Compact cars are the unsung heroes, slightly larger than a subcompact, but not quite big enough to be classified as a mid-size sedan. These vehicles have a small wheelbase of no longer than 109 inches with between 100 and 109 cubic feet of combined passenger and cargo capacity and holding less than 20% of the U.S. car market.
If you were to describe these two vehicles in a few words, they might be boring but dependable. The Honda Civic is slightly more spacious, economical, and comfortable than the average compact but is also the blandest. The Toyota Corolla is frugal, trouble-free transportation for anyone who is not interested in excitement.
The quiet and comfortable ride of the Toyota Corolla makes it a favorable option, but it feels like very basic transportation and the interior is uninspired and downright dull. The Civic’s bland styling and hard plastic dash may negate the benefit of the roomy trunk and absorbent and smooth ride delivered by the 44-mpg Hybrid. The Civic looks slightly more sleek and modern, but neither option is particularly spectacular to behold. The interior of the Civic is described as a child’s plastic toy dashboard—much more rewarding to see than to touch.
Both vehicles boast excellent fuel economy of between 34-36 mpg highway and 27-28 mpg city and the dimensions are similar enough that they could be coming from the same vehicle as far as interior room, passenger volume, and trunk volume in particular. Identical fuel tank capacities give these vehicles both an excellent distance before your next fill up. If you really want to rack up on fuel mileage, check out the Civic’s Hybrid edition to get up to 44 mpg if you’re really trying to stretch it.
The Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic both have the reputation of lasting forever, a good option when you want to find a low-cost option for simply getting to where you need to go. The Civic’s handling is slightly better than the Corolla’s distinctly soggy handling, but both vehicles offer a decent ride making them comfortable for longer trips.
Both options are solid entries into the compact car class, although neither is likely to set your life on fire with excitement. They both meet the needs of buyers who are looking for a relatively inexpensive ride that does not have any specific designer requirements.