The improvements on the new Accord are more felt than seen, especially the hybrid model.

While sedans may be losing momentum in today’s SUV-crazed market, Honda has no intention of walking away from the Accord, the 2021 model getting just enough updates to keep it fresh for the coming year.

Styling changes are modest, at most, but the automaker also is adding some new and improved technology. There are changes to the portfolio of variants, with the EX 1.5T going away, but a new Sport Special Edition joining the line-up. And the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid gets some updates that will make it more fun to drive, according to the automaker.

Unfortunately, Honda seems likely to disappoint some folks this coming year. While the automaker said in a release that, “Manual transmissions will remain an important part of the Honda line-up,” it also confirmed that the stick option won’t be available for the Accord in 2021.

(Honda gives 2021 Ridgeline a more rough-and-tumble look.)

This is a tough time for sedan fans, more and more familiar models disappearing from showrooms as the U.S. market shifts to SUVs and CUVs. Ford is completely out of the passenger car market and General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are down to a handful of offerings. That said, Asian automakers are determined to hang on, Honda continuing to update its long-popular Civic and Accord models.

The two-motor hybrid Accord will be more responsive for 2021 to make it more fun to drive.

The tweaks to the 2021 Honda Accord are meant to enhance the sedan’s appeal, though they aren’t going to be particularly noticeable to the casual eye.

Exterior updates are largely focused on the front end where it gets a modified front bumper and a wider grille with a subtle shift to the look of the fog lamps and fascia.

Inside, Honda focuses primarily on upgrading the Accord’s interior, starting with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display that now becomes standard on all variants. And, with the ’21 model, all grades now get both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though wireless versions of those two systems are still limited to upper trims, including the Accord Hybrid. There’s now also wireless charging and more powered USB ports, including ones for backseat passengers.

(Honda quitting F1, shifting resources to EV development.)

Where some manufacturers have tried to simplify their sedan options, Honda continues to offer a broad range of packages and powertrains. So, even while dropping the EX 1.5T it is adding the Sport Special Edition which is an upgrade including features like leather, heated front seats, remote engine start and an 8-speaker audio system.

The Accord Hybrid carries over, for the most part, but the two-motor system receives updates which, Honda explains, gives it “a more direct and immediate throttle response with a more natural acceleration feeling as engine revs climb in concert with the driver’s throttle input.”

The interior of the 2021 Accord gets an 8-inch touchscreen display plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The system nonetheless holds to its previous rating of 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque, while delivering fuel economy of up to 48 mpg.

The Hybrid is one of three different powertrain options, depending upon model, the 2021 Accord also offering a 192 hp 1.5-liter turbo-four, and a 252 hp 2.0-liter turbo-four.

Honda offers a set of digital safety systems for various Accord models. The ’21 models, it notes, “also receive a new Rear Seat Reminder, while upper grades gain a new Low Speed Braking Control system.”

(First Drive: 2020 Honda Civic Type R.)

Depending upon the trim, 2021 Honda Accord buyers may see a slight increase in pricing which ranges from $24,270 to $36,400.

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