2012 Toyota Camry SE: Would It Have Beaten the 2013 Honda Accord EX?
September 21, 2012
A couple of our readers (you, perhaps?) candidly told us that we should have used our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry SE ($28,658) in our recent Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry comparison test. You argued that it would have provided much stiffer competition for the 2013 Accord EX ($26,195) despite the slightly larger price gap it would have created. The Camry LE we actually used in that comparison test cost $23,925.
Well, I drove our long-term Camry SE home last night. It's a great commuter car, one of the best in this class right now. But I'm not sure it would have beaten the 2013 Accord EX. Why not? For three reasons...
1. The six-speed automatic in the Camry is good -- prompt with the downshifts, and smooth and refined even under duress. But if you can get past any prejudice against CVTs, the continuously variable transmission in the four-cylinder 2013 Accord is better -- it's quicker to find a lower gear ratio when you jam on the gas pedal. And it's so stealth in swapping to a taller ratio when you lift that a lot of passengers assumed it was a normal automatic.
2. The electric power steering in the Camry, even our SE, is so-so. It's fine for everyday maneuvering but it can't match the Accord's EPS for feel or precision.
3. The Camry's cabin isn't as nice. Yes, the front seats are great. And yes, there's plenty of functionality, save for the Entune-related silliness. But the plastics and vinyls aren't quite as high-quality as the Accord's, and the design isn't particularly tidy or handsome -- the Honda's cabin is both and it feels more upscale.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,637 miles