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Should you buy a used Civic or a Corolla? There are plenty of options for a used compact car right now (that is, if you can actually find any in stock) but these two models remain as some of the best options on the market for pre-owned. The Honda Civic has always been one of the top Toyota Corolla competitors, and both 2020 models brought a lot to the table. Compare the used 2020 Civic vs. 2020 Corolla to see which affordable pre-owned car is the better choice.

Used 2020 Honda Civic overview

Used red 2020 Honda Civic Coupe driving at night on the highway with street lamps
2020 Honda Civic Coupe | Honda

When new, the 2020 Civic had a starting MSRP of $20,000. That means you should pay around $10,000-$18,000 for a used Civic, depending on condition, mileage, and location. The 2020 model is available in sedan, hatchback, and coupe configurations. Trim levels include the 2020 Civic EX, EX-L, LX, Sport, Sport Touring, and Touring. 

This compact car offers up to 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway. Performance ranges from 158 to 180 horsepower from either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 1.5-liter turbo engine. The 2020 Civic Type R makes a whopping 306 horsepower, but we’re excluding that from this vehicle comparison—that wouldn’t be very fair to the Corolla. 

Used 2020 Toyota Corolla overview

Used 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan in grey, parked on pavement in front of trees and bushes on a summer day
2020 Toyota Corolla sedan | Toyota

Is buying a used Corolla worth it? The answer is a resounding probably. When new, the 2020 Corolla had a starting MSRP of $19,600. That means you should pay around $9,000-$18,500 for a used Corolla, depending on condition, mileage, and location. A used Corolla may cost slightly less than a used Civic. 

The 2020 model is available only in sedan and hatchback configurations. Trim levels include the 2020 Corolla L, LE, Nightshade, SE, XLE, and XSE.

This compact car offers up to 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Performance ranged from 139 to 169 horsepower from either a 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter engine.

Civic vs. Corolla reliability

Which is more reliable, Civic or Corolla?

It’s a hard question. Everyone knows how reliable the Toyota Corolla is, but the Honda Civic is just as well-known for longevity and durability. When choosing a used car, there are some factors to consider to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want, but reliability should always be at the top of the list. 

Both used Civic and used Corolla sedans receive high marks for reliability, but the Corolla is more consistently one of the most reliable used cars.

A used 2020 Civic offers better performance than a Corolla

In a battle of used Civic vs. used Corolla, the Civic takes the edge in performance
2020 Honda Civic Sedan Touring | Honda

The Honda Civic offers some of the best engine options for a compact car, and the 2020 model was no exception. Efficient, basic four-cylinders and exciting turbocharged powerhouses are both available in the Civic lineup. Critics often praise the 2020 Civic for its dynamic handling and fun driving experience. (Overall performance has been named as one of the most annoying Corolla problems.)

A used 2020 Corolla is more solid and dependable 

Side view of a 2020 used Toyota Corolla
2020 Toyota Corolla sedan | Toyota

It’s true—a used Corolla isn’t all that flashy. But there are a lot of practical reasons why the Corolla is the best affordable car, especially as a used-car option. The Corolla was completely designed for 2020, and its new look was a big step up from previous generations. Even with some fancy new clothes, though, the 2020 Corolla still held its incredible reputation for reliability and dependability.

Final decision: Go with the Civic 


4 Reasons to Buy a Used 2020 Honda Civic

Kelley Blue Book makes the case that “both the Corolla and Civic appeal to those who need basic transportation that is dependable, affordable and respectable.” If you just need a handy daily driver, both of these used small cars are great choices. Find the most budget-friendly Civic or Corolla in a color you like, and you’re set for the next decade.

But, if you want a little more, a used 2020 Civic is likely to be more powerful, more stylish, and have a few more standard featured. A used 2020 Corolla is likely to last longer, be more reliable, and have better overall safety features and ratings.

We lean toward the Civic because it’s also plenty durable, reliable, and safe.