Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Both the Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius are likely to feel slightly slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio.
The Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius have approximately similar tires. With their comparable turning radiuses, the Prius and the Fit definitely handle about the same into and out of tight spots.
The Toyota Prius packs quite a wallop compared to the Honda Fit when it comes to torque, which is roughly equivalent to acceleration. The Honda could learn a lesson or two from the Prius as far as torque.
The Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius can accommodate the same number of passengers.
Taller drivers will substantially enjoy the extra head room in the Honda Fit's front cabin compared to the Toyota Prius. The ampler interior dimensions of the Prius make it considerably roomier for your passengers than the Fit.
Both the Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius are likely to feel somewhat slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio. The Honda Fit's tank is roughly the same size as the Toyota Prius's, though the Toyota Prius's is a tad more capacious. The Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius compete for the same parking spaces. The Toyota Prius's longer wheelbase will likely result in a smoother, more stable ride; however, the Honda may give a sprier feel in daily traffic.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs about the same to get the Honda Fit to the dealership as the Prius. As far as MSRP, the Fit costs tremendously less than the Toyota. As far as out-the-door cost, the Honda costs tremendously less than the Toyota Prius. The Honda will cost you a bundle in gasoline every year compared to the Toyota Prius.
The Toyota and the Honda Fit have the same basic warranty.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Economy Car Comparison
Fuel costs continue to rise, and you've been digging for coins under the couch
to fill the tank. Time for a reality check: subcompacts are no longer just for
the credit-card challenged.
By Allyson Harwood, Photography by John Kiewicz
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
By Warren Clarke, Content Editor
Like death and taxes, high gas prices have become an inescapable fact of life in this country. As a result, more and more American car buyers are making fuel economy a consideration when choosing vehicles. With those folks in mind, we've compiled a list of the 10 most fuel-efficient cars currently sold in the U.S.
Rankings were determined using the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel. More specifically, we tapped the EPA's combined fuel economy formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating. The rating for each vehicle below is expressed in mpg as a city/highway ratio. All ratings apply to base models equipped with a manual transmission, except where indicated otherwise with an asterisk.
Each model was allowed only one appearance on the list. The sole exception is the Honda Civic, which appears twice as a result of being available in both gas-electric hybrid and regular gasoline versions.
1. Toyota Prius — 60/51*
Affordably priced at $22K and up, the Prius is a bargain on many fronts. Real-world fuel economy doesn't match EPA estimates, but this hybrid car is still the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market.
2. Honda Civic Hybrid — 49/51*
What's even more practical than the eminently practical Civic? The Civic Hybrid, which melds hybrid frugality with the poise and refinement of Honda's perennial best seller.
3. Toyota Camry Hybrid — 40/38*
The popular Camry offers a roomy cabin and acceleration that's more brisk than is typical for a four-cylinder family sedan. The newly introduced Camry Hybrid offers all this, plus a fuel-sipping hybrid engine.
4. Toyota Yaris — 34/40
With a starting price of $11K, the brand-new Yaris is the most affordable car in Toyota's lineup. Available as a three-door hatchback or a sedan, the Yaris offers a versatile interior — thanks to available sliding and reclining rear seats — and pleasant handling.
5. Honda Fit — 33/38
Coming in at about 20 inches shorter than the Civic, the Fit is a pint-sized new entry from Honda. For a price that starts at around $13K, you get agile handling and ample standard features.
6. Toyota Corolla — 32/41
You probably know that the Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable cars on the market. What you might not know is that this roomy hauler is also one of the most fuel-efficient.
7. Mini Cooper — 32/40*
The Mini is known for its tiny dimensions and singular looks. What you may not know is that it's also one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. Its engineering and suspension come courtesy of BMW, its parent company, so if you slide behind the wheel, you'll definitely enjoy the ride.
8. Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio — 32/35
The 2007 Accent and its twin, the Kia Rio, nabbed the "Editors' Most Wanted Sedan Under $15,000" prize on account of agreeable handling and a generous standard features list. Both cars seem determined to upgrade our expectations of what economy cars should be.
9. Honda Civic — 30/40*
The Civic is a class leader in the small-car category, and with good reason. Available in coupe and sedan configurations, this Honda offers a roomy interior, composed handling and excellent safety ratings.
10. Nissan Versa — 30/36*
Fuel economy concerns have sparked the growth of the subcompact segment, with new entries like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris coming to market. The brand-new Nissan Versa is one of the best in this category, with a spacious interior and stellar materials quality.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
There's no clear winner between the RAV4 and the Honda CR-V regarding transporting cargo. Drivers with frequent kid-duty might favor the Toyota RAV4 over the Honda. Towing is substantially more the Toyota RAV4's forte than it is the Honda CR-V's.
As far as horsepower, the Toyota RAV4 packs quite a wallop and will knock the Honda down a few rungs. On the other hand, keep in mind that high horsepower engines often command higher insurance premiums. The Honda CR-V is likely to feel a tad sluggish because of its high horsepower-to-weight ratio compared to the Toyota RAV4.
The Toyota RAV4 is somewhat heavier than the Honda CR-V. The CR-V's tank is about the same size as the Toyota RAV4's, though the Toyota RAV4's is somewhat bigger. The Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 compete for the same parking spaces.
The Honda CR-V's fuel tank will need to be replenished somewhat more often than the unit in the Toyota RAV4.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs roughly the same to get the Honda CR-V to the dealership as the Toyota. There isn't much of a difference in gas mileage here, but if you must know, the Toyota RAV4 is a tad more economical than the Honda CR-V. The Honda CR-V isn't much less expensive than the Toyota RAV4 in terms of MSRP.
The Toyota RAV4 and the CR-V have roughly comparable tires. With their comparable turning circles, the CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 doubtless handle roughly the same into and out of tight spots.
The Toyota RAV4 has a more sizeable engine than the Honda CR-V. Keep in mind that smaller engines typically get better gas mileage, but a smaller engine usually has to work a little harder. Torque equals pickup, and the Toyota RAV4 will have picked up and gone by the time the Honda CR-V finally gets moving.
Taller drivers will substantially enjoy the extra head room in the Toyota's front cabin compared to the Honda CR-V. While the rear of the Honda CR-V provides a bit more head- and leg-room than the Toyota RAV4, there honestly isn't much of a difference.
The Toyota and the Honda CR-V have the same basic after-sale protection.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
This didn't stop the Camry from being the best-selling car in the country for the intervening years. But there's tough competition in the field, and it's now clear that bold styling sells. Bland may now be riskier than taking a chance on a strong design statement. Finally, Toyota has heard the call.
The 2007 models hit dealerships in March 2006 equipped with upgraded drivetrains and other refinements. Roughly three months later, hybrid versions built right here in the U.S. hit the streets. The trim levels, in ascending value, are CE, LE, the sporty SE and the premium XLE.
