Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla?

HappyladiApril 19, 2005

My 19 year old daughter is planning on buying her first new car. She wants the Civic. She test drove both and says she perfers it. I think part of it is that Hondas are "cooler" then Toyotas, but she doesn't admit it.

I am leaning towards the Toyota because it is avaible in the middle model with ABS brakes and Stability control. On the Honda you can only get ABS on the high end model which would add a couple of thousand dollars.

We would get the car with side air bags. Safety is very important to her as is reliablity.

How important do you think ABS brakes are? Which would you recommend?

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ABS is very useful on slick surfaces (ice, water, snow, oil) and loose surfaces, gravel, sandy, etc.

ABS will allow her better control with shorter stopping distances under those conditions.

Stability control si usually needed for those who like to drive fast in turns and for SUV's with higher center of gravity. For regular cars it probably wont make much difference in average and normal driving situations.

Now as far as the Honda is concerned, I had BOTH Hondas and Toyotas -- I think that the both are pretty reliable but Toyotas seem to have the edge in quality.

Since toyotas are more prevalent their parts are also a bit cheaper and readily available. Yes there is a Honda "groupie" thing - sometimes referred to as "ricers" :-(

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 10:28PM
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I agree...Toyota gives you a little more for the money, and Honda still options their cars too much IMHO.

FWIW ricers, aka rice rockets, refer generically to tricked out japanses compact cars. a far cry from when we all used to drive small blocks we worked on ourselves!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 11:37PM
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as a former toyota/honda owner go hyundai more content,better price,longer warranty, same quality.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 2:09AM
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Buy a GM or Ford and then she could put a little flag on the back and then she would be cool.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 11:43AM
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She has her heart set on a Honda or Toyota. I did suggest she consider the Hyundai, as it has gotten more reliable. She said no. I don't think she wants the Honda just to be cool, she sees it as a very reliable car.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 2:57PM
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I have had 2 Civics and 2 Corollas. All were very reliable. The Hondas were a little sportier in handling and the Toyotas were a little quieter and more comfy. The Corollas and my 4 door Civic all got 35 mpg and my 1984 CRX 1.3 got just under 50 mpg.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 11:36PM
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I think the Honda has slightly higher resale value but it cost more due to limited availability of parts.

Traction control is unnecessary in my opinion as if the road conditions seem questionable she should pull over and wait it out. E.g. freezing rain, snow storm, etc.

ABS - is important especially for young inexperienced driver.

I would have to agree the Civic is more cool for young adults as the Corolla is bigger and more of a young family car.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 1:23PM
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I was looking at both of these cars before I finally settled on the Accord - comfort and reliable were my considerations. I am not sure what is more important to her in terms of look and comfort as both are reliable cars. The Civic is really loud - only has 115 HP and that was my biggest turn off. It looks really nice. The Corrolla looks funky but cost less than the Civic and I believe it comes with more standard features. Go to and do a comparation on the two to get a better idea on what you are getting.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 1:47PM
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You might check out Scions too....

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 12:08PM
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She would be doing her-self a favor by checking out the latest American cars.
She should at least test drive a Saturn, a Ford, a Dodge Neon..,even a Chevrolet - then decide..
Best to consider a VW Golf TDI for its amazing operating economy.
And I do believe the Diesel is the wave of the future, as they can run on bio-mass or vegetable oil..

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 2:43PM
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Are you kidding? She is purchasing a Civic for cool and you wnat her to look at American cars?

Of the list provided the Ford Focus is maybe the closest to reasonable and the others are awful outside of using for transportation.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 6:19PM
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Actually, she wants a Civic because she thinks they are very reliable as well as cool. I have had a couple of Fords. I was not impressed. I think American cars are fine for the first few years, but she will probably have this car for many years and Hondas and Toyotas are more reliable long term.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 9:54PM
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If you are looking for reliability, high resale value, excellent fuel economy, and a car w/ class, the Civic is definitely the car. The worse investment anyone can make is buying an American car - even at 50% off.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 8:05PM
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With the exception of certain rare collectors cars, cars in general are poor investments.

The best one can do is to buy one and drive it until the wheels fall off. If you're concerned about "resale value", you're not going to do this. Might as well just lease.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:06AM
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What so many say about American cars, particularly the "practical ones" is enough to make a grown man cry..
Worse yet is that it is largely true, but not completely.
People trust Consumers Reports too much, their data is NOT scientific, but 100% anecdotal.

Nevertheless, the American manufacturers must change their attitudes before we go the way of the old Roman Empire..

