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Old 11th August 2008, 11:25   #1
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Default Civic vs Corolla Altis

Saw a good comparison in Edmunds forum.

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I was recently faced with a similar decision, and I test drove both cars several times before I made my choice. I initially wanted the 2009 Corolla LX, but I finally ended up with the 2008 Civic LX Sedan. Here are some of the issues I considered:

2008 Civic pluses:
The Civic offers far better handling than the Corolla, and the interior is much more refined. It's also more fun to drive. The whole car feels nicer overall. I guess it should be, as it's more expensive. However, since this is the end of the 2008 model year and the 2009 Civics are already on the way, you should be able to get a good deal on a 2008. I bought mine at Invoice price, nowhere near the MSRP. Your dealers may be digging in their heels at the moment, but they'll probably run a 2008 clearance sale right after they get your money.

2008 Civic minuses:
The Civic has fairly low ground clearance in front, so you definitely have to be more careful not to let the front end crunch into any of those cement blocks that are used in parking lots to mark the ends of the stalls. It's best to stop early, rather than rolling forward until the wheels (or nose) hit the barrier. The Corolla has much better front ground clearance and shouldn't have this problem. The Civic also looks as though the front would be more likely to scrape when pulling out of those driveways that have a low spot at the bottom. I haven't scraped yet, but that's because I pull out slowly so as not to "bounce" the nose into the ground. If you check around, I think you will see that quite a few Civics have scraped-up front-ends from dealing with these types of situations. Bottom line: If you're careful you can avoid scraping, but if you don't want to be that careful, you're going to get some serious scrapes. I suppose it's not the end of the world, but ouch!

Another issue that might make a difference to you, depending on the area you live in, is that Honda Civics are more theft-prone than Toyota Corollas. The darn thieves all seem to want to steal and strip Civics, although this was more of a problem with the earlier models before the engine immobilizer systems were improved. I haven't seen the latest statistics, but you might want to look into it, particularly for the area where you live. Maybe even add an alarm system.

2009 Corolla pluses:
I've driven Corollas for many years and I have always been impressed with how well built and reliable they are, and I would expect the 2009 Corolla to continue that trend. That said, there's not a lot that actually stood out when I inspected and drove the car. Overall, the Corolla seemed like a perfectly fine car that would easily suit my needs, except for one little issue that I'll mention in the "minuses", below. I didn't get much "wow" factor, but for a commuter car you don't really need that.

The low speed handling (i.e. parking, slow maneuvering) was fantastic. The electric power steering made those tasks so easy as to be almost effortless.

2009 Corolla minuses:
The Corolla has only a 4-speed automatic transmission, as compared to the Civic's 5-speed. The Civic's 5th gear quite tall, such that at 60mph the engine turns over at just under 2000 rpm. I don't remember the exact rpms, but I'm pretty sure the Corolla was revving a bit more than that at the same speed. I suppose it's not that big of a deal, as long as you get that great Corolla mileage. I think the Honda engine delivers more power and has greater fuel consumption, and Honda tries to make up for it by reducing the ground clearance, dramatically streamlining the car and adding a tall 5th gear.

Here's what turned out to be the deal breaker for me, although you may not mind it as much as I did: I couldn't get used to the feel of the Corolla's electric power steering. I loved it during low-speed parking lot maneuvers, but the actual driving part felt kind of weird. There just wasn't enough steering feel. For example, I found that there was very little increased "tug" on the wheel when I deliberately tightened a corner, and thus I wasn't getting the feedback that normally tells you when you're pushing too hard. I couldn't try this during my test drives, but I think that eventually I would have just broken into a front (understeer) skid and found my limits that way. (With good road feel, you can feel your limits approaching. Without it, you have to find out by pushing past them.)

Another thing that I didn't particularly like was the steering wheel's reduced ability to automatically straighten out after a turn. This, of course, is directly related to the steering wheel's lack of feedback, or "tug", during the turn. It wasn't really that bad, just different. I think that I eventually would have gotten used to it. It's probably fine for a commuter car that won't be aggressively driven.