Unfortunately, the Camry Hybrid follows the current formula: It's a hybrid equivalent of the Camry's top, XLE, trim level. So first you have to pony up the cash for the most expensive trim, then pay whatever premium is on top of that for the hybrid aspect. Someday hybrid technology will be a drivetrain option on any trim level, but not until costs come down dramatically.
Neither the Toyota Camry nor the typical midsize sedan has a marked advantage regarding seating capacity. The Camry outpulls the typical midsize sedan by a sizeable margin.
The typical midsize sedan is a tad heavier than the Toyota Camry. The average midsize sedan's tank is about the same size as the Toyota Camry's, though the Toyota Camry's is a little more capacious. The Camry and the typical midsize sedan compete for the same parking spaces.
The average midsize sedan's fuel tank will need to be replenished more often than the unit in the Toyota Camry.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs about the same to get the Toyota Camry to the dealership as the average midsize sedan. There honestly isn't much of a difference in gas mileage here, but if you must know, the Toyota Camry is slightly more economical than the average midsize sedan. The typical midsize sedan won't tax your gas budget considerably more than the Camry will. In terms of MSRP, the typical midsize sedan doesn't cost much less than the Toyota Camry.
The Toyota Camry and the typical midsize sedan have roughly comparable tires. With their comparable turning radiuses, the Camry and the average midsize sedan quite certainly handle about the same into and out of tight spots.
The Toyota Camry and the typical midsize sedan have similar-sized engines, with a slight advantage to the typical midsize sedan. Torque is the force that lets you accelerate quickly, and in this respect, the typical midsize sedan is markedly more powerful than the Camry.
While the front cabin in the Toyota Camry offers a bit more head room than the average midsize sedan, there honestly isn't much of a difference. The Toyota Camry is not particularly roomier for your passengers than the typical midsize sedan.
The basic warranty that comes with the Toyota Camry isn't quite as generous as the average midsize sedan's.
Neither the Toyota Corolla nor the Toyota Camry has a marked advantage with respect to seating capacity. Towing is substantially more the Toyota Camry's forte than it is the Toyota Corolla's.
Both the Corolla and the Camry are likely to feel a little slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio.
Both the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Camry are likely to feel a tad slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio. Your wallet will hurt more every time you fill up the Toyota Camry than the Toyota Corolla because of its more capacious tank. The Corolla and the Camry compete for the same parking spaces.
The Toyota Corolla is markedly less costly than the Camry in terms of MSRP. The Camry will cost you a bunch of money in gasoline every year compared to the Corolla.
The Toyota Camry and the Toyota Corolla have roughly similar tires. With their similar turning radiuses, the Corolla and the Toyota Camry indubitably handle approximately the same into and out of tight spots.
The Toyota Camry has a bigger engine than the Toyota Corolla. Remember that smaller engines typically get better gas mileage, but a smaller engine usually has to work a little harder. The Camry packs quite a wallop compared to the Corolla in terms of torque, which is the force that lets you accelerate quickly.
While the front cabin in the Toyota Corolla offers a bit more head room than the Toyota Camry, there honestly isn't much of a difference. The ampler interior dimensions of the Toyota Camry make it markedly roomier for your passengers than the Corolla.
The Camry and the Corolla have the same basic after-sale protection.
The Yaris' hatchback design recalls the xA, a car built by Toyota's Scion brand. Styled in Europe, the Yaris has short overhangs, a forward-swept rear hatch and a snub nose.
A 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 106 hp and 103 pounds-feet of torque (preliminary specifications) powers the Yaris. Either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission can be installed.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs approximately the same to get the typical subcompact hatchback to the dealership as the Toyota Yaris. The typical subcompact hatchback consumes a lot of gas compared to the Toyota Yaris. With respect to MSRP, the Toyota Yaris doesn't cost much less than the typical subcompact hatchback. With respect to final price, the typical subcompact hatchback doesn't cost much less than the Toyota Yaris.
The Yaris and the typical subcompact hatchback can accommodate the same number of passengers.
You'll indubitably take the average subcompact hatchback for a fill-up about as often as the Toyota Yaris.
While the front cabin in the typical subcompact hatchback offers a bit more head room than the Yaris, there really isn't much of a difference. While the rear of the typical subcompact hatchback offers a bit more head- and leg-room than the Toyota Yaris, there really isn't much of a difference.
The typical subcompact hatchback is a bit more ponderous than the Yaris. The Yaris's tank is approximately the same size as the average subcompact hatchback's, though the typical subcompact hatchback's is somewhat larger. The average subcompact hatchback and the Toyota Yaris compete for the same parking spaces.
Both the Yaris and the typical subcompact hatchback are likely to feel slightly slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio.
The typical subcompact hatchback and the Toyota Yaris have roughly comparable tires. With their similar turning radiuses, the typical subcompact hatchback and the Yaris most definitely handle approximately the same into and out of tight spots.
The typical subcompact hatchback's engine is markedly bigger than the Yaris's. Note that more massive engines may use more gasoline than smaller ones. Torque equals pickup, and the typical subcompact hatchback will have picked up and gone by the time the Yaris finally gets moving.
Although the basic warranty that comes with the Toyota Yaris is somewhat longer than the average subcompact hatchback's, the difference isn't too marked.
Regarding MSRP, the Toyota Corolla costs considerably more than the Yaris.
Neither the Toyota Corolla nor the Toyota Yaris has a marked advantage with respect to seating capacity.
While the front cabin in the Toyota Corolla offers a bit more head room than the Toyota Yaris, there really isn't much of a difference. While the rear of the Toyota Corolla offers a bit more head- and leg-room than the Yaris, there really isn't much of a difference.
The Corolla is a little more ponderous than the Toyota Yaris. Your wallet will hurt more every time you fill up the Toyota Corolla than the Toyota Yaris because of its larger tank. The Toyota Yaris and the Toyota Corolla compete for the same parking spaces.
Both the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Yaris are likely to feel slightly slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio.
The Toyota Corolla has considerably bigger tires than the Yaris. Remember that wider tires could look and feel better, while smaller tires can improve gas mileage. With its tighter turning circle, the Toyota Yaris is very likely more agile than the Toyota Corolla, something to consider if you do a lot of city driving; on the other hand, remember that a vehicle with a tight turning circle may feel a bit twitchy on the highway.
The Toyota Corolla has a more sizeable engine than the Toyota Yaris. Remember that smaller engines typically get better gas mileage, but smaller engines can be stressed more. Torque equals pickup, and the Toyota Corolla will have picked up and gone by the time the Toyota Yaris finally gets moving.
The Toyota Yaris and the Corolla have the same basic after-sale protection.
Five distinct models are available: Civic sedan and coupe, Civic Si sedan and coupe and Civic Hybrid sedan. In addition, approved Honda dealers in California and New York carry a Civic GX that is powered by natural gas. Powertrain choices include a high-performance 197-hp four-cylinder engine in Civic Si models and a gasoline/electric powertrain in the Civic Hybrid.
