2014 Honda Accord Hybrid offers more for your dollar than Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is arguably the most recognized airport rental car in North America. Known for reasonable cabin, trunk space and entry level price point, companies such as Avis, budget and Hertz love the Camry. Me, not so much so.
You won't find a Honda Civic, CR-Z Hybrid or Fit on the lot. It may be a fleet incentive or price-point issue. I don't know, take it up with American Honda Motors.
While I can appreciate what the base model Camry offers for the price paid, I find the ride and interior noise level to be unacceptable. In the entry “L” trim, the seats are uncomfortable and the engine rev-line noise level for the 4 cylinder CVT is a bit unsettling. None the less Toyota was the #1 auto retailer in North America for 2013. They’re affordable, recognizable and built in America.
And, out of fairness to Toyota, rental car fleets while offering the consumer an opportunity for long term exposure to the product, tend to be cheapened down a bit as to creature comforts and optional accessories. Cloth interiors, cheap seats and 20,000 mile airport maintenance service cycles don’t lend itself to a fair comprehensive review of the product.
In its base non Hybrid trim, the Toyota Camry’s suggested msrp for a bare bones yet very drive-able “L” is $22,425. A base model Accord LX will set you back a bit less at $21,955.. But, in looking closely at the “standard” features offered at the bottom of the line-up, Honda includes a few more standard features for the $ than Toyota offers. The same holds true when pricing the Hybrid.
One problem I find with Toyota’s “build your car” online shopping tool is that I find it to be a bit less than transparent.
When reviewing the Toyota consumer sales tool, it appears that Toyota utilizes a ‘cost plus’ approach to automotive marketing and sales. This approach is absolutely to the benefit of the Dealer. While Toyota offers a very reliable and largely trouble-free driving and ownership experience, they leave it up to the buyer to dig through menial options, and then add them to the shopping cart to generate the final “ estimated” sale price while paring the buyer with a dealer of choice.
In comparing the top of the line Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE with a base msrp of $28,625 to a comparable Accord with an msrp of $29,155., we find that the base model Accord offers as much as the top of the line Camry for about $600 more then the entry level Toyota.
We find the disparity between the two makers in “up sale” marketing to be a bit confusing. While Toyota offers two trim levels with the opportunity for buyers to add optional features a la carte, Honda has opted for three trim levels with very few change or add-on options. Honda’s presentation is without reservation a bit more transparent.
For Toyota to meet or surpass the accouterments level of the Accord Hybrid Tour, a buyer must upgrade to a Toyota Avalon Hybrid. The Avalon Hybrid Tour will set you back $41,400 plus options, $6,000 more than the Accord Hybrid Touring. None the less the Avalon is a pleasure to view.
Honda claims the highest U.S. average mpg for any sedan under city and highway driving conditions; while including safety; personal electronic and performance features that Toyota either hints at or doesn't offer. Toyota claims to have the most powerful mid size Hybrid sedan in the U.S.. But, that’s rarely the priority of most Hybrid buyers. Looking to the performance specifications, we find that the torque and horsepower difference between the Accord and Camry is negligible.
Accord is the clear winner when it comes to average mpg.
Bottom line… You will “ pay forward” an additional $3,000.00 ( on average) for the Accord, but, will reap the profits of 20% greater fuel efficiency, a touchscreen 8.1” dash monitor with personal communications interface. Lane drift and front end collision warning and, the highest resale value in the industry; all included as a standard feature.
As to performance, both makers have married a small displacement Atkinson Cycle 4 cylinder gasoline fueled motor to an E- CVT transmission. Either you like the non-shifting mannerism of the CVT or you don’t. However, Honda has incorporated “Earth Dreams” technology into the all new 2014 Accord Hybrid. And for the first time, this midsize sedan will launch off the light in “electric only mode.”
While there's a bit more to it than that, I’ll let you read about it here.
In closing, I do find the Accord and Camry to be unusually similar in body style, ride performance, size and applied mechanical engineering. I’ll conclude by stating that by taking into consideration the superior fuel economy, applied propulsion technology and higher estimated resale value, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid takes the title for “ Best Value” in a mid size domestic gasoline/ electric Hybrid.