Family Car Compare: 2010 Honda Accord Versus 2010 Toyota Camry

May 14, 2010

Accord or Camry? Among family car buyers, the debate rages eternal. With the help of our parent site, The Car Connection, we'll attempt to shed a little light on the subject.

The Accord and Camry are the heavy-weights of the mid-size segment, and the two continually fight it out for the top sales spot. For families searching for a new mid-size sedan, we'll stack the 2010 versions of each car against each other.

You've probably seen this fight before. But some rivalries never die. Call it the Yankees-Red Sox or Bears-Packers of the mid-size class. Call it the battle for the best family car. Whatever you call it, know this: These are two of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., year after year. So they aren't going away any time soon.

2010 Honda Accord Sedan

2010 Honda Accord Sedan

2010 Honda Accord Sedan

The Basics: Four-door sedan with four-cylinder or V-6 engines, horsepower ranges from 177 to 271, front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual or five speed automatic transmissions available.

Price: $21,055

Fuel Economy: 21/31

Rating: 8.8 out of 10

Let's start with Accord (the Accord is available in coupe, sedan, and Crosstown wagon form but for this comparison we are focusing on the sedan). Redesigned for 2008, the Accord is now classified as a large car by the EPA, thanks to its interior volume, but for most intents and purposes, it still plays in the mid-size class.

The Accord sedan is little changed for 2010, still offering the same controversial exterior styling and the same engine choices: A 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 177 horsepower (190 in EX version) and a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 271 horsepower. Available transmissions are a five-speed manual and five-speed automatic. V-6 versions are automatic only.

Our editors praised the power of the four-cylinder, calling the 190-horse version the better choice of the two smaller engines, and praising the V-6 for its power.

Another strong suit is ride and handling, with suspension tuning that was labeled as "superb" and also as having "responsiveness."

Other Accord accolades go out to its spacious interior, which has lots of legroom. The big trunk also gets high marks.

Final arguments center around its reliability and resale value, which count as more strong points for the Accord.

The Bottom Line on the 2010 Honda Accord? Our editors feel that four-cylinder models are "sophisticated" beyond the price range, and they also enjoy the power of the V-6.

2010 Toyota Camry

2010 Toyota Camry

2010 Toyota Camry

The Basics: Front-wheel drive, mid-size sedan. Powertrain choices are a four-cylinder, V-6, or hybrid. Available transmissions: Six-speed manual, six-speed auto, CVT.

Price: $19,395

Fuel Economy:  19/34

Rating: 7.6 out of 10

The Camry, on the other hand, does undergo more change than the Accord for 2010. It gets lightly updated front and rear styling, a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and some better safety features.

Let's start with power: Four-cylinder models have 169 horsepower (179 in SEs) and the available V-6 makes 268. A hybrid model makes 187 horsepower. Four-cylinder versions are available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, the hybrid has a continuously-variable automatic (CVT).

Long derided as a vanilla-mobile, the Camry trys to sex it up with curvy styling and a sporty SE model. But that doesn't seem to resonate with a lot of folks, including our editors, who call the ride "soft" and call out non-SE models for not being sporty at all in terms of handling. Of course, for some folks, a cushy ride and vanilla handling is the aspirational goal.

At least the engines get a nod for power and refinement. Who says powerful can't be quiet?

We also give the car high marks for interior space and control layout, although material quality gets demerits, especially considering that high-end models can reach the $35K mark.

Of course, Toyota's reputation has taken a hit, what with all those the recall issues lately. But the Camry continues to sell well, in part because of incentives, but in part because it has a high amount of available features, which impressed our editorial crew.

So, what's our Bottom Line on the Camry? Well, it's a competent, smart choice. The safe choice, if you will.

The Winner: 2010 Honda Accord

The Accord's sporting character allows it to trump it's rival in this contest. The Camry is a great value, but it just doesn't resonate as deeply with our editors as the Accord does. The numbers don't lie, and the Accord scored better on our ratings system.

Still, this fight isn't over. The Accord was last redesigned for 2008 and the Camry for 2007. Based on the fact that both manufacturers tend to stick to four-year product cycles, that means updates are likely on the way for 2011 or 2012. The Accord may have taken this battle, but the war continues on.

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