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Accord vs Camry

Honda Accord vs Toyota Camry

Accord vs Camry: Clash of the Mid-Sized Titans

The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been the leaders of the mid-sized segment since they first arrived on the scene decades ago, and even since before they were mid-sized. Both have always been reliable, economical and practical sedans (and occasionally coupes, hatchbacks, and wagons) but their personalities have historically been pretty distinct from each other. The Camry has generally been regarded as the more conservative button downed vehicle. The Accord, while giving up nothing in practicality, has traditionally been the one more focused on fun. (To that point, the 2018 Accord is still available with a manual transmission.) However, the Camry has grown considerably bolder, at least style-wise, in its latest version. But is that daring style now accompanied by a more passionate driving experience that edges it closer to the Accord?

Much about these two rivals is very similar. Both are loaded with state of the art technologies. Their exterior dimensions are nearly identical. Both get great marks for both passive and active safety. Acceleration, braking, and fuel economy figures are close enough to be insignificant. However, as before, it is the day to day experience rather than test numbers that really sets the two apart. As competent as the Camry is, the consensus seems to be that the Accord delivers the more sophisticated, engaging, and driver friendly experience. In typical Honda fashion, it’s not one big thing that propels it to first place on the podium but a collection of small things that make the difference. Reviewers at the New York Daily News, Car & Driver, and Motor Trend provide a number of examples of the features and fine details that separate these two vehicles.

Consider interior space and how it used. The Camry is behind in rear leg room and trunk space even though the cars are only a few mm apart in length and wheelbase. Additionally, while the Camry has a generously sized centre console the glovebox is small and the door pockets are shallow. Lovers of large double doubles take note.

The relationship between the driver and her/his immediate environment also differs. On closing, Camry doors sound tinny compared to the reassuring Accord “thud”, this despite the Honda’s lighter weight. Both interiors feature handsome combinations of hard and soft quality grained plastics but the soft touch surfaces in the Accord are in all the right places. Its steering wheel size and the “squishy” rim are just right. The Accord’s seats offer more lateral support when cornering. (There’s that fun factor sneaking in again.) Both offer impressive infotainment systems. However, the Accord’s interface is more intuitive and its stereo richer sounding. Sophisticated touches abound in the Accord, like the temperature knobs that glow blue or red depending on what direction you turn them. How cool is that? (No pun intended.)

The experience on the road further emphasizes the sometimes subtle yet significant difference in execution. It starts with powertrains. The Accord uses a 1.5 or 2.0 litre turbocharged engine while the Camry has opted to carry on with normally aspirated engines, a 2.4 litre four and 3.5 litre V6. As mentioned before, the test results are close but the delivery feels decidedly different. The Camry engines have more horsepower but the Accord’s turbo fours deliver generous torque early on and more consistently throughout the engine’s rev range. In combination with the Accord’s lighter weight that makes for a car that responds with immediacy in wider range of driving conditions. Additionally, the Camry’s 2.5 litre is both louder and coarser than the Accord’s 1.5T.

The Accord also pulls ahead in the ride and handling department. Both are comfortable and capable family haulers. However, when you push the cars differences reveal themselves. The Camry doesn’t feel settled during aggressive cornering even when equipped with a sport-tuned suspension. The Accord’s chassis is more responsive and body movements are better controlled. They both know the same dance steps but the Accord is the more skilled and enthusiastic partner.

A recent Motor Trend comparison between an Accord Touring and a similarly priced front drive Audi A4 Ultra illustrates the depth of the Accord’s abilities. Christian Seabaugh (Motor Trend) concludes “It's close, but…the Accord Touring is a more convincing luxury car than the A4 Ultra.” Sometimes in the middle of “monthly payment wars” one can lose sight of value. We think the Accord delivers value in spades. We invite you to take a test drive and see if you agree. (We currently have an excellent selection of 2018 Accord 1.5 Sport and Touring models.)

Update: Car and Driver just announced their 10 Best list for 2018. The Accord made the list again...for the 32nd time.