The problem that I couldn't get past, however, was the steering response at higher speeds. I really wanted this car, so I did several test drives in several different 2009 Corollas, but in every case the Corolla showed a tendency to wander out of its lane at highway speeds. Oh, I could keep it in its lane, but I had to watch it every second. What would that be like during a long drive? Probably not so good, was my guess. It seemed to me that there just wasn't enough center-position "slack" in the steering, so every little twitch was transferred directly to the tires. The car was just too eager to please. "What's that, did your finger just twitch, do you want a lane change? OK, here we go. Enjoy!" What's the answer: Less twitchy drivers? Zen-like focus? Bionic arms? In my opinion, the Corolla's electric power steering is just too precise. It's a strange complaint, but I think it has some merit. Give us some slack, Toyota, we're only human!

Anyway, this issue may or may not affect you, depending on what kind of driver you are, what the roads are like where you drive, whether or not your front alignment is set properly, whether or not your tires are in good condition, etc. The best I can advise is to do another test drive and make sure you're ok with the steering feel. Many others in the Corolla forums have said that the 2009's electric power steering doesn't bother them at all, so my opinion is hardly definitive.

I was completely ready to buy the 2009 Corolla until I came up against this issue, but finally, almost grudgingly, I chose the 2008 Civic. Now that I've driven the Civic for awhile I'm actually very happy with it and I can't believe that I ever even considered buying the Corolla, but that's hindsight for you.

Good luck with your decision!
Reference: 08 Civic vs 09 Corolla - CarSpace Automotive Forums

Last edited by appuchan : 11th August 2008 at 11:30.
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Old 11th August 2008, 11:42   #2
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This is exactly what I had mentioned in a previous post of mine in the 2008 Corolla thread. The electric power steering is really a bummer compared to the hydraulic ones which the current Corolla has. The feedback of the former is less and the car swerves at the slightest twitch of the finger. I remember one of the forum members having an accident in a SX4 test drive car primarily due to the EPS. This actually prevents the driver from taking the car to high speeds.

The issues are similar in the NHC Vtec which has the electric power steering. The Fiesta handles so much better with the car giving a great feedback to the driver primarily due to its HPS.
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:14   #3
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It's trash. Saying like someone don't like Window Vista over XP, LPG over kerocine, emails over post, mobile phone over landline, DVDs over Cds, Air-Cons over fans, Katrina over Mallika.

Change.
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:29   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ym-enjn View Post
It's trash. Saying like someone don't like Window Vista over XP,

Change.
Things always dont change for the better - To call something good or call relatively better may have got to do with personal preferences. But many people do prefer XP over Vista anyday.

I personally like HPS over EPS any day. HPS gives much more feedback than EPS (atleast in all EPS cars I have driven)

There are still mourning about Honda dropping an iDSI engine instead of VTEC in NHC. (Though, people who swear by fuel efficiency will rejoice)

I wanted to make the point that 'newer' is not always 'better' - I hope I sent it across!

Last edited by sriramv.iyer : 11th August 2008 at 14:31. Reason: improve language.
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Old 11th August 2008, 15:33   #5
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Don't get me started on Vista. Rant Alert : It is one of those upgrades that actually is a such a big downgrade. Such a pig it is - Apologies to pigs for comparing them to Vista. In automotive terms - it is like, lets say BP coming up with a new fuel that is more expensive , makes you car run slower, takes a long time to start and shut down, would not work with majority of the cars on the road ( you will have to buy a new car to use the fuel ) and offer no compelling advantages other then looking slightly better. End Rant

Other examples of newer not necessarily better than older

Women - Not the Katrina , Mallika things, I meant phamilily women

Politicos

Cities - Eg, Banglaroe - Garden city to garbage city

And coming to the topic if it is the topic, I absalutely hate it when I have to steer constantly to just travel in a straight line. Electronic power steering used in low-end cars offer very little feed back when compared to their hyraulic counterparts generally.
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Old 11th August 2008, 15:50   #6
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This is just one user opinion, and may be important to some, but not to others. How important is this and other feedback is finally reflected in sales. Civic was the US leader in its segment in 5/08, but Corolla is leading in 6/08 and 7/08. In 7/08, Corolla sold 34438 and Civic 29125. In 6/08: Corolla 42180, Civic 39967.
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Old 11th August 2008, 16:06   #7
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"Civic vs Corolla Altis "

