It is reasonable to say that hybrid vehicles helped usher in a new era of the auto industry. They paved the way for the rise in Electric Vehicles (EV) and remain popular as an option between a car with a traditional gasoline engine and an EV model. With that in mind, it is also fair to say that Honda played a major part in developing and expanding this market, particularly since it offered the first commercially-available hybrid vehicle here in the US. When looking at the 2021 Honda hybrids and similar models, it helps to have a sense of where we have been, to better understand the current lineup and what the future holds.
While some other manufacturers might offer only one or two hybrid vehicles, Honda has never backed away from being a leader in this market. The 2021 lineup of hybrids features four different models, including one plug-in hybrid that can travel on battery power alone to go with its incredible hybrid performance. Choosing the right model can be tricky, however, but ultimately you really cannot go wrong with any of the impressive 2021 Honda hybrids available. The best one for you will likely depend on exactly what you are looking for – particularly since you have a few different sedan options and an SUV, so the size of the vehicle you want does come into play.
Fuel economy will also vary from one model to the next, just as it does with any other type of vehicle, based on the engines in them and how they are designed. While any of these 2021 Honda hybrids will deliver superior fuel economy to a conventional model with a standard gas engine, there is still some fluctuation within them to consider. With so many different Honda options available to you, it certainly helps to have someone by your side while you navigate the choices you have. Come visit us at Gwinnett Place Honda today to see the full lineup of Honda hybrids, and we will make sure you choose the perfect one.
Max Horsepower (hp)
Max Torque (lb-ft)
Available Honda Sensing
History of Honda Hybrids
While a lot of people think of hybrid vehicles as a purely modern invention, in reality, they have been around for over 100 years – at least as a concept. In fact, as long as there have been automobiles, there have been people trying to come up with improved ways to provide power to them. Early attempts at a hybrid vehicle, with both an internal combustion engine and some type of separate electric motor to improve power and fuel economy, were not particularly successful. They demonstrated that the idea could work, but the cost of making them and the improvements they provided simply did not justify the added costs.
Throughout much of the 20th Century, there was little real interest in hybrid vehicles, particularly among the average car buyer. Ideas were thrown around from time to time by different manufacturers, and some of the concepts and test designs developed throughout the mid-1960s would go on to inform later, more modern hybrid vehicles. Real interest – not only among car designers and engineers but among customers – came about in the 1970s with the gas crisis. It was at that point that there was a clear desire from car buyers and drivers to have vehicles with superior fuel economy, and hybrids seemed like a fine way to achieve that.
A Race to Market
In the 1990s, there was a push among American auto manufacturers to provide cars with vastly superior fuel economy, particularly as a way to make their vehicles more attractive and take market share back from foreign manufacturers that had become increasingly popular throughout the 1980s. However, these efforts did not go unseen by foreign competitors, and both Toyota and Honda were hard at work to make more efficient vehicles. I n fact, there was something of a race going on between these two Japanese car companies to see which one could succeed with a commercially-viable hybrid first.
On a global scale, Toyota won this race, releasing the Toyota Prius in Japan in 1997 to a fair amount of acclaim, making it the first commercially-available hybrid vehicle in the world. But Honda was not far behind, releasing the Honda Insight in 1999. However, Honda won the race here in the United States, as Toyota was not ready to take the Prius outside of Japan until 2001 while the Insight debuted globally in 1999. While the Toyota Prius may have captured the public's imagination, it is Honda that has the honor of having provided the US with our first hybrid model.
The First Generation Hybrids
Initially, the Honda Insight had a three-door liftback design, with two side doors similar to a coupe, and a rear hatch that was easy to use and quite stylish. The popularity of the Insight and Prius was noteworthy, and Honda soon followed with a number of additional hybrid options for customers to choose from. In 2002 it released the first Honda Civic Hybrid model, providing car buyers with a four-door sedan hybrid with all of the reliability and style of a standard Civic. This was followed in 2004 by the Honda Accord Hybrid, giving customers two different hybrid sedans to choose from.
