2020 Honda Accord Engine Options: 1.5T, 2.0T, or Hybrid—Which Engine Is Best?

New-car shopping can be overwhelming, even if you’ve picked which car you want. Take the 2020 Honda Accord. Essentially unchanged since the midsize sedan made its debut for the 2018 model year, the Accord offers five different engine-transmission combinations. Will you know where to start? After extensively testing the Accord, we can help.

Keep reading for more on how the Accord lineup performs.


2020 Accord Fuel Economy: From OK to Great

You’ve heard “your mileage may vary,” right? It’s true even within a single car’s lineup. With the 2020 Accord’s 192-hp 1.5-liter turbo-four base engine, you’ll get an EPA-rated 30/38 mpg city/highway if you can resist the temptation of the Sport trim and its big 19-inch wheels. That model gets 29/35 mpg with the CVT but just 26/35 mpg in 2020 Accord Sport 1.5T trim with the six-speed manual. But hey, if you’re among the small group of consumers still willing to buy a manual-transmission midsize sedan, be thankful Honda offers it at all; even Mazda has dropped its manual option on the Mazda6 sedan.

Upgrade to the 252-hp 2.0T turbo-four, and Honda still offers a six-speed manual. Opting for the 2.0T variant nets you an EPA-rated 22/32 mpg with the manual or 10-speed automatic. If you stick with the Accord 2.0T EX-L instead of the 2.0T Sport or 2.0T Touring, fuel economy bumps up to 23/34.

Then there’s the hybrid. With 212 combined system horsepower, the hybrid model may be quicker than you expect and also earns 48/47 mpg. That rating is both inferior and superior to the efficiency ratings of the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid—it’s all dependent on trim. Go for a 2020 Camry Hybrid in LE form, and the EPA rates the Toyota at 51/53 mpg, but that lowers to 44/47 mpg for an XLE or SE.


2020 Accord Driving Range: Which Trim Did You Say You Wanted?

How often you stop at the gas station to refuel varies based on trim. Sounds obvious, right? When you’re choosing among the many 2020 Accord engine options, you should manage around 500 miles for every non-hybrid trim in highway driving (a little more for non-Sport 1.5Ts with the CVT, and a little less for most 2.0T models). The hybrid’s advantage really comes into focus when you mix up city and highway driving. Assume the EPA’s default city-driving percentage of 55 percent, and the hybrid is rated at 614 miles of driving range. Compare that to the 488 miles for the 1.5T/CVT, 459 miles for the 1.5T Sport (CVT), and 385–400 miles for 2.0T models.


2020 Accord Acceleration: How Quick Are They?

When the Accord was redesigned for the 2018 model year, Honda replaced its available V-6 with a powerful turbo-four. Although there were skeptics about the downsizing engine swap, MotorTrend testing tells another story. When we compared an Accord 2.0T to a Camry V-6, the Honda kept up with the Toyota in acceleration to 60 mph. The Honda’s time of 5.7 seconds makes it the swiftest of the Accord lineup. Next quickest is the 2.0T with a manual, which will get you to 60 in 6.2 seconds (on your best shifting day), followed by the hybrid’s solid 6.7-second time. With the 1.5T and the standard CVT, we hit 60 in 7.6 seconds, again matching the equivalent Camry in a comparison test.


2020 Accord Handling, Ride, and Transmission

When we tested a 2018 Accord EX 1.5T, we lauded Honda for its well-tuned CVT but said that this one was too relaxed. “Once you adapt, [the Accord] accelerates more linearly than the Camry, keeping the smaller, slightly less powerful engine right in the deepest well of its torque. With no gears to change and quick responses, the CVT drives a bit smoother than the [Camry’s] automatic—and it lacks the drone that plagues other CVTs.”

With the 2.0T engine option, we noted that the 10-speed auto performs smoothly while upshifting and downshifting. As for that manual transmission, those who appreciate the involvement of rowing your own gears should know that “the Honda stick shift’s throws and clutch pedal travel are both long—likely to ease the commute drudgery of a quick-shift box.”

Although there’s never any mistaking the Accord for a sport sedan, we have repeatedly admired the Accord’s responsive chassis and generally flat cornering. Having said that, seats with thicker side bolstering are on our wish list. Also worth mentioning: The Accord 2.0T Touring provides a slightly firm ride by family sedan standards.


Which 2020 Accord Engine Option Is Best?
















































As with the family-sedan segment in general, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the 2020 Accord. If you never press the accelerator pedal down more than halfway, try the 1.5T/CVT combo. Those seeking max mpgs or wanting to avoid gas station pit stops should head straight for the efficient hybrid, while enthusiasts can get the 1.5T or 2.0T with a six-speed manual, or try the 2.0T/CVT Sport model.

Buyers who aren’t strictly loyal to Honda should check out the rest of the market. The Accord is a two-time MotorTrend comparison test winner, but there remain lots of options. From the new 2020 Hyundai Sonata to the Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, and Toyota Camry, you have choices. If you’re sure about the Accord, however, know you’ve picked a very good family sedan.

Revisit our Accord reviews here:

  • Accord 1.5T vs. Camry 2.5 here
  • Accord 2.0T vs. Camry V-6 here
  • Accord Hybrid First Test here
  • Accord Touring 2.0T Interior Review here

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