Honda has launched the all-new 11th generation Civic.
The Toyota Corolla is a global juggernaut.
Both compact cars are standard-bearers in the segment.
The rivalry between the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla is on a scale similar to that of the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado. There might be fewer guns, cowboy hats, and tractor pulls but within the annals of Honda and Toyota, we can easily envision heated discussions with respect to strategies about how to take out the bestseller, or how to stay in the top position.
That best-seller is the Honda Civic. In Canada, it’s the best-selling car while in the US, it’s the best-selling compact car and the second best-selling car overall. Despite this, year after year, and in the history of the automobile, the Toyota Corolla continues to reign supreme. This is truly a duel of epic proportions.
Both cars bring so much to the table and on every conceivable level. They both enjoy enviable reputations and if you’re shopping for a compact car, there’s a strong likelihood that the Civic and Corolla are high on the list. Let’s compare available specifications and see which, on paper at least, seems the more interesting
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
We do not yet have pricing for the all-new 2022 Honda Civic. As it’s expected to arrive this summer, we are still a few weeks away from getting the information.
Based on the 2021 model year Civic, we’re guessing that pricing will increase slightly. We estimate that the base price will hover between $24,000 and $24,500. In the US, $23,000 should resemble the car’s base price.
In Canada, the Corolla sedan is priced from $19,350. In the US, pricing starts at $20,025. The Corolla is also available with a hybrid powertrain and is priced from $23,600 in the US, $25,090 in Canada
Which Has The More Efficient Powertrains?
Although it’s all-new, the 2022 Honda Civic will get carry-over engines from the previous 10th generation Civic. The naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, good for 158 horsepower and 138 lb.-ft. of torque, will power the first three trims in Canada (LX, EX, Sport). The range-topping Touring trim will receive a slightly updated turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine. Its output climbs to 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, from 174 and 162 respectively.
Both engines are fitted to an updated continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels. Fuel economy improves by up to 0.3L/100km or 6.9L/100km in combined driving.
The basic 2021 Toyota Corolla (L trims) are powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine that produces 139 horsepower. Average fuel consumption is of 7.0L/100km no matter the transmission. “S” trim Corollas get a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder good for 169 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. Depending on iteration, a 6-speed manual or a CVT can be matched to the 2.0L. Rated fuel consumption for this engine is 7.5L/100km with the manual, about 6.5L/100km with the CVT. In Canada, the 1.8L can be outfitted with both transmissions however in the US, only the CVT is available.
The Corolla Hybrid is powered by a 121-horsepower 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine mated to an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) and an electric motor. Its rated fuel consumption is only 4.4L/100km in combined driving.
Which is better equipped?
The 2021 Toyota Corolla L features a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and numerous safety elements. They include pre-collision detection, lane departure alert with assist, and dynamic radar cruise control.
Higher trims gain a 7-inch digital cluster display, an 8-inch touchscreen, heated front, and rear seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, and much more.
The 2022 Honda Civic is fitted, as standard, with heated front seats (Canada only), a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and numerous safety features such as Blind Spot information system, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, and more.
Touring trims will get a 10.2-inch digital instrument display, a 9-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, a Bose audio system, and even more safety and driver-assisted technologies.
In this section, the Corolla clearly trails behind the Civic and most of its competition in the segment.
What About Styling?
Toyota has long been faulted for its bland, or “beige”, designs. Those days are long gone. In fact, few manufacturers dare to be so bold, with the possible exception of Hyundai.
Toyota’s “S” and “L” trim strategy enables them to deliver slightly more subdued versions and more aggressive design features under the same family of products. Some aspects, such as the current grille, may not be to everyone’s taste however the “old” Corolla sure isn’t visually boring anymore.
Strangely, it’s now the 2022 Civic that is toned down. The previous-generation Civic was far louder visually – the new car marks a return to Honda’s more conservative design roots. The cleaner lines are more premium, with hints stemming from the current Accord and the new Acura TLX. The taillights however look to be heavily inspired by a certain German competitor.
We think the new 11th gen Civic will please even more potential buyers, including those that may find the Corolla a little too youthful for their tastes.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
At one point in time, before SUVs, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla were the heart and soul of each auto company. They remain critical for volume and market share, but not necessarily the bottom line.
The Corolla is Toyota’s Golden Girl. In its 12 generations, more than 45 million have been built and sold in nearly 55 years. Some generations have cult followings and Toyota is looking to capitalize on this with future performance versions. The Corolla is the Land Cruiser of compact cars.
The Civic has given Honda bragging rights. At one time, the Accord was huge but it lost and continues to lose, to the Camry. As for the Corolla, it can’t catch the Civic in Canada or the US.
Both of these cars also embody their respective brands’ desirable reputations for building top quality and reliable products. This cannot change.
Our Thoughts On The 2022 Honda Civic And 2021 Toyota Corolla
It’s difficult for us to imagine that the Corolla will one day surpass the Civic as the sales leader on an annual basis. It’s equally impossible to picture the Civic ever globally outselling the Corolla.
Shopping between these two compact cars comes down to either personal preference or, failing that, flipping a coin. Both typically provide years of nearly flawless service, low ownership costs, efficiency, and strong resale values.
Both cars are serious winners.