Honda promotes the Civic's safety features, including its Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure that improves vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility and collision energy management. All models have side-impact and side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints and antilock brakes. Three Civic trim levels are available for the regular sedan and coupe: DX, LX and EX.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs roughly the same to get the average compact coupe to the dealership as the Honda Civic. As far as gas mileage, the Honda Civic beats the typical compact coupe. The Honda Civic won't save you much money at the pump compared to the average compact coupe. Regarding MSRP, the Honda Civic costs substantially more than the typical compact coupe.
The Civic and the typical compact coupe can accommodate the same number of passengers.
You'll quite certainly have to take the typical compact coupe for a fill-up more often than the Honda Civic because of its tank size and fuel economy.
While the front cabin in the typical compact coupe offers a bit more head room than the Honda Civic, there really isn't much of a difference. The Honda Civic provides more head- and leg-room to your passengers than the average compact coupe does.
The average compact coupe is a little more ponderous than the Civic. The average compact coupe's tank is about the same size as the Honda Civic's, though the Civic's is a bit more capacious. The Honda Civic and the average compact coupe compete for the same parking spaces.
The Civic and the average compact coupe have about similar tires. With their comparable turning circles, the average compact coupe and the Honda Civic quite certainly handle roughly the same into and out of tight spots.
The Civic's engine is substantially smaller than the typical compact coupe's. Keep in mind that smaller engines can be stressed more; on the other hand, smaller engines are often cheaper to fix. Torque is the force that lets you accelerate quickly, and in this respect, the typical compact coupe is significantly more powerful than the Honda Civic.
Although the basic warranty that comes with the Honda Civic is a little longer than the average compact coupe's, the difference isn't too marked.
A high-performance XRS edition joined the 2005 lineup, but was discontinued after 2006. Three other versions remain available: the value-priced CE, the upscale LE and the sporty S. An electronic stability system is optional on LE and S models with an automatic transmission.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs about the same to get the typical compact sedan to the dealership as the Toyota Corolla. With respect to fuel economy, the Toyota Corolla beats the typical compact sedan. Producing a precise fuel economy evaluation is so difficult that some think not even the federal government can do it, but it looks as though the Corolla is the winner regarding gas mileage. The Toyota Corolla is significantly less costly than the average compact sedan as far as MSRP. The typical compact sedan will cost you a bundle in gas every year compared to the Corolla. The Toyota Corolla will save you a bunch of money at the pump every year compared to the average compact sedan.
Neither the Toyota Corolla nor the typical compact sedan has a marked advantage in terms of seating capacity.
You'll quite certainly have to take the typical compact sedan for a fill-up more often than the Toyota Corolla because of its tank size and gas mileage. The typical compact sedan's fuel tank will need to be replenished more often than the unit in the Toyota Corolla.
While the front cabin in the Corolla offers a bit more head room than the typical compact sedan, there frankly isn't much of a difference. While the rear of the Toyota Corolla provides a bit more head- and leg-room than the typical compact sedan, there really isn't much of a difference.
The Toyota Corolla is likely to feel a little sluggish because of its high horsepower-to-weight ratio compared to the typical compact sedan. The Corolla's tank is roughly the same size as the typical compact sedan's, though the typical compact sedan's is slightly larger. The average compact sedan and the Toyota Corolla compete for the same parking spaces.
The Corolla is likely to feel a tad slow because of its high horsepower-to-weight ratio compared to the average compact sedan.
The typical compact sedan and the Toyota Corolla have about similar tires. With their comparable turning radiuses, the typical compact sedan and the Corolla quite certainly handle about the same into and out of tight spots.
The Toyota Corolla's engine is substantially smaller than the average compact sedan's. Note that smaller engines can be stressed more; on the flip side, smaller engines are often cheaper to fix. Torque is the force that lets you accelerate quickly, and in this respect, the typical compact sedan is significantly more powerful than the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla could learn a lesson or two from the typical compact sedan when it comes to pickup.
The basic warranty that comes with the Toyota Corolla isn't quite as generous as the typical compact sedan's.
The typical compact sedan produces fewer smog-forming pollutants per 15,000 miles than the Toyota Corolla.
Toyota introduced the current, second-generation Sienna minivan for 2004. Optional all-wheel drive and a refined, upscale interior are among its traits.
Siennas are available in four trim levels: CE, LE, XLE and top-of-the-line XLE Limited. All-wheel drive is available on the three upper-end models. CE and LE minivans come in seven- or eight-passenger configurations. Toyota extensively refreshed the Sienna's front end for 2006, so changes other than the upgraded engine are minor.
The Odyssey has a foldaway third-row Magic Seat and a stowable PlusOne seat in the second row. Side curtain airbags protect occupants in all three rows, and an electronic stability system is standard. The windows in the sliding doors can be partially opened.
Four trim levels are offered: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. The top two models use a Variable Cylinder Management version of Honda's 3.5-liter V-6, which shifts automatically between six- and three-cylinder operation in response to driving conditions. A regular V-6 goes into the LX and EX.
The Touring model is available with a DVD entertainment system; the system is also available in EX-L models for 2007, but only in combination with the navigation system. XM Satellite Radio is standard in Touring models, and the EX-L gets a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Odysseys are built in Alabama.
There's no clear winner between the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey with respect to transporting cargo. The Honda Odyssey will doubtless prove more convenient than the Sienna for those of you with frequent child-cargo.
The Honda Odyssey is a little more ponderous than the Toyota Sienna. The Toyota Sienna's tank is roughly the same size as the Odyssey's, though the Honda's is slightly more capacious. The Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey compete for the same parking spaces.
You will very likely have to visit your friendly gas station more often with the Toyota Sienna than with the Honda Odyssey.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs approximately the same to get the Honda Odyssey to the dealership as the Sienna. With respect to fuel economy, the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna don't differ much. Producing an exact gas mileage evaluation is so tricky that some think not even the federal government can do it, but it looks as though both the Honda Odyssey and the Honda Odyssey perform approximately comparably as far as fuel economy. When it comes to MSRP, the Sienna costs considerably less than the Honda Odyssey.
The Honda Odyssey and the Sienna have about comparable tires. With their comparable turning circles, the Honda Odyssey and the Sienna most definitely handle approximately the same into and out of tight spots.
The Toyota Sienna's engine is a tad smaller than the Honda Odyssey's, but not terribly so. The Toyota Sienna has no lessons to learn with respect to pickup from the Honda Odyssey.
Taller drivers will quite a bit enjoy the extra head room in the Sienna's front cabin compared to the Honda Odyssey. While the rear of the Toyota Sienna offers a bit more head- and leg-room than the Honda Odyssey, there frankly isn't much of a difference.
The Honda and the Toyota Sienna have the same basic after-sale protection.
Both the Honda and the Toyota Corolla are likely to feel somewhat slow because of their high horsepower-to-weight ratio.
