Toyota Camry Vs. Honda AccordEnlarge Photo
Back in the 1980s, Toyota and Honda hit their stride in the U.S. with the Camry and Accord, two models that have come to epitomize the American mid-size sedan. Since then, both models have been thoughtfully evolved to keep pace with what families need in a frugal family sedan, and while they've never been all that stylish, they've always been smart and sensible—as well as among the top sellers on the market.
Style and performance definitely take second stage for most of the budget-oriented family shoppers who consider the Accord and Camry. They're more concerned with whether there's enough interior space and comfort in a sedan, whether it's safe, and what kind of features you get for the money.
Both the Camry and Accord offer a comparable package—and they're about the same size, overall—but the Accord emerges as the winner from a space and comfort standpoint. The rather flat, unsupportive front seats that are included in most of the Camry models (except SE models) are inferior to the front seats in the new 2013 Accord, as they have improved back support and better bolstering. We think most shoppers will also prefer the trim and materials in mainstream Accord EX models to that in the comparable Camry LE, as it's just a little more upscale in look and feel. In back, both of these models have rooflines that don't tuck dramatically downward, like some models in this class, so they're among the better choices for carrying adults in the back seat. With its rather low beltline and a little more side glass, the Accord offers a slightly better view outward for those in back—possibly eliminating the need for Dramamine.
Toyota and Honda have paid more attention to refinement this time around and added extra noise insulation, but thanks to standard Active Noise Control and Active Sound Control on the Honda Accord—which especially help cancel out road noise—the Accord is the clear winner here, too. For ride quality, the Camry is the softer of the two in most of its trims, although the Accord's firmer calibration brings crisper handling response.
We used to consider both of these models to be near equals for safety, as they both have earned 'good' ratings in all the traditional frontal, side, and roof strength categories from the IIHS, as well as a five-star overall score from the federal government. But in a group of sedans tested by the IIHS in its new small-overlap frontal test, the Accord was one of a small group to achieve a 'good' rating, while the Camry achieved one of the lowest 'poor' ratings in the group. Both models offer some sophisticated advanced safety technology, including Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control, as well as a cool new LaneWatch system that shows you an expanded view from the in-dash display when you click the turn signal lever. Toyota is offering a blind-spot monitoring system, as well as a rearview camera system. Our only complaint is that, with either of these models, not all these safety features are offered a la carte and you need to step up to pricier and more luxurious models in order to get them.
The market has evolved to expect connectivity features even in lower-priced vehicles, and both of these models cater to that expectation, with standard Bluetooth hands-free calling, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a USV port. But Honda has gone well beyond that, also including SMS text capability, Pandora audio streaming, dual-zone climate control, and an eight-inch i-MID display. Provided you're looking at one of the more affordable trims, we think Honda is the winner here, too—but only slightly.