It's an ongoing epic battle – the Honda Accord facing off against Toyota's Camry for midsize-sedan primacy. The Accord has won a metric ton of accolades throughout its life and, when compared to its most direct competitor, the Honda still comes out on top.
Both Accord and Camry have received mild styling upgrades for 2011.The changes are hard to spot, but add an uncanny air of freshness. The Accord’s grille and front fascia are restyled, as is the rear deck. The changes net improvements in aerodynamics.
The competition is a near dead-heat in many categories. Accord and Camry are two very closely matched pugilists. The first punch the Accord lands is a lower price tag than the Camry when comparably equipped. Engine horsepower is also superior in the Accord, at 177 hp versus the Camry's 169 hp, even though the 2.4-liter engine in the Accord is smaller than the Camry's 2.5 liter. Internal changes to the Accord’s engine for 2011 reduce friction. These changes team with revised automatic transmission gear ratios and the aerodynamic improvements to increase fuel economy to 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
Due to its long string of winning accolades from critics and its long-standing popularity with buyers, the Honda Accord probably has been dissected by its competition more than any other vehicle. Despite all the scrutiny, the Accord still offers more than every other competitor including the Camry. Toyota has done its level best to match Honda feature-for-feature, but the Accord LX Premium has standard features that can't be found on the Camry LE at any price.
Safety is a point of pride for Honda, as illustrated by its exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ body structure. To this strong foundation, Honda adds standard Vehicle Stability Assist as standard equipment, along with antilock brakes with brake assist and a full complement of airbags. The Camry LE offers stability control, but the Accord also has active front head restraints and an optional rear parking aid to prevent mishaps, both items missing entirely from the Camry LE's spec sheet.
Neither Camry nor Accord is unaccommodating; both offer comfortable space, but the Accord is both larger and weighs less than the Camry, a neat trick. Some measures are within fractions of an inch, but there are also significant figures. There's two and a half more inches of headroom in the front of the Accord, nearly an inch additional for rear-seat passengers and the same delta applies to hip room. The Accord's size edge actually gets it classified as a large car by the EPA with its 106 cubic feet of passenger volume. The Camry has 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space.
Styling, subjective as it is, is still a major reason for picking one car over another. The Accord is arguably more expressive than the Camry with lines that look crisp and suggest an air of high-end luxury. Despite its status as a hot-selling mainstream car, the Accord manages to look like it would be right at home running with aspirational cars like BMW and Mercedes. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are standard on the Accord as well (optional on Camry).
Another key area of distinction is the impression from behind the wheel. Hondas are consistently infused with a sporting verve that recalls the company's roots in motorsport. While the Camry won't embarrass itself when asked to perform, the Accord is eager in its responses and disciplined when pressed.
There's a reason for the Honda Accord's long string of success. The car not only fits the bill for every day tasks, it's rewarding to drive and made from high-quality stuff. A family car that's not only fun, but frugal and unafraid to shoulder the whole clan and its cargo for many years to come, the Honda Accord deserves its Most Valuable Player status.
Based on 2010 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.