It is worth noting that both the Honda Civic Hybrid and Accord Hybrid models at that time were "mild hybrid" vehicles. This term refers to vehicles with a hybrid design that cannot run purely on their electric motors. With a full hybrid like the Insight, the vehicle could be powered by only the electric motor, at least for a short period of time. Mild hybrids require the gasoline engine to be running at all times. They still get excellent fuel economy, but they typically do not offer the kind of efficiency that a full hybrid does.
The Hybrid Evolves
In 2005, a second generation of the Honda Civic Hybrid was released with numerous improvements, including a more powerful motor, a smaller battery, and greater overall performance. This model remained a sedan, offering a four-door hybrid; the Honda Accord Hybrid was discontinued in 2007 with the end of the seventh generation for the standard Accord.
Although the Honda Insight was the first available hybrid here in the US, it was discontinued for a time starting in 2006. The Insight returned, however, in 2009, when a second generation was released. This model was intended to make hybrid vehicles more affordable, to provide them as an option for a wider range of customers. The previous two-door design was abandoned in favor of a four-door model that was a better option for more passengers, though the rear liftback was retained from the first generation.
In 2010, Honda released the CR-Z, a performance hybrid coupe that was designed to be incredibly fun to drive while still offering excellent fuel economy. The CR-Z was sporty and nimble, with excellent fuel efficiency, and was one of the least polluting vehicles ever made. Although it was quite popular, the CR-Z was discontinued in 2016 in favor of other hybrid models.
A third-generation for the Honda Civic Hybrid kicked off in 2011 with a larger, more powerful engine and a shift from a nickel-metal hydride battery to a more modern lithium-ion battery. Improved aerodynamics provided the updated Civic Hybrid with excellent fuel economy and made it very fun to drive. In 2013, the Honda Accord Hybrid returned with a new generation, accompanied by an Accord Plug-In Hybrid model that allowed for only-electric driving over short distances. Although quite popular initially, both the Accord Plug-In Hybrid and the Civic Hybrid were discontinued in 2015.
A new plug-in option was introduced in 2017 with the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, along with the Honda NSX (sold as the Acura NSX in the American market), a high-performance hybrid supercar with a mid-engine design. Meanwhile, a 2019 refresh of the popular Honda CR-V compact SUV included a new hybrid engine option, becoming Honda's first hybrid SUV. These models, along with the existing Honda Clarity, Honda Insight, and Honda Accord Hybrid, make up the lineup of 2021 Honda hybrids.
2021 Honda Accord Hybrid
Out of the new 2021 Honda Hybrids, the 2021 Accord Hybrid holds nothing back. This mid-size sedan has everything you could possibly want in a daily driver with a hybrid powertrain to back it up. Available in four well-equipped trim levels, every model comes with advanced features that will make you glad to be driving this eco-friendly version of one of Honda's most popular models.
The Hybrid Engine and Fuel Economy
Powered by a 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors, this hybrid model generates up to 212 horsepower combined and up to 232 lb-ft of torque. However, one of the biggest benefits of driving a hybrid is the fuel economy. You can expect to get around 48 miles per gallon4 across the board, which is absolutely stellar for a mid-size sedan. This excellent gas mileage is also partly due to the e-CVT, which enables smooth gear shifting. You can even select EV Mode to operate solely on the electric motors without touching the fuel reserves.
While some hybrid models have received criticism for not having enough cargo space, this isn’t the case for the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid. Since the battery pack is conveniently hidden underneath the rear seats, it does not affect the cargo area. The trunk offers 16.7 cubic feet of storage space, which is ample room for groceries, backpacks, and even luggage. For comparison, the regular gas-only Accord models also offer 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
Safety and Security
As for safety, every 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety systems and driving aids. The first of which is the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which works with the Forward Collision Warning (FCW). Using a series of sensors and cameras, this feature will detect potential frontal collisions. If no input from the drive is received to avoid the crash, the CMBS will trigger the automatic emergency braking system. This slows the car down drastically and can even bring it to a complete stop before an impact is made.
The next feature is the Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM). This system works in tandem with the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS). If you begin to drift outside your designated lane without turning on your turn signal, the RDM will automatically guide you back to your lane or apply braking to keep you from drifting off the road.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow is also included in the safety suite. You choose the following distance and the desired speed, and the system will adjust the speed in accordance with the following distance. For example, if the vehicle in front of you slows down, the adaptive cruise control system will slow down as well. Finally, the Sensing Suite includes the Traffic Sign Recognition System (TSR).
