Best Sedans

The Civic Just Dominated the Corolla in MotorTrend’s Showdown

2019 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla have both been around for over 40 years. With several once-popular brands and models falling by the wayside during that time, it would be hard to argue against their staying power. What’s the secret behind these models’ longevity?

The Civic and Corolla are practical, fuel-efficient models that provide a fun driving experience. Toyota and Honda manage to find a balance between evolving and staying true to their mission. Another factor involves how they treat consumers. The two cars deliver what drivers seek in sedans — an affordable, reliable option that’ll retain its value for years to come.

Seeking to maintain its reputation, Toyota redesigned the Corolla for 2020, fitting it with technology that ensures a better driving experience. MotorTrend recently pitted the new 2020 Corolla against the scarcely updated 2019 Honda Civic to see which has the edge over the other.

2019 Civic vs. 2020 Corolla

The tested Corolla was the 2020 XSE trim, which retails at $29,168. With an EPA rating of 31 MPG city and 38 MPG highway, it’s fitted with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine that makes 169 hp. The car also boasts 18-inch wheels, a better sound system, and adaptive LED headlights.

The 2019 Civic meanwhile is powered by a turbo-four engine that makes 174 hp and has an EPA rating of 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

Performance

Aside from the Civic’s slightly superior power, it’s also more responsive. The 2020 Corolla XSE pairs a CVT with a physical launch gear. In the 2019 Civic, the CVT balances your requests, allowing for immediate acceleration.

In terms of driving experience, the Civic is more fun to drive. The 2019 Honda Civic lacks the exaggerated simulation of gear shifts found in the Corolla, and it rides better overall.

Interior

As for the vehicles’ interiors, the 2019 Civic has the 2020 Corolla beat here, too. The Civic’s design and materials are much better. Though the leather seats in both cars have cloth inserts, the Civic’s inserts are smaller and sleeker.

Honda does away with back-seat spatial compromises. It has phone-charging space and creative storage in the front, as well as adequate space for the back-seat passengers. The Civic also has more trunk space. The 2019 model’s rear visibility is better than the Corolla’s due to back-seat headrests.

While the Civic’s phone tray may be a bit small for those with large cell phones, the Corolla has a more open tray. However, you’ll need to know how to securely place your phone on it to stop it from falling during a fast turn.

However, the Civic’s seven-inch touchscreen is smaller than the eight-inch one found in the Corolla. Toyota’s touchscreen also has a higher placement, which allows for better visibility.

Safety

When it comes to safety, both cars pull no punches. They both include full packages of safety equipment, like automatic emergency braking. The Corolla has a lane departure alert that includes steering assist. The Civic meanwhile has lane-keeping assist. Honda’s braking is slightly better though, going from 60 to 0 in 115 feet compared to the Corolla’s 119 feet.

Though the Civic still has its setbacks, it comes out ahead. The car provides a better driving experience and more space. It has a better look, and a more upscale interior feel.