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2018 Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry - Why the Reviewers' Favorite Is Way Behind

In the 2018 Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry sales race, one car has taken off while the other has declined. We explain why the favorite of auto publications isn't winning more customers.

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For decades the highest selling midsize car in America has come down to the Honda Accord vs. the Toyota Camry. Camry has been the leader in almost every year of the past twenty, but the Accord had caught up as recently as a couple of years ago. The reviews and comparisons done by enthusiast auto publications seem to pick the all-new 2018 Accord as the clear winner in this matchup, but shoppers are choosing the new 2018 Camry over the Accord by a huge margin. Here's why.

2018 Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Honda Accord - Customer Choice Data
For the past two months, the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry and Honda Accords have both been on sale. Last month the Camry outsold the Accord by a massive 40% margin with the Accord selling just 17,677 units. The Camry sold 24,638 units. That alone is a clear indication of just how much the buying public prefers the Camry. The Accord's sales dropped by 10% in January and the Camry's went up by 21%. Last month, in December with the 2018 models on sale by both brands, the Camry almost doubled the Accord's sales with 43,331 sold vs. the Accord's 22,215 sold. Do three months make a trend? November's sales were similar. The Accord has now had three consecutive months of sales declines and the Camry three consecutive months of sales increases.

2018 Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Honda Accord - Car Magazine's Opinion
The folks who like to test pricey sports cars and luxury vehicles come down pretty solidly on the side of the Accord. MotorTrend* is a good example. MotorTrend tested the Accord 1.5 EX vs the Camry 2.5 XLE trims and came to a clear conclusion on which was best. These are the slightly upscale, base engine trims of both cars. Their final conclusion was "Holistically, though, there’s no comparison. The Accord is more comfortable, spacious, and luxurious than the Camry. It’s quieter, rides and handles better, and drives more elegantly. It offers superior technology with a more user-friendly interface. Simply put, Toyota built a better Camry, but Honda built a better car."

Based on that summary, and from the Accord's win in almost every individual category, one would think that the Accord would be an easy choice for shoppers. However, there are a couple key buying factors that comparisons like MotorTrend's gloss over, and a couple that they just plain leave out, which may be very important to shoppers.

2018 Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Honda Accord - Reliability and Quality
The MotorTrend story does not address quality and reliability in its story. Yet, that is a key factor to shoppers considering an affordable family car. Consumer Reports gives the 2018 Accord a 3/5 score for reliability and gives the Camry a higher score of 4/5. J.D. Power and Associates found in its 2017 Initial Quality Study that Toyota had a higher than average score among all brands and that Honda had a lower than average score. We could keep going with these quality, reliability, and durability source listings, but is it really necessary? Toyota owns this important category, shoppers know it, and it matters.

New Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Honda Accord - Value
Shoppers who are looking at the Camry and Accord are on a budget and value matters to them. Otherwise, they could head on over to Lexus and check out the ES 350 or Acura and check out is TLX. When compared with the same features, the Accord and Camry always come up very close in price. Dealer discounts matter and dealer location always play a role. It is difficult to make a comparison based on buy-price and location. However, one aspect of value is easy to compare - included service. Toyota offers two years of included service. Honda offers none. You are not likely to read that in an Accord vs. Camry story in a magazine with an Italian supercar on the cover.

2018 Toyota Camry vs. 2018 Honda Accord Fuel Economy and Power
Although the new Accord and Camry are similar in performance, a test drive will never give a buyer any indication of what their actual fuel economy will be. For that information, they look to the window sticker or to places like Despite having a larger engine with more horsepower, the Camry has a higher combined EPA fuel economy number. Let's face it, who wants a smaller engine with less power and lower fuel economy if all else is equal?