The Civic and the Toyota Corolla have approximately similar tires. With their similar turning radiuses, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla definitely handle roughly the same into and out of tight spots.
Torque is roughly equivalent to acceleration, and in this respect, the Honda Civic isn't much more powerful than the Toyota Corolla.
The Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla can accommodate the same number of passengers.
Taller drivers will significantly enjoy the extra head room in the Toyota Corolla's front cabin compared to the Honda Civic. The Toyota Corolla is not particularly more spacious for your passengers than the Honda Civic.
The Honda Civic is a bit more ponderous than the Toyota Corolla. The Honda Civic and the Corolla compete for the same parking spaces.
The destination charge is a standard charge for transporting the vehicle from its point of origin to the dealer. It costs roughly the same to get the Toyota Corolla to the dealership as the Honda Civic. Regarding MSRP, the Civic costs quite a bit more than the Toyota.
The Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic have the same basic after-sale protection.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
STD Standard Fitment
OPT Optional extra, usually available at extra cost.
Note: Option may only be available in combination with others. Refer to Dealer for details.
O/PAK Option only available in combination with others. Usually available at extra cost. Refer to Dealer for details.
D/F Dealer fit option, usually available at extra cost.
N/A Data/Specifications not available.
INSTRUMENT & CONTROLS
Power steering STD
Tilt adjustable steering wheel STD
Cruise control STD
Power exterior mirrors STD
Left hand convex mirror STD
Interior Day/Night mirror STD
Intermittent windscreen wipers STD
- Variable intermittent windscreen wipers STD
Rear washer and wiper STD
- Intermittent rear wiper STD
Headlights - Auto off STD
Digital instrument display STD
Transmission gear indicator in dash STD
Low fuel warning lamp STD
Air conditioning STD
- Auto/Climate control air cond. STD
Push button heater controls STD
Power windows STD
- Front and rear power windows STD
Driver's vanity mirror STD
- Illuminated drivers vanity mirror STD
Passenger's vanity mirror STD
- Illuminated passenger vanity mirror STD
(Note: Some figures are approximate only and may vary due to options/accessories fitted.)
Length (mm) 4445
Width (mm) 1725
Height (mm) 1490
Wheelbase (mm) 2700
Ground clearance (mm) 107
Storage pocket/tray STD
- Sunglass holder STD
Centre console STD
Map pocket - Passenger seat STD
Map pocket - Driver's seat STD
Door pockets - Front STD
Cup holder/s STD
- Number of cup holder/s 6
Anti-Skid Brakes (ABS) STD
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) STD
- Brake Assist (BA) STD
Traction control STD
Vehicle Stability/Swerve Control (VSC) STD
Global Outstanding Assessment body (GOA) STD
Toyota Safe-T-Cell STD
Driver's SRS airbag STD
Front passenger SRS airbag STD
Front seat side airbags STD
- Seat mounted front seat side airbags STD
- Front seat side curtain airbags STD
Rear/2nd row airbags STD
- Rear/2nd row seat side curtain airbags STD
Driver's pre-tensioner seatbelt STD
Driver's forcelimiter seatbelt STD
Front passenger pre-tensioner seatbelt STD
Front passenger forcelimiter seatbelt STD
Height adjustable front seatbelts STD
2nd row/rear seat centre position lap/sash seatbelt STD
2nd row/rear seat ALR outboard seatbelts for child seats STD
2nd row/rear seat ALR centre seatbelt for child seat STD
TYRES & RIMS
Front Tyre size 195/60 R15 88V
Rear Tyre size 195/60 R15 88V
Front Rim size 6.00JJx15
Rear Rim size 6.00JJx15
Rim type Alloy
AM/FM Radio STD
CD player STD
- CD changer in cabin STD
- 6 Disc CD changer STD
Number of speaker locations (excludes speaker elements) 9
Audio controls on steering wheel STD
Driven Wheels Front
Transmission description Continuously Variable Transmission. Electronically controlled.
WEIGHTS & CAPACITIES
(Note: Kerb, tare & payload weights are nominal and will vary depending on options and tray/body type.)
Kerb Weight (kg) 1295-1325
Gross Vehicle Mass (kg) 1725
Maximum roof load (kg -Includes roof rack weight) N/A
Seating capacity (includes driver) 5
Luggage capacity (litres) 456
Cargo volume N/A
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres) 45
Vehicle Towing capacity - with trailer brakes (kg) Not approved
- Without trailer brakes (kg) Not approved
Genuine Towbar N/A
(Note: Genuine Towbar Capacity - Refer to Genuine Accessory Guide, as it may differ from Vehicle Towing Capacity in some circumstances.
Towing capacity - Subject to state regulations, towbar design and towing equipment.)
INTERIOR TRIM AND SEATING
Leather seat trim STD
- Full seat face leather trim STD
Leather bound steering wheel STD
Floor carpet STD
Assist grip/s STD
- Number of assist grips 4
Front bucket seats STD
Driver's seat - Manual adjustments STD
- Driver's seat single height adjustment STD
Front Passenger seat - Manual adjustments STD
Front seat head restraints STD
Second Row/Rear seat STD
- 60:40 split fold 2nd row/rear seat back STD
Interior dome light/s STD
- Map light/s STD
- Front seat map light/s STD
Glovebox light STD
Luggage/cargo light STD
Engine immobiliser STD
Central locking / Power door locks STD
- Includes boot/tailgate unlock with central locking STD
- Remote/Keyless central locking STD
Cargo cover STD
Remote fuel lid release STD
Bodycoloured bumper/s STD
Multi-reflector headlights STD
Alloy wheels STD
- 15" alloy wheels STD
Rear spoiler STD
Rear bumper skirt STD
Metallic paint OPT
Mica paint OPT
Power accessory socket STD
Satellite navigation system STD
(Note: Satellite Navigation coverage are major capitals, primary national roads & some regional areas.)
- DVD satellite navigation system STD
Front Brakes Ventilated discs
Rear Brakes Discs
Anti-Skid Brakes (ABS) STD
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution STD
- Brake Assist STD
Traction Control STD
Vehicle Stability/Swerve Control (VSC) STD
WARRANTY / SERVICE
(Note: Warranties here are in addition to implied warranties under the Trade Practices Act. Conditions apply. See warranty booklet for details.)
Vehicle in years/kilometres 3yrs or 100,000kms (whichever occurs first)
Paint in years 3
Perforation in years 5
Engine type Petrol
Engine capacity (cc) 1497
Engine description 4cyl/DOHC/4v
Maximum Power 57kW @ 5000rpm
Maximum Torque 115Nm @ 4000rpm
(Note: Power and Torque test standards differ. Ensure comparisons use same test standard.)
- Variable valve timing Timing only
Fuel system EFI
- Fuel type 91 RON ULP
Fuel economy ADR 81/01 Test standard
- Combined (L/100km) 4.4
(Note: Fuel economy varies with driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions, options and accessories.)
