December 21, 2016
You’ve narrowed your options down, and you’re in the market for a car. No SUV, no minivan, no truck, no crossover-you want a car that will offer you all of the options you need at the price you want. You also want the quality and craftsmanship that is the hallmark of Japanese automaker and you’ve narrowed it down to the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
The Toyota Camry is a nice looking vehicle, no doubt. Four trim levels offer a wide variety of features, but whatever you choose you’re basically looking at the same vehicle: four-door with the same basic look regardless of the options. Yes, you may have 18-inch wheels rather than 16-inch wheels, or wood-grain trim rather than chrome, but you’re not buying the Camry for its riveting or futuristic design. The Camry is the vehicle of your middle 50s: it’s safe, reliable, and has kind of given up on being cool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that-but unless you define choosing leather seats as excitement or tinted windows as an injection of personality, you’re going to need to keep looking.
The Accord, on the other hand, has just been redesigned in 2016 with an eye toward luxury and options. Drivers can choose either the youthful and fun two-door coupe or the more sedate, luxurious four-door option. Both designs offer multiple trim levels, with chrome accents and upgraded features on all but the most basic trim levels. The Accord offers both style and substance-and the combination is pretty hard to beat.
The Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry are comparable in their engine size, both boasting 2.4 liter 4-cylinder models as their base trim. The Toyota Camry offers some additional perks, like its Ultra Low Emission Vehicle and Partial Zero Emission Vehicle status, along with an automatic transmission that Toyota calls “intelligent,” as it apparently adapts to a driver’s shifting patterns or road terrain to maximize efficiency.
Despite all of that emissions work and intelligent adaptable transmission, the Honda Accord still dominates the Toyota Camry in fuel efficiency, *getting about 40 more miles from each gas tank and saving nearly $750 over five years in fuel costs. The Accord is also no slouch in its performance assistance, offering Eco Assist and Hill Start assist, along with no tune-ups for 100,000 miles. The transmission options are also flexible; you can choose a manual or a CVT. Better gas mileage performance and more options to fit your life, as well as standard options that rival the Camry’s smart transmission, make the Accord the better option here.
Both Honda and Toyota work from the ground up to create safe vehicles. The Toyota standard safety package is impressive, with features that sound amazing: collapsible steering column, whiplash injury lessening seats, front and rear crumple zones, and ten airbags (front, side, knee, rear, and side curtain). They also have standard safety features, like antilock brakes, assisted steering, and a back-up camera. But their safety performance, while solid, doesn’t match the Honda Accord’s ** 5-star record. The Camry earned five stars for overall performance and side crashes, but four stars for rollover and frontal collisions.
While it may not have all of the fancy accessories of the Camry, the Honda is solidly constructed and impressively designed. Honda reengineered its 2016 Accord model, helping it achieve ** five-star ratings in front, side, and rollover crashes; the 2017 model has the same body and engineering,. Honda begins with advanced compatibility engineering (called ACE) to create a series of frame designs that distribute the impact of a crash in order to protect all people involved. They layer on top of this body construction a series of safety features-ABS, variable assisted steering, a rearview camera that provides multiple angles and dynamic guidelines, side and front airbags, and optional features that come in the Honda Sensing package (swerve and crash warnings as well as collision mitigation braking). If safety is your deal breaker, the Toyota gets outperformed by the Accord.
Toyota’s sedan game is strong there’s no doubt about that. It’s a solidly constructed, safe, reliable vehicle that you will probably enjoy driving. But extras are not its hallmark. Just like with design features, the convenience and extras on the Camry are simply not the priority. A few nice features-tinted windows, daytime running lights, a six-speaker entertainment system, remote keyless entry-come standard but otherwise, there are no frills on the Camry.
Honda seems to get a little thrill out of giving drivers more than they might expect. Programmable auto-locking doors, remote keyless entry and truck release, passenger side walk-in feature, brake assist, LED light bars in the taillights-none of it is jaw-dropping, but the extras add up. Combine the design flair with these extras and the Accord starts to rise above its competitors. This is especially true on the next trim level above the basic model-Honda pours on the extras, including push-button start, touch open moonroof, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and a Home Link Remote System in that package. If Honda is wooing, they’re winning our hearts.
Both the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord are solidly constructed, safe, and reliable vehicles, with stellar reputations in the industry. But the Honda Accord, in each category, simply outpaces the Camry.
*Any MPG listed is based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery-pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.
** Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New Car Assessment Program. Model tested with standard side airbags (SABs). For additional information on the 5-Star Safety Ratings program, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.