2018 Camry vs. The New Honda Accord - Safety
Car magazines sometimes mention safety, but they rarely go very deep on the subject. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does though, and publishes a very easy to read guide. The Camry has a higher safety rating than the Accord. The Camry earned the highest possible score, Top Safety Pick Plus. The Accord scored very well also, but could not earn that rating because its headlights are lower-rated than the "Good" score IIHS requires for a model to earn its highest rating. Headlights are part of safety and the Camry is ahead in this regard.

Why More Buyers Are Choosing Camry
The comparison of the new Toyota Camry vs the 2018 Accord is very close. Taste and brand loyalty may be the final factor for many shoppers. Or maybe it all comes down to which has the deeper discount. However, the Camry has higher fuel economy, a larger engine, more horsepower, better headlights, a higher safety rating, included maintenance, a better reliability rating from Consumer Reports, and a higher quality rating from J.D. Power. The Accord has its advantages for sure, and enthusiast magazines (perhaps grudgingly) reviewing family cars find those. Actual shoppers know what is important to them and the Camry was their pick by a 40% margin this past month.

*We chose to single out Motor Trend because the staff is known to us and we have nothing but the highest respect for the authors of the well-written comparison story we link to above.

If you are a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry owner please let us know your view in the comments section below. How did you make the decision to choose Accord vs Camry or vise versa?

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Dave Suton (not verified)    February 4, 2018 - 11:46PM

I wouldn't pick either of them. They're both Fugly. I'll take a Fusion or a Malibu any day of the week.

Leisure Suit Larry (not verified)    April 26, 2020 - 4:29PM

In reply to by Corey (not verified)

So, I'm curious - when did a Camry or Accord become a 'bottom of the barrel' car?
Did these trust fund babies not learn to respect money?

A 2.0T Accord Touring costs ~ $40,000 Canadian. That's not chump change.
Believe it or not, not everyone can afford a Bmw,Audi,Porche etc.
Or, believe it or not - not all us want to perpetually lease cars and piss away our money.

Such ignorance...

Chris (not verified)    February 5, 2018 - 7:35AM

Honda offers no financing deals for their 2018 accord. Toyota is giving better incentives and offers.

Dave Suton (not verified)    February 6, 2018 - 6:46AM

Yeah, exploding airbags on hondas killing people, and toyotas famous engine sludged and arrogant sales people are really going to turn me to either of those two overrated brands.

Doug McDougall (not verified)    March 23, 2018 - 3:03PM

In reply to by Dave Suton (not verified)

Takata airbags are used in many of the manufacturers. Oddly, only Honda has squarely addressed the issue and is doing everything possible to get the airbags and inflators replaced. They will even replace the parts in somebody's driveway. The other manufacturers are not taking heed and will one day pay dearly for choosing the high road.

jimmy nuetron (not verified)    February 6, 2018 - 2:10PM

I'm looking to get the touring within a month or two. It will be my third top of the line Accord. Yes true about Toyota including maintenance, and very rude aggressive sales people. Two bad experiences with toyota and one with lexus while shopping for my previous cars. my 07' honda has about 185000 miles changed tires 3 times and brakes 3 times. Im sure next year they will change the headlights in Accord for better rating. Also, toyota factors in fleet sales as in cars that go to car rental companies and goverment issued vehicles. Accord have never been sold to "3rd Parties" and counted in its sales numbers.

John Goreham    February 6, 2018 - 5:01PM

In reply to by jimmy nuetron (not verified)

(Author here) I tested the Accord 2.0 Touring in October just before its release and I loved it. I have owned two V6 EX-L Accords (03 and 06) and I felt the new one was the best one I have ever driven by far. With regard to Honda and fleet sales, Honda tells Torque News its dealers sold "Less than 8,000" Accords to fleets in 2017 and those sales are included in its monthly total sales figures. Toyota has much higher fleet sales than Honda (though lower than Ford and GM). Subtract the average monthly fleet sales from both Camry and Accord and the monthly figures above don't look very different. Good luck with your new Accord. You're going to love that new engine.

jay (not verified)    February 6, 2018 - 10:39PM

I have driven 'premium' cars for a number of years but since all cars have gotten so much better I am considering moving to a more mainstream and less costly car soon. I haven't yet driven either the new camry or accord but based on everything I have read and the looks of each car I totally favor the accord touring 2.0 . I wonder if it would be wise to wait until the 2019 comes out with fixes to anything missed/found in the initial 2018?

