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Sedan Showdown 2020: Camry vs. Accord

Chris Kaiser

Perennials titans of the segment, we pitted the Camry versus Accord head-to-head. See which sedan reigns supreme.   

Who Did it Better? Sedan Edition

Historically, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have succeeded over the decades through a combination of affordability and reliability. And while other manufacturers have chosen to pull their eggs out of the sedan basket (Ford, Chevy, Nissan), Toyota and Honda have stayed true, incrementally improving on their sedans year-after-year. In fact, these two cars make a strong case that, despite a shift in tastes toward crossovers and SUVs, there remains plenty of room for excellent, affordable passenger cars.

The Camry and Accord are still mainstays of reliability lists, but both have crept up in cost as competitors have exited the market. Each now start at just a grand below the MSRP of their crossover cousins the RAV4 and CR-V. Since price is less of an issue as mid-size sedans, the more salient qualities shift to things like drivability and mpgs. And its here where the Camry and Accord make the strongest cases for themselves. Buyers are free to choose between generous assortments of powertrain options, tailoring their ride for the perfect balance of pep and efficiency.

Powertrains? Take Your Pick

As we mentioned above, there are plenty of options when it comes to powertrains for these two cars.

2020 Honda Accord - automobiles.honda.com

2020 Honda Accord – automobiles.honda.com  |  Shop 2020 Honda Accords on Carsforsale.com

Let’s start with the Honda. The Accord offers a choice of two engines, both turbo 4-cylinders. The 1.5-liter version is good for 192hp and comes mated to either a 6-speed manual or a CVT (continuous variable transmission). The 2.0-liter option nets 252hp and comes with either the 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic. The hybrid Accord has a net output of 212hp. The fuel efficiency breakdown as follows, city/highway/combined:

Accord MPG Ratings 

  6-speed Manual  CVT  10-Speed Automatic 
1.5-liter  26/35/30  30/38/33   
2.0-liter  22/32/26    22/32/26 
Hybrid    48/47/48   
2020 Toyota Camry | toyota.com

2020 Toyota Camry – toyota.com  |  Shop 2020 Toyota Camrys on Carsforsale.com

The Camry fields a couple additional options. The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder has 203hp, the 3.5-liter V6 produces a hefty 301hp, and the hybrid nets 208hp. The non-hybrids all get the same 8-speed automatic while hybrid drivers will have to settle for a CVT. Toyota recently began offering a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) package on a good number of their vehicles and the Camry is included on that list. The TRD package for the Camry retains the 3.5-liter and its 301hp, but adds 12.9inch front brakes, 19-inch wheels, tuned exhaust and suspension, and additional rigidity.

Camry MPG Ratings 

  8-speed Automatic  CVT 
2.5-liter  29/41/34   
3.5-liter  22/32/25   
TDR 3.5-liter  22/31/25   
Hybrid    LE 52 comb. SE+XLE 46 comb. 

Sport Sedans on a Budget

Even with the differences in powertrain options, the gap in performance between the Camry and Accord is negligible. Despite the larger 3.5-liter engine, the V6 Camry possesses a similar torque rating to the 2.0-liter turbo I4 of the Accord. That works out to 267 lb. ft. for the Camry and 278 lb. ft. for the Accord. Raw acceleration is likewise comparable, with a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds for the Camry and a slightly better 5.6 seconds for the Accord. And while both will end up getting you down the road at nearly identical clips, the Camry, with its more aggressive exhaust note, sounds the more the part of the sport sedan both are trying to emulate. Though you’ll have to weigh that against the Accord’s quieter engine (and cabin) and manual option.

2020 Honda Accord Manual Transmission Option - carsforsale.com
2020 Honda Accord Manual Transmission Option - carsforsale.com

That manual is a nice option to have on the Accord, but not to be out done, Toyota is adding a unique offering to Camry, all-wheel drive. This new AWD option begins production this March and is slated for release later this year. Toyota’s 2020 Avalon will also gain in surefootedness at the same time. Currently, the AWD option will only be paired with the smaller, 2.5-liter engine.

2020 Toyota Camry TRD - carsforsale.com
2020 Toyota Camry TRD - carsforsale.com

Toyota also expanded their TRD (Toyota Racing Development) trim to the Camry. The TRD trim comes standard with the 3.5-liter engine and adds larger brakes, a stiffer chassis, and upgraded suspension components, in addition to styling accents. Unfortunately, these TRD upgrades come at the cost of some top trim options like the JBL premium stereo, ambient lighting, and heated leather front seats.

Two Nice Rides

The in-car experience is where you see each car making a strong and distinct case for itself. The Accord’s simple, serviceable layout and generous cargo and passenger room make it an eminently livable option. The Camry, while a bit more cramped, offers bolder styling and a more up-scale finish.

2020 Toyota Camry XLE Interior - toyota.com
2020 Toyota Camry XLE Interior - toyota.com

The Camry’s bold styling isn’t limited to the exterior. Inside, the modern character translates to a slick design aesthetic and high-quality materials befitting the sports car character Toyota is aiming for. The Accord wins similar plaudits with a clean, if less bold, design. The layout for the controls is intuitive enough. For both cars the material quality improves as you climb trim levels, with an appreciable gap between the base and upgraded trims.

