If you’re looking for a midsize sedan in America, the Camry and the Accord are, generally, your first two choices—but should it be in that order? Or does the Honda have what it takes to earn the enthusiast’s seal of approval despite the Camry’s greater popularity?
We’re determined to find out, so we’ll take this face-off in three parts: Hybrid, Sport, and Value. The first part is the one you’re reading now; the second seeks to compare the sportiest incarnations of the Camry and Accord; and the third will determine which car gives the most bang for the buck when the bucks are limited.
|2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Specs||2020 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid Specs|
|PRICE: $33,725/$39,549 (base/as configured)||PRICE: $36,395/$41,690 (base/as configured)|
|POWER: 208 hp (net)||POWER: 212 hp (net)|
|TORQUE: 163 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm (engine)/149 lb-ft (electric motor)||TORQUE: 129 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm/232 lb-ft (electric motor)|
|WEIGHT: 3,480 lb||WEIGHT: 3,428 lb|
|0-60 MPH: 7.4 sec||0-60 MPH: 6.7 sec|
|L x W x H: 192.1 x 72.4 x 56.9 in||L x W x H: 192.2 x 73.3 x 57.1 in|
|EPA MILEAGE: 44/47 mpg (city/hwy)||EPA MILEAGE: 48/47 mpg (city/hwy)|
The first thing you might notice is that both cars cost right around $40,000. If that sounds like a lot for a mainstream sedan, even if it is a hybrid, you just need to get with the 2020 times: $40,000 is the new $30,000.
In addition to the above reality, we should give each car its best opportunity to shine in this powerhouse showdown, so each is loaded with all or most of its available options. The Camry starts with the already well-equipped XLE trim and adds all of the available options via the $5,460 Driver Assistance Package, which subsumes the equipment found in the $2,670 Navigation Package (navigation, power moonroof), and adds adaptive headlights, a 10-inch, color head-up display (HUD), a top-view camera system with perimeter-object detection, a sonar-based clearance sensor, rear cross-traffic braking, ventilated front seats, and a JBL premium audio system.
The Accord Touring Hybrid, on the other hand, starts with the top-tier Touring trim and adds to its mix a totally unnecessary but cool-looking Fashion Accent package ($3,186). The package includes bronze-colored exterior trim accents, and 19-inch wheels with bronze accents. To this subtly striking combo we add the Illumination Package ($628), including interior ambient lighting, doorsill lighting, and exterior puddle lighting. Rounding out the add-ons: a heated steering wheel ($417), All-Season Protection Package II ($421), 2.5-amp USB charge port ($126), and black wheel-lug nuts ($48), plus sundry cargo nets and other minor accessories. In short, this Accord Hybrid is not far from the very pinnacle of the line.
Now we know how each is configured, but how are they actually equipped? Which one has the goods, and which one has the just-OKs?
First, all the boxes both cars tick as equipped: dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows/locks, adaptive cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth handsfree calling and audio, push-button start, 8-inch touchscreen display, two USB charging/data ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, HD Radio, navigation with voice recognition, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitor, collision warning, pre-collision braking, and more.
If that list of included features reads more like those of a luxury car than a mainstream sedan, now you understand why $40,000 is the new $30,000.
But that’s not all! Both cars have interesting features not on the list of shared equipment. The 2020 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid, for example, has a 450-watt, 10-speaker audio system with subwoofer, while the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE, as configured, features a JBL-branded audio system rated for 800 watts, with nine speakers (including subwoofer) and JBL Clari-Fi audio enhancement. While the Accord’s speaker system definitely won’t leave you wanting for clarity, volume, or quality, the Toyota’s is certainly more powerful.
On the other hand, the 2020 Camry Hybrid’s looks are a bit staid, and there aren’t many factory options for tweaking it—paint color and wheels are the only real visual options. The 2020 Accord Hybrid, on the other hand, has a host of available appearance upgrades or modifications, including a bunch of spoilers, lips, and skirts that I left off the equipment list because this is a hybrid, and Honda’s aerodynamics are already tuned for efficiency; we can save the spoilers and such for the Sport edition of this face-off. But even without the additional aero bits, the Accord’s combination of the exterior Fashion Accent package (in bronze, here, but also available in black and chrome variants) really kicks up the Accord’s visual impact into another league, truly beginning to flirt with the luxury class priced just above it.
Overall, however, both cars are quite evenly matched in terms of equipment, from safety to entertainment.
2020 Camry Hybrid vs. 2020 Accord Hybrid: The Efficiency
If you’re buying a Hybrid, fuel efficiency is obviously near the top of your list, and here, the 2020 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid is the clear winner, matching the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE’s highway economy but beating its city-mpg rating by nearly 10 percent. Maybe 4 mpg doesn’t seem like such a big difference, but if you drive 15,000 miles per year and a little more than half of it is in city or suburban environments, you’re likely to save about 15.6 gallons of gasoline. Or, put in environmental terms, you’ll emit about 305 pounds less carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s a difference.
But even more impressive than the Accord Touring Hybrid edging out the Camry Hybrid XLE for efficiency is that it does so while making more power, considerably more torque, and with a substantially quicker 0-60-mph time, despite weighing about the same.
2020 Camry Hybrid vs. 2020 Accord Hybrid: The Bottom Line
So, which should you pick between these two? That’s hard to say, as it’s basically a dead heat in terms of interior space, comfort, quality, and refinement. They’re both also very good to drive when it comes to hybrids, though the Accord has the edge in terms of engagement. Ultimately, these are top-tier mainstream hybrid sedans, so the most important factors should be efficiency and equipment—the two most important aspects of any car for a long-haul commuter. Accordingly (ha!), the 2020 Honda Accord Touring Hybrid is our recommendation for those looking for something every bit as capable as the 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE, but just a bit more efficient. The extra dash of style is just gravy.