Accord Vs. Altima Vs. Camry: Which Is the Best Mid-Size Sedan? —

SUV sales may be booming but Americans
still buy a lot of mid-sized sedans and these are among the most popular they’re
also recently redesigned we’re testing the Honda Accord Nissan Altima and
Toyota Camry to see who comes out on top helping me evaluate are my colleagues
Aaron Bragman and Kelsey Mays after several days of testing here’s what we
came up with so Aaron the Accord came out on top
what made it your favorite it feels the most substantial to me the most refined
almost like it’s participating in a class above the midsize category it
feels a little bit more luxurious a little bit quieter driving it around the
streets of Chicago it’s just got this this heft to it that it must be a little
bit heavier but I kind of like that in the car like this it doesn’t feel
frenetic it doesn’t feel jumping it doesn’t jump cheap and I think that
really does count in its favor I agree I think it did the best job of blending
ride and handling comfort interior materials and the multimedia system was
by far the easiest to use that had crisp graphics really nice knobs responsive
overall the the interior was just very comfortable and I could see myself you
know buying this with my own money it certainly has a lot of space inside as
well the backseat has tons of legroom it doesn’t have as much Headroom though I
mean I was a little bit cramped my head kept hitting a headliner because that
roofline it’s really low it feels lower than the other two cars the other two
you’re sitting up a little bit higher they accord you when you get into it you
step down into it you are sitting very low in the chassis and if you’re not
looking for an SUV if you’re looking for a traditional sedan kind of feel really
that’s that’s what you’d want yeah I found a legroom to be great and Headroom
was generous for me I also thought small item storage space was great and cargo
room trunk space was decent too it also had the widest opening and passed
through between the trunk and the actual passenger compartment so if we had a
couple of larger suitcases and the other two cars you might have a little bit of
an issue sliding them both in there the Accord had more room than the others it
just in terms of the pass through the Accord is number one because it really
has a lot of personality inside just in terms of all the buttons and controls
there’s a nice big eight inch screen with apple carplay and android auto and
just excellent menu response screen resolution a few things I didn’t
like about the Accord really start with the transmission it’s a CVT much like in
the Altima but boy it takes an extra second or two to really kind of get you
that power now once you fully have the power come in the Accord does have a
nice amount of torque to it from its 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
probably a little more power than that Altima but the ultimate at least serves
it up immediately the Accord makes you wait another thing is ride quality now I
didn’t think any of them rode poorly but the Accord just seemed to kind of
surrender to quick elevation changes if you dipped a wheel into a rut or kind of
came upon a quick rise in the road the Accord just seemed to kind of be
discombobulated by that in a way that the ultimate and the Camry both isolated
you so the Altima came in second place what are some of its hits and misses
this really was a close competition I mean second place is definitely not the
first loser in this competition it was that tight and all of these have some
really good qualities the new Altima is extremely impressive I really like the
lightness of the vehicle that felt really possible it felt like it handled
really well the steering is super quick super light and I’m really impressed
with the powertrain especially this is the first time I’ve driven a CVT a
continuously variable transmission and actually come away with enjoying the
experience it’s extremely responsive it’s got plenty of acceleration it knows
when to downshift think about it there really no gears but it knows when to
give you some more power off the line it was an impressive experience there’s a
couple things that wasn’t quite thrilled about with the Altima that steering is
light and it’s quick but it’s also enough there isn’t much in the way of
feedback when you’re doing anything twisty which admittedly people buying
midsize cars aren’t doing much twisty Ness but you still want some kind of
feedback to know what what the vehicle is doing the Altima was closed for me
too I was really impressed by it one thing that I really liked was the
multimedia system I thought they did a great job streamlining it systems were
clear new one is much better than the old one also the powertrain that
powertrain is my favorite hands that Suniti like you said felt so
natural made me check to see if it was a CDT you really liked it it also felt
quick it felt like it so quick I felt athletic on the flip side that interior
just felt so chintzy to me everywhere I looked everything just felt cheap and it
just you know looked cheap and I was not impressed with it at all
that was a huge negative and then the second huge negative for me was the
drive I just felt that it was very uncontrolled too many bumps you know the
bumps resonated through the cabin too much and it was just an uncomfortable
you know motion feeling for me so the Altima is in second place what landed it
there now some of us have complained a little bit about its steering feel being
a little bit numb but it’s got a really really quick ratio which makes it nice
