For decades, consumers looking for comfortable, fuel-efficient, reliable transportation have been drawn to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry sedans. Their appeal lies not in sexy lines or promises of world-class speed. Rather, these two sedans continue to deliver room for five adults, composed rides, quiet interiors, plentiful cargo space, and fuel economy that is among the top in the segment—if not class leading. While there are many worthy midsized sedans on the market, one of the most common questions we receive from Consumer Reports readers is whether they should go with an Accord or Camry.

When it comes to the numbers, these two sedans are cut from the same cloth. Both offer four- and six-cylinder engines, six-speed automatic and continuously-variable transmissions, and seat five. Base pricing is similar, with both starting around $22,000. The Accord tops out at $36,790 for the Hybrid Touring trim; the top-trim Camry, the XSE, starts at $32,600. One of the biggest differences is the availability of a six-speed manual on some versions of the Accord.

The sedans are similarly sized inside and out. One may have slightly more shoulder room, while the other has an inch more leg room. Suffice to say, they have identical ratings for front and rear seat comfort, cabin access, controls, interior fit and finish, and trunk/cargo area. 

Honda Accord vs Toyota Camry
2016 Toyota Camry

Where they differ is in performance and fuel economy—but, again, only slightly, and in ways that may surprise you.

The Accord is the sportier of the pair. It’s faster from a standstill to 60 mph and swifter—at a higher speed—in the quarter mile. But the Camry out-hustles it in a 45 to 65 mph passing maneuver.

What you may not expect is that, when comparing the four-cylinder versions, the Accord is also more frugal. It did better in our city, highway, and overall mileage evaluations, has a longer cruising range, and will use about 30 fewer gallons over 12,000 miles than the Camry. That slight difference does add up over time.

There are a few individual aspects that may move the needle for you toward or away from one of these sedans. All Camrys have a standard power driver's seat; you can't even get one as an option on the base Accord LX. EX-L and above trims of the Accord come with Honda’s infuriating and complicated touch-screen infotainment system. And you can’t get a conventional blind-spot monitoring system on any Accord. You’re forced into the LaneWatch system, which shows you, on the center screen, a video feed of what’s in your right side blind spot. But it’s no substitute for a full blind-spot monitoring system that covers both sides of the vehicle. At the same time, all versions of the Accord can be equipped with advanced safety systems such as pre-collision warning with automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keeping assist.

As for the Camry, it tops the Accord in reliability—although the Honda is no slouch either. The four-cylinder engine’s fuel economy is behind the best in the class, and the hybrid version gives up some trunk space to the battery pack, which reduces cargo room. In addition, despite some recent updates, the Camry’s utilitarian interior feels more designed for efficiency than warm and inviting. Toyota makes getting safety systems a bit of a challenge, with pre-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert only available as part of the Technology package on XLE and XSE trims.

Keep in mind that there are also other highly-competitive sedans in this category you shouldn’t rule out considering, including the Subaru Legacy, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Hyundai Sonata, and Ford Fusion.

In the end, this is a tough pair to decide between, as they are both smart sedan buys. This places increased importance on your road test. Hopefully, one will feel better to you, both dynamically and with interior comfort. Generally, the Accord personality has a hint more sporting flair. And the Camry has added appeal with its excellent long-term reliability.

To dig deeper into this comparison, read the complete Honda Accord and Toyota Camry road tests.