Steering type Rack and pinion
Steering operation Power assisted
Turning Circle at Kerb 10.2m
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson struts, lower L-arms, coil springs and ball-joint mounted anti-roll bar.
Rear Suspension Semi independent, torsion beam with trailing arms, strut-type coil springs, hydraulic damper units and anti-roll bar.
For the 2003 model of the Civic, Honda added a continuously variable transmission and an Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system similar to that of the Insight, creating a fuel efficient hybrid sedan. It is an assist hybrid. Along with the conventional Civic, it received updated styling for 2004.
It was redesigned in 2006 and based off the new Civic platform.
1st Generation (2003-2005 Model)
1.3 L i-DSI lean-burn internal-combustion engine with VTEC Cylinder Cut-off System, which allows up to three cylinders to cease operation during deceleration. This decreases friction losses generated by engine aspiration and allows more effective regeneration of energy.
15 kW (20 hp) brushless, permanent magnet assist motor, which functions as a generator during deceleration and loads (recharges) batteries
120 V Nickel-metal hydride batteries with 6.0 Ah capacity
Multimatic S continuously variable or 5-speed manual transmission (latter available only in USA)
SULEV or optional AT-PZEV certification by the California Air Resources Board (CARB)
Low rolling resistance tires and regenerative braking
Does not need to be plugged in
2nd Generation (2006-2007 Model)
Note: only advancements specified, those items remaining the same not mentioned.
4th generation IMA (Integrated Motor Assist)
1.3 L single-overhead-cam four-cylinder gas engine same as before; yet, there is now the addition of high profile camshaft. This increases power to 93 hp @ 6000 rpm
Addition of third stage of i-VTEC and VCM (Vehicle Cylinder Management) permits deactivation of all four cylinders when decelerating and constant cruising. This allows the car to run only on electric power for the first time.
EPA increase to 49 mpg city, 51 mpg highway
The Civic Hybrid's engine won the International Engine of the Year "1 litre to 1.4 litre" size category award for three years straight from 2002 through 2004 as well as the "Best Fuel Economy" category for 2003 and 2004. It has won Motor Trend 2006 Car of the Year award, along with the rest of the Civic range.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
The futuristic design in the Civic Hybrid was pretty impressive to me. The Civic Hybrid's interior features beige treatment that certainly adds a nice touch to the overall appearance.
If you compare the two vehicles on features alone, then the Toyota Prius i-Tech would totally dominate the competition. The official capacity of the Toyota Pirus i-Tech is 456 liters, and the capacity of the Honda Civic Hybrid is set at 376 liters. Both cars have your basic alloy wheels. The Honda Civic Hybrid is the cheapest way to become eco-friendly with a starting price set at $31,990, which oddly enough is the same price as the Honda Civic Sport.
When you compare the two by features, the Honda Civic Hybrid undoubtedly takes second place to the Toyota Prius i-Tech. However as a hidden incentive for the eco-lovers Honda has pledged to plant 18 trees for every Civic Hybrid sold.
In Australia there is an extremely small market for eco-friendly cars unfortunately. In fact, there are only two well known cars that are having success in this market. They are the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. They both certainly have their upsides and downfalls and when it comes down to economic fuel efficiency there is a clear cut winner. In this article, I will compare the Toyota Prius i-Tech against the Honda Civic Hybrid to see which one of these cars will come out victorious.
First off, we will discuss the interior of the vehicles. The futuristic design in the Civic Hybrid was pretty impressive to me. I like the fact that Honda wanted to take a chance and not follow the norm. One thing that Honda did maintain during design is the shape. It is the same shape as all the other Civic models, but I don't see this as a bad thing. The Civic Hybrid's interior features beige treatment that certainly adds a nice touch to the overall appearance.
Comparing the amount of space in the vehicles comes out about even in my opinion. Neither of the two are short on space and can both fit four adults in the car with ease, with no problems. The trunks are a tad short on room but this is only because that is where they both store the battery packs for the vehicles. The Toyota Prius can thank the flat battery pack that lies beneath the floor of the trunk for giving it 80 more liters of space than the Civic hybrid. The official capacity of the Toyota Pirus i-Tech is 456 liters, and the capacity of the Honda Civic Hybrid is set at 376 liters.
Now we can take a look at the Toyota Prius' interior. After seeing how impressive the Civic's interior was I was hoping to see a decent competition take off. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In comparison the Toyota Prius just couldn't compete due to its very simplistic design. The gauges and controls are either restricted to the steering wheel or confined to the touch screen LCD monitor. One thing I found rather interesting though, is that they didn't limit the steering wheel controls to audio, cruise control, and the telephone. In the Toyota Prius you are able to adjust the climate and demister controls as well, which I found to be rather remarkable. Before stepping foot in the Prius i-Tech I had never driven a vehicle that gave you the control over these features via the steering wheel. These extra features don't complicate the controls either. They are actually very easy to use and quite helpful when you are in busy traffic.
Another great feature of the Prius i-Tech is the keyless entry and keyless start system. All the driver has to do is walk up to the vehicle with the key fob in their hand or pocket, and grab the door handle. After doing this, the car simply unlocks it. Once you are inside the car all you have to do now is press the starter button from any location within the vehicle, and it starts right up. This feature was amazing to me. I enjoyed being able to just unlock my car without fumbling for the keys and starting it up in a less conventional way.
If you compare the two vehicles on features alone, then the Toyota Prius i-Tech would totally dominate the competition. On a downside though, the extra zing added by these features won't come very cheap. In fact, you will find yourself paying approximately $16,000 more than you would if you were to purchase a Honda Civic Hybrid. With a price that jumps that high from its competitors, the features on the car better be really extraordinary. Don't count the Prius out just yet though because of its price, it comes equipped with a remarkable center console LCD screen that is used to control the DVD satellite navigation. Along with managing that task the LCD screen also features a reverse camera and vehicle stats. One of the more innovative features is when the screen is showing live power statistics, which tell you how much energy you are using and how you are obtaining it. You can check the statistics to find out if you are using the engine, or electricity, or even both. I found that this feature was quite an amusing treat for me as well as informative.
Now we come down to the exterior appearance of the cars. As it did with the interior, the Honda Civic Hybrid once again wins when judged by its looks. With the eco-friendly appearance of the alloy wheels as well as the chrome highlights and hybrid badges, it was no question of why the Honda Civic claimed another victory. Toyota tried to go with something new when they designed the Prius i-Tech, but Honda stuck with the popular design of the past Civic models which gave it a nice edge on the competition. Toyota took a chance and I certainly commend them for doing so, but it unfortunately didn't work out in their favor. The one positive thing that came from the unique design of the Prius is that you know it's a hybrid car when you see it, and you are never fooled into thinking it is some other Toyota vehicle. However, the Civic Hybrid wasn't meant to deceive anyone, it was just based on the popular luxurious design on past Civics to help boost its success. Both cars have your basic alloy wheels. They look nice on both vehicles, but if you really put them side by side and look at both, you will most likely prefer the Honda to the Toyota.
