One of the most competitive car segments on the market is the compact car division. There are many vehicles to choose from, each with its brand’s unique style and features. Buyers are becoming more and more aware of the nearly-endless array of options, driving experiences, and exclusive offers. Most compact cars can be customized so that you can indeed have one-of-a-kind vehicle.
Two of the hottest vehicles in the category are the 2018 Honda Civic and 2018 Toyota Corolla sedans. Four-door sedans don’t have to be mid-sized, as these two compact vehicles prove. These two sedans are often battling head-to-head in comparisons, but there are some striking differences between them. Data from U.S. News points out that the Honda Civic is the highest rated compact car in the country, but the Corolla doesn’t fare so well, sitting at about No. 18. The Civic has an MSRP starting at $18,940. The 2018 Toyota Corolla sedan begins at an MSRP of $18,600. However, you can’t just let the numbers tell the story. There’s way more to see here, so here is a comprehensive breakdown of the 2018 Honda Civic sedan and its nemesis the 2018 Toyota Corolla.
The exterior design of these vehicles is reminiscent of two courting bachelors competing for attention from would-be suitors. Both are aggressive, almost overly so. The 2018 Honda Civic sedan has individual jewel LED headlights that look like they belong a luxury vehicle. The metallic features of the front grille swoop out like an exaggerated grin over the light stack. It has an attractive, sporty profile with small wheel wells and sharp frame lines. The rear taillights are the dominant feature of the sedan’s backside with brake lights that curve in a C-shape all the way up to the trunk lid itself.
The 2018 Toyota Corolla has a lower expectation in the style department because it never sought to own that title — until now. The front of the vehicle is its best side, sporting a low jutting grille that wants to give the impression of a sporty driving experience. The profile is a bit bland, even for a Corolla and only an upgrade to the mid-level trims will get proper metal alloy wheels. The rear of the Corolla sedan is also somewhat muted with an economy body style and run-of-the-mill taillights.
The interior features are where the battle gets thickest. The 2018 Honda Civic LX doesn’t come with a moonroof, but the equally priced Corolla LE does include one as a standard feature. The interior of the 2018 Toyota Corolla also has a leather-trimmed steering wheel on the mid-level and higher trims, but unfortunately no leather seating to match. The Honda Civic fires back with three different leather trim options. There are even options for heated front seats on the EX, EX-L and Touring models. The layout is entirely different. The Civic The 2018 Honda Civic also has a class-exclusive electric parking brake that activates with a button instead of by yanking a cumbersome stick handle like the Toyota Corolla.
That paradigm continues throughout the interior because the Civic sedan is more focused on the driver while the Corolla turns its attention to the passengers in the rear. When it comes to interior space, the 2018 Honda Civic has more front head, shoulder and hip room. The trunk is also larger. The 2018 Honda Civic sedan boasts 15.1 cubic feet, but the Toyota Corolla only has 13. The Toyota Corolla does beat out the Civic in rear legroom. It has 41.4 inches of rear legroom where the Civic only has 37.4.
Since compact cars are light on materials, their performance capabilities become much more interesting. The 2018 Honda Civic sedan has two engine types. There’s a basic inline-four on the EX and LX trims that achieves 158 horsepower and 138 lb. ft. of torque. The LX, paired with a manual transmission, garners some cool points from driving enthusiasts, but it also is available with a CVT automatic. The EX-T, EX-L and Touring model trims come with a turbocharged engine that ups the ante with 174 horsepower and 167 lb. ft. of torque.
The baseline Toyota Corolla sedan comes with a less-punchy 1.8 Liter inline-four. It gets 132 horsepower and 128 lb. ft. of torque from its CVT automatic transmission. The SE model trim can come with a manual transmission, but it still won’t match the performance chops of the Civic sedan. The 2018 Toyota Corolla also has the LE Eco model which puts a different 1.8 Liter, inline-four under the hood. This one gets 140 horsepower, but again, it doesn’t match up to the Civic. This category is an easy win for the 2018 Honda Civic sedan.
For the low MSRP of both vehicles, the expectation on standard safety equipment is rather small. However, both the Civic and the Corolla make exceptional attempts at going above the call of duty in the safety category. Both come with advanced stage airbags, but the Toyota Corolla sedan has eight airbags including the front knee airbags where the Civic does not. The Toyota Corolla sedan doesn’t come with a rearview camera though. The Civic sedan has one on every model trim. Honda also makes some driver-assisted safety functions available even on base models such as lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The 2018 Toyota Corolla doesn’t have these features available at all. Here is a case of getting what you pay for and the higher MSRP of the Honda Civic shows up here in the safety column.
At the Finish Line
Both vehicles have exceptional value at their price range and the dependability that comes from being two of the most-selling cars of all time. The 2018 Honda Civic is versatile and puts more attention on the driver. The Toyota Corolla’s approach is more centered around creating a comfortable ride. The Honda Civic is an obvious winner in the style category but surprisingly comes up short on the interior creature comforts. The performance capabilities of the Honda Civic are way ahead of the Corolla sedan, but perhaps Toyota will improve its numbers on the next generation Corolla. When it comes to safety, the Civic offers options to fit diverse needs, but the Corolla opts out of the contest altogether. At the finish line, it’s the 2018 Honda Civic sedan by a nose.