and crisp going into corners the car just kind of feels lighter and more
nimble overall another strength of the Altima is value it comes in about 1800
dollars less than the price II Ascar in the test the Accord and gives you a lot
of features for that money it was the only car with lane centering steering
all the way down to a stop thanks to lease ons pro pilot assist a feature
that worked pretty well in our test car here a lot of tech just for not very
much money we like to see that a few misses on the Ultimo’s part cabin
storage seemed a little bit tight compared to the other two just in terms
of space to kind of throw your stuff quality inside just in terms of kind of
– paneling and some of the areas around where your knees and your elbows and
your arms fall really did feel a little bit of a cut below both what the Accord
and the Camry brought now we know that the ultimate gets a little bit nicer if
you get to a higher trim level and we had kind of a mid-level
SV here but still kind of within the same price range as the others and so
when you got that in it not so great so in third place is the camry how did
it end up in third place so there really aren’t that many points separating third
place and second place this was a very tight competition everybody scored well
in certain areas the Camry however I had some issues with that interior I know
you liked it but frankly I find the design to be a bit weird there’s like
little trim pieces that don’t match anything else and a lot of the
multimedia system and in particular I think is still a generation behind were
some of the best in the industry driving dynamics it actually was pretty
good I liked the engine and transmission combination it still had plenty of
acceleration despite being the four-cylinder model the handling also I
thought was pretty tight it did really well with steering it actually had the
lightness of the Altima but it actually gave you some feedback
unlike the Altima so there was some skill advantages but again it’s probably
the most athletic camry they’ve ever made but no Camry drivers ever going to
drive it athletically anyway we enjoyed it but I’m not sure that’s really gonna
translate into something that a consumer would value overall it’s still an
excellent car it’s just that I didn’t think it was quite as good as the other
two in this test I disagree with you on the interior it was by far my favorite I
really like the design the stacked dashboard the interesting trend
materials it just really popped the contrast stitching the little line down
the seats it just showed a lot of effort and it was interesting and it really
appealed to me I’m with you on the multimedia system I think it’s a
complete train wreck it is very old it doesn’t have apple carplay Android auto
graphics are dated the buttons are just a visual mess not my favorite I do
however really agree with you on the ride and handling balance I thought it
was really composed really for the drive part ring is great the 8-speed automatic
did what it needed to do and it was responsive and comfortable and yeah
overall it was that was a winning powertrain in my my opinion where I
think the powertrain really falls short is in noise it’s got this loud gruff
note that really drove me crazy wind noise and road noise were also
really way too loud overall it just was on the highway especially much louder
than the other vehicles you did notice a lot more noise in the Camry I think
especially than the Accord which to me felt almost like a bank vault in terms
of how how quiet and composed it was I also had an issue with the Camrys
backseat there isn’t as much legroom in there as there is in the Accord and the
Altima both of which I thought had extraordinary legroom and just sitting
behind myself I’m about 6 feet tall and I had plenty of room it stretch out in
both of those cars and that’s so much in the Camry didn’t even have much room
under the front seat to fit my toes so for me that definitely penalized the
Camry in terms of interior space the camera came in in a very very close
third place nearly tying with the Altima and it came in for a mix of good and bad
in that area chiefly its multimedia system really let
it down there’s a 7-inch screen when the others had eight inches it was a little
bit slow to react in terms of menu response the the pixelation on the
screen it’s just a little bit grainy er than the other two and a few other
things that didn’t have Lane centering steering so it lost some points there
the backseat when you folded it down there’s kind of a small opening to get
to the trunk so a little bit of kind of point here point their losses it kind of
ultimately led to its third place now that doesn’t mean everything in the
Camry was bad there was a lot that we really liked the Camrys kind of upright
high seating position is gonna appeal to anybody who’s coming out of an SUV it
doesn’t feel kind of a slam to the ground it still feels like it’s kind of
a relatively easy car to see out of there’s lots of storage space and
overall quality pretty good in this vehicle lots of just touch points in
this xle grade that we had were very nice very nicely trimmed out especially
even to the backseat an area with where you got cheaper materials both in the
Accord and the Ultima the drivetrain probably the actually quickest car once
everything kind of got gone but boy that 8-speed automatic transmission really
kind of hampers you doesn’t want to kick down very much very quickly it was a
tough competition and there’s a lot to like about all three but ultimately our
winner is the 2018 Honda Accord for more information including full scoring and
results visit cars comm