Its a good topic and will be a very very useful in near future, but the way it has started is not what I will call good. The first post itself divert it to different subject. This topic should be named something like "HPS over EPS" and discuss this to the heart. Lets make a new thread for Corolla vs Civic and get a good compairision get going. PLEASE MODS...
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Old 11th August 2008, 16:10   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ym-enjn View Post
"Civic vs Corolla Altis "

Its a good topic and will be a very very useful in near future, but the way it has started is not what I will call good. The first post itself divert it to different subject. This topic should be named something like "HPS over EPS" and discuss this to the heart. Lets make a new thread for Corolla vs Civic and get a good compairision get going. PLEASE MODS...
I think the poster talks about other points as well than steering. He feels it more important to have a steering of "his kind" when he makes the final decision. And he also says clearly it is his opinion and many others feel differently.
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Old 11th August 2008, 17:12   #9
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Fully agree with appuchan. By the way (BTW) there is a thread on HPS Vs EPS. Ym-enjn, you should read that :-)

For me the Corolla was just too long in the teeth. Civic with its awesome handling, styling and the 5 speed AT with paddle shift tilted me towards it.

Obviously the HPS is far more direct and easier to use. Having driven a Wagon R, Honda City, Alto at high speeds, I must say the EPS doesn't isntill any confidence. So scary when taking a high speed curve or while braking in a turn. Now with the HPS on a Civic... Ooh la la.....
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Old 11th August 2008, 17:26   #10
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Despite Civic has a tall 5th gear, Corolla still has the upper hand on highway fuel economy under real world driving. CanadianDriver: Special Feature - 2008 CanadianDriver 50-litre Challenge

Its copy from the original post. Even the original post (copying from which this thread is started) was closed on 7th post, whereas it was started very nicely to give views about the two cars..

08 Civic vs 09 Corolla - CarSpace Automotive Forums
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Old 12th August 2008, 19:10   #11
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New Corolla teasers are now available on the Toyota India website (Toyota - Welcome to the world of Toyota In India). I am assuming that they will spruce up the site as the launch date comes closer
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Old 25th August 2008, 18:46   #12
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Last time I was in US in May, I rented out the new Corolla to evaluate it against the Civic. I have posted my detailed opinion elsewhere on this forum, however in short the new Corolla does not offer anything phenomenal than what the current Corolla does not offer. It felt more like a midlife face lift version.

Regarding HPS and EPS, many people initially complain about the HPS being a bit heavier than EPS at low speed. However once you start using HPS, there is no going back to EPS. Steering response is a big big thing in overall driving experience and handling of car and the HPS does make a significant difference!

Quote:
This is just one user opinion, and may be important to some, but not to others. How important is this and other feedback is finally reflected in sales. Civic was the US leader in its segment in 5/08, but Corolla is leading in 6/08 and 7/08. In 7/08, Corolla sold 34438 and Civic 29125. In 6/08: Corolla 42180, Civic 39967.
One should be careful about reading into these numbers, as they also reflect brand preference of the country.
America is Toyota crazy (in economy segment). In fact it only suggests that with Civic Honda has been able to shake Toyota's strong hold in US.
Take same numbers for Canada and you would see Civic scoring huge sale over Toyota
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Old 25th August 2008, 18:53   #13
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Moved the thread to The International Automotive Scene forum as the Altis is still to debut in India & we are not sure which features will make it to Indian Shores.
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Old 25th August 2008, 20:05   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ST7677 View Post
One should be careful about reading into these numbers, as they also reflect brand preference of the country.
America is Toyota crazy (in economy segment). In fact it only suggests that with Civic Honda has been able to shake Toyota's strong hold in US.
Take same numbers for Canada and you would see Civic scoring huge sale over Toyota
Like I have posted before, always allow for a significant contribution of fleet car sales (rental companies) in the Corolla numbers - and then you have the picture for non-commercial users ...

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Old 25th August 2008, 21:36   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Moved the thread to The International Automotive Scene forum as the Altis is still to debut in India & we are not sure which features will make it to Indian Shores.
if you read the thread about the new corolla in indian auto scene you would know what features are on the new corolla.
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