Honda Civic Versus Toyota Corolla

November 2, 2010

I need a new, affordable, fuel-efficient small car. My choice is between the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Which one is better?

Two of the most highly-rated small sedans on the market today are the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The Honda Civic was introduced in the 1970s and continues to be one of the most popular small cars in the United States. However, despite the millions of Civics sold over the years, more Toyota Corollas have been sold on the planet than any other vehicle. You can’t go wrong with either one.

Design and Handling

Even though the Honda Civic’s current cab forward design was introduced in 2006, the more stylish Civic continues to be a step ahead in the looks department when compared to the standard—and shall we say—more plain, 4-door sedan look of the Corolla. The current Corolla design was introduced to the U.S. market in 2008. Both manufacturers tend to make just minor changes in a model’s design until a major overhaul is performed once every five years or so. Word has it that the next generation of the Honda Civic will hit the U.S. market in 2011 with the debut of the 2012 model year.  

Driving the Honda Civic is a totally different experience from driving the Corolla. The difference comes down to zesty versus plain or chocolate malted versus vanilla. The Civic feels like a driver’s car, while the Corolla tends to putt-putt around the neighborhood. The Civic is responsive, you can actually feel the road when driving, and it handles much better than the Corolla.

Don’t get me wrong: the Toyota Corolla is a great little car. It’s just a little boring when compared to the Honda Civic.

EX vs LE

For the purpose of our comparison, we’re going to compare the 2011 Honda Civic EX with the 2011 Toyota Corolla LE. Both vehicles have efficient 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder engines. Gas mileage is comparable: The Civic is rated at 25 mpg/city and 36 mpg/hwy; the Corolla gets 26 mpg/city and 34 mpg/hwy.

Safety features are also similar for both models. Each has electronic stability control, side curtain air bags, ABS brakes, and active head restraints. However, the Civic comes standard with 4-wheel disc brakes while the Corolla comes with the less desirable front disc and rear drum brakes.

Neither car has been tested under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new and more stringent crash test ratings which compare vehicles in the same class. The most current NHTSA test results were performed on 2010 Civic and Corolla models. The Honda Civic has the advantage, scoring a majority of perfect 5-star crash test scores. The Toyota Corolla scored a majority of 4-star crash test scores.

Tomorrow we discover that the Corolla has the advantage when it comes to the all-important issue of price.

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