When it comes to some spectacular rivalries, a few notable ones come to mind. Luke Skywalker VS Darth Vader. Ali VS Liston. David VS Goliath. Yankees VS Red Sox. Ohio State VS Michigan. Godzilla VS Mothra. Hoda VS Kathie Lee (wait, scratch that).
But in the titanic struggle for the car buyer’s dollar, one of the most hotly contested rivalries is between the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. For years, the Civic and the Corolla have been trading punches as they vie for supremacy in the crowded compact car field.
That’s not surprising, as both the Civic and Corolla are outstanding choices. Each has plenty to offer, with modern styling, spirited performance, agile handling, excellent fuel economy, and the latest technology. In other words, both these giants of the compact car world are pretty evenly matched.
But when you take a closer look, you’ll discover that one compact actually reigns supreme. So we put the new 2016 Honda Civic and the 2016 Toyota to the test to see which of these formidable opponents comes out on top.
Honda Wins North American Car Of The Year
Before these two four-door pugilists enter the ring, the Honda Civic scores a big advantage with it being named the 2016 North American Car of the Year at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. This prestigious award adds to the Civic’s impressive list of industry accolades. All of a sudden, the Corolla is fighting at a disadvantage.
That’s not surprising, given that the 2016 Civic is all-new from the ground up with automotive pundits singing praises for its daring, dramatic, and sleek new look that one reviewer calls “fresh and futuristic.” Now that’s not to say the Corolla isn’t a good-looking car in its own right. After all, one automotive pundit called the Corolla’s styling “daring and edgy.” Nevertheless, the Civic takes the prize here for its updated sheetmetal that features an aerodynamic, “coupe-like” roofline, newly available LED headlights, muscular wheel arches, and distinctive “C-shaped” rear taillights.
Civic’s Impressive New Interior
On the inside, the Civic continues to impress with an interior that offers more head and legroom, better quality materials, excellent craftsmanship, and convenient ergonomic design. In fact, Marty Padgett of TheCarConnection.com compares the Civic’s interior to that of a BMW, saying that the interior’s design is “…not unlike recent BMWs in the bow and swell of major trim pieces.”
The Civic also comes with a host of available features you’d expect to find on some luxury cars, including heated front and rear passenger seats; an option sure to come in handy during those cold Ohio winters. Power front row seats, 60/40 split rear seats, and power front row seats for the ultimate in comfort. To be fair, the Corolla also has 60/40 split rear seats and, like the Civic, can be ordered with leather seats and other amenities.
Civic Takes The Tech Prize
Both the Civic and Corolla feature an array of advanced infotainment technologies. For instance, Toyota’s Entune™ App Suite delivers such expected features as Bluetooth®, a USB port, audio streaming, and a color touchscreen display. Similarly, the Honda Civic offers an available 7-inch color touchscreen and HondaLink® smartphone app featuring AHA™ that lets you customize your audio, navigation, connectivity and other functions.
But where the Civic hits it out of the park compared to the Corolla is that the Civic offers both Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ that effectively turn the Civic’s color touchscreen into an extension of your smartphone. Now you can use many of the same smartphone features that have become so much of your daily life in your Civic. Maybe the Corolla will offer these two services in the future, but right now, Corolla owners will have to make due without those two advanced technologies.
Civic’s New Turbo Outperforms
Now let’s turn our attention to the areas of performance and fuel economy. The Civic pulls ahead of the Corolla by offering more horsepower, better fuel economy, and a new i-VTEC®, direct-injection, 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The Corolla doesn’t offer a turbo, and when you compare performance and fuel economy numbers, the Civic wins out across the board. The available turbo in the Civic is designed for high cruise efficiency and robust performance, generating 174-hp and 192 lb.-ft. of torque.
Even in base trim, the Civic’s peppy i-VTEC 2.0-liter 4-cylinder pumps out 158 hp compared to the Corolla’s anemic 1.8-liter, 132-hp 4-cylinder engine. The Civic mates its engines to either a 6-speed manual transmission or gas-saving Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), while the Corolla offers either a 4-speed manual (do they still make those?), a 6-speed manual, or a CVT depending on trim level.
Better Fuel Economy & Handling
The Civic and the Corolla both put up some impressive fuel economy numbers. The Corolla LE Eco model, for example, gets up to an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway/30 mpg city. Not bad. The Civic? It’s right up there as well. The Civic EX-T, EX-L and Touring models equipped with CVT get up to an estimated 42 mpg highway/31 mpg city for a combined average of 35 mpg.
How about driving dynamics? The Civic’s revamped suspension gets rave reviews from columnists like TheCarConnection’s Marty Padgett. Padgett praises the Civic’s handling, calling it “…a wonderfully compliant, composed ride quality and excellent tracking.” The Corolla’s predictable handling characteristics take some of the edges off for a less-satisfying driving experience. He also has good things to say about the Civic’s “firm, quick reacting brakes.” Nuff said.
Honda Civic A Safety Superstar
We round out our comparison of the Civic and Corolla by looking at each vehicle’s safety features. Both Honda and Toyota take safety seriously, as they should. And the Corolla does offer many passive and active safety features, including its 6-point STAR™ Safety System and 8 multi-stage airbags.
The Civic offers its own array of cutting-edge passive and active safety technologies as well. The available Honda Sensing™ safety suite includes collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation. In keeping with Honda’s commitment to safety, a rear multi-angle backup camera is standard on all Honda models, including the new Civic. The Civic’s exclusive ACE™ energy-absorbing body structure and multiple “SmarttVent®” airbags. Honda Lane Watch™ utilizes a small camera that displays nearly 4 times more visibility than the passenger mirror alone.
Both the Civic and the Corolla earn top safety ratings from the IIHS and the NHTSA.
Civic Beats Corolla Hands Down
It’s time to tally up the scores and see who’s won our automotive head-to-head slugfest. We have to give kudos to the Toyota Corolla as a worthy competitor. It would be unfair to say that the Corolla doesn’t have a lot going for it. But at the end of the day, we think that the 2016 Honda Civic for sale near Dayton, Ohio comes out ahead with sophisticated new styling, a revamped interior, better technology, superior performance and handling, and excellent fuel economy.
Auto industry experts agree, naming the Civic a Kelly Blue Book “Best Buy” and an AutoGuide.com 2016 Car of the Year nominee. But don’t take our word for it. Now it’s time to get behind the wheel of a new 2016 Honda Civic at one of your conveniently located Miami Valley Honda Dealers and see for yourself why the completely redesigned 2016 Honda Civic is head and shoulders the better choice when compared to the Corolla.
Don’t Miss Out On Your Chance To Win!