Toyota VS. Honda – 9 Important Differences (Before Buying)

Choosing a car that will suit your everyday needs and lifestyle is one of the most challenging decisions you can make.

Honda and Toyota are two brands that offer some of the most reliable and affordable vehicles on the market. But what happens if you can choose only one?

What Is the real difference between Toyota and Honda? 

The major difference between Toyota and Honda is that Toyotas emphasize practicality and reliability, while Honda creates sportier and high-performance vehicles. But since Honda and Toyota are Japanese cars, they may share some features.

That said, there are critical differences between the two brands that set them apart:

Differences Between Toyota and Honda

Here are some distinguishing factors of the Toyota and Honda brands:

1. Brand Approach

Toyota portrays a brand that is practical and focused on making cars that do very little more than getting people around.

Because of this, most claim that their spare parts are cheaper than Honda’s.

Honda, on the other hand, promotes a brand that is directed at sport styling and performance.

The Honda interior is particularly of note when it comes to brand approach. Most Honda models, especially the Odyssey minivan, are notable for interiors with fresh designs and soft-touch materials.

Concerning the target market, Honda targets the upper-middle class. Toyota also follows this trail, but it makes products for the lower-middle class, instead.

2. Design Language

Toyota has a uniform design language for most of its cars.

This allows for easy identification of products, but it also makes the vehicles look basic. In contrast, Honda adopts creativity in the design of its cars, creating an aura of uniqueness in each vehicle.

Between the two, both vehicles are considered recognizable, but only Honda is considered “unique.”

Which of the Two Is More Reliable?

Even though both brands are excellent at polishing their product, Toyota takes the win regarding reliability. 

Toyota is indisputably one of the most dependable cars in the world. In fact, they invest more in reliability and durability than any other automaker in the world. 

This means that each Toyota model is built for durability, safety, and reliability while on the road. As a result, Toyotas can handle much more abuse and oversight than Hondas or many other car brands can.

Honda focuses more on performance. Most of their car features are impressive, but they often garner complaints from drivers who find them less dependable.

Are Toyotas Cheaper Than Hondas? 

It is difficult to conclude that one brand is pricier than the other.

Whether you are looking at sedans or trucks, the two brands offer them at similar prices.

With a closer look, Toyota cars are less costly than similar Honda models, even though it’s just by a few dollars.

What really gives Toyota the edge regarding cost are the additional features they offer, like the Safety Sense as standard. Honda charges more for such functions.

Let’s take the 2020 Toyota Corolla model, which is similar to its Honda Civic counterpart. The Corolla costs $20,555, while the Civic costs about $21,600. 

Even such a small difference in price can drastically matter to a consumer, who will ultimately go for the cheaper option if they are on a budget.

Of course, some Toyota models are pricier than their Honda versions. In such cases, the Toyota variety often offers more options, which some buyers may consider a rise in potential value.

Does Honda or Toyota Sell More Cars?

Toyota has always sold more vehicles.

The brand’s accrued revenue from sales was $238.4 billion in 2017, and it increased to $243.6 billion in 2019. Honda, however, only made about $93.4 billion in 2017 and $99.7 in 2019.

In terms of gross income margin, Toyota experienced an increase from 24.2% in 2017 to 25% in 2018. On the other hand, Honda faced a metric decrease from 17.4% in 2017 to 16.33% in 2018.

From this comparison, Toyota performs much better on sales volume, the average price per vehicle, and overall revenue.

While Honda did not generate as much as Toyota, it achieved an overall positive growth in sales volume.

How Do the Prices On Repair and Maintenance Stack Up?

Toyota and Honda are no different in this aspect.

In fact, both brands often receive complaints about engine systems. They also get minor complaints about their fuel system and cooling/heating systems. 

Toyota experiences the biggest problems in areas like engine and steering. However, Toyota is more efficient than Honda in air conditioning, cooling, and gearbox.

Honda’s biggest issues result from its electrical components, engines, axles, and suspension. Where the problematic features need repairs, it always costs more with Hondas than Toyotas.

It’s no wonder, since Hondas have additional stylish features, that their maintenance will incur more expenses than Toyotas.

Hondas are more complicated to dismantle, which increases labor time and maintenance costs. 