Both of the vehicles are equipped with the Continually Variable Transmission (CVT), which is always a welcome feature to come across. The CVT system is used help the vehicle adjust to the driver's style.
For the Toyota Prius, you will find that the handling is much more laid back. There is an awful amount of body roll and the chassis certainly isn't up to par to that of the Honda Civic Hybrid. The steering seemed like it was a bit too power assisted for my taste. As the testing continued to move along it became apparent that the best place to drive the Prius would be in the city and not on windy or curvy roads.
The Civic Hybrid is normally ahead when it comes to taking corners and using general handling. Since it is based on the new Civic chassis there are plenty of opportunities to improve it, and continue developing it and perfecting the handling dynamics. The Civic doesn't feature any significant amounts of body roll, and is actually able to respond quickly and efficiently.
Now let's look at the prices and features and compare them. The Honda Civic Hybrid is the cheapest way to become eco-friendly with a starting price set at $31,990, which oddly enough is the same price as the Honda Civic Sport). The standard features than can be found in the Honda Civic Hybrid are as follows: cruise control, electric windows, driver and passenger side SRS airbags, alloy wheels, an immobilizer, climate control, central locking, leather wrapped steering wheel, driver and passenger front airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, Antilock Brake System (ABS) brakes, and a 6 disc changing MP3 compatible CD player.
However, the Toyota Prius i-Tech is starting at a price of $46,500, which is quite a bit more than the Civic Hybrid. The standard features that can be found on the Prius i-Tech are as follows: Power windows, climate control, dual front SRS airbags, MP3 compatible JBL audio system, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), front fog lights, immobilizer, reverse warnings, push button start, Electric Power Steering (EPS), Antilock Brake System (ABS) brakes, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), motor traction control, DVD satellite navigation system, cruise control, alloy wheels, and many more.
One of the things that I like the most about the Honda Civic Hybrid is that they participate in the Green Fleet program, which plants trees to counteract emissions that are put out from vehicles. Honda has pledged to plant 18 trees for every Civic Hybrid sold. As an added bonus, at the end of the three years you are given the opportunity to continue participating or stop participating in the program. You shouldn't let this affect your decision though. I am a huge fan of the program, but I still think drivers should base their purchases on a number of factors to ensure that they make the right decision.
When you compare the two by features, the Honda Civic Hybrid undoubtedly takes second place to the Toyota Prius i-Tech. The quality and number of the features drastically changes between the two cars. Whether or not the price is worth it is left up to you to decide.
In conclusion, it would be great to own either of these vehicles. If you can drive a fuel efficient and eco-friendly car, then what is there to lose? After driving the hybrids I can now answer that question. You don't have anything to lose and there is actually much to gain. You don't have to be a tree hugger to take part in the prevention of world pollution. And even if you are so worried about the environment, you can still at least enjoy the benefits of a much more fuel efficient breed of cars than any others on the market.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Pros: Seat comfort, upscale interior, roominess, ride, powertrain smoothness
Cons: Soggy handling, odd front end styling, pricey
The Bottom Line: Very comfy, roomy, and refined, but undermined by soggy handling and high price. Use this one for long hauls on the highway.
For 15 years Chrysler dominated the minivan market. This began to change—and fast—once Honda and Toyota introduced equally large front-wheel-drive minivans. Honda was first, in the 1999 model year. For five years the much larger second generation Odyssey was the “hot” van. Then in 2004 Toyota introduced an equally large second generation Sienna. It almost instantly supplanted the Odyssey as “the one to get.” I drove one as soon as I could get my hands on one—no easy thing the first few months. Unfortunately it was the very base CE model. (For more extensive background material see that review.)
This year Honda is seeking to regain its leading position in the hearts and minds of actively breeding suburbia with a redesigned Odyssey. I drove and reviewed one recently. For a fresher comparison, and because I drove the CE last time, I visited a Toyota/Dodge dealer and drove the Toyota Sienna XLE and Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. Like the Honda Touring I sampled, both were fitted with leather and listed for over $30,000. So, which is the best van? Well, it depends on your priorities. This review will focus on the Toyota.
I didn’t like the styling of the Toyota last year, and I still don’t. The Renault-like (or is it Peugeot-like? I just know it looks French) front end looked weird enough on the first Prius, much less on this large van. The round nose and way the headlamps pull back into the fenders suggest the effect of wearing a stocking over one’s face (as in “Boy, you got a panty on your [minivan’s] head”).
The sides and rear of the van are more successful, so Toyota most needs to fix the front. Honda pulls off similarly shaped headlamps on the new Odyssey more successfully. The Honda has a bulkier, more upright look, but looks at least as upscale and thankfully looks better in the metal than in photos. The Dodge (well, the Chrysler actually) remains the best looking to my eye.
Inside the Sienna’s design is more successful. The look is upscale, easily the nicest interior in the segment last year. In comparison the interior of the Odyssey felt like that of a cargo van. The Odyssey’s 2005 largely bridges this gap, but not entirely. In comparison to either the Dodge interior feels dated and almost cheap. I liked its Chrysler sibling when I drove it last spring, but driving the uplevel Toyota and new Honda revised my expectations in a minivan. It also became evident that the Dodge’s controls are much less ergonomic than the others (with the Honda the leader in this area).
Both the Sienna and Odyssey are very roomy minivans, with adult-worthy legroom and headroom in all three rows. The Dodge is a bit tighter, especially in the third row. Certainly no SUV save the largest can compare.
I had issues with the driver’s seat in the new Odyssey. I’ve always liked those in the Chrysler vans, wondering why the company doesn’t bolster the seats in its cars as well. (More lateral support would be helpful in the Magnum and 300, for example.) But the Toyota’s seats easily take the prize. Those in front are wonderfully comfortable, at least in the XLE. Compared to the others they are much more luxuriously padded. You sink into them just the right amount, and their shape perfectly fit at least this backside. Very nice. Good for trips.
The second- and third-row seats are similarly most comfortable in the Toyota, though the margin with the Honda is not as large. The Dodge’s second row seats continue to feel undersized and hard to me, I imagine because they must stuff beneath the floor.
Both the Honda and Toyota vans are loaded with innovative storage areas, consoles, and such. The Sienna XLE does lose a bin beneath the front passenger seat this year, though, to make way for power seat motors (a new feature). The XLE’s folding front passenger seat also disappears for the same reason. If you want these two features, you’ll have to save some money and buy the LE.
To enable the Stow n’ Go seats the Dodge lost the ability to move the console to the second row—an idea Toyota borrowed for the Sienna. On the other hand, the Dodge has a large amount of underfloor storage. The Honda provides some, but not as much, and the Toyota provides none at all. It’ll be easiest to keep the floor clear in the Dodge.