2020 Honda Accord Touring Interior - automobiles.honda.com
2020 Honda Accord Touring Interior - automobiles.honda.com

Both cars may look good and, depending on your tastes, each has its unique attraction. But when it comes to usable space, the Accord gets the upper hand in this comparison. Take the trunk for starters, where the Camry offers 15.1 cu. ft., the Accord will get you 16.7 cu. ft. Unfortunately, the Accord’s narrower trunk opening balances this difference out, depending on what you’re trying to haul. And while both have good passenger room there is a marked difference in the space afforded for rear passenger leg room, with the Accord providing 40 inches to the Camry’s 38 inches.

Neither car is especially quiet by luxury standards; however, combining their comfortable rides and sporty characters, both prove good stand-ins for cars many thousands of dollars more expensive.

Spoiled For Options

The Accord and Camry are thoroughly modern vehicles offering all the typical modern amenities and safety tech. The Accord boasts their Honda Sensing suite as a standard feature. Keeping with the industry standard alliterative naming conventions, the Camry has Standard Toyota Safety Sense P (a step up from the C package offered on Toyota’s compacts like the Prius and Yaris).

2020 Honda Accord Interior - automobiles.honda.com
2020 Honda Accord Interior - automobiles.honda.com

As for infotainment, only the base trim Accord gets stuck with the 7-inch touchscreen, every higher trim gets an 8-inch touchscreen. The Camry sees a similar bump in its screen from 7 to 8-inches. Both come with available Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility, though Toyota was late in adopting this option, only just adding it to year’s models. And oddly, Honda chose not to include these integrations on their hybrid model.

2020 Toyota Camry Interior - toyota.com
2020 Toyota Camry Interior - toyota.com

The most notable difference between these two might be the interior styling. The Camry has optional red leather seating and trim available on the Camry XSE, which, by the way, also gets ambient lighting standard. Both cars look great inside, but the Camry garners the additional style points.

2020 Toyota Camry XSE Interior - toyota.com
2020 Toyota Camry XSE Interior - toyota.com

The top trims for both cars pile on the desirables. Camry XSE also gets some other nice tech options including a 10-inch color HUD (heads-ups display), premium JBL stereo system, and a “Bird’s-Eye View” 360°camera view. The Accord Touring likewise gets some goodies including its own HUD, wireless phone charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot.

Value: Trims and Notable Features

The Accord and Camry have been competing for the same car buying segment for decades now and their pricing reflects this.

Honda Accord

2020 Honda Accords | automobiles.honda.com
2020 Honda Accords | automobiles.honda.com

LX – $23,870, Hybrid powertrain adds $1,800

USB port, dual-zone climate control, and Honda Sensing package (includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, collision mitigation, and more).

Sport – $26,530

Optional Manual transmission (at no extra cost), 8-speaker stereo, larger wheels and rear spoiler.

EX – $27,770

Keyless entry, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring.

EX-L – $30,270

Premium stereo option, leather seats.

Touring – $36,100

Ventilated front seats, and the above mentioned tech options including the HUD, WiFi hotspot, navigation, wireless phone charging.

Toyota Camry

2020 Toyota Camrys | toyota.com
2020 Toyota Camrys | toyota.com

L – $24,295

Bluetooth, WiFi hotspot, and Toyota’s safety tech suite.

LE – $24,840

Power driver’s seat, larger trunk (by 1 cu. ft.), and optional blind-spot warning system.

SE – $26,040

Moonroof, heated front seats, “Nightshade” edition adds exterior styling elements.

XLE – $29,325

Leather seats, 8-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charging, and the option for the V6 engine and premium sound system.

XSE – $29,875

Panoramic glass roof, sport-tuned suspension, and HUD.

TRD – $31,040

19-inch wheels, special shock absorbers, 12.9-inch rotors, and dual-piston calipers.

The Battle Rages On

We knew coming into this comparison that this would be a hotly contested battle between these two excellent sedans. And, like the rest of America, we had a hard time choosing. The price is right, the tech features on par, and both offer generous powertrain options. So, our conclusions came down mostly to personality and minute details.  

2020 Toyota Camry and 2020 Honda Accord - toyota.com | automobiles.honda.com
toyota.com | automobiles.honda.com

Driving the Camry around for the afternoon had me sure it wins out on personality. But while the Camry may look more the role of sports sedan, it was the Accord that best delivered that experience. The Accord’s ride is smooth and quiet, even with a lead foot on the accelerator. Unless you’re planning to jump all the way up to the specially tuned Camry TRD, the Accord is the better bet when it comes an affordable driver’s car.

This isn’t to say the Camry is a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to fun either. The superior styling of the Camry, even without the added TRD trappings, narrowly eclipses the slightly more conservative Accord.

Since the Camry TRD drops some of the best premium options, like the JBL stereo, we’d be happy settling for the better appointed XSE. And given the Camry XSE runs $5,000 less than the top trim Accord Touring, it might be the better choice if you’re looking for the most car for your dollar.

However, the lower you go on the trim scale, the better choice the Accord becomes. If you’ve got to have the best driving of these two, go with the Accord Sport. It might not look as rad as the Camry TRD but it feels even more athletic on the road and at $5,000 less than the Toyota.

For 2020, both the Accord and Camry can claim victory in separate battles, but the war for last great sedan continues. And that’s just fine by us.

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

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