How Is the Performance of the Two Brands Compared?

Hondas have higher performance ratings than Toyotas across multiple models.

For example, all Honda Civic models have higher engine horsepower than their Toyota counterparts, the Corollas. 

Hondas surpass many other Toyota models, like the Yaris and Tundra in performance, but the Toyota Camry has a very high-performance rating.

The highest regarded Honda Civic, the performance Si model, surpasses the Corolla with its horsepower and a top speed of 137 miles per hour.

There is no performance version of the Toyota to compare it to, so in this category, Honda wins.

Other Performance Statistics:

Of course, Honda’s performance extends beyond horsepower.

Speed is one of the main goals, but smooth rides are also essential. Honda takes the edge here because of the Apple CarPlay and other performance software that improves your overall driving experience.

This does not mean that Toyota cars do not perform well. Some Toyota cars offer CarPlay, and their highest horsepower car is the Supra with an impressive 335 hp. 

The Supra is a performance car, though, so it is not the right choice for everyone. A Corolla or Camry is your best bet if you need a reliable vehicle to commute to work.

Even if we leave the cars behind and move to trucks, Honda still outperforms Toyota. Let’s compare the Honda Ridgeline to the Toyota Tacoma.

Reports from drivers show that the Ridgeline always provides a smoother, more comfortable ride on the road than the Tacoma.

Which Is More Durable?

Cars, like every other product, lose their effectiveness after a while of using them. Brands like Toyota and Honda are no different.

Both cars can last you a lifetime if they are maintained and repaired when they develop faults. In fact, 200,000 miles is the estimated mileage for both vehicles.

There are still 20+-year-old Hondas and Toyotas serving diligently in the most unforgiving terrains in different parts of the world.

However, you need to pay attention to the problematic parts of either of the brands and fix them when necessary. In Hondas, problematic parts are the axle and suspension. Toyota often develops faults in its steering system. 

Both cars have strong reputations for reliability, but Toyotas are reportedly the most reliable creations of the automotive world. 

What About Safety?

Both Toyota and Honda are known for their top-notch safety features.

It is evident in the design of the vehicles and their sophisticated safety gadgetry. With a closer look, we can tell that Honda is the safer one.

Honda is a worldwide leader in safety features, including lane assist and lane-keeping technology, blind-spot monitoring, and collision mitigation when braking.

Toyota’s ability to install an array of high-tech safety features in basic models is laudable. However, it is nowhere near Honda’s standard.

According to US News and World Report, Honda averages a safety score of 9.7 out of 10, half a point more than Toyota’s average.

The lowest score in the safety report went to the Toyota Tundra, an 8.4 out of 10. Conversely, three Honda models, the Accord, Civic, and 2019 Insight, earned perfect scores of 10 out of 10.

The lowest score obtained by a Honda was 9.0 out of 10.

Which of Them Is Better Used?

Toyotas and Hondas are designed for different purposes.

Honda was created to cater to sporting and luxury activities like going for an event. On the other hand, Toyota was designed for basic activities, like taking the kids to school or going to work.

Since everyday activities form most of our trips, usually, the Toyota is better used. 

Other Differences You Should Know of

Here are other differences you should know about Honda and Toyota models: 


You might want to know what the interiors of Hondas and Toyotas look like before you decide.

The Honda beats the Toyota in this aspect. The US News and World Report made a comparison report between Honda and Toyota interiors. 

Among Honda vehicles, Odyssey minivan got the highest score in this category, with 8.8 out of 10. Its fresh design and soft-touch do the magic. 

Toyota’s Avalon sedan earned the highest score in this category, with an 8.6 out of 10. More than a dozen Toyota vehicles had interiors that garnered unimpressive scores, like 5.8 out of 10.

This is because of uninspired designs and the use of hard plastics.

Let’s take the Corolla as a case in point. The Toyota Corolla is one of the most ubiquitous vehicles in America and the world in general.

However, aesthetics is not one of its strong points. 

The Corolla may be affordable and offer a mind-blowing fuel economy. But many users complain about the interiors of the Corolla looking like that of a home appliance.

You can’t say the same about the Honda Civic, with its futuristic dashboard and clean, uncluttered cabin.

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