2013 Honda Civic vs. 2013 Toyota Corolla

By Emme Hall.

So you’re searching for a new car. This is probably the millionth car review you’ve read, and 999,999 of them reviewed a top of the line model. Well, you’re in luck, Dear Car Buyer. May I present to you a comparison of the BOTTOM of the line 2013 Honda Civic Sedan LX and the 2013 Toyota Corolla L. Both offer reliable and inexpensive transportation, but which one will exit the Thunderdome of Autocomparison.com the winner?

The Civic features a 1.8L inline 4 cylinder engine, producing 140 hp and 120 lb/ft of torque. Power is put through to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission standard, or a 5 speed available automatic. 0-60 falls just a hair over 9 seconds. EPA fuel ratings are 28-mpg city, 36-mpg highway, combined 31-mpg for the manual and 28/39/32 for the automatic.

2013 Honda Civic

Toyota offers up a 1.8L inline 4 cylinder engine, good for 132 hp and 128 lb/ft of torque. The front wheels get going via a 5 speed manual transmission. There is no automatic available in the L model. If you don’t want to row your own gears, you’ll need to upgrade to the LE, though you’ll only get a 4 speed automatic. It will take you 10.1 seconds to get from 0-60. EPA estimates are 27-mpg city, 34-mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined.

When the Honda Civic came out, critics and buyers alike rebelled against the cheap plastic interior and bland styling. Honda responded with an upgraded interior and a new rear fascia that brings the car into the now. Many of the debatable material choices in the interior have been replaced with choices that evoke a more sophisticated look and feel. Standard features include Bluetooth, a backup camera, iPod and Pandora functionality, and even a text message function.

2013 Honda Civic

The 2013 Toyota Corolla L is plagued by the same cheapie interior problems of the 2012 Civic. Unfortunately, the designers haven’t done much to fix them. It’s still full of rock hard plastics and the standard feature list is not that impressive. When you’re bragging about front and rear seat pockets and four-cup holders, you know you’re in for a basic, utilitarian interior.

2013 Toyota Corolla

Ask any Honda fanboy out there, and they’ll tell you that the Civic has been one of the better handling sedans for years. For 2013, the suspension and steering have been tweaked just a bit and as a result, the Civic is one of the most composed rides in its class. Buyers looking for more power will undoubtedly look to the Si model, but the LX is adequate and should please most consumers.

The Corolla offers merely an acceptable ride. Not too sporty, not too floaty…you’ll get to your destination in comfort, but the fun factor just isn’t there. Steering was a bit too sloppy for my taste, and both steering and throttle are not sensitive to driver inputs.

2013 Toyota Corolla

The 2013 Honda Civic LX starts at $18,165. The 2013 Toyota Corolla L costs less, starting at $16,230 but at the expense of standard features and the fun factor. The clear winner here is the Honda Civic. It’s worth the extra $2,000 for an upgraded interior and a car that you’ll look forward to getting into in the morning.

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Honda and Toyota.)