2022 Honda Civic vs. 2021 Toyota Corolla: Compare Cars

July 8, 2021

Between them, they’ve sold millions—and the rivalry between the 2022 Honda Civic and 2021 Toyota Corolla hasn’t been diminished by new competitors or by new kinds of compact vehicles. They’re still two of the bestselling vehicles in the U.S.

Which one’s better? The latest Corolla sedan has newfound verve to go with its excellent value, while the still-cooling Civic emerges fresh from a redesign with better standard safety gear and with more refined style.

We’ll give it away early. The 2022 Honda Civic scores a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10 before it’s been crash-tested, while the latest Corolla checks in at 6.7 out of 10. But the scores don’t tell the entire story, and in at least one way, the Corolla outpoints its longtime foe.

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic

That doesn’t come in styling. The Civic’s sleek body has been tamed from the exuberant chaos of the last generation. It’s been smoothed in ways that don’t dull its appeal. That’s especially true inside, where a pared-down design wears a metal filigree band that hides air vents and lifts it from game-boy cliché. The Corolla’s now the wild child: It’s a complete role reversal, but the Toyota’s drawn with flares and fillips that don’t exhaust the eyeballs like a C-HR. Its interior’s no longer a Rubbermaid refuge; what it is, is plain. (The Corolla hatchback doesn’t yet have a direct rival from Honda, so we’ll confine our comments to four-doors here.)

Honda puts its 158-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 and 180-hp 1.5-liter turbo-4 in the Civic lineup, and the clear winner’s the turbo-4. It’s stronger, if not quieter, and teams with its CVT for engaging front-wheel-drive fun. The Civic rides very well, too—and from past experience it has more range in its performance envelope.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The Corolla trumps the Civic in one key way. While its base cars putter around with a 169-hp inline-4, the Corolla Hybrid apes Prius efficiency and drapes it in the more conventional Corolla shape. We’re fine with the Corolla Hybrid’s shy acceleration in light of its 52-mpg combined EPA gas mileage rating. And though it’s less fluent in ride and handling than the Civic, it’s still a pleasure to drive, never bobbly or heavy.

Both the Civic and Corolla have space for four large people and their stuff. Toyota’s base seats are better than Honda’s, but the Civic’s thickly bolstered leather buckets feel almost perfect (add lumbar support, please?). The Corolla’s trunk is a bit smaller but still plenty useful.

Both the Corolla and Civic have standard automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control—and both offer blind-spot monitors and parking sensors. Honda’s yet to receive crash-test data; the Corolla’s nearly flawless in that regard.

The Corolla and Civic also offer excellent value, with standard touchscreen infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and power features. We like the mid-$20,000s mid-grade Civic EX—but if fuel economy leads your shopping list, the Corolla Hybrid LE’s the obvious choice, unless you’re willing to select the carryover, Civic-adjacent Honda Insight.

They’re close now, but with safety tests to come, the 2022 Honda Civic will open up a significant lead over the Toyota Corolla. But if efficiency matters, the capable, inexpensive, and high-economy Corolla Hybrid is a wise choice, even with the lower overall TCC Rating. 

Summary

6.7
Expert Rating
With the 2021 Corolla, Toyota has almost excised all the bland from its diet.
6.8
Expert Rating
The 2022 Honda Civic remains a go-to economy car, with low-key performance and high-economy powertrains.

Styling

6.0
Expert Rating
The latest Corolla sips some styling caffeine, but not more than it can handle.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
Honda’s toned down some of the Civic’s cutlines, and amped up the interior.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Corolla ratchets up its enthusiasm for driving, but keeps it low-key.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
Base cars have basic performance; even turbos keep things on the milder side.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Corolla suits up with swell front-seat space; the back seat and trunk pull up shy of rivals.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The Civic’s nearly mid-sized now.
Read More

Safety

9.0
Expert Rating
The Corolla’s crash-test scores are nearly ideal.
Read More
Crash tests are pending, but the Civic is off to a strong start.
Read More

Features

8.0
Expert Rating
Value is the Corolla’s trump card.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
Well-equipped and inexpensive, the 2022 Civic ticks many boxes.
Read More

Fuel Economy

6.0
Expert Rating
Corolla hybrids sip fuel like a Prius, but others aren’t far behind.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
Gas mileage excels in the smaller Honda sedan.
Read More

MSRP

from $20,025
from $21,700

Invoice

from $18,923
from $20,696

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

33
35

Engine

Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.0 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Compare Free Dealer Price Quote
With competitive price quotes from multiple dealers, you will be prepared when you meet your local car dealer. Please tell us how to contact you so that dealers can compete for your business!
Search Dealers by ZIP Code
Update ZIP Code
2021 Toyota Corolla
2022 Honda Civic
Looking for dealers in your area...
Powered By
*As configured. Excludes taxes, title, license and other customary fees, such as dealer documentation fees, tire and battery disposal fees and, where applicable, finance charges. By clicking on “Get Your Price Quote Now”, you agree to our Terms of Use (including the Supplemental Terms) and Privacy Policy. You further consent to being contacted at the number you provided by CarsDirect and certain participating automotive dealerships, which may include autodials, text messages, and/or pre-recorded calls; this consent is not a condition of purchase or service. Message and data rates may apply.
2021
The Car Connection
See the winners »
2021
The Car Connection
 
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
Related Head to Head
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from The Car Connection. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.