By Mike HanleyJuly 24, 2023
If you haven’t shopped for a mid-size sedan in a while, you might be surprised by how efficient hybrid models have become, with combined gas mileage surpassing 50 mpg in some cases — efficiency that used to be reserved for models like the Toyota Prius.
Today, however, you can get Prius-level efficiency in a more conventional sedan body style. Toyota’s own Camry Hybrid is rated as high as 52 mpg combined by the EPA, and the Honda Accord Hybrid, which has been redesigned for the 2023 model year, is rated as high as 48 mpg combined.
We recently tested both of these fuel-efficient sedans in a head-to-head comparison, and you can see which one came out on top in our full results linked above. As part of this testing, we took the Camry and Accord hybrids on a 200-mile fuel-economy route to see which one would get the best gas mileage in real-world driving.
Which Gets Better Gas Mileage?
If you’re just interested in the final results, the Camry Hybrid XLE returned 52.6 mpg, barely beating the Accord Hybrid Sport-L’s 51.3 mpg — numbers that put both cars’ efficiency in Prius territory. Below, we dive deeper into the cars we tested and the fuel economy we achieved, and why both numbers were somewhat surprising.
2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Sport-L
Most of the 2023 Accord’s trim levels are now hybrids, including the Sport-L, which features 19-inch wheels and tires, black accents and leather upholstery. Most hybrid trims, including the Sport-L we tested, get an EPA-estimated 46/41/44 mpg city/highway/combined; the EX-L is the sole trim level to get a higher rating of 51/44/48 mpg.
2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
The Camry was last redesigned for the 2018 model year, but the hybrid version remains an efficient choice among mid-size sedans. The XLE trim we tested is rated at an EPA-estimated 44/47/46 mpg, while the LE hybrid is rated higher at 51/53/52 mpg.
Drive Route, Detailed Results
Our fuel-economy route began almost immediately with interstate driving, and from there, speeds progressively slowed as we moved to rural two-lane roads and suburban streets. Not surprisingly, as our average speed decreased in these hybrids, our observed fuel economy increased.
Drivers switched cars along the way to both balance driving styles and record fuel economy at designated stops during the trip. At our first driver change 46 miles into the route, our average speed was 49 mph. Nearly the entire route to this point had been higher-speed interstate driving, and the Accord Hybrid had significantly outperformed its 41 mpg highway estimate with a 46 mpg reading on its trip computer. The Camry Hybrid’s 47.4 mpg trip-computer reading, meanwhile, was spot on with the car’s 47 mpg highway rating.
The second leg of our trip consisted of more interstate driving as well as some rural routes through small towns. We were around 106 miles into the drive at this point, and our average speed had dipped slightly to 48 mph. The fuel economy on the trip computer for both sedans, meanwhile, had ticked up slightly; the Accord Hybrid was at 47.4 mpg while the Camry Hybrid was showing 48.7 mpg.
The third leg of our route saw our speeds dip more, as we drove primarily on two-lane roads across the farmland of northern Illinois on our way back to Chicago. Around 145 miles into our trip, our average speed had dropped to 44 mph, but we didn’t see much change in average fuel economy. It had edged up slightly, with the Accord Hybrid up to 48.2 mpg and the Camry Hybrid at 49.1 mpg.
The final leg of the drive brought more traffic and slower speeds, with our average speed dropping to 37 mph by the end of the trip. This is also when we saw the biggest jump in fuel economy, with the Accord Hybrid’s trip computer standing at 50.8 mpg after driving 200 miles and the Camry Hybrid’s at 51.9 mpg. Upon refueling, both cars used a little less than 4 gallons of gas on the drive — 3.86 gallons for the Accord Hybrid and 3.73 for the Camry Hybrid, which amounts to a 70-cent difference. Their calculated fill-up gas mileage was a bit better than their respective trip-computer readings: 51.8 mpg for the Accord Hybrid and 53.3 mpg for the Camry Hybrid. Averaging the trip computer and pump numbers resulted in our final numbers of 51.3 mpg for the Accord Hybrid and 52.6 mpg for the Camry Hybrid.
More From Cars.com:
- 2023 Honda Accord Review: Among the Best of What’s Left
- How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid?
- How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid?
- Shop for a 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid
- Shop for a 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Both of these hybrid sedans achieved great fuel economy on our drive that was good enough to beat any of their city, highway or combined EPA estimates. What was also notable was the observed fuel economy was more in line with the ratings of their more efficient trim levels.
The Accord Hybrid and Camry Hybrid’s real-world gas mileage was close enough that it wasn’t really a deciding factor in our comparison test, with the Camry Hybrid getting the maximum 120 points in the fuel-economy category and the slightly less efficient Accord Hybrid getting 117 points. Answering the question of which one is the better car overall came down to other factors, which you can read about in our full results story.
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