Trim Breakdown: The Hybrid
On the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Base model, you will find 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated side mirrors, and keyless entry/ignition. Once you slip behind the wheel, you can adjust the driver’s seat to suit your height. Dual-zone climate control allows you and the front passenger to choose your own preferred temperature settings, and two USB ports have been installed for charging your mobile devices.
As for infotainment, the system is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen that operates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This means that you can use your vehicle’s infotainment interface the same way you would use your smartphone device. From making/receiving calls to using certain apps, it’s never been easier to integrate your device with your vehicle. You can also listen to music through the 4-speaker stereo.
The Hybrid EX:
Next, the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid EX adds several entertainment, comfort, and safety features. The stereo has been upgraded to 8 speakers, and two additional USB ports have been installed in the back. Satellite radio is also included for more listening options. The front seats are both heated, and the driver’s seat is power-adjustable. Look up, and you will notice the luxurious sunroof. Meanwhile, a wireless charging pad has been provided to help keep the cabin clear of clutter.
Finally, blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert have both been added to the safety suite. These two functions work together to keep track of other vehicles’ proximities to you. For example, if a truck disappears in your blind spot without your knowledge, the blindspot monitoring system will catch it and notify you. This allows you to know when it is unsafe to change lanes. Similarly, the rear cross-traffic alert will notify you if another vehicle moves behind you while you are backing out. This will help to prevent fender benders.
The Hybrid EX-L
On the mid-level 2021 Honda Accord EX-L, you will find even more luxuries. Memory settings have been added to the driver’s seat, and power-adjustability has been added to the front passenger seat. Leather upholstery covers the interior, and the steering wheel is also wrapped in leather. The stereo gets an additional two speakers for a total of 10, and safety features like parking sensors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror have been installed.
The Hybrid Touring
Lastly, the top-tier 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring rolls on 19-inch wheels with adaptive suspension dampers for a more comfortable ride. Rain-sensing wipers have also been added as a safety and convenience feature. Inside the cabin, you will find heated seats in the back and heated/ventilated seats in the front. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot has been added along with a navigation system and a head-up display.
2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid
If a compact crossover is more of your style, then the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a great option. With available seating for five people, this model has 33.2 cubic feet of cargo room in the back. For more space, you can simply fold the back row down to reveal 68.7 cubic feet of room.
Powered by a 4-cylinder hybrid system, it produces up to 212 horsepower and can deliver 232 lb-ft of torque. Unusually, this model comes with all-wheel drive only, so driving in challenging road conditions will be much easier. Equipped with an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT), this model gets 38 miles per gallon combined with 40 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway.5
When it comes to safety systems, the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid is well equipped. Like other Honda models, the CR-V Hybrid has the Honda Sensing Suite standard on all models. It includes forward collision warnings, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. These help you avoid frontal collisions, stay in your designated lane, and keep a set distance between your vehicle and the one traveling in front of you.
Forward collision warning utilizes a series of delicate sensors and cameras to detect if you are getting too close to a vehicle in front of you. If you do not take any evasive action to prevent a collision, then the system will trigger the automatic emergency braking system to bring the vehicle to a halt before impact is made. Lane-keeping assist also uses sensors to monitor the lines on the road. If you begin to drift outside the designated lane, this feature will gently guide you back to where you need to be.
As for the adaptive cruise control, you can choose your speed and following distance limits. The system will maintain the set speed unless the vehicle in front of you begins to slow down. If this happens, you won’t have to slam on your brakes. The system is designed to detect the change of pace and adjust the speed accordingly. What’s even more impressive is that it will also keep the set following distance to ensure safe travels at all times.
This model also adds blindspot monitoring to help prevent side-swiping accidents. Using sensors and cameras, this feature will alert you when another vehicle enters your blind spot. Automatic high-beam headlights are also available to keep you from accidentally blinding other drivers at night. Also exclusive to the Hybrid models is the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). Since the electric engine in the CR-V Hybrid is quieter than a normal gas engine, the AVAS produces an audible alert to warn pedestrians that the quieter vehicle is headed in their direction.
