The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are two of the most popular compact cars and have been around for decades. Their longevity has been for many reasons, including legendary reliability, fuel efficiency, and affordability on top of cutting-edge features despite their lower price range.

In the 2023 model year, what sets these two compact cars apart and which one is best for you? Clutch takes a deep dive into the Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla comparison to see which is best for you.

A Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla positioned next to each other.

Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Exterior

When deciding between the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, exterior design can be a big deciding factor. Let's see how the looks of these two compact economy cars stack up against one another.

The 2023 Honda Civic features an all-new design that moves away from its old sportier look and into a more distinguished, upright design. It’s still a sharp car — it’s simply grown up a bit.

The front grille is more prominent and almost mimics the new Honda Accord, giving the car a distinguished and upscale aggressive look. The LED headlights and taillights are also a nice touch, providing excellent visibility and adding to the overall aesthetic appeal of the car.

The Honda Civic also has a wide range of colour options. If you prefer something simple, you can opt for the classic silver, white, or black. However, if you prefer something bolder, you can opt for something bolder like Rallye Red, Aegean Blue Metallic, or Sonic Grey Pearl. Upgrading to the performance-oriented Si model allows you to opt for the eye-grabbing Blazing Orange Pearl paint.

While most of the Honda Civic lineup has a four-door sedan body, buyers can also get a hatchback variant. The Civic Hatchback is also the base for the wild Civic Type R model.

The Toyota Corolla has a more traditional compact car design that caters to a younger crowd with a sporty front fascia, black mesh grille, and J-shaped bi-beam LED headlight. While it’s not as mature looking as the Civic, the Corolla does a great job aligning its design with its target demographic’s desires.

Like the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla has various colour options, including Classic Silver Metallic, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Black Sand Pearl. Whether you prefer a more subdued hue or something brighter and more eye-catching, there's a colour to suit your taste.

Like the Civic, the Corolla also has a hatchback body style that charges the bulk of its design with the sedan. The Corolla Hatchback is also the basis for the performance-oriented 2023 GR Corolla.

Interior view of the 2023 Toyota Corolla (top) and 2023 Honda Civic (bottom).

Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Interior

While the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are compact, low-cost models, buyers still want style, comfort, convenience, and safety. Let’s see how these models stack up.

Inside, the 2023 Honda Civic takes a minimalistic, driver-focused approach that enhances the driving experience without distraction. The optional all-digital 10.2-inch instrument cluster is highly customizable and provides the driver with all the information they need at a glance, but even the standard 7-inch digital cluster is highly useful.

Other comfort-enhancing standard features in the 2023 Honda Civic include an acoustic windshield, automatic climate control, and rear-seat heater ducts. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, and more. It also comes with 60/40 split-folding rear seats for added cargo and seating flexibility.

The Honda Civic's interior is known for its spaciousness. The cabin features 949.96 mm of rear legroom, giving kids and adults plenty of space. Cargo room is also ample at 419 litres in the Honda Civic sedan. The hatchback model balloons this capacity to 693 litres.

The Toyota Corolla also offers a comfortable interior with a minimalistic design similar to the Civic’s. However, it lacks in a few areas, starting with its 4.2-inch driver information display, which is far smaller than the Honda Civic's instrument cluster. You can upgrade to a 7-inch unit, but that only matches the Civic’s standard cluster and doesn’t come close to its upgraded gauges. It also lacks standard automatic climate control and heated front seats, but these are available in higher trim levels.

Though the Toyota Corolla lacks some features, it still offers a comfortable and spacious interior. The rear seats have 883.9 mm of legroom in the sedan model, which is smaller than the Civic but plenty for young children and teens. Adults can sit back there too, but they may feel cramped on longer trips. The Corolla Hatchback is even tighter at just 754.5 mm, making it uninhabitable for adults and taller teens.

Regarding rear headroom, the Corolla and Civic are very similar — they offer around 942 mm. This is plenty of room for most kids, teens, and adults.

Trunk space in the Corolla sedan rings in at 370.9 litres, while the hatchback offers 504 litres of cargo space with the rear seats up and 651.3 litres with them folded.

Overall, the Civic clearly wins in the interior battle, as it has more standard features and is roomier. However, you may prefer the Corolla’s looks and have no concern with its smaller dimensions.

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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Powertrain

While powertrains are generally not overly attractive in compact cars, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have some very interesting drivetrain options to meet many buyers’ needs.

The Honda Civic comes standard with a 2.0-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine that delivers 158 horsepower (hp) and 138 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. This power flows through a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) and out to the front wheels. The range-topping Civic Touring gets a 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder i-VTEC engine with 180 hp and 17 lb-ft of torque, but it also includes a CVT and front-wheel drive (FWD). If you want a manual transmission with either of these engines, you must opt for the hatchback, as it has an available six-speed gearbox for each engine.

Fuel consumption ratings check in at 6.9 L/100 km to 7.1 L/100 km with the 1.5-litre engine and 6.9 to 8 L/100 km combined.

The Toyota Corolla has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. While it may not be as powerful as the Civic, the Corolla's engine is still efficient and reliable. This power also routes through CVT and out to the front wheels. The other option is the Corolla Hybrid, which pairs a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined 138 hp. The Corolla Hybrid has the added advantage of having available AWD — something the Civic cannot match.