All three have a good amount of room behind the third row, but the Toyota appears to have the most, followed by the Honda. Folding and stowing the seats in pretty simple in all three minivans, much easier than in the Nissan Quest where the process left me with my first and still only test drive injury (to a few fingers). Here Dodge has its main advantage: as everyone knows by now, its second-row seats also stow beneath the floor. Pretty slick. In the others the seats can only be folded forward or removed. And removing and replacing them is never easy, in any van.
On the Road
The Sienna’s 3.3-liter V6 / five-speed automatic powertrain is shared with the Camry, Highlander, and a pair of Lexus models. In all of them it’s a very smooth, quiet powerplant. In the over two-ton Sienna its more burdened than in the Camry SE, but it easily gets the job done, never sounding strained. Let’s face it, even an enthusiast like myself only needs so much grunt out of a minivan. That said, if you do need more than most because you live in the mountains, plan to fully load the minivan, or both, then the Honda is the leader here. Its engine is a bit less refined than the Toyota’s, but is and feels a bit more powerful. The Dodge trails the others here, with a considerably less refined engine that feels punchy enough around town but falls behind at highway speeds.
So far, all seems wonderful with the Toyota. But it falls apart—for me at least—in the handling department. It is much more softly sprung than the others. In turns it leans readily and understeers with a passion. I’m aware that minivans tend to be driven very casually, but I found the sponginess of the Toyota’s suspension unsettling. Very light steering also doesn’t help. I don’t mean to suggest that the Sienna is unsafe—I don’t think it would easily roll. But I simply did not feel confident driving it.
The Dodge was fitted with a “touring suspension.” It was the firmest of the trio, with much heavier steering than the others. Usually this would appeal to me, and as before I did find the Dodge easy to drive. But the steering was too heavy, and the heaviness was not simply the price for great feedback, as their was no more than in the others.
The firmness of the Honda’s suspension and the weight of its steering falls between the other two. It is the easiest and most confidence-inspiring to drive.
Generally a tradeoff exists between handling and ride quality. So the Toyota might be expected to ride the best. Well, it does ride much more smoothly than the relatively abrupt (though still far from uncomfortable) Dodge. (Low-profile 17-inch tires are no longer available on the Dodge; I can only imagine what it rode like with them.) But its margin over the Honda isn’t significant. If anything, the lesser amount of float over uneven pavement in the Honda translated to a better overall ride in my book, even if the Toyota ironed out harshness over the small stuff a bit better.
Toyotas tend to be quieter than their competitors. The second-generation Odyssey in particular was often criticized (but not by me—I’m used to much noisier vehicles) for being noisy. The Odyssey is quieter, such that the Toyota’s lead though possibly still present (I did drive the two a couple weeks apart) is not substantial. I heard more road noise than I expected in the Toyota, for one thing. Compared to the Japanese vans, the Dodge is less quiet and, of greater importance, lacks their smooth, solid, thoroughly refined “feel.”
Toyota Sienna Price Comparisons and Pricing
For quick, up-to-date pricing, and especially user-specified price comparisons, check out the website I created: www.truedelta.com. Why yet another vehicle pricing website? Well, I personally lacked the patience to keep using the others. They were too slow and required too much effort, especially when trying to compare prices. So I taught myself some programming and created a site where there is no need to dig through option packages, prerequisites, and the like one by one -- the TrueDelta algorithm figures these out for you in one swift pass.
I’ll use TrueDelta to compare the three minivans equipped as much as possible to the Odyssey EX-L (leather). In this case it is especially helpful, as Toyota has grouped all of the Sienna’s options into an array of bewildering packages. The results, after TrueDelta adjusts for differences in equipment is a $34,565 price on the Toyota (XLE with #6), a $30,810 price on the Honda, and a $29,920 price on the Dodge (with a $1,500 rebate included in the last). However, equipment differs considerably even after making them as similar as possible. TrueDelta adjusts for these differences, yielding a $340 advantage of the Dodge over the Honda, which in turn has a $1,640 advantage over the Toyota. To yield these numbers I set the engine to that in the Odyssey EX-L then asked for a "minimum" comparison. Different feature levels will yield different results--you can specify those you want when using my site.
Undoubtedly the dealer discount on the Dodge will be larger than on the others, widening the gap. But unless you plan to make extensive use of the Stow n’ Go second row, you should come up with the extra cash, especially since the others’ slower rate of depreciation will make them less expensive overall. But what about between the Honda and Toyota?
Generally I’d give the nod to the Honda. It handles far better while riding nearly as smoothly and quietly. It’s just as roomy, and now has an almost equally upscale interior. And it costs less. But the driver’s seat is not comfortable. Hopefully Honda will recognize that there is a problem and make a quick fix. Even then, the Toyota’s seats are better padded and flat out more comfy. So do you want your minivan to handle well, or make long hauls on the superslab as pain free as possible? Is this van for short jaunts around town, or long hauls on the road? For the long hauls, the Toyota’s the one. Otherwise, and especially if the seat doesn’t bother you, it’s the Honda.
Now for something out of left field: none of the three is quite there for me. I drove the new Ford Freestyle crossover the same day as the Odyssey. It can also seat adults in all three rows, though the third is more cramped than in the vans, and I much prefer its much tidier, nimbler feel. If only the Ford had their powertrains and interior materials.
A Note on Toyota Sienna Reliability
I cannot practically cover reliability within the context of this review. However, many people are interested in such information, so I've started collecting my own data. Results, once they are available, will be posted to my site, www.truedelta.com, with updates every three months.
Unlike other sources, TrueDelta will clearly identify what difference it will make if you buy a Sienna rather than another vehicle by providing "times in the shop" and "days in the shop" stats (among others). You will be able to specify the number of years, annual miles, and types of repairs to include in Toyota Sienna reliability comparisons.
Before I can report results, I need data on all cars--not just the Sienna--from people like you. To encourage participation, those who help provide the data will receive free access to the site's reliability information. Non-participants will have to pay an access fee.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Steven Spielberg would be happy. He wouldn't have imagined he would be vindicated thus, but A.I. seems to have arrived. With cars pushing the cause of Artificial Intelligence, how could it be otherwise?
The Camry, with its VVT-i engine, was already, um..., intelligent. And it would never do for Honda to be left behind, so the new Accord has an i-VTEC engine now.
As you would guess, the 'i' in both cases denotes intelligence. Variable Valve Timing - intelligent, for the Camry, and intelligent-Variable Valve Timing and lift Electronic Control, for the Accord.
With intelligence in such abundance, do we have a Mensa candidate here? Is sheer size their only virtue, or do these cars have other talents to their name? Let's see if we can determine which car has the higher Intelligence Quotient.
Couture: How haute?
Before we actually get down to putting the cars' brains/brawn to test, let's take a minute to see how they look in person. Which is important, after all.
The most intelligent girl may top the class, but it's the looker who has the class chasing after her. Well, at least the male segment of the said class anyway.