The Hybrid EX
The first of three trims is the 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid EX. On the outside, it comes with LED headlights for enhanced visibility and heated side mirrors that prevent the build-up of ice during the winter. Keyless ignition/entry is also standard, along with heated front seats. The driver’s seat is power-adjustable and includes memory settings for your convenience. Remote engine start technology enables you to get the vehicle warmed up before ever stepping a foot outside. As for the infotainment system, it is displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen and operates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This trim also includes four USB ports located throughout the cabin and an 8-speaker stereo. Dual-zone climate control is also provided.
The Hybrid EX-L
Next, the mid-level 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid EX-L adds a few more luxurious touches. Leather upholstery covers the seats, and the steering wheel gets a heating element upgrade. The front passenger seat has also been upgraded with power-adjustability, and ambient lighting allows you to set a mood inside. There is even a power liftgate that makes it easier to load cargo into the back. You can open it using the key fob or the one-press button located under the lip of the tailgate.
the Hybrid Touring
Finally, the top-of-the-line 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring rides on larger 19-inch wheels and comes with restyled LED headlights. Roof rails have been installed on top to allow you to travel with extra luggage or oddly shaped items. The liftgate has also been upgraded to hands-free. You can simply wave your foot in front of the sensor, and the back will open up automatically. As for safety, front and rear parking sensors have been added to help reduce the risk of a fender bender while parking. In the interior, you will find an updated 9-speaker stereo, an integrated navigation system, and a wireless charging pad. You can plot a multi-point route, keep the cabin clear of cables, and even enjoy a fully-immersive music experience all at once.
2021 Honda Insight
If you are looking for a mid-size sedan that is also eco-friendly, then the 2021 Honda Insight is the right pick. This innovative ride is one of the top-rated 2021 Honda Hybrids, and it is loaded with plenty of new safety systems and advanced technology. Available in three trim levels, each one is powered by a 1.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine paired with two electric motors that provide a combined output of 151 horsepower and 197 lb-ft of torque.
In track tests, this vehicle was able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, which is quite good for a hybrid. You can also expect to get about 52 miles per gallon combined with 55 miles per gallon in the city and 49 miles per gallon on the highway on the lightweight LX and EX trim. However, the heavier Touring model gets about 48 miles per gallon combined with 51 miles per gallon in the city and 45 miles per gallon on the highway.6
An Insight Into Safety
One of the biggest changes made to the 2021 Honda Insight is safety features. Every model now comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite. The Honda Sensing technology is a cut above when it comes to innovative technology that will keep drivers and passengers safer during their daily travels.
First is the Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking System. If another vehicle or obstacle is detected in your path, you will be alert to take evasive action. If not input is given from you, the system will trigger the emergency braking operation to help prevent a collision. This will slow the vehicle down drastically, and it can even bring the Insight to a complete stop if necessary.
Next, is the Lane Keeping Assist and Road Departure Mitigation Systems. These two systems work in unison to prevent side-swiping accidents. These systems work in tandem to monitor your position on the road and alert you if you are drifting out of your lane. If you do not correct your position, these systems will nudge you back into your lane or will bring the vehicle to a stop if it senses you are about to leave the road entirely.
One of the most fun features in this suite is the Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. Hard to find on base models in general, this system will enable you to set the following distance as well as a speed limit. If the vehicle in front of you slows down, the system will slow your vehicle down to maintain the appropriate distance and will speed the vehicle back up to the pre-set speed when able to safely do so.
On top of all that, the mid and top-tier trims (EX and Touring) have an extra safety feature that you should know about. This is the Blind Spot Information System (BSI) with Cross Traffic Monitor. The BSI monitors your blind spots and will alert you if a vehicle enters into the. Meanwhile, the Cross Traffic Monitor detects vehicles crossing behind you, which is ideal for busy parking lots.
The 2021 Honda Insight LX is the base model. It comes with a 5-inch touchscreen for the infotainment interface and Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity. LED headlights provide enhanced visibility, and the rearview camera gives you a great view when reversing. One more high-tech feature that you will enjoy is the push-button start. This technology gives the vehicle more of a futuristic vibe.
