The battle between Honda and Toyota goes back a lot further than the gas crisis of the late 90s and early 2000s. These two Japanese companies have been rivals since the very beginning of their entry into the automotive world and here, just as much as anywhere else in the world, there’s a very serious question that lingers: Is Honda a better choice or is it Toyota? Both brands are the epitome of reliability; so much so that most automakers could learn a few things from their engineers. It’s not unheard of to see Hondas and Toyotas with 400,000-plus miles on the clock. And, this is one of the things that makes decided which brand to go with even more difficult. Both have a reputation for being highly tunable, and both automakers have models that are well known to aftermarket suppliers. Neither of the brands are econobox builders anymore, either, so we can’t just boil things down to general phases. And, believe it or not, at one time, Honda served as a supplier for Toyota. I’m talking about, of course, Piston rings that Honda began to produce for Toyota engines back in 1941. And, that’s where one of the biggest differences between these two companies come into play. Toyota started out producing cars in 1934 has a spinoff of Toyota Industries. Honda, on the other hand, started out producing motorcycles with the first model coming to life in 1949. By the time Honda had its first automobile on the market, the T360 Pickup, in 1963, Toyota had already been manufacturing four-wheel vehicles for nearly 20 years.
But, Honda caught up quickly and is now the eighth largest global manufacturer behind Toyota and the second largest Japanese manufacturer. As you can see, the competition is fierce, so which is it that you should choose when looking for a new car? Well, we’re putting our money on Honda, and here is a list of 24 reasons why you should buy a Honda over a Toyota. Be sure to read the list all of the way through, as you might actually be surprised.
24 Hondas AWD System is Awesome
Honda’s AWD system goes by the name SH-AWD, and “SH” stands for “Super Handling.” And, that’s exactly what makes Honda’s system stand out in the pack. Where standard AWD distributes torque between the front and rear wheels, Honda’s was the first on the market to take that technology to the next level. The system actually shifts torque to the outside wheels in turns and, in essence, helps improve handling. According to Honda, this system works thanks to a pair of electromagnetic clutches and the system relies on readings from wheels speed sensors, among other things. Either way, this is why AWD Hondas handle so well in tight turns.
23 The Accord is Still Offered with a Manual Transmission
If you’re torn between the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, but want a manual transmission, then let me help you with the decision. Choose the Honda Accord. You know why? Because Toyota doesn’t offer the Camry with a manual transmission anymore. Your only option, according to Toyota’s full specifications page, is the Direct Shit eight-speed automatic or the CVT, the latter of which you really don’t want. Honda, on the other hand, does offer a manual transmission. Of course, you’re stuck with the Accord Sport model as it’s the only one it can be had on, but at least you can still get a midsized Accord with a manual transmission.
22 Hondas Tend to be More Fuel Efficient than Toyotas
While this statement may not be true 100-percent of the time, Honda is almost always on par or just a little better. According to Fueleconomy.gov, The Honda CR-V with AWD pulls the same combined fuel economy of 29 mpg and the same city rating of 27 mpg. It falls superior in highway efficiency, though, pulling 33 mpg compared to Toyota’s 31. Meanwhile, the Pilot and Highlander fall dead even in all three categories. According to Garden State Honda, the Civic does better than the Corolla on the highway by as much as six mpg when driven correctly.
21 The Honda Accord is more Dynamic to Drive
We’re not exactly comparing apples to oranges here – the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are both amazing cars that hold their own and are worthy competitors. However, the two are focused at different types of drivers and that’s where the Accord really shines. According to Business Insider, an outlet that had a chance to test both the Accord and Camry side-by-side, the Accord actually has sportier driving dynamics and a superior infotainment system. The tradeoff is that you don’t get as smooth of an engine (the Toyota’s is “silky smooth,” but if you’re into spirited driving, you can’t go wrong with the Honda Accord.