To be honest, the biggest thing I would miss if I leave the premium (Infiniti, Audi, etc) brands is the customer experience those dealerships provide. I still get a free loaner car on when my 2010 Infiniti needs service (which is rare). I walked into a Honda dealership and was surprised by the cramped mess of a showroom. Made me feel like I was in a Chevy dealership.

John Goreham    February 7, 2018 - 7:27AM

In reply to by jay (not verified)

These are excellent points and I thank you for expanding the discussion. Dealerships vary from location to location. A Chevy dealer near me has loaner cars for customers, as does the Honda dealer I used for many years. By contrast, my GF's local BMW dealer suggested she take an Uber when her BMW broke down the last two times (yes, it broke down twice). I favor the mainstream bands now personally. - - With regard to waiting, I can offer my own experience. In 2003 I bought the new generation Accord with the new V6 and new 6-Speed auto. The transmission was defective and mine failed after about 50K miles as did so many others. There was a class action suit that helped owners financially, but I was without my Accord for a week and it cost me a grand. Shortly after Honda extended its drivetrain warranty to 60K, it was 36K back in '03. Many publications, such as Consumer Reports have shown a correlation between first years of new designs and higher repairs. Drive a new Accord 2.0T and then any premium car back to back and I think you will be shocked at just how good the Accord is. I tested it in October just before it was released for sale and was blown away. The only feature I found missing on the Accord was a heated steering wheel. Acura has to have something to sell I guess.

jay (not verified)    February 14, 2018 - 3:54PM

In reply to by John Goreham

Agreed, I wonder at times about Acura and what their strategy is. I live in the Chicago area and the Auto Show is this week so I am going to go there and check out a number of cars. As for the new Accord, the prudent thing is to wait until the 2019 comes out which is generally in the fall timeframe I believe. Regardless, I will drive one once the snow melts and check it out myself. Based on everything I have read, I suspect I will like it very much. I will also check around the various Honda dealerships and see if any offer loaner cars (that would be awesome if they did).

The other feature I hear is missing is the fact the passenger front seat cannot be raised/lowered. Not sure if that is true but have read that complaint in a number of places. That and the robot voice telling you to buckle your seat belt LOL.

Jerry (not verified)    March 12, 2018 - 9:33PM

I actually drive both and did like the accord better. I bought the Camry and like it a lot as well. Where Toyota made up the ground was in sheer price. And it wasn't even close. The Camry I purchased stickered for 3 grand more than the honda. Still beat the price by a wide margin. Honda dealership offered a terrible trade in price for my truck. They made me feel like they wanted to rob me of my equity in my vehicle. Toyota offered 3400 more than honda. Yes 3400. You do the math. Could not in my right mind buy the honda even though I liked it.

nish (not verified)    March 19, 2018 - 4:56PM

If I drive a car long enough, the factors these 'so called' critics tout upon and write cars off based on those, really do not matter. I have a multi functional gps unit on my car that does LTE, screen mirroring, android auto, apple car play and all the bells and whistles... but then what i conveniently do? I plug in my usb and enjoy my music on my way to work. I dont think i need to put GPS on it everyday to work lol... and nothing beats google maps/ apple maps on your 1000 dollar phone which lets you work naturally, in case you are on a trip with unplanned pitstops and what not... as a car owner I think i am better off without these quirks... trust me, if you are just a normal human being (non critics, self proclaimed enthusiasts) a Camry would really make more sense.. a relatively simple engine with a great reliability is all I need and yes I like my car as an appliance, if thats what these critics think, me and fellow customers dont care what these authors care.. nice rely to them Camry... You would be my next car for sure

Jason (not verified)    March 24, 2018 - 7:54PM

I had both Honda and Toyota, and a Ford Focus. Unfortunately, the focus broke down in the first year. Fix Or Repair Daily is very true. Had two older Honda and they eventually require repairing with leaking problems. Two old Toyota and only thing I need to fix is the alternator that was worn out from milage. Resale value is also reliable. I resold my highlander with a good price. So I got the new Camry, a hybrid model too and I am loving it. I would not even consider the Accord if they are the same price as Camry because the truly they are not as reliable and their resale value is weaker than Toyota.

