metros for many years now, what makes the Accord even more enticing is the availability of multiple variants—three, with manual and automatic transmissions both on offer. Prices for the Accord range also start lower than the Camry, at R20.29 lakh.
Where the Accord loses out versus the Camry is the highway drive and the fact that it’s the most dated model among competition. At high speeds, the Camry is more stable and inspires confidence to push the pedal deeper into the floor, while the Accord feels lighter and is capable of going out of line if one’s attention is diverted. At 12.98kmpl, the automatic Camry also claims to deliver a slightly better mileage than the 12.8kmpl of the most efficient Accord (manual, 2.4-litre).
On the exterior, there is enough chrome on the Accord as well, catering to those looking for the bling again. The interiors are also very comfortable with an airy cabin and clever packaging promising copious amounts of interior space. However, features such as HID lights and touch-screen infotainment system are missing. One must remember that though the current generation Accord has received some mid-life refreshments, a major makeover is due soon. A new model has already been launched in the US, and given Honda’s willingness to keep the sales of its flagship model alive, it should make way to our shores soon.
The third petrol challenger in the segment is Hyundai’s new Sonata. A smaller player globally, the new Sonata’s value-for-money promise is catching on fast, so much so that Toyota and Honda are well advised to keep a watch on their rear-view mirrors. Easily the best looker of the three, the Sonata carries forward the Korean carmaker’s fluidic design language, first seen in India on the new Verna. Gone are the days of ugly, tasteless cars and borrowed design lines from Hondas and Jaguars—the ‘fluidic design’ has worked so well for Hyundai that it now spans almost the entire range.
The Sonata is the most powerful car in the segment—its 2.4-litre GDi engine produces a maximum power of 201ps at 6,300rpm and, like the Accord, it is available in both manual and automatic transmission options. The difference is that it is six-speed, versus the five-speed system in the Accord.
The Sonata is the most attractive deal in the segment, coming at the lowest starting price of R18.52 lakh, and has plenty of creature comforts on offer, such as rear parking camera,