Buying a used Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic? Find out which one makes more sense

Buying a used Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic? Find out which one makes more sense

1. Overview

The household names for formerly subcompact and now compact cars in Nigeria has been the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic for nearly 3 decades now all thanks to their reliability and availability in the foreign used car import industry of Nigeria where nearly 80% of Nigerians get their cars from.

A used Toyota Corolla vs Honda Civic debate is one that will never end in the Nigerian used car market because these cars keep proving themselves as the best in the category of compact cars.

Compact cars are cars that just have sizes in between subcompact cars and mid-size sedans having between 100 and 120 cubic feet of combined passenger and cargo volume. Most are very easy to control and maneuver this is why a lot of Nigerian first-timer drives go for compact cars to start out as drivers on standard road conditions.


The Corolla and Civic are the best student cars in Nigeria 

How popular are these two cars in Nigeria? Let me tell you the Nigerian background of both cars before I go into the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic comparison.

2. Nigerian Background

The 1980s Toyota Corolla was nicknamed the Toyota First Lady because it was the car of choice for females in the late 1990s in Nigeria. The Civic came along a few years later and became the strongest rival to the Corolla brand.

The Corolla has been the best selling car model in Nigeria and all over the world for many years now because of how durable and fuel-efficient it is. From the early 2000s, both cars moved from being sub-compact cars to compact cars because of the demand for a bigger vehicle from customers.


The Corolla is more popular than the Civic in Nigeria

Surprisingly, the Corolla and Civic over the years have developed a different fan and customer base in Nigeria. The newer Corolla generations are seen more like daily drivers for the co-operate world of Nigeria while the newer Civic is more of a playful car that any cool person can daily drive but trust me, they are still very close rivals.

I would be comparing the Toyota Corolla vs Honda Civic relevant year models based on affordability, design, economy, reliability, price, and every other important aspect you must know about.

The relevant Toyota Corolla models in Nigeria are from the 2002 model to date while for the Honda Civic models, it is from the year 2001 till date.

3. Comparison Review

3.1. Exterior Style and Design

The Toyota Corolla has seen 12 generations while the Honda Civic has seen 10 generations since the first generation Civic in 1972. However, only the Civic has been able to maintain a steady succession in design with the same design language for many years while Corolla has changed its design language often times just to stand strong with other compact car designs.

The Honda Civic also sets the design pattern for common Honda models like the Honda CR-V, Honda Concerto, and Honda City.


The Civic is the experiment for most Honda Cars

Before the present generation of both the Civic and the Corolla, 3 relevant generations for each can be your choice, so I have made the infographic below to show a comparison of their exterior design because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

With the Honda Civic from time, there have been offerings of the model in various body styles and this is something the Toyota Corolla Store of models cannot ever match up with. There was even the Honda CRX Del Sol which was a 2-door Targa sports car based on the Civic. The main body styles are; Civic Type R, 2- door Coupe, Hybrid, and the standard four-door Sedan.

In 2016, Honda introduced a fuel-efficient station wagon into the Civic’s line-up to stiffen the competition with rivals.


Here are four body styles of the 2005 Civic (Coupe, 2-door hatchback, Sedan, and Hatchback)

Unlike the Acura and Accord, there were no rebadged Honda Civics in production until the ninth-generation Accord which was rebadged as the Acura ILX.

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Toyota hasn’t been consistent with its offerings but there are five-door liftbacks, Station Wagon/Sport Wagons, and Hybrids available for some models. The Toyota Corolla is also known as the Toyota Auris in the British market.


Here is a Corolla Hatchback (left)  then a Station wagon (right) from 2002

You can see that the Toyota Corolla 2005 model and the Honda Civic 2005 have a tie based on design while the Toyota Corolla 2006 looked less sporty and more executive than the Honda Civic 2006.


The 2005 Corolla vs 2005 Civic; see the similarity in appearance

The Honda Civic 2006 ushered in the eighth generation of the Civic mode and it appeared very sporty and fun but the Toyota Corolla 2007 design just surfaced with an executive car design though there was a sport trim and it didn’t still look better than its Civic competition.


2008 Corolla vs 2008 Civic: the Corolla is more executive while the Civic is sporty

The Toyota Corolla 2014 was the start of the 11th generation and Nigerians had two options of design: the Asian market Corolla and the North American Corolla. Both designs looked better than the standard ninth-generation Civic sedan. The Civic build was not clearly defined for the 2012 – 2015 year model and this is why it got redesigned after 3 years of production.


The 2012-2015 Civic lost to the Corolla design wise

Honda quickly designed a new Civic generation for 2016 and it was epic. The car looks very fun and sporty which is why a lot of co-operate workers in Nigeria didn’t see it as a car of choice. The design on the new Civic is what the new generation Accord, Passport, and CR-V follow. The 2016/2017 Corolla couldn’t compete with the Civic’s new design until 2019 when Toyota released the E210 series Corolla.

