2021 Honda Accord Interior Review | The family sedan lives up to its name

James Riswick
·7 min read


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The 2021 Honda Accord is our top-recommended midsize sedan, and of its handful of variants, the Accord Hybrid you see here would be our pick of the litter. Its superior fuel economy and agreeable drivability without significant compromise comes at a perfectly reasonable price premium. As we're reviewing the interior here, there's also nothing here to dissuade you from hybrid ownership. Unlike the previous-generation Accord Hybrid, this new version's trunk is uncompromised by the battery pack and identical to the one you'd get with a 1.5T or 2.0T Accord. The instrument panel gets some unique readouts in the Accord's large color screen that occupies the spot normally reserved for a tach, while the center console houses Honda's unloved push-and-pull electronic shifter shared with the 2.0T. Otherwise, everything you see in this review of the interior is common throughout the Accord line, or in some cases, the top-of-the-line Touring trim.

Now, join us for a deep dive into the interior's materials, storage, technology, space and infant car seat fitment. We'll touch on cargo space, but our Accord Luggage Test post already covered it thoroughly. It all adds up to a family sedan that lives up to that descriptor by being pretty darn useful for family use.

First, let's talk about the infotainment system. The Accord and Odyssey have the good Honda infotainment system. Everything else has some form of earlier system that's slow, convoluted in areas, prone to glitches and has minimal physical buttons. That includes the CR-V, which we reviewed here.

Why is the Accord better? The graphics are sharper, more colorful, distinguish between buttons better and are simply more modern. There are sufficient physical buttons, which reduces the chances of needing to weed back through menus. And while I can't rule out glitches, I've never experienced them with an Accord as opposed to the CR-V and others.

Still, this system is far from class leading. The navigation system is rudimentary in appearance and functionality. The touchscreen navigation system in my 2007 Acura TSX (effectively a fancy Accord) was easier to use than this thing and looked roughly equal in modernity despite being introduced in the middle of W's presidency. Then there's the audio controls. Why are there only four radio presets shown at a time? Why does Honda continue to be the only car company that includes a satellite radio genre-selection button (the one that says "rock" here). Who are these people who routinely go, "You know, I've had enough of rock music, let's check out a jazz channel."

Wireless charging shows up starting with the Accord EX-L or Accord Hybrid EX. There is always a USB media port and a USB charge-only port. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on every Accord, but wireless connectivity is featured only on the same upper trims that get wireless charging. Lower trims get the wired variety. Although this means you're stuck with a wire in that instance, at least the Accord's voluminous phone-storage bin allows you to keep those wires from snaking across the console.

The same trim levels that get wireless charging also gets this pair of USB charge ports in the back seat.

For 2021, the Accord gets revised cruise controls (above right). There is now a traditional cruise control icon (the little car with the speedometer and arrow) used to engage the system rather than the weird "Main" button that probably made sense to some engineer somewhere but was utterly befuddling to anyone else who actually used the system. The following distance button (that pyramid of lines) is a little different, too.

The controls on the left are the same. The Home button and thumb wheel control the large digital display that appears in the left side of every 2021 Accord's instrument panel.

Speaking of which ...


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The main difference between the Accord and Accord Hybrid interiors is seen here with the hybrid power gauge that replaces the tachometer. It's not a particularly useful gauge, though considering Honda discontinued the manual transmission option for '21 and that few people opt to change ratios with paddles, it's not like a tachometer is terribly useful, either.

In the subsequent slides, you can see that engaging the sport button adds a few red details to the IP (slide 2), but that's really it.

You can also see some of the menu options you can control with that Home button and thumb wheel.

Only the Touring trim level gets this head-up display. Its color-ish and can include extra readouts for the navigation system and that super-useful hybrid power meter thing.

Here's a close-up of the center console, including the aforementioned electronic shifter. You can see the buttons to engage Econ and Sport modes, the hybrid's EV only mode that operates at very low speed for very short periods of time, the electronic parking brake and the Brake Hold function.

You can also see the cupholder unit, which kinda looks like a Kia's grille.

The Kia cupholder is big enough to hold a large Yeti water bottle. The front door bottle holder can not, however.

Here's the center console bin. It includes a little sliding tray to put whatever on, or you can remove it to fit something larger like my camera bag or a small purse.

Before we move to interior space, let's talk about the "wood" trim that shows up starting with the EX-L trim. At first glance, it looks like tasteful open pore wood trim. It even looks that way in the above photo. Except it's not wood or even an open pore plastic that mimics the expected rough texture. Nope, it's smooth as a baby's butt. And once you notice that, you can't ignore it. It might as well have "fake!" written on it. This is unfortunate considering the Accord's materials quality is otherwise so excellent.

This is one of the reasons I appreciate Toyota foregoing wood trim almost completely in its cars, using alternative trim types or color to break up the acres of plastic. It's more honest, like wearing a $100 Timex instead of a $100 fake Rolex.

Here is the driver seat. It is eight-way power adjustable with four-way power lumbar on all but the base trims (LX and Hybrid). Starting with the Sport Special Edition (gas only) and Hybrid EX, the passenger seat is four-way adjustable and both seats are heated. Leather shows up with the EX-L (hence the L) and ventilation is Touring only.

On a personal note, I find the Accord driving position very comfortable, as the seat provides abundant seat adjustability and wheel travel for my 6-foot-3 frame.

The back seat is gigantic. Remember I just said that I'm 6-foot-3? That front seat is set for myself up there. This is class-leading space. In fact, there's so much space between seating rows that few cars (or SUVs) provide as much room to install a rear-facing child seat.

Here is my Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat placed in the middle and outboard positions. The driver seat can be all the way back when the infant seat is in the middle, but needs to be moved up one or two centimeters when in an outboard position.

Unfortunately, unlike the CR-V, the Accord does not have a middle lower LATCH anchor, meaning that you have to secure a car seat in the middle using the seat belt.

For the outboard seats, finding the LATCH anchors couldn't be easier. Just pull out the large leather cover and the anchors are easy to see and plug into.

The upper anchors are behind these plastic doors. My kid's not big enough for a forward-facing or convertible car seat yet, so I'm afraid I had nothing to test these with.

Here are the back seat cupholders, once again, inspired by Kia. They are all Yeti friendly.

And finally, here's the 16.9-cubic-foot trunk. It's so gigantic, it can even hold a 38-quart cooler in addition to all the above luggage. Again, you can see more about the trunk in our Accord luggage test.

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