If we told you that you could buy a no-compromise family car that got between 45 and 50 miles per gallon and cost less than $30,000, would you be interested?
No, we’re not talking about a Toyota Prius. There are compromises associated with that poster child for affordable hybrid vehicles, ranging from its styling to its powertrain.
Instead, we’re talking about the Honda Accord Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Each supplies the same amount of passenger and trunk space as a traditional gas-fueled Accord and Camry. Each also makes more power than the popular 4-cylinder versions of those midsize sedans. Perhaps best of all, they look normal, with nothing more than discreet “Hybrid” badges identifying what they are.
But which one of them is the best? That’s what this Honda Accord Hybrid vs. Toyota Camry Hybrid comparison intends to determine. But the answer isn’t a simple one.
Every Honda Accord Hybrid looks the same on the outside, regardless of trim level. Toyota offers a different look for the basic LE (shown), sporty SE, and upscale XLE. (Photo: Honda and Toyota)
The best things about the Honda Accord Hybrid
You can buy a Honda Accord Hybrid for as little as $26,250, including the destination charge. You’ll get 48 mpg in combined driving, and travel 614 miles between gas station visits. Plus, the Accord Hybrid supplies 212 combined horsepower with instant electric motor torque the moment you step on the accelerator.
Interior room and cargo space best the Camry Hybrid, the Accord Hybrid’s big 16.7 cubic-foot trunk larger than most midsize and full-size cars. Plus, the Accord offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, whereas the Camry provides the former but not the latter. However, with the Honda, you need to upgrade to EX trim to get smartphone integration, while the Camry has standard Apple CarPlay.
Exclusive highlights of the Accord Hybrid include available ventilated front seats, programmable HondaLink settings that promote safe teen driving, and a walk-away automatic door-locking feature. Honda also offers Amazon Key service. This allows delivery drivers to place packages into the car’s trunk if you’re an Amazon Prime member.
Not that you’ll need it, but the Accord Hybrid’s free roadside assistance program is also better than the Camry Hybrid’s, by one year and 12,000 miles.
Honda employs a no-nonsense design approach to the Accord Hybrid’s interior (top). Toyota adds pizzazz to the Camry Hybrid with a dramatic center stack layout. (Photo: Honda and Toyota)
The best things about the Toyota Camry Hybrid
The least expensive version of the Camry Hybrid is the LE trim, and it gets 52 mpg in combined driving while providing 676 miles of driving range between fuel stops. That’s impressive, but the LE trim is basic. The sporty SE and upscale XLE versions get 46 mpg and need to pull up to pumps before you’ve covered 600 miles of distance.
The Camry Hybrid is the more technologically sophisticated of these two models. Every trim level includes an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and a Scout GPS navigation app, and a wireless smartphone charger is more widely available. Toyota equips every Camry Hybrid with a 3-year subscription to Safety Connect services and a 6-month/2GB Wi-Fi Connect plan.
Regardless of trim level, the Camry Hybrid meets Top Safety Pick standards according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Only the Accord Hybrid Touring, equipped with full LED headlights, meets that same standard. Camry Hybrids with adaptive full LED headlights earn the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.
It’s a small thing, but nevertheless important to some people: the Toyota offers a height-adjustable front passenger’s seat, while the Honda does not. The Camry Hybrid is also available with reverse automatic braking and a 360-degree surround-view camera system, features unavailable on the Accord Hybrid.
Another Camry Hybrid benefit is free scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership.
Unlike other midsize hybrid sedans, the Accord Hybrid and the Camry Hybrid have the same size trunks as the cars on which they’re based. (Photo: Honda and Toyota)
Honda Accord Hybrid vs. Toyota Camry Hybrid. Which is better?
Each of these cars is a compelling midsize hybrid sedan.
We recommend the Accord for its lower base price, spacious interior, huge trunk, greater efficiency across all trims, and wide range of conveniences. We recommend the Camry for its free maintenance plan, more impressive infotainment and driver assistance technologies (even without Android Auto), higher IIHS safety rating, and superior gas mileage and range performance in LE trim.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these hybrids, neither of which suffers a reduction in trunk space like their primary competitors.