Toyota Camry vs Nissan Maxima vs Honda Accord
Nissan’s Maxima Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord are three recently restyled and improved family sedans that bring value to families and can be equipped pretty much anyway you want them from hot rod to luxury cruiser. However The Car Family recommends you select the basic models and enjoy the superior engineering and safety without having to pay for expensive options. Finally the new Mazda 6 was not available for testing at press time. We have always felt that the Mazda was a good buy you can get a car that has a nicer warranty than the others and it probably just as sporty as the Maxima.
Before we start you need to know that we recommend ordering all optional safety equipment such as side airbags and anti-lock brakes. Although the chances of recovering the cost of these items at resale time are weak just one prevented injury or accident can offset the monetary benefits. If you need a special feature such as cruise control look at option packages. They can provide a considerable savings. Finally forget the sunroof and moonroofs and ignore the temptation to upgrade to power seats. Usually only two people drive each car and the expense of a memory seat is not worth it unless there is a strength issue involved.
Each of the sedans we tested was quite different. The Maxima was more racy the Camry very conservative and the Accord very efficient. You have to drive all three at length to make the right decision because they all have attributes that appeal to a select group of buyers. You should note that the Maxima is only available with a V6. It is an excellent engine but costs over considerable more. The Maxima has above average crash testing results obviously less fuel consumption than the four-cylinder competition and offers almost the same interior space as the less expensive Honda and Toyota except for its larger trunk. The turning radius is 40 feet which makes it very difficult to manoeuvre in tight parking places. The Maxima is much faster than the competition with its 255 horsepower engine providing nearly 100 more horsepower than the Honda or Camry four cylinder models. If you want get up and go order the Maxima.
This Nissan also has a sharper looking interior and more standard features such as standard side air bags. If you can stand a little more road noise and a firm ride order the more expensive SE and get a family car that thinks it’s a sports car. We like the Maxima but its resale can’t stand up to the realities presented by the Toyota and Honda.
Our test Camry was roomy road well and did nothing to upset us. It is a conservative car that gets about very good gas mileage in mixed driving conditions. The Camry’s crash test results were above average in most cases. The Toyota’s was the best of the three cars tested in terms of size and usability. Driving the Camry is in a word undramatic. It is not fast and it does not like high-speed corners. The automatic transmission works quietly and efficiently and the car is quiet at speed. In other words there is nothing glaring wrong with the Camry. People who buy it want to be reassured that they have a reliable car with no surprises. You have a high seating position and a superior turning radius that enables you to nip into the tightest parking spaces. The Camry also looks very much like them more expensive Lexus ES which provides the owner with a sense of bargain hunting pride since the Toyota is priced much less.
We saved the Accord the newest model for last. Freshly restyled and reengineered this year the Accord has excellent brakes a great engine and an interior that has ample room for five. In base form it comes with the a five-speed standard transmission. Nicely equipped and with the five speed automatic transmission we prefer it is still well priced. The interior is basic but the gauges were the easiest to read of all the cars. However the strange placement of the stereo and heating controls were downright confusing. Maybe over time you could get used to having the stereo power and volume control in the middle of three round dials but we never did.
Overall the Accord would be a great choice if you liked to have good handling great gas mileage and plenty of room at a bargain price. The Camry is more conservative and never felt as nimble as the Honda and the Maxima was much more energetic but the pricing bothered us.
Mom’s view: The Honda Accord without doubt was my favourite. I loved the zip and handling it offered and the easy way it could hold the family. On the other hand I hated the seats and the way the trunk lid could fall down without warning if you hadn’t pushed it all the way up. One strong breeze and watch out. The instrument panel was easy to read but the stereo was below par and I would definitely upgrade the tires and rims from the basic package. I was able to go over 700km on a tank of gas which was excellent.
The Camry was fine but waddled too much for me. The seats were much better but the engine never felt as snappy as the Accord’s. The side visibility was also more limited in the Toyota. As for the Maxima I was disappointed. It was fast real fast but it had a huge turning radius and didn’t like curvy roads. Of course it was more expensive and it looked it. Just one glance at the beautiful interior made it evident that this was an upscale sedan. In fact it made the other two look spartan. The seats were also better in the Maxima. My vote is for the Accord.
Young working woman’s view: The Camry never felt like anything but a large car. Its performance handling and stopping were all acceptable though. I just don’t like driving a car that seems to be designed to appeal to those in the middle. The Accord was much more fun to drive and I liked the interior layout better but it was drab. The front and rear ends are notable but not lovable. For me the Maxima was prettier better to drive and much more enthusiastic when it came to cheering me up.
College male’s view: Three cars in search of a personality is the way I look at it. They all do what they are told to do have fairly low insurance rates and seat five adults. I didn’t have a favourite and I would be hard pressed to tell you which is better. Close your eyes and you couldn’t tell which car you were in except when you accelerated. The Maxima is fast. I did not like the fact that the Accord’s rear seats did not fold down and I didn’t like its stereo system. The Maxima’s was superior. The Camry was just too old looking for me to even consider. So the bottom line for me is to take that money and buy a Holden and have V6 power room for six excellent crash test scores and a car that looks sharper and can easily hold more snow boards.
Dad’s view: For the three cars in question the Maxima was my least favourite. It just did not handle like a car with that much horsepower should. Take a look at the SE model if you enjoy driving. The Camry was a nice sedan. Call it being damned by faint praise but there is nothing wrong with this Toyota. I would avoid the V6 because it isn’t that much more powerful than the new four cylinder and costs a lot more. The Accord appealed to me more. I liked the engine but I disliked the five-speed manual transmission. It was easy to shift but the gear whine was significant in our car and the clutch had a very low take-up point making driving in traffic a chore. Pay a bit more and get the wonderful Honda Automatic.
Family conference: If you are a conservative driver take the Camry. It you like to lead life in the fast lane go for the Maxima. And if you are somewhere in the middle the Accord may be your choice. The main point is that all of these cars are well priced and if you are into family values you can have a new five passenger fairly frisky sedan under your carport.
Written by The Car Family