Hybrid Showdown: Honda Accord v Toyota Avalon

The hybrid segment has never been as white-hot as in recent years. Where full EV options are becoming more and more available, a hybrid has become the perfect transition for anyone fed-up with the high emissions and low fuel economy that full gas vehicles have come to represent. No longer constrained to tight-fitting dimensions like the Prius or Insight. Hybrids now come in all shapes and sizes, incredibly popular amongst these body-types is the sedan. Both Toyota and Honda, automotive giants from ‘the land of the rising sun,’ have top-tier hybrid offerings within this category. The Avalon and the Accord. How do they compare? Let’s take a look. 

Upon first inspection, the dramatic difference in styling knocks you right in the nose. Following the generally more sporty aesthetics in the Toyota line-up, the Avalon, once as plain and unassuming as can be, now looks sharp, angular and almost mean. The front is practically all grille, flanked by massive vents and aggressively styled LED headlights. A gaping mouth, swallowing up the road as it passes beneath those stylish 18” gray-painted alloy wheels. 

Image via: Toyota

In contrast, the Honda Accord Hybrid feels restrained. It communicates a more quite sophistication that may not excite the senses to the same degree, but will likely appeal to a broader audience of consumers. On paper, the two are very similar in size and length. With the Toyota Avalon measuring a few inches longer. The subtle difference can be felt from behind the wheel, where the Honda Accord feels more nimble and responsive. 

Once inside, the exterior differences in design only become more amplified. Cabin space is almost identical, with legroom in the front and rear matching to the inch. Both coming in at 42/40.” The same can be said about headroom at 37.” In overall design and style though, the two fall into very different categories once again. 

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid exudes more personality and flair. Softex and Ultrasuede seats layer contrasting colors and materials for a more sporty look and feel. The center stack is a single, uninterrupted piece. A bright, 9” touchscreen at the top, cascading down past the cupholders to a deep storage compartment between the driver and passenger seats. With both its sporty exterior and interior, the Toyota Avalon demonstrates that a hybrid badge is no longer automatically accompanied by a sedated, plain design. 

Image via: Toyota

The Honda Accord Hybrid feels more polished and sophisticated by comparison. Offering extra appeal to the luxury crowd. There’s more leather used, the audio system sounds more premium, the front seats are cooled too, not just heated. Materials used, from the wood and metal trim, to the overall arrangement, look and feel more premium. The infotainment system is much more intuitive and easy to use. And the button-operated transmission keeps things clean and clutter-free as well. Less bold in its approach, and more elegant and refined.

image via: Honda

In the performance department, you’ll find the Avalon, with it’s larger displacement 2.5L Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine, with 215 combined net-hp, packs a more powerful punch. A Sport-tuned front and rear suspension, and Sport driving mode, assists further in matching the acceleration and cornering abilities with its sporty good looks. That isn’t to say that the 2.0L 4-cylinder in the Accord is a complete slouch. Acceleration is perfectly adequate to zip around slower traffic, and as mentioned above, the slightly more compact dimensions of the Accord translates to a more nimble, light-footed feel.  

Now for the most important figure to take into account when settling on a Hybrid. The fuel-economy. Well, in short, both will do a combined 43 mpg. Though the Accord offers slightly more efficiency around town at 44, and less on the highway at 41. Compared to the steady 43 rating of the Avalon regardless of where you’re driving it. Where numbers really begin to diverge is with the price. At $37,830.00, compared to a lofty $42,640.00, the Accord Touring brings undeniable value and affordability, over the pricier Toyota Avalon XSE. Given this, the decision may come down to which style you prefer more. How much you’re willing to spend, and if you’re in desperate need of the much more cavernous trunk-space offered by the Toyota. Otherwise, a clear winner is hard to tease-out, as the two take such a different style approach, while simultaneously offering plenty of standard features, well-behaved driving aides and most importantly, time away from the gas pump.

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