You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2021 Toyota Corolla or 2021 Honda Civic? Pros and Cons of Each Compact Sedan

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/15/2021 Duncan Brady,MotorTrend Staff,Ryan Lugo,Manufacturer
a car parked in a parking lot: 2021 Toyota Corolla or 2021 Honda Civic © MotorTrend Staff,Manufacturer 2021 Toyota Corolla or 2021 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are natural competitors, two affordable, efficient compact sedans from automakers with deserved reputations for reliability. Toyota issued the more recent update; the current-generation Corolla sedan made its debut for the 2020 model year whereas the Civic was last redesigned for 2016. That said, the current Civic has surpassed our expectations since launch. Should you buy the 2021 Toyota Corolla or 2021 Honda Civic? Keep reading to find out the strengths and weaknesses of each.

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

2021 Toyota Corolla: Pros Over the Civic

Infotainment

a close up of a car: 2021-Toyota-Corolla-Apex-10.jpg © Motor Trend Staff 2021-Toyota-Corolla-Apex-10.jpg

The Corolla holds an obvious advantage in the infotainment space. Both cars' base trims offer smaller touchscreens with fewer features, though the Corolla's is a 7.0-inch display and the Civic's measures a tiny 5.0 inches. All other Corollas feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted high on the dash so you don't have to take your eyes off the road for long. The upgraded display in the Civic is a smaller 7.0-inch unit, and its placement lower in the center stack is less ideal.

LED Headlights

The Corolla is notable among compact sedans for including LED headlights even on the bare-bones base model, which starts at $20,920. Corolla SE trims and above include LED daytime running lights and LED taillights. To get LED headlights on the Civic, you have to step up to the top-spec Touring trim, which will set you back at least $29,055.

Corolla Hybrid (Value)

a car parked on the side of a road © MotorTrend Staff,Manufacturer

Unlike the Civic, the Corolla can be ordered with an exceptionally efficient hybrid powertrain. The Corolla Hybrid, starting at $24,495, delivers an outstanding 53/52 mpg city/highway and offers a total range of 593 miles. It also gets an Excellent IntelliChoice value rating. However, the Honda Insight can be thought of as a Civic Hybrid, and it starts at just $23,885. It gets up to 55/49 mpg and 551 miles of range.

2021 Honda Civic: Pros Over the Corolla

Interior Space

a car parked in a parking lot © MotorTrend Staff,Manufacturer

Even though the Civic and Corolla ride on the same 106.3-inch wheelbase, the Civic offers more room. In the Honda, passengers will enjoy 42.3 inches of legroom up front and 37.4 inches in the back seat; the Corolla offers 42.0 and 34.8 inches, respectively. The Civic has more trunk space, too—15.1 cubic feet to the Corolla's 13.1 cubes.

Ride Quality, Dynamics

a car parked on the side of a road: 2021 Honda Civic Sedan Touring 12 © Motor Trend Staff 2021 Honda Civic Sedan Touring 12

The Civic is a confident, compliant handler, aided by its independent rear suspension. It exists among the few affordable compacts that are genuinely fun to drive. Ride quality is impressive, too, ironing out bumps and ruts that are seriously felt and heard in the Corolla.

Performance

This one isn't even close; the Civic outperforms the Corolla in all its forms. Comparing both cars with their base engines, the Civic completes the 0-60 sprint in 7.8 seconds, and the Corolla takes a lethargic 10.2 seconds. If you look at both cars' upgraded engines, the Civic will sprint to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds while the Corolla needs 7.8 seconds, a whole extra second. Plus, Honda offers an enthusiast's choice in the Civic Type R.

Feature-Per-Dollar Value

When we compared the Civic against the Corolla and Mazda 3, the Civic was not only the least expensive of the three, but it also offered the most feature content. Options included on the Civic Touring such as a powered passenger seat and heated rear seats aren't available on any trim of the Corolla. The Civic's interior material quality is superior, too.

a person sitting on the seat of a car: 2021-Honda-Civic-Sedan-Touring-5.jpg © Motor Trend Staff 2021-Honda-Civic-Sedan-Touring-5.jpg

The Verdict

In that aforementioned compact comparison, we closed with the following statement about the Honda Civic: "It's simply the best compact sedan you can buy today. The Civic nailed every single aspect of our criteria." The Honda's value, interior space, and driving experience are far superior to those of the Corolla. That said, those looking for a fuel-sipping hybrid at an affordable price point will be well served by a Corolla Hybrid.

2021 Toyota Corolla Pros Over Honda Civic

  • Infotainment
  • LED Headlights
  • Hybrid offering

2021 Honda Civic Pros Over Toyota Corolla

  • Interior space
  • Ride quality, dynamics
  • Performance
  • Feature-per-dollar value

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Motor Trend

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon