2021 Honda Accord vs. 2021 Hyundai Sonata
With its award-winning heritage, stunning good looks, crisp handling, impressive performance, innovative tech, and latest safety features, the reimagined 2021 Honda Accord continues to leave its midsize sedan competitors in the rearview mirror. Both the Accord and the Hyundai Sonata get makeovers for the 2021 model year. Let’s see how these two popular midsize sedans measure up.
Accord is the Performance and Fuel Economy Champ
The 2021 Accord LX edges out the Sonata SE both in performance and fuel economy. The Accord’s responsive 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter iVTEC Turbo with Eco Assist™ makes 192 hp at a lower 5500 rpm compared to the Sonata’s 191 hp at 6100 rpm. That means the Sonata’s larger 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder powerplant needs to exert more effort to reach its maximum horsepower potential. In other words, the Accord gets more performance punch with its smaller turbocharged four-cylinder than the Sonata.
Step up to the top-of-line Accord Touring 2.0T edition and the Sonata Limited, and the performance gap widens even further. The Accord Touring’s potent four-cylinder, VTEC 2.0-liter turbo churns out an impressive 252-hp at 6500 rpm. That blows the doors off the top-end Sonata Limited’s less-powerful four-cylinder, 1.8-liter turbo, which can only manage to muster up 180 hp at 5500 rpm. Plus, the Touring edition offers a 10-speed automatic transmission while the Sonata only provides an 8-speed automatic transmission across all trim levels and doesn’t offer a more fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission, while Honda offers a CVT on several of its models.
And if you need to tow anything, the 2021 Accord has a 1000-pound rated towing capacity. But you’re out of luck with the Sonata because towing is “not recommended.”
Turning to fuel economy, the Accord LX achieves an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city/38 mpg highway/combined 33 mpg*, compared to the less fuel-efficient Sonata’s EPA-estimated 28 mpg city/ 38 mpg highway/combined 32 mpg. In fact, Honda ranks as the most fuel-efficient automobile maker in America, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
|2021 Accord LX||2021 Sonata SE|
|Performance - HP||192 hp @ 5500 rpm*||191 hp @ 6100 rpm|
|Performance - Torque||192 ft. lbs. @ 1600 rpm*||181 ft. Lbs. @ 4000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||30 mpg city/38 mpg highway*||28 mpg city/38 mpg highway|
|Max Towing Capacity||1000 pounds||Not recommended|
|Range (city)||444 miles||414 miles|
|2021 Accord Touring 2.0T||2021 Sonata Limited|
|Performance - HP||252 hp @ 6500 rpm*||181 hp @ 5500 rpm|
|Performance - Torque||273 ft. lbs. @ 1500 rpm*||195 ft. lbs. @ 1500 rpm|
|Max Towing Capacity||1000 pounds||Not recommended|
Classic Style vs. “Catfish” Style
From every angle the 2021 Honda Accord is stylishly stunning. The look is clean, contemporary, and not overly flashy. From its string of dazzling LED headlights, bold front grille, elongated profile, and sweeping roofline to its distinctive taillights, the Accord gets some mild cosmetic tweaks that add to its classic lines, and sporty, sophisticated silhouette.
Perhaps the Sonata tries too hard to up its sporty attitude with new sheet metal introduced last year. Although the overall look is curvy, the front grille makes you do a double take. Some have said that the Sonata’s low-slung and gaping front grille resembles a catfish. But as they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so the new Sonata’s dramatic and somewhat controversial styling may appeal to some.
Accord Puts Safety First
Both the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata offer an impressive list of safety features. Here, again, the Accord pulls out in front with its standard Honda Sensing® suite of advanced integrated safety technology. This includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Road Departure Mitigation System™, Lane-Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Traffic Signal Recognition. Additionally, every Accord comes with Honda’s exclusive ACE™ body structure that’s designed to provide added occupant protection in frontal collisions.
The base Sonata LX does come with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control as standard equipment. But you’ll have to step up to the pricier SEL and Limited models to get standard blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic collision alert and a surround view camera system.
More Tech for Your Money
Honda has always been miles ahead when it comes to innovative technology, and the new 2021 Accord is no exception. Standard technology and infotainment features that you’ll find on the Accord LX but not on the Sonata SE include internet access and Bluetooth® streaming audio. The Accord also offers keyless ignition on the LX—a feature not included in the Sonata SE.
192 @ 5500 rpm (SAE net), 252 @ 6500 rpm (SAE net), 143 @ 6200 rpm (SAE net)
192 lb-ft @ 1600-5000 rpm (SAE net), 273 lb-ft @ 1500-4000 rpm (SAE net), 129 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm (SAE net)
30 city/38 highway/33 combined mpg rating for LX and EX-L trims. 29 city/35 highway/32 combined mpg rating for Sport and Special Edition 1.5T trims. 22 city/32 highway/26 combined mpg rating for Sport and Touring 2.0T trims. 48 city/48 highway/48 combined mpg rating for Hybrid, Hybrid EX and Hybrid EX-L trims. 44 city/41 highway/43 combined mpg rating for the Hybrid Touring trim. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery-pack age/condition (hybrid trims) and other factors.