The Accord vs. the Camry, a Competition for the Ages

By Mike Richards Updated: 04/08/2020 Posted: 11/02/2017

If you’re interested in a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord, you’re likely looking for a vehicle that is reliable and affordable. Both of these popular sedans fit the bill. They are known for their great pricing, excellent reliability, and a number of options. You can find everything from a simple 4-cylinder to a sporty V6 version. But which is better? We’ll help you decide.

2003-2007 Honda Accord

In this model period, the Accord came in base DX, midlevel LX, and upper-level EX models. The two higher models were offered with V6, but only the EX offered a leather interior to go along with it. Also, the Accord came in a 2-door coupe, but this also required an upgrade to LX or EX. Also worth knowing is that in 2005 the Accord came out with the first hybrid edition, something the Camry of this generation did not provide.

2002-2006 Toyota Camry

For the Camry of these years, there were three trim levels, as well. These included the base LE, upscale XLE, and the more sporty SE. The coupe and convertible versions were not sold as Camrys, being branded as the Solara instead. It came with a 4-cylinder engine was standard, but a 3.0 liter V6 was also available, and a 3.3 liter V6 came around in 2004 with the SE trim level.


While it can be difficult to determine reliability on used cars, the Accord and Camry are both known for their high levels of dependability, which is the biggest reason for their resale values being so high. Reviewers on Kelley Blue Book continually rank both cars as dependable, with very few negative reviews.

Do be aware, though, some versions of both cars come with timing belts rather than chains. Whereas chains are built to last the life of the car, belts require replacement every few years and can be costly. Just be aware of that when considering a used Camry or an Accord.

Fuel Economy

The most common version of the Camry offered up 32 mpg on the highway and 23 in the city. The Accord, on the other hand, was a bit higher with 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. That said, the manual Accords offer better gas mileage than the manual Camry.

When considering the V6 models, the Accord offers 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway while the Camry is quite a distance behind at 20 in the city and 27 on the highway. This may be a result of the Accord being a 5-speed automatic while the Camry is only a 4-speed. Of course, for those who prefer a hybrid, only the Accord offered one during this time, getting 30 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway.

It’s clear the winner here is the Accord, in particular with the hybrid option on the table.


Both of these cars offer decent safety equipment, but the Accord offers a bit more. For instance, the Accord offered anti-lock brakes as a standard feature starting as early as 2003 while the Camry didn’t add them standard until two years later. Traction control was also optional on a Camry, but standard with the Accord.

That said, if safety is the primary factor for your choice, the Accord pulls away with a greater range of safety equipment coming standard during these years.


The technology features available in this time certainly don’t stack up to what is available now, but what they did offer was pretty similar. Both had an optional navigation system, along with standard features like keyless entry, steering-wheel audio controls, CD player, and a power sunroof.

Each of these cars has plenty going for it. Both are highly reliable sedans that will last without making any huge sacrifices where comfort is concerned. The Accord has a few things that make it edge out the Camry, but honestly, it’s very close. Whichever car you choose to buy used is likely going to suit you just fine. In fact, finding a better deal on one or the other might be the best bargaining chip to consider if you are stuck on a decision between the two.