The Thin Green Line: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Heads to Dealers, Undercuts Nemesis in Price

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The epic battle known as Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry won’t end until we’re all sitting in the backseat of a driverless electric Ford shuttle bus, content in knowing we’re doing the right thing for society. Future cities, man.

Until then, there’s cars to sell, and nothing motivates buyers like price. As re-skinned and improved 2018 Honda Accord Hybrids head to dealer lots, the automaker has clearly staked itself out as the value green buy, slashing $4,505 from the previous model’s entry price. That puts the hybrid’s chief rival in an unenviable position. A base Camry hybrid now retails for considerably more, but, if overall sales numbers tell us anything, Toyota probably won’t break into a sweat after reading this news.

The new-for 2018 Accord Hybrid carries an MSRP of $25,100, plus $890 for destination. All told, you’re looking at $25,990 for a model with improved cabin volume, extra trunk space (now that Honda moved the battery below the rear seats), an a combined output of 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque. Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, which pairs with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmissions, returns 47 miles per gallon in all EPA testing categories. It also bests the Camry hybrid’s combined figure by 1 mpg.

Of course, ladelling extra goodies onto the Accord Hybrid sends the price sky-high, topping out at $35,600 (after destination fee) for a top-of-the-line Accord Hybrid Touring. The volume EX model carries an all-in sticker of $29,780.

In comparison, the Camry LE Hybrid leaves the lot for $28,695 after destination — a $2,705 jump from the base Accord hybrid. A mid-level Camry SE Hybrid retails for $30,395, while the top-shelf XLE model rings in at $33,145. It’s reasonable to assume that, on all but the entry-level models, style and content might play a larger role in the buyer’s mind than price.

We said Toyota probably won’t lie awake at night worrying about Honda’s price cutting, and there’s good reason for it. While Toyota and Honda continuously joust for top position in the midsize sedan segment, only one car — the Camry — has held the high ground this century. Still, both automakers boast midsize sales numbers that Chevrolet or Hyundai would kill for. In 2017, some 387,081 Americans picked up a Camry, compared to the 322,655 who bought an Accord. Hybrid sales alone won’t close that gap, and the gap’s widening.

Over the first two months of 2018, Accord sales fell 12.9 percent, year over year. Camry sales? They’re up 16.1 percent, year over year. This, despite the industry’s state of stagnation and the public’s growing revulsion to the three-box bodystyle. The new-for 2018 Camry may not have turned the midsize car segment around, but it did carve out an extra helping of sales for itself. How long this boost lasts remains to be seen.

[Images: Honda, Toyota]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Ernest Ernest on Mar 20, 2018

    Back in '16 the Accord and the Camry were on our shortlist. I'd have to agree that the Accord was the better looking of the two... until you opened the drivers door. Three different graphic displays, plus climate control, at three different levels. It was beyond annoying... and the wife wouldn't even test-drive it because of that. The Camry wasn't bad looking, but the interior layout sealed the deal. Simple, intuitive, user friendly. Knobs... big ones... placed where you'd expect them to be. It has enough power, the six speed auto always seems to know what gear it's supposed to be in, the SE's suspension is a bit firmer than the LE's, but not unpleasantly so. Did I mention it's screwed together like a Rolex? All this for just under $20K... no brainer, from where we sat. I'd like to comment on the new Accord's styling, but I've only seen one in the wild since the car came out. To put that statement into perspective, my daughter and I went to Costco yesterday, and counted 8 new body Camry's. It's about a 10 mile round trip. Plenty of Civics and CRV's, but not one single Accord. Doesn't take a genius to figure out Honda's got a problem with that car.

    • 30-mile fetch 30-mile fetch on Mar 21, 2018

      The prior gen Accord was overhyped by the auto press. It's a very good car but unless equipped with a manual it isn't anything special. The dual screen dashboard was annoying and the interior was far cheaper than reviews let on. The front seats felt flimsy and unsupportive after the Mazda6 and Camry. I'm not interested in rolling the CVT dice again, either. We made the same decision as you and have a lightly used 2016 Camry XSE that is my wife's DD. It's not perfect by any means, but it has absolutely nothing to apologize for when compared to a CVT Accord. Fusion and Mazda6, though, they give me some pause about our decision.

  • Salguod Salguod on Mar 25, 2018

    I've got a base 2015 Accord Hybrid. For the prior generating Accord, the base was roughly the equivalent in equipment to a standard Accord EX. The only steps up on the Hybrid was the EX-L and Touring. It seems that now there's a new base/LX Hybrid under the EX for about $4,500 less than the previous generation. The EX is $4,680 more than the base. Not exactly a $4,500 price cut, more like a $180 price increase. BTW, we stepped up to the Accord last summer from a 2007 Prius Touring. Night and day difference in driving dynamics. I do miss the Prius' 5 door versatility, though.

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