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:22AM
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I don't know how true it is given that I've got two American cars, one with almost 119K miles and one with 164K miles (although the odometer reads 64K miles, and you'd probably think it only had 64K miles on it if you drove it).

The best part was a few years ago when I took my boss to lunch in my old car (a Ford, which my brother now has with 150K on it), at that time the odometer read 90K and he said "This car really has 90K on it?? I can't believe it". My brother has gotten similar comments from his co-workers.. "This car really has 140K on it? I can't believe it".

I don't know how but I've been able to avoid a lot of trouble that people have with American cars despite owning them.

The worst one I ever owned was my first car, a 1986 Dodge Omni, and really, there wasn't that much wrong with it when I got rid of it, but it was carbureted and I didn't like the 80s light-yellow color...and I only paid $800 for it in the first place. (Oddly enough that color would probably be real popular now..)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:33AM
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My 01 Trans Am has had some minor QC problems, but nothing that I would consider major. When the car was brand new, I had to bring it back to the dealer several times for brake problems. I had to have both cats replaced, a rear pinion seal replaced and about 3 batteries in 54k miles. Oh, and a fog light after it took in water during a rain storm. Most would consider this excessive, especially in a $32k car...but I knew what I was getting before I bought it. All things considered, this car has been much more reliable than I expected (and certainly more reliable than CR makes it out to be) Prior to the Trans Am, I had a 1997 Mercury Cougar 30th Anniv. edition w/ the 4.6 V8. Excellent car in every way... until the torque convt. went in the transmission. The car had 150,000 miles. Only other items I had replaced were the intake manifold (recall) and a couple sensors. I'd definitely buy the same car again.

The only real problems I ever had with 'American' cars had to do with the quality of materials and mechanical/electrical components. Things like alternators, power window motors, AC compressors, power steering pumps, fuel pumps, etc. always seemed short lived (especially in my GM vehicles... in which the average lifespan of an alternator was about 50-60k miles) I noticed that the Ford units lasted longer. Electrical gremlins would start at around 90-100k miles. By this time, the cheap materials were loose and rattling and the car felt as though it had lost much of it's structural rigidity. In my 84 Cadillac Coupe Deville, the wood trim (which was glued on plastic) and other various interior pieces began falling off!
My Accord still feels relatively tight and solid at 215k miles. The interior is still perfectly intact with very little wear. In an effort to build more reliable cars, I did read where GM was dumping their own Delco parts in favor of Denso for items such as alternators, etc. Denso supplies to both Honda and Toyota (and possibly other Asian brands) I'm still on most of the original Denso parts in my Accord (except for the water pump that gets replaced every 90k and my radiator which I replaced at 200k miles) So these higher quality components should boost GM's reliability/longevity a great deal!

I never did have any real problems with the engines or transmissions themselves, however. In fact, I still believe that some of the most durable and longest lasting engines were produced by the big 3 (save for maybe the Mercedes Turbodiesels and those old Volvos) such as the GM 305/307/350 V8s, Mopars 318, Fords 302, GM's 4.3 and 3.8 V6s, Mopar's slant6 and the various V8s and 6s that Ford uses in their trucks/SUVs.

Just my $0.02

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 4:35PM
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Delco is Delphi.

Toyota had been using parts from Delphi in the past (like 1999 or so), I don't know if they still do.

The 150K mile Ford has the original alternator. The 118K Ford have to have the alternator rebuilt at 91K..I know this is going to sound really amazing, but a bad battery can screw an alternator up! Especially when you continually jumpstart it instead of buying a new battery! (No, that wasn't me, it was the previous owner. Battery had a shorted cell and wouldn't start the car after sitting for 2 days. Diagnosed it with a multimeter..hmm..odd..this battery drops to about 10V and stops there..shorted cell!)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 4:56PM
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Both Honda and Toyota (again, possibly other Asian brands that I'm not aware of) use Delphi (Delco) units in their V6 and larger engine models (or their alternators at least) The original 'Honda' battery in my Accord was labeled 'Delco' in small fine print. Not sure who the initial manufacturer is, since I believe there are only a small few. Ironically, it lasted nearly 8 years.

All GM vehicles with the Ecotec 4-cylinder will be using Denso units. I'm assuming the rest will still be using Delphi.