20 The Honda Civic has More Cargo Room Than The Corolla
This might not be that important to those of you who prefer large SUVs and large Sedans, but if you’re shopping around in the compact car segment, every cubic-foot of cargo space matters. In this case, the Honda Civic is a clear winner. Across the line, with the exception of the Touring trim, the Civic Sedan offers up 15.1 cubic feet of cargo room. That’s 2.1 cubic-feet more than what’s offered by the Corolla. The Accord Touring offers 14.7, which is still 1.7 cubic-feet more. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s just enough to make a difference.
19 The Honda Pilot Beats the Toyota 4Runner in Almost Every Category
The truth is that the Pilot and 4Runner are very close, however, if you compare apples to apples, the Pilot is a winner 90-percent of the time. And, that holds true even if you look at Toyota’s own comparison page. For the purpose of this comparison, we’ll compare the 4Runner Limited 4WD with the Pilot Touring 4WD. Right off the bat, the Pilot comes in at $840 cheaper. It also offers up 280 horsepower, 10 more than the 4Runner, and can seat up to 8 as standard from the factory. The 4Runner seats 5 as standard or 7 if you pay a little extra. Toyota also claims that the Pilot is superior in fuel economy and can beat the 4Runner by two mpg in the city, six mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. If that in itself isn’t a compelling enough reason to go with the Honda, we don’t know what is.
18 Honda has the Civic Type R
Speaking in general terms, you should buy a Honda over a Toyota because Honda has the Civic Type R. I know that sounds a little crazy, but the closest thing you can get from Toyota is either the Toyota 86 with just 205 horsepower and not-so-great acceleration or the all-new Toyota Corolla Hatchback that, even on it’s best day, only delivers 168 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque – something similar to that of the standard Civic hatch. And, if that’s what you’re going for then my argument is null in void, but keep in mind that for around $40,000 the Civic Type R will give you some pretty mean looks and, according to Car & Driver, 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque – just enough to get to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. In a Honda Civic. It’s a pretty compelling argument, don’t you think?
17 Honda has a More Attractive Design Language
It’s no secret that the Honda Civic Type R is more aggressive than anything in Toyota’s lineup, but it’s not the only Honda model that’s attractive. In fact, a lot of people would say that Honda’s competitor in each segment is more attractive than it’s Toyota-branded counterpart. Of course, this all boils down to preference and opinion but Honda prefers to go with a more functional design language while Toyota models, like the Camry and Corolla, for example, are toned down and not quite as sporty.
16 Honda’s Cars are Sportier
Honda and Toyota might cater to the same general market and segments but where Toyota relies on a more down-to-earth design language, Honda’s is more aggressive and their cars have a little more sport to them. If you don’t want to believe me, Autotrader agreed in its comparison of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry as did Cars Guide in its comparison of the Civic and the Corolla. It probably boils down to the fact that Honda’s design language includes a fastback-like roof on sedan models and more sculpted front and rear fascias.
15 Honda Interiors are High Quality and Comfortable
If you look back to the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, you would find that Honda and Toyota were competing pretty well as far as interior design, creature comforts, and entertainment. Fast-forward to today and everything has been scaled up in terms of technology while once affordable, entry-level brands are now offering features and materials once only afforded to high-end cars. Honda seems to do it just a little better than Toyota these days and the Honda Odyssey is a prime example. The seats are outrageously comfortable, configurable, and very kid friendly in the rear. And, as pointed out by Kelly Blue Book, the infotainment system in the Odyssey is cutting edge and the interior is outright massive. You won’t find those kinds of things said about the Toyota Sienna. At least not anytime soon, anyway. Oh, and before you freak out about the image above, Acura and Honda are technically one in the same.
14 Honda Vehicles Are Very Safe
This one is kind of a given and it’s only fair to point out that Toyota vehicles are, generally, just as safe. In fact, Toyota cars were even given Safety Pick awards by the IIHS for 2019. Unfortunately, Honda didn’t get the same credit across its whole lineup because the IIHS doesn’t like the Civic’s headlights, but the Civic and Honda score the same ratings in crash testing as the Corolla and the Camry. And, in terms of small SUVs, the IIHS actually awarded the Honda CR-V a Top Safety Pick Award while the Toyota C-HR failed because of poor headlights and the Toyota RAV4, believe it or not, got a Poor rating in passenger side overlap testing. Yikes. Better go with Honda, don’t you think?
