2011 Honda Accord SedanEnlarge Photo
Question: I’m trying to decide if I should buy a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. I want luxury features, but fuel efficiency and safety are important, too.
The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are considered to be at the top of their class. Each has an enviable reputation for affordability, safety, and the ability to put on lots of miles with minimal maintenance costs.
However, as we discovered in yesterday’s article, differences between these two consumer favorites begin to appear when we compare safety features and ratings. We discovered that only one of these cars has active head restraints available in the 2011 model. The Honda Accord has made active head restraints standard, while the Camry does not make them available at any cost.
The other significant difference between the two vehicles is the new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) crash test rating. A new and tougher test now compares vehicles in the same class. The Accord has again scored a perfect 5-star crash test rating. However, the Camry has dropped to three out of five stars, one of the lowest in this class.
A major concern for most consumers is fuel economy. Although similar, the Honda Accord also comes out ahead in this comparison test. I use the user-friendly, federal government website, FuelEconomy.gov to find the latest ratings. The Accord gets 23 mpg/city and 34 mpg/hwy. The Camry is rated at 22 mpg/city and 32 mpg/hwy.
It’s also good to confirm that both the Accord and Camry have similar manufacturer warranty programs. Each has a limited warranty—also known as the bumper-to-bumper warranty—of 3-years/36,000 miles. The powertrain warranty covering the engine and transmission is 5-years/60,000 miles for both vehicles.
The final comparison is cost. It can be a bit tricky to compare apples-to-apples because Toyota tends to make features optional that Honda includes as standard. For our purposes we are comparing the 2011 Honda Accord EX-L with the 2011 Toyota Camry LE. However, to make it an even comparison we need to add a number of extras onto the Camry, including leather and heated seats, moon roof, CD changer, and so on.
After adjusting trim lines and options we discover the Camry has a slight advantage. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a comparably equipped Honda Accord is $28,105 versus the Toyota Camry’s $27,430. The Camry has a $675 price advantage.
The Test Drive
As usual, the real test comes when you test drive each vehicle. How comfortable is the seat? How is the visibility? What is the handling and ride like? Sit in the back seat and compare head and leg room. Is there enough trunk space? Do you like the available colors?
It’s my experience as Internet Manager for a major car dealer that the final choice usually comes down to the test drive and the actual hands-on experience with each vehicle. Good luck in your vehicle search.