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2021 Corolla vs. 2020 Civic Comparison

The Corolla debuted in 1968 in the North American market and has been a popular choice for drivers for decades. The Honda Civic drove onto the scene five years later in 1973.

Both cars have features people want, like safety. The 2021 Corolla comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). Honda has its own suite of safety features called Honda Sensing®, but it lacks a feature comparable to Toyota’s Road Sign Assist (RSA).

At the entry level, the 2021 Toyota Corolla L has a lot of media options like Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, plus SiriusXM®. The comparable 2020 Civic LX misses out on these features.

Find out whether the 2021 Corolla or the 2020 Civic has the standard features you're looking for in this head-to-head comparison.

Published Date: 10/29/2020

Two 2021 Corolla's parked side by side

Safety

  • The 2021 Corolla has Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) that comes packed with safety features.
  • Honda has its own suite of safety features called Honda Sensing® but it lacks Road Sign Assist (RSA).
  • Corolla has 4 more airbags than the Civic.

Safety is key in any vehicle you choose, but can a vehicle class that is known for efficiency and affordability deliver on safety as well? Read on to find out.

Standard Safety Features

The 2021 Corolla L w/ CVT has Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). This active suite includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Road Sign Assist (RSA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). Corolla models with a 6-speed manual transmission swap Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control for Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) and do not have Lane Tracing Assist (LTA).

Honda has its own suite of safety features called Honda Sensing®. It has Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). However, the Honda Civic lacks a feature comparable to Toyota’s Road Sign Assist (RSA).

When it comes to standard airbags, the 2021 Corolla has ten. These include a driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, passenger seat cushion airbag, rear side airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbag. The Civic has just six airbags. They include Advanced Front Airbags (i-SRS), SmartVent® Front Side Airbags, Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensor.

Black 2021 Corolla driving through the city at night

Interior

  • The 2021 Toyota Corolla L has Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® compatibility standard while these features are only available on the Civic Sport or higher.
  • You won't find Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, or SiriusXM® on the 2020 Civic LX.
  • The Corolla LE and higher have larger 8-in. touchscreen displays compared to the 7-in touchscreen on the Civic Sport and higher.

Nothing makes a ride more fun than cranking the tunes while heading to your next adventure. So, which of these cars has better standard audio multimedia features?

Media Options

The 2021 Toyota Corolla L has a lot of media options. Enjoy a 7-in. touchscreen, 6 speakers, Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, plus SiriusXM® with a 3-month All Access trial standard. The 2020 Civic base model LX misses out on Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility, and SiriusXM®. To get these features you'd need to get the Sport trim or higher. All Civic trims miss out on Amazon Alexa. The Civic Sport trim and higher have a 7-in. touchscreen. The Corolla LE and higher have an 8-in. touchscreen.

You also get a standard Front USB 2.0 media port and one USB charge port on all Corolla grades. The Civic, on the other hand, has a 1.0-Amp USB Audio Interface and one 1.5-Amp USB Smartphone/Audio Interface. These are only available on the Sport or higher.

Get hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology with the 2021 Corolla and 2020 Civic.

White 2021 Corolla driving fast

Performance

  • With an EPA-estimated 30/38/33 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, the Corolla and Civic offer the same fuel economy at the base level.
  • However, the Corolla Hybrid LE has an EPA-estimated 53/52/52 (city/highway/combined) while the Civic lacks a hybrid-engine option.
  • Get ToyotaCare with the lease or purchase of the 2021 Corolla.

This generation of Corolla is as efficient and affordable as it is fun to drive. The 2021 Corolla’s sport-style exterior has a driving experience to match. But, how does the Civic stack up?

Performance and Reliability

Both the 2021 Corolla base trim and the 2020 Civic base trim have an EPA-estimated 30/38/33 (city/highway/combined) MPG. But, there are a few differences across the other configurations of these two vehicles. For instance, the Civic Sport with Manual transmission has an EPA-estimated MPG of 25/36/29 (city/highway/combined). The Corolla SE trim's available manual transmission has a slightly better EPA-estimated 29/36/32 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating.

To really help save gas, the Corolla has a hybrid-engine option. The Corolla Hybrid LE has an EPA-estimated 53/52/52 (city/highway/combined). The 2020 Honda Civic does not have a hybrid variant. Instead, you’ll have to look into the Honda Insight.

When it comes to keeping up the performance throughout the life of the vehicle, all new Toyotas come with a factory-scheduled maintenance program called ToyotaCare. This program lasts two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. It also comes with Roadside Assistance which lasts two years and unlimited miles. Honda does have a program comparable to ToyotaCare called HondaCare®. However, its cost and what exactly it covers depends on the HondaCare® Vehicle Service Contract you buy.

Two people hanging out by the 2021 Corolla

Conclusion: Corolla vs. Civic

  • Both cars have a suite of advanced active safety features but the Honda Civic does miss out on a feature comparable to Road Sign Assist (RSA).
  • The base trim Civic LX also lacks some media features like Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility, and Amazon Alexa, which the Corolla has standard.
  • The 2021 Corolla has a hybrid-engine variant while the 2020 Civic does not.

Toyota and Honda are great competitors, and this holds true for their compact sedan offerings. The 2021 Corolla has Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) and the 2020 Honda Civic has Honda Sensing® standard. While these advanced active safety suites have a lot of comparable features, Honda Sensing® does miss out on a feature similar to Toyota’s Road Sign Assist (RSA).

The same can be said for the 2020 Civic's media features. The base trim Civic lacks some media features that the base trim Corolla L has, like Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility, plus Amazon Alexa.

The Civic also lacks a hybrid-engine variant. The closest Honda competitor to the Corolla Hybrid LE would be the 2020 Honda Insight.