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It’s always interesting to learn what makes a vehicle popular. Why do you see so many of the same cars careening on the streets, about their merry way? In many cases, affordability propels a model to become a household name. For others, uniqueness and reputation are a defining factor. So what exactly continues to make the 2021 Hyundai Sonata and 2021 Honda Accord relevant? 

Ever popular, the Accord is boring but reliable. Meanwhile, the Sonata is all over the place. Most models resemble a stereotypical midsize sedan. However, its hybrid variant is exceptionally efficient, and the performance-focused N Line Sonata is one of the most exciting options in the class.

Despite some differences, these cars seem evenly matched upon first glance. But one model may suit your wants and needs better than the other. We’ll break down the most significant differences between the Accord and Sonata. And one vehicle’s incredible perk may help you decide which is right for your family.

The 2021 Honda Accord is critically acclaimed

A red 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid parked in a driveway with a house and trees in the background
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid on display | Photo via Honda

With an overall score of 8.4/10, the U.S. News & World Report listed the Accord as the best midsize car of 2021. However, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata followed closely behind, as the publication gave it an 8.2 rating and ranked it third-best in the class.

There aren’t stark differences between the two models. The 2021 Honda Accord displays a traditional yet sophisticated profile, while the Sonata has a more controversial design.

Meanwhile, both vehicles’ powertrains offer similar performance specs. The Accord’s standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine kicks out 192 hp. The Sonata’s standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder powerplant isn’t all too different, as it makes 191 hp. However, the 2021 Honda Accord’s 192 lb-ft of torque compared to just 181 lb-ft delivered by the Sonata.

Additionally, the Accord and Sonata come with a long list of standard comfort, infotainment, and safety features. There are differences between the two model’s equipment, but one doesn’t necessarily have an advantage over the other.

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata delivers peace of mind

A grey 2021 Hyundai Sonata driving down a city road
The 2021 Hyundai Sonata in action | Photo via Hyundai

Buying a car is a long-term investment, and you won’t want to leave anything up to chance. That’s why Hyundai is one of the most appealing automakers in the industry. Its models come with an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

This manufacturer-backed warranty gives the 2021 Hyundai Sonata a massive edge over its rival in a crucial category. Comparatively, the 2021 Honda Accord only has a five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata also has a more varied lineup. Hyundai offers a range of powertrain options in addition to the Sonata’s standard engine. The SEL Plus and Limited trims come with a 180-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that generates 195 lb-ft of torque. While it’s not more powerful than the base setup, it does deliver quicker off-the-line acceleration.

Those looking for a thrill ride should consider the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line. You may be put off by its $33,300 starting MSRP at first, but it delivers impressive performance to justify its price. Its 2.5-liter turbocharged engine is mated to an eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission. This powertrain generates 290 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.

Honda offers a potent available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the Accord. But with just 252 hp, it won’t come close to keeping up with the Sonata N Line.

Finally, the Sonata Hybrid ($27,750 starting MSRP) is slightly more expensive than the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid ($26,570 starting MSRP.) However, it’s worth the extra investment, as it achieves an EPA-estimated 52 MPG city/highway combined. Meanwhile, the Accord Hybrid manages just 48 MPG combined.

Which model is the best value?

These midsize sedans finish neck and neck in most experts’ ratings. However, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata’s warranty and slightly lower price make it a more practical purchase.

However, you really can’t go wrong with choosing either of these models. Plenty of drivers will lean toward the 2021 Honda Accord simply because of its agile handling and elegant design.

In the end, your decision should come down to personal preference. And if you’re still undecided, let Hyundai’s warranty be the ultimate tiebreaker.


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