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2018 Honda Accord vs. 2018 Toyota Camry: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by James Riswick July 2018

Even if midsize family sedans aren't as popular as they once were, the 2018 Toyota Camry and the 2018 Honda Accord continue to sell in big numbers. Both were also redesigned for 2018, resulting in vastly improved cars. Really, any midsize sedan search should start with this well-rounded pair before moving elsewhere. Which one might be better for you? Let's take a closer look.

2018 Toyota Camry

The new Camry is very different from the car it replaces. It's more attractive, it's better to drive and it has one of the segment's best interiors (it hasn't in quite a while). It also has new engines that boast exceptional power and fuel economy. If the last few Camry models have underwhelmed, the new one overachieves.

2018 Honda Accord

The Accord arguably started from a stronger position, but its redesign was equally revolutionary. It's lower and wider, it has a sleek fastback roofline and its brash face is a far cry from those conservative Accords of the past. Its two available engines are now turbocharged 4-cylinders, while a new 10-speed automatic transmission is joined by the return of a 6-speed manual. Inside, the huge cabin looks far better, with elevated materials and an improved infotainment system. A standard allotment of accident-avoidance tech is a big addition as well.

Reliability

Both the Camry and the Accord are too new to fairly comment about expected reliability, but they have historically been two of the most reliable vehicles on the road. It's hard to imagine this changing.

Fuel Economy

Both the 2018 Accord and the 2018 Camry manage to achieve some of the best fuel economy figures in the midsize sedan segment, while also producing some of the highest output figures. Interestingly, though, they each go about it in a very different way. Neither is better nor worse than the other, really, but you may prefer the power delivery of one over the other.

The Camry's engine lineup is more traditional. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That's an astonishing output for a naturally-aspirated base engine, and it actually goes up a bit in the XSE trim. An 8-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy is estimated to be 28 miles per gallon city, 39 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined (the base L trim gets 2 mpg better).

The upgrade engine is still a 3.5-liter V6, but it's been re-engineered for 2018 to produce another eye-popping output: 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It, too, has an 8-speed automatic. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined, which is nearly as good as it gets among engine upgrades.

The 2018 Accord, meanwhile, adopts the trend of turbocharging smaller displacement engines. Its standard engine is a 1.5-liter turbo inline-4 good for 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque -- also exceptional. It's paired to a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT), but a 6-speed manual is a no-cost option for the Sport trim. Fuel economy with most trims and with the CVT is just a hair better than the Camry at 30 mpg city/38 mpg hwy/33 mpg combined. The Touring and Sport trims, regardless of transmission, get 31 mpg combined.

The Accord's upgrade engine is a 2.0-liter turbo inline-4 making 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. With its standard 10-speed automatic transmission, most trims get 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined. The Touring and Sport trim levels get 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined.

There are also hybrid versions, which for the sake of simplicity, we'll save for another comparison. In short, though, the Accord Hybrid tops out at 47 mpg combined, whereas the Camry Hybrid is capable of a Prius-matching 52 mpg combined with its LE trim level. All others get 46 mpg combined.

Driving Experience

First, a word about the Camry. Like previous models, the 2018 version is available in LE/XLE and SE/XSE trim levels, which each get different suspension and steering tuning. Those differences aren't as great as they were previously, with the more comfort-oriented LE/XLE boasting far more engaging handling than before, and the SE/XSE getting improved ride comfort and handling. Indeed, the SE/XSE actually feels more overtly sporty behind the wheel than the Accord does, with impressive grip and steering that, although perhaps requiring a little too much effort, nevertheless provides far more engagement and reassurance than Camry models of old.

The Accord, meanwhile, feels lighter on its feet than the Camry does. Besides literally being lighter, especially when comparing the V6-powered Camry to the turbocharged Accord 2.0T, Honda has imparted a general sense of lightness and delicacy to the driving experience. Many driving connoisseurs will probably still prefer the Accord, but its steering doesn't boast the feedback and response it once did, and Toyota has certainly narrowed the gap. We wouldn't be surprised if some preferred the Toyota more than the Accord at this point.

Safety

Both the Camry and the Accord go above and beyond the norm on the safety front. Besides various airbags, including knee airbags in both cars and rare rear-side airbags in the Camry, advanced accident-avoidance tech is included on the standard features sheet. These include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Blind spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems are available on both.

Both sedans also got a perfect five stars in every government crash category -- a rare feat. The Accord was named a Top Safety Pick by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its best-possible performance in all crashworthiness and crash-avoidance categories. The Camry managed a Top Safety Pick+ rating due to a Good headlight score. The Accord managed an Acceptable score, which is still better than most cars.

Passenger and Cargo Space

The Accord is the bigger car inside. The spec sheet says it has 2.4 extra inches of rear legroom, and our legs would concur, as after sitting in both, we noticed that the Accord noticeably yields more space between our knees and the front seats. Take note taller drivers, as well as parents using rear-facing child seats: those extra inches could make a difference, but keep in mind that the Camry still has one of the most spacious back seats in the segment. Drivers may also appreciate the Camry's lower and sportier driving position for 2018 -- you sit in it rather than on it now -- but a lower roof, especially with the available panoramic sunroof, can make the cabin feel a bit confined. The Accord is as bright and airy as ever with especially thin pillars.

The trunks of both sedans are generously sized, but again, the Accord's is bigger. We managed to fit two midsize check-in suitcases and two carry-on roller suitcases between the wheel wells of each sedan's trunk, but there was considerably more space left over in the Accord's longer cargo area. This is echoed in the official cargo figures of 16.7 cu ft. in the Accord and 15.1 cu ft. in the Camry.

Technology

If you're considering only the cheapest base models of each sedan, the Camry will deliver a bit more equipment thanks to a standard 7-in touchscreen interface using Toyota's latest, user-friendly Entune 3 software. The Accord LX has a giant 7-in audio display with accompanying physical buttons, but all other trims get an easy-to-use 8-in touchscreen that comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Those aren't available on the Camry at all, although an 8-in touchscreen upgrade is at least available on all trims except the base L. You can also get wireless smartphone charging on the Camry and more widely available in-car Wi-Fi.

Value

The base Camry L ($24,400) is a bit pricier than the base Accord LX ($23,600). Similarly, the sportier Camry SE ($26,100) is more expensive than the Accord Sport ($25,800). Given the Honda's size advantage and the fact that its base trim is really only missing a touchscreen relative to the Camry, it's ultimately a better deal (most trims also come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). Just barely, though. Keep in mind that Toyota offers options, whereas Honda only has trim levels, which is simpler but does limit choice and may increase your chances of paying for something you don't want.

Resale values for both should be excellent.

Autotrader's Advice

The 2018 Honda Accord is stronger in enough areas to ultimately make it the better overall pick, but the gap is small. Indeed, the new Accord and the Camry are so similar in so many ways, that this could really come down to a coin flip for many shoppers. If you like the Accord's styling better, go with that. If you get a better deal on a Camry, that works too. We don't think you can lose.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Honda Accord vs. 2018 Toyota Camry: Which Is Better? - Autotrader