Originally published July 22, 2015
Either one of these bread-and-butter mainstream Japanese sedans could break Magnum PI’s Ferrari over its knee and toss it in the trash. Kids who grew up in the cheerio-strewn backseats of Mom and Dad’s day-to-dayer, dreaming of swelling red flanks and sumptuous louvres, can now buy, lease, or finance a four-door that’ll roundhouse kick those adolescent dreams right in their mustachioed face. Oh well, at least KITT’s still got turbo-boost.
Yes, there’s more to life than straight-line speed, but I think both would have the moves of the 308 in the corners too. Obviously the Ferrari would provide a more visceral experience, particularly the thrill of your bank account shrinking as the result of repairs brought on by any spirited driving, but the point remains. What was once fast is now commonplace.
Along with effortless speed, both the Accord and the Camry also bring luxuries that you used to only get in a BMW, space and comfort once only achievable in a Mercedes-Benz. The whole game has moved on.
So, which one’s best? The newly redesigned Toyota Camry is fresher and fiercer-looking. The Honda Accord is a constant Canadian favourite. Regular folks can buy a lot of car these days, so which one should you go for?
Well first, which would you prefer: quantity of style, or quality? Certainly the XSE version of the Camry has been liberally dosed with as much styling as possible. Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer invents the Makeup Shotgun? Well this is basically like that.
Giant grille! LEDs! Twin chrome-tipped exhausts! 18-inch machined-face alloys! If there were any more lipstick on this thing, it’d work at a hair salon in New Jersey.
The Honda, on the other hand, is a far more sedate proposition, even discounting the fact it’s painted appliance white. Here too the LED mascara beneath the headlights is somewhat regrettable – mark my words, we’ll look back on this trend as the 2015 equivalent of painting cars teal – but it’s pretty much the single overdone piece on a car that is exemplary at being forgettably handsome.
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It’s certainly less exciting than the Camry. Mark it on the calendar – that’s the first time anybody’s ever said that about anything other than parliamentary debate. But let’s not deride Toyota’s sportiest mid-sizer too much: the gawping front grille (largely fake), does give this formerly milquetoast car something of the street presence of its Lexus co-cyborgs. It’s even handsome, particularly in the metallic flake Blue Crush.
Dress both cars in black, and the Accord would look like evening wear to the Toyota’s sport casual. The former won’t go out of style as quickly as the latter.