Gus Gonzalez (not verified)    March 26, 2018 - 11:38PM

Why more buyers are choosing Camry ?
Plain simple, because Toyota has deeper discounts than Honda. I had being waiting to change my Honda Accord 2015 for the new 2018 Accord but despite low sales of the new model Honda do not want to discount their newer model.
I am about to give up my loyalty to the brand and come back to Toyota.

neri (not verified)    April 4, 2018 - 4:38PM

I always was a lover of Honda Accord and hoped that 2018 Accord will be so nice. Unfortunately to Honda, they lost me with new design of Accord. It's just ugly for me. Now I'm driving fully loaded black Camry XSE with V6.

Keith Childers (not verified)    April 4, 2018 - 7:28PM

I bought a new Honda Accord my first Honda luv it but my opinion on why it isn't selling is that they made it too fancy the previous Honda owners seem to hate it. tye loyal Honda only buyers started buying other brands.

Jim (not verified)    April 5, 2018 - 10:10AM

As I said in your other article, I bought a Camry XSE V6 and it is an amazing car. I keep my cars a long time and would never buy a turbo (runs the engine too hot) as it will have long term issues. I have received so many positive comments about the two toned paint and overall look of the car.

Doug L. (not verified)    April 12, 2018 - 3:34PM

Why can't anyone actually come right out and honestly say why the new Accord isn't selling well. I am a Honda fan and drive and have driven hondas mostly Accords for the last 15 or more years. Face it the new Accord is hideous. The front end is so ugly you couldn't pay me to drive it! Go on the internet and look at all the comments the majority of people are saying. Most people think its ugly. The front looks confused and unfinished. Look at the 2018 Mazda 6. It is elegant and beautiful. It just looks right. I love Hondas but if this is the direction they are going I think I'm done with them.

mike (not verified)    April 13, 2018 - 4:05PM

You missed the main reason: no good leasing deals from Honda.

The Accord is the superior car in almost all aspects. Handles better, interior looks very clean and European (where as the Camry interior looks like a 12 year old designed it), and it gets just as good performance out of a turbo 4 as the Camry does out of that big, heavy V6 (which is unforgivable...Toyota is lagging in engine design). The only REAL advantage the Camry has is better leasing deals and a more eye-catching exterior (but one I think looks silly given the actual dynamics of the vehicle, and is going to age poorly).

Dan (not verified)    April 19, 2018 - 2:22AM

The reason the Camry is outselling the Accord is really quite simple....styling. The Accord looks like a elongated mess with a hideous rear end.
In contrast the Camry looks sporty and aggressive,and this is coming from a ‘99 and 2015 Honda Accord owner.

Daniel (not verified)    May 4, 2018 - 2:44PM

I regrettably bought a 2013 Honda Accord and would have went for the Toyota Camry after the events that have happened. I have had to have the transmission replaced already in the accord at 80k. It is because it is a CVT - worst transmission ever and it is making the accords reliability tank and fast! Accord's quality is also not the greatest. There is this noise that comes from the steering column that no can seem to fix. The dealers look at it and it will go away for about a week then comes right back. One of my good friends has a toyota camry with similar mileage to my accord and has not had 1 problem! To me the driving dynamics are not that dramatic to claim one a winner over the other; in fact, I prefer the softer ride of the Camry. The accords ride can be a bit too firm at times but it does handle well. Oh if I could do it over again!