The 'looker' thing gets a bit difficult here, for between the Accord and the Camry, there's little to choose. For the Camry, I'll repeat my old refrain -- its styling is the very embodiment of the word 'bland'.
The lines are unremarkable, I struggle to find anything to say about them. Remember the Zeppelin air balloon of first World War vintage? Supremely functional? Yes. Featureless?
Also, sadly, yes. It does look big though, if that counts.
The new Accord is a mild improvement over the old one. This time, it looks like some design house -- and not a psychography expert -- has actually spent time penning its lines, etching its curves and working out detail embellishments.
The European-spec Accord (which we don't get) definitely looks sharper and more aggressive, but the American-spec car, which they've brought here is also passable. Just about.
There is a certain family resemblance to other Honda cars now -- take a look at the headlamps sitting pretty and flush on the flared wheelarches and tell me if you don't think there's hint of the S2000 there.
It isn't as muscular of proportion as a Mondeo or as assertive of stance as a Vectra -- not at all -- but neither is it as plain-jane as the Camry.
With the Accord, we had people saying it looks smaller than the old one, though it's actually larger.
Both cars are fitted with 15-inch alloys that look smallish for the cars' heft. Sixteen-inch alloys, as used on the Vectra or the Mondeo, would have looked much better.
Style-wise, I'm still undecided if any one of these cars has an edge over the other, but things are clearer inside.
Undeniably, the Accord's twin-tone, tan and black interiors are more contemporary than the Camry's. Both cars get full leather upholstery, a smattering of plastic-wood trim and power adjustments for front seats, but where the Accord really scores over the Camry is dashboard layout.
The Camry's facia features a Sony Xplod 11-CD changer, which is powerful and sounds good, but is burdened with excessively flashy lights and animated displays.
Frankly, the thing looks a bit out of place in a car, which belongs in this segment. The Accord's 6-CD changer is much better integrated with the car's interiors, and appearance is much neater overall.
The Accord also has dual-zone air-conditioning, with separate temperature settings for driver and passenger sides of the cabin.
The Camry doesn't have a dual-zone set-up, but quality of plastics used is similar on both cars, and both cabins are pleasant, comfortable places to be in for the long haul.
The Camry's Mercedes-Benz E-Class size (well, almost) interiors feel a mite plusher and more spacious, but even the Accord seats five without trouble. With their superb ergonomics, adjustable driving positions, comfy seats, powerful music and aircon systems and intuitive controls, the cars beg to be driven long and hard.
You're waiting for me to stop talking about cabin ergonomics and design, and get on with what these cars are like to drive. Of course. We'll get to that in a minute.
Let's take a look at the two inline-fours first. The Camry is fitted with a 2362 CC, DOHC, VVT-i unit that makes 141 horsepower and 20.9 kgm of torque.
Though that seems fairly prosaic on paper, the pace at which this engine picks up revs is quite something.
In fact, with its 3.86 second 0 - 60 kph time, the Camry remains the quickest D-segment car we've ever tested. The Accord is no slouch either. Its 2345 CC, DOHC, i-VTEC mill makes 1 bhp more than the Camry, though torque, at 20.0 kgm, is slightly lower.
Due to an unfortunate mismatch in testing schedules (or maybe an unforeseen misalignment of stars, or overworked Honda personnel...), we got an Accord with a 5-speed automatic rather than the 5-speed manual we would have liked.
Yet, its 5.02 second 0 - 60 kph time would be somewhat indicative of what the manual would have done.
At 10.34 seconds, the automatic Accord was also 1.79 seconds slower than the manual Camry in the 0-100 kph sprint.
Actually, the stopwatch only confirmed what I felt when I first drove the new Accord (that one being a manual) - no way the thing would get off the line as quickly as a Camry.
Honda make brilliant engines, but in this case, Toyota seem to have outdone them -- the Camry's seamlessly smooth VVT-i is more eager to rev harder, higher and quicker, though the Honda unit, which spreads the torque more evenly, does make a nicer ripping sound when accelerating hard.
Right from the word go, the Camry inches ahead, which is also reflected in the cars' in-gear acceleration times. And though it would not be of much consequence for most, the (manual) Camry was still accelerating at 220 kph, while the (automatic) Accord seemed to start running out of puff at 210.
I suppose a manual Accord would have been a lot quicker and bit faster too, though the 5-speed auto gave us no cause for complaint.
This electronically-controlled 'box is fitted with Honda's grade logic control, shifts cleanly, and there is no inordinate hunting for ratios.
It even lets you manually select any of the first three gears, though in the D3 mode, it will upshift automatically once it hits the rev-limiter.
If the Camry has a slight advantage in the engine department, the Honda has a small edge when it comes to high-speed handling. The new Accord features an independent double wishbone set-up at front, and independent 5-link double wishbones at back.
Ride is not as compliant as the Camry's (independent, McPherson struts at front, independent, dual-link at back), but the Accord does feel marginally more composed at very high speeds.
You think twice before attempting to throw the Camry around, but the Accord is more willing to play along. The Accord's smaller steering wheel feels sportier than the Camry's, and overall, the former feels like a smaller, tauter and slightly more composed package.
Chassis dynamics are definitely not in the league of a Mondeo or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but the new Accord's chassis/suspension combo is better than the old car's, which had a marked tendency to get out of line very quickly (and rather unpredictably) when pushed hard.
Both cars are fitted with tubeless radials, though I somewhat preferred the Camry's 205/65 Dunlop SP Sport 300s to the Accord's similarly-sized Bridgestone Turans.
Both cars have anti-lock disc brakes all around, and these are quite adequate when it's time to haul the cars down from the 200+ kph speeds they are capable of.
If I were to choose, I'd take the Camry's brakes, which somehow feel more reassuring. When braked hard on wet surfaces at very high speeds, the Honda tended to feel slightly more fidgety and skittish, though of course, the ABS never failed to work.
To recap quickly, both cars are more or less equally competent overall. They also offer just about as much driver involvement as the other, which is not much, really.
The Camry scores marginally higher on ride comfort, the Accord offers slightly better noise insulation and its high-speed handling is a smidge better.
Fuel efficiency is similar, at about 7 kpl or thereabouts. Speed is a non-issue – both will happily do 200+ if you are up to it.
If that's not nearly enough, we'll have V6-engined Camrys and Accords by the end of this year, so you can go even faster if you can ever find the roads for that sort of thing.
With capabilities so similar, how do you choose? The clincher could be the big difference in their prices. Ex-showroom Mumbai, the Camry will cost you between Rs 17.85 and Rs 18.50 lakh, depending on trim level etc.
The Accord is pegged at Rs 15.35 lakh for the manual, and Rs 16.07 for the automatic.
Of the two, the Accord is more contemporary, and after the C-Class and the Sonata V6, the only other car in its segment which you can buy with an automatic transmission.It may not look as big as the Camry, but given its price/performance combination, the new Accord's IQ is sizeable, and for now, it's the car we would recommend.