What happens when we put the two top-selling sedans in America in a race against one another? There’s only one way to find out as we compare the 2021 Honda Accord vs the 2021 Toyota Camry… with a twist! Instead of comparing the gas-powered sedans, we’re diving headfirst into the hybrid versions to see which automaker delivers the most bang and the most power for your buck. Who wins the hybrid race to the finish line? That’s what we’re here to find out!
Start Your Engines: Hybrid Powertrains
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is one of the most popular hybrids on the road thanks to its affordable price tag, impressive powertrain, and its extensive suite of safety and technology features. But before we dive into price tags and tech, let’s talk powertrains. The Accord Hybrid’s innovative two-motor system received several upgrades in 2021 to make it the most powerful in its class.
The two-motor hybrid system uses a propulsion motor and a generator or starter motor to produce 212 horsepower and a best-in-class torque rating of 232 lb-ft. Because of its efficiency that allows it to seamlessly switch between EV Drive, Engine Drive, and Hybrid Drive, the Accord Hybrid offers an exceptional fuel economy rating of 48 MPG both in the city and on the highway. But the hybrid’s efficiency and power don’t stop there, with Honda offering drivers several other modes like Sport and ECON to further customize the hybrid’s performance.
There’s a noticeable difference between the Accord Hybrid and the 2021 Camry Hybrid from Toyota. The Camry Hybrid is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an 88-kW electric motor for a combined output of 208 horsepower – a bit short of the Accord. The Camry Hybrid also offers several drive modes like ECO, Normal, Sport, and EV, but these modes don’t deliver as high of an EPA rating as the Honda, with most Camry trims getting 44 MPG in the city.
Let’s Talk Pricing
Both Honda and Toyota give drivers four trim options on the 2021 Accord Hybrid and the 2021 Camry Hybrid. The Accord Hybrid starts at $26,570 and offers an astounding suite of features for such an affordable price tag. These features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, remote engine start, the Honda Sensing safety suite, an 8-inch touchscreen display, LED headlights and daytime running lights, a multi-angle rearview camera, and push-button start. In comparison, the Toyota Camry Hybrid starts at $27,270 despite offering fewer features, such as a smaller 7-inch touchscreen and a single-angle backup camera.
The Accord Hybrid EX takes the Hybrid’s features to the next level with a starting MSRP of $30,520 that proves to be a great value for the model’s many tech and convenience options. The EX includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a wireless phone charger, a one-touch power moonroof, and even more advanced safety features like Honda’s Blind Spot Information System. The Toyota Camry SE Hybrid is not directly comparable with the Accord Hybrid EX as it has a lower MSRP at $28,785 and doesn’t offer the same level of features. Instead, it updates the front grille with a sport mesh insert and adds color-keyed sport-side rocker panels.
The Accord Hybrid EX-L, which starts at $32,890, gives drivers a leather-trimmed interior with driver’s seat memory as well as a 10-speaker premium audio system that delivers crisp, clear sound throughout the sedan. The model also gives drivers additional tech features like the HomeLink Remote System. Toyota’s XLE Camry Hybrid starts at $32,170 and finally sees a few upgrades to the interior with a 9-inch touchscreen, leather interior, and heated seating. It also has advanced safety technology like Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, which Honda made available on the more affordably priced Accord Hybrid EX.
The ultimate Honda Accord Hybrid is the Touring trim, which starts at $36,440 and boasts every feature imaginable from the Honda lineup. The Touring includes advanced tech like a head-up display, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a subscription to the HondaLink system. The Touring also offers a wireless phone charging station, Low-Speed Braking Control, and ambient lighting.
Toyota’s high-level Camry is the XSE Hybrid that’s priced at $32,720. The modest price jump from the XLE at $32,170 is because the XSE doesn’t actually give drivers many more features for a luxury trim level. Instead, it is mostly a sporty appearance package, with the only major changes being its stiffer sport-tuned suspension and larger 19-inch alloy wheels. Given the similar situation with the Camry SE trim, that means that in reality, the 2021 Camry Hybrid really only has two real choices for trims against the Accord Hybrid’s four.
All About Tech
As it stands, the Honda Accord Hybrid certainly has a leg – or should we say tire? – up on the competition. The top Accord Hybrid trims may be priced slightly higher than the Camry, but drivers reap the benefits of Honda’s commitment to innovation and enjoy the most advanced technology available. This technology extends from connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistance tools.
The Accord Hybrid offers Low-Speed Braking Control, which helps drivers bring the Accord to a stop when the tool senses a potential front or rear collision. Drivers also benefit from the available Head-Up Display that shows vital data like speed, navigation cues, and calls in a clear display on the windshield. Other convenience and tech features include the Blind Spot Information System as well as Honda’s Sensing Suite that includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Traffic Sign Recognition.
The Camry’s tech features are also impressive with the all-new floating 9-in multimedia display that comes on the higher-level trim options. Like the Accord, the Camry also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a wireless charging station. However, the lower trims of the 2021 Camry Hybrid have some decidedly inferior tech systems, like the aging 7-inch screen, and even the top trims fall short of everything that the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid brings to the table.
The Finish Line
With a more powerful engine, the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid undeniably wins the race in this head-to-head competition against the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid. When comparing the big three – powertrain, pricing, and tech – Honda delivers excellence in each category and gives drivers exactly what they need and want in a hybrid model. Even with the Honda price topping out slightly higher than that of the Toyota, the Accord Hybrid offers more tech and safety features that add outstanding value to the model and ensure drivers are safe and connected from the moment they get behind the wheel.
Which model would you choose? If you’re looking for a hybrid option, we encourage you to take a close look at both the 2021 Honda Accord and the 2021 Toyota Camry to see which one better fits your needs. You’ll find both Honda and Toyota deliver on their promises of excellence and innovation in crafting powerful cars of the future. However, for 2021, we have to give the nod to Honda.