13 Honda Has a Full Range from City Cars to a Pickup Truck
To put it simply, Honda literally has something for everybody. And, every one of those models features a relatively attractive design. As far as Toyota is concerned, it covers the city-car market, compact, midsize, and minivan market. The new Avalon is technically within the range of “large” sedans, but just barely and it can compete with the midsize market in most cases. Meanwhile, if you Journey over to Honda’s website, you’ll find every segment from subcompact city cars to minivans to pickup trucks. Both have a sports car too, with Toyota boasting the 86 and Honda the Civic Type R. The Civic Type R, while more expensive, undermines the 86 in just about every category from power, to handling, to comfort.
12 Honda’s Small SUVS are Stylish and Safe
In the compact SUV segment, Honda boasts the attractive CR-V. It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2019 and competes with the Toyota C-HR and Toyota RAV4, neither of which are safety picks and one of which received a poor rating in the frontal overlap category. In the midsize category, Honda’s Pilot rides high with a Top Safety Pick Rating for 2018 and beats out the outdated 4Runner (10 years old as of 2018) in frontal overlap testing, appearance, technology, and comfort.
11 Honda has the Best Minivan Available
Toyota has tried to keep up with the Honda Odyssey, but the Toyota Sienna is nine years old as of 2019 and just doesn’t have the mustard to take on the brand-new Odyssey. Honda’s Odyssey might not have “Stow-N-Go” seating found in the Chrysler Pacifica but it does have a removable center seat in the second row and the latest infotainment system that includes entertainment for rear seat passengers as well. The only downside to the Odyssey, as reported by U.S. News, is the fact that it’s front-wheel drive only and that you must remove the second-row seats for maximum cargo space. Outside of that, it’s a flawless model.
10 Hondas Have Traditionally Been More Reliable
These days you can actually here a lot of drama about Honda, Toyota, and which one is more reliable. Both models hail from Japan and offer a history of reliability and longevity. You might even hear people say that Toyota has managed to creep a little past Honda in terms of reliability, but we wouldn’t go that far just yet. Reliability Index actually places Honda as the second most reliable automaker in the world. It sits just below Daihatsu and has a reliability index of 42. Toyota, on the other hand, comes in fourth place with a reliability index of 58. It is, however, fair to point out that the Toyota IQ is also rated by the same site as the No.1 most reliable car in the world. Either way, Honda still holds the crown for being the most reliable overall, so that sounds like a pretty good reason to buy a Honda to us.
9 The Honda Odyssey is Way Newer than the Toyota Sienna
If you’re in the market for a minivan, then you don’t even want to think about the Toyota Sienna. I know, that’s pretty bold statement, but there’s a good reason behind it. The Sienna is, effectively, nine years old as of 2019. It’ has been updated over the years with new infotainment, a new transmission, and it even got a facelift in 2018, but it’s still subpar in comparison to the all-new Honda Odyssey that hit the market as a fifth-gen model in 2018. The Odyssey even has an intercom system so that front passenger can talk with the kiddos in back. It’s really the best minivan on the market these days.
8 The Honda Ridgeline Offers More Bang For Your Buck in Comparison to the Tacoma
Now, the 2019 Honda Ridgeline might start out at $29,990 in RT trim, which is $4,440 more than the Tacoma, but it also comes with a V-6 engine as standard equipment. That V-6 is worth 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That’s 122 ponies and 82 pound-feet more than the Tacoma offers. The Ridgeline can seat up to five people and can match the Tacoma’s maximum towing capacity (in base trim) of 1,588 pounds. The Tacoma may have a slightly higher payload capacity by 145 pounds but is more efficient by 3 mpg on the highway and 1 mpg combined. It’s really a close call here due to the Ridgeline’s higher price but you get a lot more power and V-6 power.
7 Honda Vehicles are Generally More Tunable Than Toyotas
The aftermarket parts world is outrageously huge, and Honda seems to have a big advantage in the aftermarket tuning world. For decades, the Honda Civic, specifically, has been the subject of major upgrades from simple bolt-on installations to full-blown twin-turbo engine swaps. The Accord, to a somewhat lesser extent, has also been known to receive this treatment. Toyota, on the other hand, isn’t as well established in this niche and it’s not often you hear about a properly-tuned Camry or Corolla. Most people into tuning generally shy away from these models due to the lack of a true coupe body style. The point is that there are a plethora of aftermarket performance upgrades out there for the Honda Civic and a lot of things you won’t find for anything with a modern Toyota badge.
6 Honda Has Android Auto Connectivity
If you’re in the market for a new car right now and want to be able to have Android phone integration while you’re on the road, you don’t want to go with Toyota. As of right now, there are rumors that Toyota is considering the implementation of Android Auto – according to the Verge – but there is no guaranteed timeline and Android users are left with no stock connectivity option. So, if you want Android connectivity, then you have no choice but to go with one of the various Honda models.
5 The Honda Ridgeline Scored Better Than the Toyota Tacoma in Crash Testing
At this point, just about all cars on the road offer up considerable safety, so this is almost a moot point, but maybe it’s important to you so we’ll go ahead and throw it in here. Long story short – the 2019 Honda Ridgeline is listed as an IIHS Top Safety Pick and the Tacoma isn’t. Both scored Good marks across the board (neither were put though the passenger side frontal overlap crash test) however, where the Ridgeline scored a “good” mark for headlights, the Tacoma scored only marginal. It was enough for the Tacoma to miss the safety pick list, and it might be worth considering if you’re looking at buying a Japanese truck.
4 The Honda Civic SI Coupe Is as Fast as the Toyota 86 but Cheaper
To put things plain and simple, you can’t have a Toyota Corolla Coupe. The closest you can get is the Toyota 86, and according to Motor Trend, the Civic Si comes with the same amount of horsepower – 205 ponies – but 36 more pound-feet of torque at 192 pound-feet. Furthermore, the Civic Si can get to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, more than half a second faster than Toyota’s closest equivalent, the 86, at 7.6 seconds. The Civic Si Coupe is even cheaper at $24,300, you get a car that wasn’t designed with the help of others, and it has a sportier appearance. This one is a dead giveaway: Go with the Honda.
3 The Honda HR-V is More Efficient than the Toyota C-HR
The Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR have more in common than their weird names. They both compete in the same segment and offer decent quality for their price. However, the Honda HR-V is more efficient in the long run. According to Fueleconomy.gov, the Honda HR-V achieves 1 mpg better in combined and city driving and as much as 3 mpg better on the highway. If you do a lot of highway driving that can add up quick. Even better yet, they both have the same 13.2-gallon fuel capacity, but you’ll travel just a little bit further in the HR-V.
2 Hondas are Focused Toward Sporty Appearance and Performance
Toyota and Honda build great, reliable cars – there’s not argument about that. But, as I’ve mentioned before, Honda cars tend to be a little sportier and geared a little more toward performance while Toyota, on the other hand, is focused mainly toward producing friendly, good-looking family vehicles. Now, regardless of what’s more important to you, you might as well go for a Honda as most models are just as family oriented while maintaining that performance focus. That means the wife will be happy and you’ll still look good on Saturday night while you’re out with the boys. That’s what we like to call a win-win
1 Honda Sensing Safety Suite Offers More Safety Features than Toyota’s Safety Sense Suite
These days there are more safety features available on new cars than we car to count. Honda and Toyota both have their own package, and both include things like lane departure warning, forward collision warning, automatic high-beams, and adaptive cruise control. But, according to Silko Honda, Honda offers a lot of safety features as part of this standard package that Toyota just doesn’t. These items include Honda LaneWatch, a blind spot information system, lane keep assist, cross traffic monitoring, and a lane departure warning. All of the features listed here come standard on the 2019 Honda Accord, Civic, Clarity, Fit, CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline.