2019 Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla
Those looking for safe smaller sedans might find themselves torn between getting the 2019 Honda Civic or the 2019 Toyota Corolla. Both of these vehicles are priced within the same affordable range and carry a lot of similar features. Still, there are some pretty significant differences that warrant a comparison.
For those who are familiar with its recent predecessors, the 2019 Toyota Corolla carries over unchanged from the previous model year. The 2019 Honda Civic, on the other hand, sees a few significant changes (such as the Sport trim now being available as a coupe and hatchback) but is not yet due for its big revamp.
That being said, it is time to jump into the key differences between the 2019 Honda Civic and the 2019 Toyota Corolla.
When it comes to performance, having the right powertrain is absolutely essential. A match-up between a good engine and poor transmission (or vice-versa, or both) could ruin an otherwise enjoyable vehicle. The 2019 Honda Civic does not have that problem. In fact, it is safe to say that Honda has worked hard to pair powerful (yet small) engines with the right transmissions.
And the 2019 Civic gives you options. The base LX trim level comes with a 2.0-L engine in the sedan and coupe, but the hatchback gets a turbocharged 1.5-L 4-cylinder. The 2.0-L is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission and generates 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged 1.5-L engine also gets the 6-speed and musters up 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Also, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) can be optionally equipped on the LX.
The Sport trim level still has the 2.0-L engine as standard, but the 1.5-L gets beefed up a bit. With the manual transmission, it generates 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque while, with the CVT equipped, the Sport gets 180 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. On the EX trim, you get the same configurations, save for that the CVT is standard issue. The EX-L, Touring, and Sport Touring build upon what the EX offers.
The Civic SI draws even more power from the 1.5-L engine, getting 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque while the line-topping Type R receives a nice boost of power on the 2.0-L engine (getting 306 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque). Both the SI and Type R trim levels come with a standard 6-speed manual transmission.
The 2019 Honda Civic certainly has something for everyone when it comes to powertrains, but what about the Toyota Corolla?
The 2019 Corolla gives buyers two choices. The first is the base L trim's 1.8-L 4-cylinder engine, which puts out 132 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque with the help of its CVT. This pairing comes standard except for on the LE Eco. The LE Eco has an engine that is tweaked to produce 140 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. In essence, this more aerodynamic vehicle trades power for fuel efficiency.
So, which is the best option? Honda wins out with its 1.5-L turbocharged engine. Equipped on a mid-level trim like the EX or EX-L, this engine performs well with either the 6-speed manual or CVT matched to it. It still manages to be fuel efficient, too.
When it comes to drivability, a lot of things factor into what makes a vehicle such a stellar ride. From the ride quality itself to the cabin's design, everything should be taken into consideration before committing to a purchase. Knowing how the 2019 Civic stacks up against the Corolla could influence a buyer's decision.
The new Honda Civic is one of the most enjoyable vehicles to drive in its class. The 1.5-L turbocharged engine really contributes to this. There is plenty of low-end oomph that gets the Civic up-and-running on urban streets, and it accelerates smoothly on the highway. It has one of the zippiest acceleration speeds in its class, too, going from 0 to 60 mph in roughly 6.7 seconds.
Braking feels just as effortless as accelerating. All stops track straight-on, and the pedal offers just the right amount of firmness for the average driver. Should the driver need to make a panic stop from about 60 mph, the Civic comes to a steady halt in a safe distance for this segment.
Steering and handling both have a refined feeling to them on the Civic. The steering wheel feels like it has the right amount of weight behind it, and it performs with precision. When a quick turn needs to be made or the driver has to get in or out of a tight parking spot, the Civic responds quickly and provides an ample amount of feedback to the driver during all situations. Additionally, the vehicle's stability control lends to a smooth ride without any noticeable body roll.
The Toyota Corolla, on the other hand, has never really been known for an excellent driving performance. If anything, the 2019 model is merely adequate. Toyota has not given the Corolla a new engine since all the way back in 2009, ant the entire powertrain makes the vehicle feel dated.
When pressed to accelerate, the 4-cylinder engine puts up a fuss. It feels sluggish, and the CVT does not help matters. It does not smoothly shift like that on the Honda Civic. Instead, it feels hesitant. In fact, it takes the Corolla 10.1 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, making it one of the slowest in this segment.
The Corolla does have a capable braking system, although the panic stop distance (125 feet going from 60 mph to 0) is a little bit longer than average for the class. On the whole, the brakes feel appropriately firm and perform as expected when cruising around town.
Steering is something of a mixed bag on the Corolla. While it feels more on-point when taken up to speed on the highway, the Corolla struggles in town. The steering is simply too light for the driver to feel a lot of feedback through the wheel. Handling is somewhat better, although the all-season tires do not stick to the road quite so well as they could.
