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