Jesse (not verified)    May 4, 2018 - 5:13PM

Why won’t anyone say it.. the accord has No Ass, the Camry looks way better. Whoever decided we needed a ugly rear end needs to get fired. Money isn’t a deterrent for me, I just wanted something reliable and good on fuel. I also drove the tlx awd. If you could put all the accord tech in the tlx you would have a home run.

Alan N (not verified)    May 17, 2018 - 3:08AM

In the article you missed the main point why the Camry is selling better than the Accord, at about 3-to-2: The Accord is Butt-Ugly, and the Camry looks much better, even with the busy front-end. The shape of the Accord is the most hideous. It looks like a cast-off design for a Hyundai Sonata or a rejected Ford Fusion or bad design choice for a Kia Optima. Either way, it looks very bad. So sad, the 2014 to 2017 Honda Accord Sport and Touring models with their bad-ass 19" wheels looked so much better as a Honda Accord!!

Robert Phillips (not verified)    June 19, 2018 - 10:41PM

Why aren't Accords selling?
1. Ugly front end
2. No shifter on some models
3. Undersized engine with turbocharger (spells trouble)
4. Unwanted unreliable sensors

Roger Davis (not verified)    July 19, 2018 - 3:22PM

I've not yet driven the '18 Honda Accord but I'm on my fifth Accord EXL V6. I've had no problems at all on my '13 it has been a excellent car. Still looks new on outside and smells new inside and rides like it did when I bought it. I've read and heard the new engine has power that matches the V6 but I must admit I need to test drive the '18 and see for myself. I;m spoiled by my 6 and the great gas mileage I've gotten over the years. Last year when I saw pics of the new Accord before seeing it in person my thought was man Honda has really screwed up! But seeing more and more of them on the streets now, that look has grown on me. Honda's do tend to age very well. The Civics seem to be selling very well, seems people do still want cars although maybe not as many as there used to be. I believe the Accord will catch up with the Camry. Finally as far as sedan sales go people must still want sedans, Lexus, Mercedes, Tesla, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Volvo, Hyundai and Kia have not given up on sedans.

Jer (not verified)    July 26, 2018 - 12:22PM

I bought the Accord Touring 2.0T because it has an elegant but bold style, upscale interior, tons of space, and drives really well. Lots of power, zero torque steer, and 20% better mpg than advertised. 400+ miles between fill ups. Only mainstream car I’ve ever driven that feels and sounds like a race bike when I floor it. The 10 speed is badass. Accord wanters: slow sales are your friend. I got almost 5k off sticker because of the abundance of cars on the lot.

Ann (not verified)    August 27, 2018 - 11:09PM

Why did Toyota mess with with Camry design? We have been buying Camrys for many years and they are remarkably reliable cars. And fairly attractive - classic. For the first time, in 2016, we leased our current Camry and the lease expires in June, 2019. I cannot bring myself to lease/drive the ugly 2018. I hope the 2019 design will be very improved but I have little hope. It just looks "thick" and the molding around the wheels and the bulky back window are deal breakers. So very disappointed! Now looking at Honda Accords or Ford Fusions. They would never have been my first choice.

Alex (not verified)    February 6, 2019 - 5:08PM

I read the Motor Trend "review" and found it biased, stupid and with lack of serious arguments. I drove both cars and found Camry with better visibility, better ride with proper tires (bad original tires are something which MT pseudo experts forgot to even consider as factor) quitter interior (quietly omitted by MT ) much higher reliability - reported problems for Accord in last 10 years are 3 times more than Camry, better mileage for Camry, better seats for Camry - not so narrow and hard etc. In addition Accords got fuel in oil defect, problems with infotainment system, bad front lights, noisier engine much higher maintenance cost due to CVT so all this makes difference for reasonable person. MT does not review family car as a family car. Imagine family of 4 who races the corners.... and cares for 1/4 mile speed is it 92 or 94?