With a reputation built on quality, reliability and ease of use, the Camry and Accord fight each other year after year to be the number one selling car in the United States. But which one is better? The last time we ran this comparison, the all-new Honda Accord came out on top. But now it’s Toyota’s turn. For 2015, the Camry has been refreshed head-to-toe and is hungrily hunting for some Honda meat.
A Good Looking Camry?
Unlike some Camry redesigns in the past, there is no mistaking that the 2015 model is a new car. Styling is subjective, but it’s hard to argue that the Camry’s new exterior isn’t leaps ahead of the old model. For once I can honestly say the Camry is more attractive to look at than the Accord.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Toyota Camry Review
It’s the same story inside. Toyota infused the Camry interior with much-needed pizazz. Interesting styling elements and a better mix of materials in XSE model I tested make the Accord feel cold and unimaginative by comparison. But, it’s the Toyota’s usability that impresses us most.
Simple and Consumer Friendly
All of the Camry’s controls are easy to understand, well placed and simple. The center stack buttons are massive and easy to locate. Subtle new touches like a cell phone holder in the center console and sliding armrest only sweeten things more. It’s as if Toyota used all the money saved from not developing a new drivetrain for the 2015 model and poured it into consumer focus groups. I can’t stress enough how ergonomic the new Camry is.
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It’s not like the Accord is a mess of complex user interfaces, but scrolling through the various menu screens to find the right settings can take some time, especially with the navigation system. We do give the Accord the edge in build quality because everything seems better screwed together compared to the Camry, especially the door panels.
On the technology front, the two cars match up pretty evenly. Both are available with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and LED lighting. The one piece of tech the Accord has over the Camry is the lane watch camera. Every time the right turn signal is deployed, the top screen turns on showing the right hand three quarter blind spot. It makes an already easy-to-drive car, well, easier to drive.
The Accord also trumps the Camry by featuring two separate display screens that are great for relaying more pertinent details to the driver and passengers. Despite that, we find that the dedicated lower audio screen doesn’t give you all the necessary information. Despite the fact that it feels older, we would rather have the more user-friendly Camry infotainment system.
Power and Efficiency
As has been the case for a long time, both the Camry and Accord continue to be offered with four-cylinder and V6 engines. Our test cars came equipped with the drivetrain that dominates the mid-size sedan market – four-cylinder engines hooked up to automatic transmissions. But here the two cars differ. Toyota continues to use a traditional six-speed automatic while Honda uses a more efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Since CVTs are lamented as being horrible automotive appliances, the Camry must have the better transmission, correct? Wrong. The CVT installed in the Honda Accord is a shining example of how well they can perform in the right setting. Eager to respond and never holding the engine at annoyingly high RPM, this CVT is quite possibly the most seamlessly operating transmission in the entire segment. It lets the Accord accelerate quicker than the numbers would suggest. The Honda only has 14 HP and 11 lb-ft. of torque over the Camry, but on the road it feels like double or triple that.
What’s more, the Accord is also more fuel efficient, rated at 27 MPG city and 36 MPG highway compared to the Camry’s 25 MPG city and 35 MPG highway ratings. It’s worth noting though that in real world testing that gap did shrink, as the Accord returned a 31.0 MPG observed average while the Camry managed a 30.2 MPG average.
|Vehicle||2015 Honda Accord||Advantage||2015 Toyota Camry|
|Engine||2.4 L Four-Cylinder||-||2.5 L Four Cylinder|
|Horsepower||185 HP||Accord||178 HP|
|Torque||181 lb-ft.||Accord||170 lb-ft.|
|Weight||3,365 lbs.||Camry||3,350 lbs.|
|Trunk Space||15.5 cubic feet (no split fold)||Camry||15.4 cubic feet (split fold)|
|Fuel Economy (US)||27 MPG city, 36 MPG hwy||Accord||25 MPG city, 35 MPG hwy|
|Fuel Economy (CDN)||8.8 L/100 km city, 6.5 L/100 km hwy||-||9.7 L/100 km city, 6.9 L/100 km hwy|
|Observed Fuel Economy||31.0 MPG||Accord||30.2 MPG|
|As Tested Price(US)||$31,105||Camry||$28,055|
|As Tested Price(CDN)||$32,723||-||$29,997|
Refinement and Comfort
The Accord’s steering is stiffer and the car feels more planted as a whole compared to the looser-feeling Toyota. We prefer the suspension and chassis setup of the Camry over the Accord, not to mention the fact that it does a better job of isolating passengers from road noise.
This close-fought battle continues with cargo space. Rear seat legroom and trunk space are basically tied between the two cars. The only difference we found during real world testing – and it’s negligible – is that the Camry offers a little more headroom. It’s also important to note that the Toyota has split folding rear seats unlike the Honda.
Taller drivers will probably be more comfortable in the Accord. Some of our editors struggled to find a comfortable position in the Camry and complained that the seat couldn’t be lowered enough. It feels like they’re perched on top of the Camry’s cabin instead of within it. This could be a major plus for shorter drivers though as the low dash and beltline do offer great sightlines.
The only way to truly separate these two cars is by quantifying their value and even here, things are murky. Pricing for the Camry begins at $23,795 after delivery, which is nearly a $1,000 more than the $22,925 entry level for an Accord. But, unlike the Camry, the Accord comes standard with a manual transmission at that price. Add the automatic transmission and the price increases $1,800, leapfrogging the Camry. To complicate things further, the $3,000 as tested price advantage for the Camry is null because if we were to option these two cars similarly, the difference in price would again be a few hundred dollars at most.
In the end, it will become a matter of personal taste. For us, that means picking the Camry. It will give you everything you need in a user-friendly package. It looks like there’s a new champion in the practical family sedan battle.
2015 Honda Accord
2015 Toyota Camry