This new generation Corolla actually conformed to Toyota’s new design language for Sedans. It has this squinting eye feel in front and also made sport hatchback models available for sports car lovers. Now let me talk about the interior styling, design, and features.

3.2. Interior Style and Design

The interior design of the present generation Honda Accord interior is more refined than its Toyota Corolla rival. They both have up-to-date technologies but the Civic has a more upscale interior design and material selection than the Corolla. It has always been that way since 2006 though. The Civic interior has just always had more quality than Toyota.

The interior space of both cars since 2002 has always been very similar but the Honda Civic has more cargo space than the Corolla. This Cargo space is not as comfortable at the rear seat like mid-size cars.

In terms of comfort, both cars have the same level of comfort as non offers full leather seats to customers. They are both cars with limited rear-seat space for passengers.


The quality and design of the Civic has always been better

Both cars have an incredible level of technology for their new models: Bluetooth, Navigation, Rearview Camera, and more. However, the infotainment of the Honda Civic just looks more grounded into the system of the car than that of the Corolla. Over the years too, Civic has maintained a slightly better infotainment system than the Toyota Corolla.

The Corolla and Civic are very up-to-date in terms of safety. It’s a tie:  Airbags, Stability Control, driving assistance packages to drivers and more is not lacking on both cars. Honda just has the habit of hoarding some features for base trims while Toyota base trims are well equipped.

How well do these two cars drive?

3.3. Performance 

Presently, in terms of performance, the Honda Civic dominates. The Civic produces more horsepower than the Corolla and also drives and handles better in corners. The Acceleration of the Corolla is also slow compared to that of the Civic but just by some milliseconds.

Both cars now offer either a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT for better fuel efficiency with a front-engine and front-wheel-drive platform.

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Going back in time also, the Civic is always behind the Corolla in terms of standard engine performance and they both have been carrying four-cylinder engines with a front-wheel setup. However, Honda has a better performance car industry for regular cars. Honda makes regular cars perform like sports cars. The Honda CR-X and Honda Civic 1995, 1999, 1992 1998 had ‘SI’ and ‘TYPE R’ versions that lovers of sports cars craved.

3.4. Durability and Reliability

I don’t how else to explain to you that the Toyota Corolla is the most reliable car in the world. The Toyota Corolla’s drive train is built in an underpowered format just to make sure that it never refuses to proceed.

The Honda Civic demands more than the Toyota Corolla in Nigeria in terms of maintenance. Honda Civics until 2012 suffer from the ball joint failure syndrome which causes your tyre to oversteer and breakdown on the road suddenly.


Corolla vvt-i engine vs Honda Vtec engine

Both cars are very durable when properly maintained but the Corolla has more resale value than the Civic across all generations. The demand for Toyota Corolla cars in Nigeria is so high that the price/value barely reduces.

How much does it cost to maintain the Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla in Nigeria? Let me shed light on that.

4. Affordability

The Affordability of a car is the cost of running a car on a daily basis from fuel consumption to maintenance and repair costs. This is what I will compare here for both the Corolla and the Civic.

4.1. Fuel Economy

For the present generation Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, the fuel consumption is very similar and low averaging at about a 34 MPG rating. This means for both cars, you would be using about 6.9 litres of fuel for every 100km you drive. If you drive the right way, with the Civic and Corolla you can have a perfect fuel consumption rate.


Low-cost fuel economy is promised with these two cars; though the Civic looks sportier.

For 2020, the Toyota Corolla’s fuel consumption gets better for the fact that there is a Hybrid available that has an awesome mileage rating of 52 miles to a gallon. For the Honda Civic, Hybrid was available between 2003 and 2015 year model but it got canceled because of sales.

4.2. Maintenance and Cost of Spare Parts

The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are cars that have spare parts very available all around Nigeria. Maintenance and repairs of both cars can be handled by most Nigerian automobile technicians so there won’t be any need for a high priced specialist.

The common Honda Civic problems in Nigeria include:

  • Ball joint failure
  • Air conditioning related problems
  • Overheating problems
  • Paint removal problem


Can you see the paint fading off? it is a Civic problem

The common problems with the Toyota Corolla cars in Nigeria include;

  • Transmission related problems
  • Knocking noise from wheels and suspension
  • Check engine light problems and air conditioner problems

These problems don’t immediately cause the car to breakdown on the road. This is why the Toyota Corolla is the more reliable car. The Cost of maintaining the Honda Civic in Nigeria is more expensive than that of the Toyota Corolla making the Corolla the winner of the maintenance and spare parts category of the comparison.

>>> Here are expert tips on how to buy used Honda Civic in Nigeria

5. Price 

There are three categories for purchasing cars in Nigeria: the brand new cars, the foreign used cars otherwise known as Tokunbo, and the locally used cars (fairly used, second-hand or third-hard cars). Here is a table for 2 categories to compare the used Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla price in Nigeria.