Next, the 2021 Honda Insight EX adds quite a few tech upgrades. The touchscreen is enlarged to 8-inches, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has been added. Aside from making calls and sending text messages hands-free, this advanced smartphone integration enables you to stream your online playlists and use certain apps like Maps, Spotify, Pandora, Waze, and more. You can also listen to your favorite songs through the 8-speaker sound system, and the rear seats have been traded out for split-folding seats for optimized cabin configuration. A LaneWatch camera has also been installed. This shows the driver a view of the driver’s right-side blind spot. It is similar to blindspot monitoring, but it is only active on your side view.
Finally, the top-of-the-line 2021 Honda Insight Touring trim gives you all the aforementioned features with even more luxuries. Leathery upholstery covers the cabin, and the heated/power-adjustable front seats provide the ultimate comfort. To enjoy a bit of nature, a sunroof has been installed.
There is even a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot to keep you connected everywhere you go. Exploring a new city? You can easily find local gas stations, restaurants, hotspots, and tourist attractions with the help of your onboard Wi-Fi. The stereo gets two additional speakers for a total of 10, and a navigation system has been added into the mix. You will be able to plot a course with multiple stops and avoid traffic jams with real-time updates.
Take an Insight Into the Future
With standard Honda's Safety Sensing and a powertrain that is full of innovation and technology, the 2021 Honda Insight is a tough hybrid sedan to beat. Sleek exterior styling and innovative design put this model above and beyond the competition. Select an Insight to check off all your needs, then select a trim to check off all your wants, and you'll be left with a hybrid you will love.
2021 Honda Clarity
The 2021 Clarity is Honda's Plug-In Hybrid option. Its hybrid powertrain provides an efficient ride that allows you to get by on battery power alone for your daily driving or use the gas-powered engine for longer trips. This Plug-In Hybrid offers incredible fuel efficiency and driving range to help you go farther and go longer without having to fill the gas tank. Plus, the innovative technology and design features make this ride a joy to drive, with the efficiency of the hybrid powertrain being a bonus rather than the sole reason to buy it.
The 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid uses a 1.5 L 4-cylinder engine mates an electric motor system that is powered by a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Generating 212 horsepower, it can travel for up to 47 miles on electricity alone. When utilizing just gas power, you can expect to see around 42 miles per gallon combined. However, if you are using the full hybrid capability, you will see 110 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) combined.7 It takes approximately 2.5 hours to recharge the battery pack using a 240V outlet. However, if you use a regular 120V outlet, then it will take up to 12 hours.
The Clarity Plug-In has three drive modes - Normal, econ, and Sport - to allow you to tailor your driving for efficiency. There are also deceleration selectors that will allow you to personalize how much the battery charges during regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is an excellent addition for Hybrid models because it utilizes the energy made from braking your vehicle and sends that power back into the engine to charge the battery. With features like this, you can customize the Clarity to fit your driving needs.
The Plug-In Hybrid Trim
The 2021 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid model is offered in two trims. The base Plug-In Hybrid comes with LED headlights for enhanced visibility and the coveted Honda Sensing suite. Keyless entry and ignition are also included to allow for quick entry as well as dual-zone climate control. You and the front passenger can both select your desired temperature settings and enjoy the ride in comfort. This is ideal for couples who are always at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the A/C and heat. The front seats are heated for your comfort, and you can listen to music throughout the 8-speaker stereo.
As for infotainment, the interface is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen that functions with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Essentially, this turns your vehicle’s infotainment interface into a smartphone. You can stream music from online apps like Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube. You can also use certain compatible apps like Waze.
The Touring Trim
The 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Touring model is the top-tier trim. This trim adds some luxury with leather-trimmed seating and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The front seats are heated and power-adjustable, so the driver and front-seat passenger can adjust their comfort how they want it. This trim also comes standard with voice recognition and the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. This system features 3-D maps, a live search feature, and can even provide lane guidance. You can plot a route with multiple stops, find the nearest gas station, and even locate restaurants.
Plug-Into the Future
No matter which trim you choose, you are sure to get amazing efficiency with this Hybrid. The 2021 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is designed to adapt to your lifestyle, and the various use options allow you to tailor your driving experience to suit your needs. Charge it up and commute to work with electric power only, or utilize a mix of gas and electric to go farther than you ever thought possible on a single charge.