Many debates have been waged over whether Toyota or Honda is the superior Japanese automaker. According to U.S. News, Toyota wins due to having a more versatile lineup with high overall ratings. However, this doesn’t mean Honda cars have no strengths at all, especially in the SUV segment.
Both Toyota and Honda were almost matched in the plug-in and hybrid car category. Toyota’s top-rated Camry Hybrid scores 52 mpg combined city/highway, while the cheaper Honda Accord Hybrid gets 48 mpg combined city/highway. For drivers who just want a standard gasoline-powered car, which brand is the better option?
The perks of owning a Honda
One area where Honda surpasses Toyota (literally) is speed, particularly from sedans like the beloved Civic and Accord. While it’s not technically a sports car, the Civic Type R is the fastest car in Honda’s lineup. It’s powered by 306-hp turbo-four engine with a 0-60 mph time of a little over five seconds.
While the RAV4 is a great SUV, Honda also tends to excel in this segment. The CR-V is an excellent compact SUV thanks to its efficient powertrain, ample interior dimensions, and upscale cabin.
Where Honda falters
The Honda Ridgeline midsize truck got a superior score over the Toyota Tacoma. While midsize trucks still have decent towing capacities, you won’t be able to get a full-size truck from Honda. The Toyota Tundra can tow up to 8,000 pounds more than the Ridgeline.
Another downside of Honda vehicles is the lack of advanced infotainment features like smartphone integration. These cars don’t skimp on safety features, but you’ll usually have to pay extra for smartphone connectivity and an average-sized touchscreen. Some critics also report that the controls are not intuitive and confusing.
Why everyone loves Toyota
On the other hand, Toyota vehicles offer a much better value in terms of included features. The base trim of the Camry offers smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot, one USB port, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. By comparison, the Accord only comes equipped with Bluetooth and a single USB port.
Toyota cars also consistently last longer than any given Honda. According to Consumer Reports, Toyota is the third-most reliable automaker, with the Corolla listed as its most dependable model. Honda didn’t even make the top 10 in terms of average reliability.
Even Toyota has weaknesses
Toyota may have one of the highest brand loyalties, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to flaws. Many models have been cited as having the lowest trunk capacities, which may not be suitable for bigger families. For example, the Accord has nearly two cubic feet more of room in the trunk compared to the Camry.
A Toyota car also may not have the most powerful drivetrain. A standard Civic has 158 hp, while the rival Corolla’s engine only makes 139 hp. In addition to slower acceleration, this could also make highway passing a hassle inside a Toyota. A motor that has to work harder also produces more engine noise.
Which car is the right fit for you?
If you’re on a budget, Toyota is the clear winner. Its vehicles have more standard features, making them a better bang for your buck. A used model will also potentially last many more years than a used Honda.
However, if you’re a driver who values performance, it’s better to go with a Honda. You may also prefer Honda’s SUVs if you need a lot of luggage space. No matter your preference, you can’t really go wrong with either a Honda or Toyota.