Prices of Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic in Nigeria
Locally Used  Foreign Used
 Year Model  Corolla/Civic Corolla/Civic
Toyota Corolla 2001-2005/ Honda Civic 2001-2005  ₦500,000  – ₦1.5 million/₦500,000 – ₦1.5 million  ₦800,000  – ₦1.5 million/₦750,000 – ₦1.5 million
Toyota Corolla 2006/ Honda Civic 2006   ₦900,000 – ₦2 million/₦750,000 – ₦1.6 million  ₦ 1.5 million – ₦2.2 million/₦750,000 – ₦1.6 million
Toyota Corolla 2007/ Honda Civic 2007   ₦900,000 – ₦2 million/₦750,000 – ₦1.6 million   ₦ 1.5 million – ₦2.2 million/₦750,000 – ₦1.6 million
Toyota Corolla 2008/ Honda Civic 2008   ₦1.7 million – ₦3.2 million/₦1.5 million – ₦2.7 million   ₦2.5 million – ₦3.5 million/ ₦1.5 million – ₦3 million
 Toyota Corolla 2009/ Honda Civic 2009   ₦1.7 million – ₦3.2 million/₦1.5 million – ₦2.7 million    ₦2.5 million – ₦3.5 million/ ₦1.5 million – ₦3 million
 Toyota Corolla 2010/ Honda Civic 2010   ₦1.7 million – ₦3.5 million/₦1.5 million – ₦2.7 million   ₦1.7 million – ₦3.5 million/₦1.5 million – ₦3.5 million
 Toyota Corolla 2009/ Honda Civic 2011  ₦1.7 million – ₦3.1 million/₦1.5 million – ₦2.8 million   ₦1.7 million – ₦4 million/₦1.5 million – ₦3.5 million
 Toyota Corolla 2012/ Honda Civic 2012 ₦1.7 million – ₦3.1 million/₦1.5 million – ₦2.8 million   ₦1.7 million – ₦4 million/₦1.5 million – ₦3.5 million
 Toyota Corolla 2013/ Honda Civic 2013  ₦1.7 million – ₦4 million/₦1.5 million – ₦3 million   ₦1.7 million – ₦4.5 million/₦1.5 million – ₦3.5 million
 Toyota Corolla 2014/ Honda Civic 2014  ₦3.2 million – ₦5.8 million/₦4 million – ₦7 million   ₦4.5 million – ₦7.2 million/ ₦2.8 million – ₦5.5 million
 Toyota Corolla 2015/ Honda Civic 2015  ₦3.2 million – ₦5.8 million/₦4 million – ₦7 million   ₦4.5 million – ₦7.2 million/ ₦2.8 million – ₦5.5 million
 Toyota Corolla 2016/ Honda Civic 2016  ₦3.2 million – ₦5.8 million/₦5.3 million – ₦6.5 million   ₦4.5 million – ₦7.2 million/ ₦5.5 million – ₦7.5 million
Toyota Corolla 2017/ Honda Civic 2017  ₦3.2 million – ₦5.8 million/₦5.3 million – ₦6.5 million  ₦4.5 million – ₦7.2 million/ ₦5.5 million – ₦7.5 million
Toyota Corolla 2018/ Honda Civic 2018 ₦6 million – ₦8 million/₦6.5 million – ₦9 million ₦6 million – ₦13 million/ ₦7 million – ₦14 million
Toyota Corolla 2019/ Honda Civic 2019 ₦6 million – ₦9 million/₦6.5 million – ₦9 million ₦6 million – ₦14 million/ ₦7 million – ₦14 million
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You can see that the Toyota Corolla price in Nigeria is higher than that of the Honda Civic because of Corolla’s durability. This makes the Corolla uphold its value even after a long time of use.

Honda and Toyotas are available everywhere in Nigeria as used and tokunbo while you have to visit dealerships for brand new ones. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of affiliated Honda dealerships like the Honda Verno, Honda Clio, and Honda Primo in Japan but we have the Honda Place but Toyota has a lot of affiliated dealerships like Elizade, Toyota Nigeria, Mandilas, and others.

6.  Alternatives to both cars

The most popular alternatives to the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic in Nigeria would be the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, and the Mazda 3. Is there any better alternative to Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic? I don’t think so.

7. Summary and Verdict

We can see that there are a lot of ties when considering the topic ‘used Toyota Corolla vs. Honda Civic: Which is better?‘. Like the Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla fuel economy, for example, is on the same level. The Corolla is just more reliable than the Civic but they are both great cars.

If you want to get any of the two compact cars, first consider the exterior then the interior as the basis for comparison. Also, keep in mind that the Honda Civic has issues when not properly maintained in Nigeria because of bad roads.

At always have all the answers to your car-related questions and more because we never want you to make a car-related mistake. For all Toyota Corolla prices and Honda Civic prices in Nigeria, make sure you check out the Car Price articles.