The 150K mile Ford has the original alternator>>

My Cougar also had it's original alternator at 150k miles. The only quirk with that car were the sensors. I had to replace numerous sensors before 100k miles. No big deal, and I'd certainly buy another one. In my personal experience, I had far less problems with the Mercury than I did with any of my GM vehicles. At 150k, it was still sailing like a new car. I could've replaced the TC and kept the car, but I had the itch for something new. This time around, I decided to keep what I got (which is now the Accord) and drive it until the wheels fall off.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 7:37PM
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The only sensors I had to replace on the 150K-mile Ford are oxygen sensors, and I've been known to replace those just because they're getting old. Bosch recommends 60K for pre-OBDII cars, 100K for OBDII cars. As they age they start letting the engine run richer, wasting fuel, so at some point it's better to replace them before they get so bad the check engine light comes on.

Also had to replace the throttle position sensor on that car, but that wasn't a very expensive part, $25.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 8:17AM
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I know that Comsumers Reports reliability is anecdotal. I do think that Hondas and Toyotas are in general more reliable then most American cars. Of course, you can get a lemon with any car.

I even had a friend that had a reliable 95 Ford Windstar. However, I know of several other people that had Windstars that had serious problems with them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 10:19AM
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It sure won't help that 'billions of dollars of debt owed by General Motors and Ford to be 'junk' on Thursday, a significant blow that will increase borrowing costs and limit fund-raising options for the nationÂs two biggest automakers.'

Not that this post was supposed to debate foreign over domestic, but I find it sad that domestic is failing terribly.

But I'm guilty because I own a Nissan.

Here is a link that might be useful: S&P cuts GM, Ford credit ratings to junk

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 8:08PM
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i have owned an equal number of asin and domestic cars and trucks, and in all reality, i never thought one was better than the other. some things i liked about certain models over the other. had some lemons both ways. my biggest complaint on american cars actually trucks is their too big. and the toyotas are following suit, i like small cars and trucks. if i didnt have relatives working for hyundai/kia, and the toyota truck wasnt the smallest of the bunch, i would buy what ever i liked the most at the time.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 9:42PM
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We ended up with the Honda Civic EX. We looked again at the Corolla, but they checked and told us there wasn't a white Corolla in a 5 state area with ABS and side airbags. They said they had never seen one at all with stability control. ???

We had an offer of a white Honda LX without side airbags for $15,200 with 1.9% interest. There was no white LX with sidebags anywhere in the state. We almost took the one without the sidebags, but we really want the side airbags.

They didn't have a white EX with sidebags, but they found one at a dealer 300 miles away. They wanted $400. over invoice. Too much I though and we left after 3 hours. They called me at home and knocked $100. off. Still too much. They called back and offered invoice. I took it.

They are still of course getting a dealers holdback and I am sure there is more. The EX also has ABS brakes, sunroof, and a few extra bell and whistles.

We are paying $17,475 with 1.9%. I hope this is fair. What do you think?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 9:48AM
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IMO, HappyLady, you are recieving a fair deal.

Needless to say, I favor 100% haggle free,cash only automobile purchasing (something like Saturn) or used from a private owner..

Dealers have dug themselves into a hole by allowing so much give and go on the price..
The must be allowed to gain a profit on each sale..

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 10:16AM
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My father-in-law just got a 2007 Corolla. This is his first car in 20 years. He traded in his 1986 Camry for the Corolla. It's funny, he had the oldest car in the family, now he has the newest (our's is a 2006 Honda Accord). I am so happy for him; he deserves it.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:44AM
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The Honda was the right choice. The Corolla is aging and due to be replaced soon. The Civic scored top ratings in IIHS's safety test.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 11:47PM
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The Honda was the right choice I feel also. I had a Toyota Corolla (2 door sporty model) in the past and I loved it but it did not handle corners well. I then had only Honda Preludes that handled so well and I loved them. Now I have an 2003 Acura RSX (Civic Si Engine this model has) which I love. It handles well, is sporty, very reliable (not one problem in 3.75 years) and sometimes I am mistaken for being younger since I like riding fun small cars. But I am also small so I prefer smaller cars.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 1:38AM
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In fairness, the Prelude is a size-class bigger and much more expensive than even the "sporty" Corolla. But it sounds like your Acura is doing quite well by you, so enjoy!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 9:51AM
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Ofcourse Toyota Corolla and do not make a mistake in buying an American cars because still need more to learn how to make reliable quality cars. i had over 500k on my Corolla and when i sold it i was able to get enough money from it to put it as a down payment for a new Corolla.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Buy a used certified Nissan 2008 Altima and you will have a really NICE car for about the same money that looks really "cool" and fun to drive!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 7:32PM
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