The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have long been household names, but these stalwarts are shaking things up for 2018. With fierce competition from rival sedans and the growing popularity of crossovers, the Accord and Camry have both been completely redesigned from the ground up to keep them competitive. Sure, differences in styling are readily apparent, but what's under their skin also separates these roomy, front-wheel-drive sedans. Let's take a closer look.
The new Camry is bolder-looking and sharper-driving than ever. It now tackles corners with confidence and has responsive steering and easy-to-use brakes. The Honda Accord has always been a confident, capable handler that's more nimble than its size suggests, and the new one is no exception. Its mature, sophisticated style imbues it with a markedly premium vibe inside and out.
What's available under their hoods reveals a distinct difference in philosophy between the two. The Camry's 203-horsepower four-cylinder and optional 301-horsepower V6 engines make do without the help of turbochargers. In contrast, the Accord comes with a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines with 192 and 252 horsepower, respectively.
The Camry's V6 is noticeably more urgent (and better-sounding, frankly) than the Accord's top engine, while the Honda's base engine and transmission are more refined than the Camry's four-cylinder, which can gets loud when accelerating hard. The four-cylinder engines on both cars deliver solid thrust when called upon.
EPA-rated fuel economy for Accords with the base engine and the continuously variable automatic transmission ranges between 31 and 33 mpg combined, depending on trim level. The Camry, which has been in dealerships since this summer, ekes out a slim fuel economy edge with a range between 32 and 34 mpg combined with the base engine. The Camry's V6 is rated at 26 mpg combined, while the Accord's optional engine has not been rated yet.
Buyers looking to maximize fuel economy will want to check out the hybrid variants of each car. While the Camry Hybrid delivers an astounding 52 mpg combined, the final numbers on the Accord Hybrid won't be released until closer to its launch in early 2018. It's a safe bet that Honda is aiming to at least match the Toyota's impressive number.
SAFETY AND TECHNOLOGY
All but the bottom trim level of the Accord offer an 8-inch touchscreen user interface standard. The Camry's touchscreen measures 7 or 8 inches, depending on the trim level or options. The touchscreens in both cars are fast-acting and have intuitive screen flow, with the edge going to the Accord for its sharper display.
There is one big difference between the two worth noting. The Accord offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration; the Camry does not. Instead the Camry uses Toyota's Entune app, which is far less intuitive.
Both the Camry and Accord offer a suite of driver assistance features as standard equipment. These include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. The Accord also includes traffic sign recognition as standard.
SPACE and UTILITY
There's ample space in the front seat of either car, though the Accord's slimmer dashboard makes its cabin feel roomier. Even tall people will find plenty of space and comfort in both back seats, with the Accord offering more legroom and the Camry more headroom.
Cavernous cargo space is also common to both sedans — the Camry's 15.1-cubic-foot trunk is generously sized and easy to access, and the Accord's 16.7-cubic-foot trunk is quite wide, deep and tall. A 60/40-split folding back seat is offered on all Camry trims and all Accords except the base trim level.
Both hybrid models locate the battery under the back seat and retain the seat's 60/40-split folding capability. So there is no penalty in trunk space when choosing either hybrid over its nonhybrid stablemate, though the Camry Hybrid's back seat is raised slightly.
The base trim levels for both sedans are similarly priced, with the Camry starting at $24,380 and the Accord landing at $24,445. Starting points for models with optional engines reveal a larger difference — $35,285 for the Camry V6 and $31,185 for the Accord 2.0T. Keep in mind when comparing the prices that Honda offers the optional engine in four of the six Accord trim levels, and Toyota reserves the V6 choice for the two most lavishly equipped trim levels.
Toyota and Honda have stepped up the mainstream sedan game in a big way with the latest Camry and Accord. The Camry has a bold look and a powerful V6 engine, while the Accord exudes the class of a more expensive car. Fuel economy is strong with either one, though the Accord boasts more space and standard driver assistance features. Both cars should be at the top of your shopping list when test-driving new sedans.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Jason Kavanagh is a senior road test engineer at Edmunds. Instagram: @velvet_pants
— 2018 Honda Accord First Drive http://edmu.in/2xmQ2Cv
— 2018 Toyota Camry First Drive http://edmu.in/2tvhubE