2020 Honda Civic vs. 2020 Toyota Corolla

February 21st, 2020 by

Civic vs CorollaCompact cars compete!

When it comes to the competitive advantages of two of the best-selling vehicles in the compact sedan segment, one automaker stands out, and see how! From reliability and design to mechanicals and technology, the Civic and the Corolla each have their own distinct characteristics. See which is best suited for your traveling needs and your lifestyle. These compact cars are about to face off — which is the better buy in 2020?

Exterior style
While both have moderately attractive exterior designs, the Civic stands out with a bold look that incorporates neat angles, creases and vents that cannot be found in the Corolla. Notable features brought forth in the Honda include a broad black plastic grille, bejeweled headlights on upper trims, a sloping rear roofline and bracket-shaped taillights. While the Toyota gets LED lighting on its upper trims that add exterior appeal, its taillights are connected by a black bar, which is a nod to a popular Japanese design element that dates back to the 1980s and 1990s.

A look inside
The Honda brings forth more energy on its interior, with a wider variety of surfaces than the Toyota and various shapes and materials. Air vents flank the sides of the gauge cluster, and the center infotainment screen is found on the center stack just above the HVAC controls. The cabin also features a generously sized storage shelf which is located ahead of the shifter. By comparison, the Toyota is brought forth with a much more conservative interior, including a dashboard with air vents and oddly the airbag warning lights. The Toyota is dominated by flat surfaces that lack inspiration. In contrast, the Honda boasts an infotainment screen that sits atop the dashboard somewhat like an iPad, which is a popular design trend. Drivers can position this screen without raising the height of the entire dashboard, thus not hindering visibility.

Where a comparison is especially helpful and notable is in rear-seat legroom and cargo volume. In these areas, the Honda encompasses 37.4 inches of second row legroom and 15.1 cubic feet of cargo volume. The Toyota is smaller in both of these dimensions, with just 34.8 inches of second row legroom and 13.1 cubic feet of cargo.

Civic vs Corolla

Power is key
A look under the hood of the new Honda Civic will reveal a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. Similar to the Toyota, it offers a 6-speed manual on certain trims. But most iterations of the Civic come with a CVT that is good for 30 mph city/38 mph hwy/33 mpg combined. The EX Touring and EX-L models come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder. The turbo makes an impressive 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and in the sedan, comes exclusively with a CVT. The turbo results in better fuel economy, coming in at 32 mpg city/42 mpg hwy/36 mpg combined.
The Toyota, by comparison, is offered with two engines, with the basic L and LE models coming with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder putting out 139 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. It returns 30 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg in combined driving. The SE models and up come with a more powerful 2.0-liter 4 cylinder engine that makes 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque.

Tech savvy
While both the Honda and Toyota come with a nice array of technology features, it is important to note what comes standard in the Honda. Noteworthy features offered on the base model Civic LX include 16-inch wheels, automatic climate control and LED running lights. Upper trims reveal such cool features as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, heated front seats, more USB ports and more.

Toyota drivers are treated to standard LED lighting as well as a standard 7-inch center infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CaPlay. Upper trims bring forth additional USB ports, an 8-inch center infotainment screen, a 7-inch gauge cluster display, a JBL audio system and more.

Safety first
Both vehicles are host to a number of safety features and get the job done when it comes to this arena. Those include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed radar cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams. The Toyota’s system is a bit more sophisticated than Honda’s, including lane-tracing assist and traffic sign recognition. In addition, while each vehicle has a form of blind-spot monitoring, the Honda also features Lane Watch, which uses a camera to project a live feed from the vehicle’s blind spot onto the center infotainment screen any time the turn signals active.

In overall safety testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Toyota earned the Top Safety Pick award, which is the institute’s highest honor. The Civic did also get top marks in all of its crash tests, but did miss out on an award due to a poor headlight score.

More stats to consider….

  • While the design is not as bold, there is nothing basic about the Corolla when it comes to transportation. Even its barebones model comes with LED headlights (which is only available on the Touring for the Civic).
  • The 2020 Corolla’s new engine is astonishing, despite deficiencies in horsepower and torque compared to the Honda.
  • The Corolla can “get loud” but not in a good way! Today’s sensitive drivers may notice the Toyota’s starting gear.
  • The Honda gives a smoother ride overall, and it is more entertaining.
  • There is more trunk space in the Honda, by 2 cubic feet.
  • Rear visibility is much better in the Honda, which also boasts creative storage and phone-charging space in front.
  • Honda justifies its $28,220 as-tested price tag better than Toyota does with its loaded Corolla. In general, the materials and design are far superior in the Civic.
  • Toyota does not offer a power passenger seat, while the cheaper as-tested Civic does.

While evenly matched in many areas, there are distinct advantages to one of these vehicles that needs considered. The Honda Civic, hands down, offers buyers more choice, whether it’s in the area of body styling or performance. While the Corolla’s safety ratings are a bit better, other pluses are found in the Honda. Take a test drive today and see which compact car best suits your needs.