As far as interior comfort goes, the 2019 Civic has the Corolla heat. The Honda's seats are incredibly well-bolstered, and the driver seat can be maneuvered with ease in order to obtain the most comfortable driving position. The vehicle drives like its bigger sibling, the Accord, and the only sound that can be heard filtering into the cabin is the turbocharged engine's growl.
It is worth mentioning that the entire interior of the 2019 Civic is thoughtfully designed and skillfully executed. The rear seat is remarkably spacious for being such a small vehicle. Larger adults should have no problem with head or even leg space. Even the plastic pieces that can be seen inside of the cabin look and feel to be made of quality.
The Civic is both practical and enjoyable, inside and out. This is reflected by its superb climate control system. This system is easy to use with its big, clearly labeled controls. Dual-zone is standard and does a great job at evenly distributing air flow through the vents.
The 2019 Civic's infotainment system was vastly improved over previous models. Almost all of the former glitches seem to have been smoothed over, although the forward collision mitigation system does issue obnoxious false warnings. Other than that, expect to find big, obviously-marked, well-placed controls, both physical and digital.
The 2019 Toyota Corolla does have some merit to its interior. The SE trim's optional sport seats are extremely comfortable, and the climate control system certainly does its job. However, most other comfort aspects are simply average. The ride feels too bumpy for it to be considered cozy and is quite noisy, which begs the question as to why Toyota didn't take Honda's approach of designing the Corolla as if it were a bigger sedan.
The Corolla has interior controls that are easy for most people to use. Getting in and out is easy, too, since the door frames are wide and the step-in height is just low enough. Visibility fore and aft is clear, and the standard rear view camera makes backing out of a tight parking space a cinch. However, there is some question of quality to be made; almost everything that could be made of plastic, is. And it isn't the Honda's high-quality plastic.
Technology is also hit-and-miss on the Corolla. Whereas Honda stepped their game up, Toyota seems to have just shrugged, said "meh", and turned their attention toward their other vehicles. The Corolla's tech feels dated and doesn't offer much of anything exciting. The Entune infotainment system offers poor smartphone integration abilities, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are not available. When these features come standard on most other new vehicles, it is a wonder why Toyota hasn't added them.
Overall, the 2019 Honda Civic bests the Corolla in virtually every category that impacts the driving experience. While there are still a few things left for Honda to fully refine on the Civic, this is a top contender in its class. The Corolla, unfortunately, falls behind.
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Safety features are abundant on both of these vehicles, reflecting the upward consumer demand for better and more abundant driver aids. While the Corolla has some good features that are widely available across the line-up, the Honda has them as well.
The 2019 Honda Civic is packed with some helpful driver aids. The collision mitigation system does not always work as it should with its false warnings, but it can be handy when the vehicle really is in danger of impact. The lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control are nice bonuses, and there is a standard rear view camera on each trim level.
As far as safety ratings go, the 2019 Civic nailed a perfect score of 5/5 stars overall from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). It scored 5 stars on every test that was conducted and was found to only carry a 9.5% risk of experiencing a roll-over. Also, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) assigned the Civic "good" marks on everything it tested.
Toyota equips the Corolla with a fairly large array of standard safety features. Driver aids include a pre-collision system, steering assist with the lane departure system, and dynamic radar cruise control. This last feature is neat since it allows the driver to select a distance they want to maintain between their Corolla and the vehicle in front of them. The Corolla will maintain that distance, adjusting as necessary.
Safety ratings for the Corolla are decent enough. The NHTSA gave it 5/5 stars overall, with most tests being 5/5. The rollover test did get 4/5, and there is an 11.8% chance of a rollover, which is somewhat significant compared to the Civic. Like the Civic, the IIHS gave the Corolla all "good" ratings.
Which Has the Best Value?
Both of these vehicles are reasonably priced and carry industry-average warranties. The Corolla's price tag can be anywhere from $18,000 to about $23,000, while the Civic's can get up to abut $28,000. That does seem more expensive, sure, but there are some factors that make the Civic worthy of its price tag.
First off, the higher trim levels on the Civic boat a lot more power and abundance of standard features. The EX and up are definitely worth considering for purchase since they mix a good amount of power with a lot of practicality.
Even buying one of the lower Civic trim levels is a smart choice. They are competitively priced and, compared to the Corolla, still offer a lot in the way of performance.
Which is Better?
In the end, the victor is clear. The 2019 Honda Civic is a car that just cannot be beat. Others try but fall short, and the Corolla doesn't even seem to try. It is sad that Toyota seems to have let the Corolla fall by the wayside in favor of its larger vehicles, but that leaves the Civic more room to flourish. It is a car that both the frugal, fuel-savvy driver and the driver looking for a bit of spunk can enjoy.