The Corolla hatchback delivers superior fuel economy across the board, delivering 6.7 to 6.8 L/100 km combined in its sedan and hatchback variants. Opt for the hybrid model, and consumption plummets to between 4.7 and 5.3 L/100 km combined.

For fans of performance cars, the Civic and Corolla have options. The 2023 Honda Civic has a pair of performance models, starting with the Civic Si Sedan. This model includes a retuned version of the 1.5-litre unit that pumps out 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, upgraded suspension, and a six-speed manual transmission.

The Civic Type R takes things to a new level with a turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque and shoots it through a rev-matching six-speed manual transmission and out to the front wheels. This delivers roughly 5.8-second 0-100 km/h sprint time.

While the Civic Si and Type R have been around for a while, the Corolla only recently dipped its toes back into the performance area with the GR Corolla. The 2023 GR Corolla has a 1.6-litre turbo three-cylinder engine that produces 300 hp and 273 to 295 lb-ft of torque. This power flows through a standard six-speed manual transmission to all four wheels for a sub-five-second 0-100 km/h sprint time.

In terms of driving experience, the Honda Civic's more powerful engine gives it an edge over the Toyota Corolla. The Civic is more responsive and offers better acceleration, making it a more engaging car to drive. However, the Corolla's engine is still capable and provides a smooth and comfortable ride.

The Civic and Corolla each offer a range of thrifty and reliable powertrains, but the Corolla has the edge with its fuel-efficient hybrid variant with available AWD and slightly better base fuel economy. The Corolla also has the edge in performance, as its GR Corolla may have less power than the Civic Type R, but it has standard AWD and beats the Civic Type R to 100 km/h by nearly a second.

However, performance and hybrids aside, the Corolla and Civic are evenly matched, though some buyers may prefer the zippier feeling of the turbo 1.5-litre in the Civic Touring.

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Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Safety Features

Honda and Toyota now prioritize safety, and the Corolla and Civic are no exceptions. Both models include high safety ratings and loads of advanced safety technology.

The Honda Civic includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety features standard. This suite of safety features includes forward-collision warning, blind-spot assist, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and more.

The Toyota Corolla has its own standard suite of safety features called Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. This suite of features includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, road-sign recognition, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and more.

The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla each received IIHS Top Safety Pick (TSP) honours from the IIHS — its second-highest award. Both models received “Good” crash test ratings across the board and “Superior” ratings for their automatic emergency braking systems. The IIHS recently updated its testing, and the Civic received two “Acceptable” ratings in these new crash tests to the Corolla’s one “Acceptable” rating.

No matter which way you slice it, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are some of the safest small cars on the road today. You and your passengers will be safe regardless of the model you pick.

Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Technology

The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla have lots of advanced technology to suit a wide range of shoppers, but they are far from identical.

Let’s start with their similarities. Both have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, one USB port, power windows, and more. Other than this, these models have a fair number of differences.

The Honda Civic comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, while the Corolla’s standard screen is eight inches. While both models have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Civic requires cables to connect your smartphone, but the Corolla’s system is all wireless. Both models include air conditioning, but the Civic has automatic climate control, while the Corolla’s system is manual. The Civic also has standard heated front seats, while the Corolla’s are optional. Finally, the Civic’s standard audio system has eight speakers, but the Corolla has only six speakers in its standard setup.

As you move up through the trim levels, these compact sedans match up well, so you can make them equally equipped with options.

Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Pricing

When shopping for a compact car, pricing matters for many shoppers. The 2023 Honda Civic starts from $28,230 for the LX-B trim level and tops out at $35,295 for the Touring trim. The hatchback is slightly pricier, starting at $32,075 for the LX trim and topping out at $39,075 for the Civic Sport Touring. Performance fans can get the Civic Si starting from $37,075 or the Civic Type R for $51,945.

The Toyota Corolla starts slightly lower than the Civic, as the 2023 Corolla L’s MSRP starts at $25,804.50. The Toyota Corolla XSE tops the range with a starting MSRP of $33,004.50. The Corolla Hatchback starts from $26,604.50 for the SE trim and tops out at $33,004.50. For performance fans, the 2023 GR Corolla starts at $46,604.50 and tops out at $57,104.50.

In terms of pricing, the Corolla is the cheaper option across the board, so some of its shortcomings in terms of features are made up for in its pricing.

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Save Thousands on a Used Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla at Clutch

So, which comes out on top in the Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla head-to-head battle? It really depends on your wants and needs, as the Toyota Corolla’s lower price allows you to move into upper trims and packages that add features to put it on par with the Civic. So, it really all comes down to your personal preference.

You can get even more value by purchasing a quality used Toyota Corolla or used Honda Civic from Clutch, Canada’s premier online automotive retailer. You can be confident you’ll get the highest-quality pre-owned compact car from Clutch. Why? Because every vehicle we sell includes a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty.

We also toss in a 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don’t love your used Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla from Clutch within the test-own period, you can exchange or return it, no questions asked. Plus, the Clutch experience is 100% online, so there’s no need to set foot in a dealership. We’ll even drop the vehicle off for you.

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