Honda vs. Toyota: Which One is Better and Why?

Honda vs. Toyota: Which One is Better and Why?

If you know even the most bare-bone facts about modern cars and who crafts them, then you’re well aware of the names Honda and Toyota. A pair of Japanese automakers who have been in the car manufacturing business for decades, their numerous vehicles make them some of the most common sights on the road. 

Honda and Toyota’s shared reputation for quality construction, reliability, and ample safety features make their reputation a well-earned one. With that said, if you were searching for a new vehicle to buy, and you had to choose between the two, which should you pick?

Well, never fear about the potential for purchase confusion. You can find all the facts right here.

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Honda vs. Toyota: Basic Stats

Right away, it’s essential to line up these automakers side-by-side to compare the basics. That way, you can get a good idea of their focus and how they stack up overall.

Founded in 1946, Honda has a reputation for creating vehicles that get up to speed with astounding grace on the road.

Although Honda currently offers 20 car models compared to the more than 30 currently in production by Toyota, those models are well-regarded, with names like the Honda Odyssey, the Honda Accord, and the Honda CR-V regularly making Top 10 auto lists. The CR-V is exceptionally versatile, with its compact SUV body and agile handling, meaning that it’s well-suited for all kinds of purposes.

Founded in 1937, Toyota also has a long history of auto manufacturing, along with an extensive line of car models. The brand is synonymous with its trucks and SUVs. More recently, its selection of hybrids performs handily on the road.

Well-known models for this automaker include the Toyota RAV4, a compact SUV that is perfect for car camping adventures. The Toyota Camry is another big name, as is the Toyota Prius.

Other areas where you can compare and contrast the Toyota Honda divide:

Toyota has a fantastic reputation for reliability and longevity, meaning that once you buy one of their vehicles, the odds are high that it’ll stay around for an extended period. Honda falls slightly behind Toyota in terms of reliability, which is a mark against its favor.

On the flip side: Honda vehicles are faster, and their cargo space capacity tends to be reasonably large. That makes them nicely equipped for urban environments where highways are necessary or for large families where weekend vacations are typical. 

Small, Mid-Size, and Large Vehicles: What are Your Toyota Options?

With the general stats out of the way, it’s a good idea to dive into the specific models that each company offers. 

For small, mid-sized, and large vehicles, including SUVs, Toyota’s lineup is a dream. With small cars, one option you can look at is the Toyota Corolla, a four-door low to the ground vehicle with a reputation for lasting far past typical expiration dates. 

If you go up a notch in the size department, you’ll find the Toyota Camry. After the midsized category, you’ll discover SUVs and larger vehicles. Here is where Toyota tends to shine. There’s the RAV4, as mentioned earlier, a compact SUV with optional all-wheel drive. You’ll also discover the Toyota 4Runner, a fan-famous vehicle that works excellent on rough roads and has one of the highest reliability ratings on the market. 

The Toyota Tacoma is another large vehicle: a pickup truck that can tow a max of 6,800 pounds. Alongside it, the Toyota Sienna is a family-friendly minivan that can seat eight people.

So with all this in mind, how does Honda stack up?

Small, Mid-Size, and Large Vehicles: What are Your Honda Options?

Honda’s selection of small vehicles is not as expansive as Toyota’s, but the automaker is not without plenty of options. The Honda Civic is an excellent car in this category. The 2016 model won a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In the mid-size category, Honda has more to offer. The Honda CR-V, a compact SUV, is continuously lauded as a standout vehicle in its class. The Ridgeline, a compact pickup truck, competes handily with the Toyota Tacoma. The 2021 model can pull up to 5,000 pounds with ease.

When it comes to minivans, Honda is a winner. The Odyssey has a fantastic reputation for safety, reliability, and family accessibility, and it perfectly accommodates large groups of kids to and from events. The Honda Odyssey can seat up to eight people in total, and newer base models come with a variety of tech features, including an optional 8-inch touchscreen and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in 2018 models.

2016 Honda Odyssey Touring (from $28,450)

 2016 Honda Odyssey Touring (from $28,450)
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 2016 Honda Odyssey Touring (from $28,450)
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Is Honda Better than Toyota for Sports Cars and Hybrids?

One last note on model options before we move into specific features:

Although neither brand is primarily known for its sports cars, a few options do exist. Toyota has the Toyota 86, which has an eye-popping appearance with its swooping curves and distinctive grille. Both auto manufacturers fare nicely in the electric category, with Toyota frequently releasing hybrid versions of their most popular models. That includes the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Plug-In.

Honda has also followed the trend of releasing hybrid versions of their more popular models, including the Honda Accord Hybrid.

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Are They Safe and Secure? Honda vs. Toyota Reliability

Now, it’s important to note that we’re not going to be covering engines and fuel efficiency in-depth with this article. There’s a lot of variation between the brands and even between specific model trims. When looking for those in-depth stats, our most practical advice is to search for reviews of each model and compare their features to other models in their class. 

This review on the Toyota Prius is a great place to start with that practice.

However, you can make a much more accurate comparison when it comes to their overall safety and reliability. As mentioned earlier, Toyota has an award-winning reputation for reliable cars that acquit themselves well on the road. For safety, these two brands size up comparably. 

In some models, however, Honda comes out on top. Some of their most secure cars include the Honda Ridgeline and the Honda HR-V. While 2021 models may cost you a pretty penny, you can save big on these purchases if you shop Shift for a car produced in an earlier year. 

Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine-learning algorithms and tons of data. That means Shift’s ability to find you an excellent vehicle is not confined to Honda. You can buy Toyota cars for a discounted price, too.

2019 Toyota 86 TRD SE (from $30,950)

2019 Toyota 86 TRD SE (from $30,950)
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Shop Used Toyota 86
2019 Toyota 86 TRD SE (from $30,950)
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Honda or Toyota: The Final Verdict

So now that we’ve gone through this comparison in total, which is better: Honda or Toyota? Technically both, but they focus on different things.

If you’re looking for a reliable vehicle that will last you a long time, go for Toyota. If you’re looking for a ride that puts its cargo space and road handling first and foremost, aim for the Honda. Either way, you’ll find great car models from which to choose.

Need additional suggestions on what to buy? Read this list of the most reliable Toyota car models.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team