By on March 20, 2018

Image: Honda

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.

Image: Toyota

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]

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44 Comments on “The Thin Green Line: 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Heads to Dealers, Undercuts Nemesis in Price...”


  • avatar
    volvo driver

    The rear end of of the Accord looks like an S90. That makes the choice easy for me.

  • avatar
    Rob Cupples

    “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.”

    Let’s not leave out Toyota pushing their sales with 0% for 60 months this year while Honda just shrugs its shoulders.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Right. Honda probably has higher transaction prices and profits on the Accord than Toyota does on the Camry.

      Then again, there’s something to be said for exposure and market share. I’d love to see someone in the know do a cost-analysis on this and see, in general, which is better.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “I’d love to see someone in the know do a cost-analysis on this and see, in general, which is better.”

        I’d be curious as well. Selling on discount (and fleet) doesn’t exactly put a premium aura around your product and it seems like it could risk the high resale value if done for too long. But Toyota generally hasn’t been stupid on the business end of things either. And for the consumer, you get a big discount on a high quality car that retains its value relative to MSRP rather well. That’s not a bad deal. But now I’m sounding a bit like Norm…

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Toyota is moving their commerce w/ huge incentives.

      Honda hopes people will choose the better car.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      Honda heavily incentivizes the Accord. They offer cheap APR from time to time. More often, they give dealers “flex cash” that isn’t officially advertised to customers. Dealers throw substantial money at deals at their discretion to put units on the board for the month.

      Basically, the dealer gets a pool of money for the month and discretion to apply it to individual deals as they see fit, within reason. Most Honda dealer management is smart enough to throw this money at Accords instead of CR-Vs, the latter of which sells well without incentives.

      Anyway, my point is that there is plenty of incentive money flowing from Honda to dealers to move Accords and has been for some time…it’s just a bit under the radar. Savvy consumers figure it out. Check the various Accord forums for prices paid threads, you’ll see frequent large discounts reported using the flex cash.

      If you think Toyota is throwing money at the Camry to move them while Honda sits on their hands and lets the Accord sell on merit alone, you are misinformed. Honda throws plenty of money at the Accord, just routes it through channels that are less obvious to the observer.

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    The new Accord is growing on me, but I require the utility of a hatchback. A hybrid Accord EX 5 door would be exactly what I want and I’d definitely trade my 2014 CUV for one. I don’t even care if they call it the Crosstour. C’mon Honda, make it happen!

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Accord or Camry? It’s akin to picking out a toaster, Hamilton Beach or Black & Decker?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Fair point, except substitute brand names that are still made in the USA. Hamilton beach and Black and Decker are more apt comparisons for Ford and GM (China).

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        gtem

        The Malibu is built in Kansas City Kansas. The part of America that makes its vegi burgers using 100% real beef.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Glad to hear it Peter, but unfortunately it’s chock full of Chinese and Malaysian junk parts. I’ll take my “American” car with a Camry badge on the back with 75%+ American content.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            gtem

            The Toyota company is full of B.S.
            1st the Camry is now assembled in Georgetown KY and Japan. They pulled out of their partnership with Subaru to build up to 100,000 Camrys a year in Lafayette IN.
            GM has 12 assembly plants in the U.S. most of the parts are made in the U.S.

            Toyota has 4 assembly plants in the U.S. half of its vehicles are Imported.

            During the great recession Toyota shut down its assembly plant in Freemont CA. Moving most Tacoma production to Tijuana Mexico.

            When push came to shove. Toyota’s Japanese workers still had Jobs. The American workers got laid off.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            gtem

            BTW- I drive a GS. The better one made by Buick. Not to be confused with the overpriced toaster made by Lexus.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “I drive a GS. The better one made by Buick.”

            The important thing is you’re not at all bitter about that.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Your German designed, Canadian built Regal?

            What I like about my wife’s Camry is on the few occasions I have had to wrench on it (replacing a hub assembly after she curbed a wheel), the replacement Aisin part was made right here in Indiana. Seems like a lot of the parts on GMs, things like brake parts and hubs and various interior electrical bits when you go to replace them these days the OEM GM tag will have Made in China (or some even cheaper labor south-east Asian country) right on it.

            Toyota left the Lafayette plant because Subaru themselves were aggressively ramping up production and added the Impreza line. They’re going to be up to almost 400k units there in a year or so once the Ascent line is running at full speed. Toyota added something like 700 positions to the Georgetown plant for the new generation of Camry and Avalon, that initial portion of Japanese Camries was a stop-gap as far as I can tell.

            Believe me I’m not thrilled with Toyota’s Mexican production, I personally will never buy one made there. But on the whole they’ve been a model corporate citizen in this country IMO. High quality, American made cars, many models designed and engineered here in the US (Tundra, Tacoma, Sequoia, Sienna, etc).

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    So sad . . . Every time I see the new Accord, I lament the lost opportunity for a liftback/hatchback/sportback/whateverback.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The upcoming 2019 Insight has a very Accord / Civic-esque look and is a lift-back. If they do a plug-in hybrid version, it’ll be very close to the Chevy Volt, which i salso a liftback.

      • 0 avatar
        salguod

        Actually, the new Insight is a sedan, unfortunately.

        “As we mentioned, the Honda Insight is back, and this time it’s a sedan.”

        http://autoweek.com/article/green-cars/7-things-you-need-know-about-2019-honda-insight

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    For a minute I was misreading that and really hoping someone had released a car called the “Nemesis”.

    (“Let’s rename the Azera, since nobody cares about it, and we already have this -nesis thing going with the high-end line, so …”)

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    The 18 Camry is much more attractive than the 18 Accord.

    The 17 Camry was LESS attractive than the 17 Accord.

    That is the difference. They are both great vehicles, and if you are a good negotiator, you can get a great deal on either vehicle. So, I don’t buy the financial stories above. For 18, Camry just looks better than Accord. You have to give Toyota credit on the new Camry. They did a great job after fumbling the 15 – 17 Camry.

    Honda seems to be having styling problems. The last gen Pilot is much more attractive than the current Pilot. You can add the Accord to the mistake list. Honda had better not mess up the Civic, which looks fantastic, and the CrV, which looks great ….

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      not really

      not only is the Accord better-looking – it has won every comparison w/ the Camry hands down

      Toyota is offering huge incentives, Honda is not

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        not really

        The Accord’s definitely uglier. There isn’t an angle to approach the car that hides the hunchback or the giant dopey forehead.

        An in-law has one. Grey. CVT. White goods on wheels, but at least it’s high quality white goods. Did the lemming thing, didn’t cross-shop anything. Doesn’t care about driving at all.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        thornmark, you might be thinking about the 17 Accord. That was a fantastic looking vehicle. I almost bought one. It drove good too. Honda may have been better off if they left the styling alone for 18.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          When they announced that the Civic and Accord were going to be sharing a platform, I thought it wouldn’t end well.

          Obviously, the “halo effect” of a car being near-lux like the last one went away the instant that they yanked real engines out of the car and went with the turbos, just like the other lemmings.

          The Accord’s look up front is helped by the Sport Grille accessory, which helps with the unibrow. Arguably, you shouldn’t have to drop $400 to snazz up a new car!

          Even with the questionable exterior styling choices, the interior is where the Accord shines! It cleans the clock of the old interior, and the Camry’s too! (The Camry center-stack is a dog’s breakfast!)

          But I think the real reason the Accord isn’t selling is the lack of lease or financing deals! Toyota was aggressive out of the gate, and, combined with the late availability of the 2.0T in the Accord, it was advantage Toyota from the outset; people are going to seek the best deal, as, on paper, either car is going to be a good choice.

          As for the pricing of the HAH, it’s a shot across the bow, to be sure!! I’m going to be curious to see what the distribution of the various trims will be, since everything from LX to Touring is available, with the exception of a Sport. (The Camry Hybrid is available in SE trim, but “sport” and “Hybrid” are arguably at odds with one another!)

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        “not only is the Accord better-looking”

        no. it is not only. Only whatever. But NOT better looking

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Claiming the 18 XXXX is better looking than the 18 XXXX is ridiculous. You all do realize looks are subjective?

  • avatar
    syncro87

    Two things keep me from upgrading one of our Civics to an Accord.

    First is the volume and variety of problems being reported on some of the Honda forums from new style Accord owners. You’re always going to get the squeaky wheel internet effect on forums, but from what I can gather, it’s a bit more than that this time. Seems like there are a fair number of quality issues with the new cars. This doesn’t surprise me, as I feel that the build quality of our ’16 and ’17 Civics is a notch below that of our old ’14.

    Second is the unibrow grille treatment. I’m a fan of Hondas, own two, and have owned many in the past, but for some reason the styling of the new Accord isn’t resonating with me. The funny thing is, I’m not really that picky when it comes to car aesthetics, but something about the Accord’s nose turns me off. The Camry SE’s nose looks better to me.

    As a side note, I really wish Honda would stop slapping 19″ wheels on the Accord Sport. 17″ or18″ would be plenty. The Sport trim represents good value to me, but 19″ wheels and 40- series tires make no sense to me on a daily driver sedan. A deal breaker for a lot of people who live in areas with roads that aren’t glassy smooth and perfectly maintained.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      These 19″ was final drop in the bucket for me. I just went with Mazda6 sport.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The nineteens are comically at odds with the aesthetics and purpose of a mainstream sedan. Our XSE Toyota has 45 series 18s and even that is excessive.

      Someone I know has a 2016 Accord Sport and this guy loves his car, takes great care of it, is careful with it. It has those 40-series 19s. One day I see it has a marred alloy with a notched sidewall–damage from a minor contact with a curb. I could tell it just killed him, and the tire was soon replaced, the alloy repaired. Money wasted on what is just an economy 4-cylinder car.

      I noticed a Ford Edge Sport parked next to me the other day. All four 21-inchers were just destroyed.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Agree with all you said +
        Cost of replacement tires, and on top of it – frequency. These large tires usually have mediocre tread wear. Mechanics charge extra for mounting 19″
        Must admit, the Accord uses size that fairly easy to find and they are not as expensive as 19″ tires used on Mazda6, which also has limited availability vs Accord.

        Bottom line: if Accord is all about practicality, these wheels kill all the practicality. I wanted to buy Sport trim ’17. But in the and, I found much more practical Mazda6 Sport with 17″ and $3K cheaper and mostly better car.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          I might see if Honda can do a “minus-one” if I go with another Accord Touring for my next car. I can tell that those wheels, not the sidewalls, will make first-contact with anything!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Unlike last generation, with my mid-model-year-build 2013 Accord as proof, I wouldn’t buy the first year of this one! It’s been mostly infotainment gremlins, but I think I’ve also seen evidence on a few forums of various squeak/rattle issues. This despite an interior that blows the 9th-Gen into the weeds, in terms of look and feel.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I haven’t driven the new Accord.

    I spent a week in a 2018 Camry LE 4cyl automatic.

    The improvement from the old Camry is astounding. It has gone from probably my least favorite sedan to perhaps the best.

    Even if Honda is offering hidden incentives on the Accord, what is the purpose? If you’re in that market and going to the usual Honda or Toyota dealer, and you see 0% billboards and 0% TV ads, and the new Camry looks good, and you were happy with the old Camry (which means you’re probably gonna be blown away when you test drive the new one), which method is gonna get people in the door? Toyota.

    I have to also wonder if you’re shopping the quality game if Honda is finally going too far off the deep end for those shoppers. What’s a turbo? Whats a CVT?

    Meanwhile Toyota gives you the goods. The stuff that won’t break for 1000 years and gets the job done just as well, all wrapped in a good looking package, and advertised like crazy.

    Hybrids…meh. Peanuts in this sales match.

    Side-Note: Why does Toyota offer 2 hybrid systems in the Camry now? I think the LE gets a Lithium Ion pack and has dramatically better mileage than the other trims with their NiMh batteries (or is it lead acid?). I frankly don’t understand this.

    Also would be curious how the Honda drives. Last one it seemed got best hybrid mileage out there but had some funny quirks and noises because of Honda’s hybrid system vs that in Toyota and Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      It deserves mention here that the standard LE Camry Hybrid is rated 51/53 MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “The improvement from the old Camry is astounding. It has gone from probably my least favorite sedan to perhaps the best.”

      I’m curious what stood out as being very improved? My encounter with an ’18 SE was much less positive. I’d gladly take a ’17 instead.

  • avatar
    ernest

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      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.

  • avatar
    salguod

    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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