

2022 Honda Passport Honda is pushing deeper into the off-road with its TrailSport trims.Honda

Honda did upgrade the Passport's wheels and tires for the event by fitting 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels and Maxxis RAZR M/T or A/T tires. The automaker also made modifications to the SUV's underside with custom 1/8-inch thick aluminum oil pan and rear differential skid plates. High-density panels protect the fuel tank and other sensitive components, while Carbontech XP12 brake pads and high-temp racing brake fluid slow things down.

2022 Honda Passport The Passport's interior had to be stripped and modified for the event.Honda

The ARA National and Regional Championship Series events feature modified street vehicles that travel at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. The courses include gravel, dirt, mud, and snow, and cover hundreds of miles. The Honda Passport rally vehicle was first driven by two Honda engineers and ran in the top ten out of 42 teams. Honda says that a tire de-bead eventually slowed the team, leading to a delayed finish.

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