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2018 Honda Civic

Starting Price:  $20,245 | Price yours

Above Average: Fuel economy, resale value, overall driving manners

Below Average: No volume knob, no tuning knob, no worse than that

Consensus: The spacious, reliable, fun-to-drive segment benchmark

 

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2018 Toyota Prius 

Starting Price: $24,395 | Price yours

Above Average: Top-notch fuel economy, safety, reliability, cost-to-own and resale values

Below Average: Polarizing styling, quirky interior

Consensus: The gold standard by which other hybrid vehicles are measured

 

The Honda Civic has become the benchmark in the compact car segment. Offered as a sedan, coupe or hatchback, and with seven trim levels ranging from base LX to the Civic Type R performance model, with a choice of engines, transmissions, tech options and more, there is something for everyone. Base models get the 158 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while mid-level versions see the 174-horsepower turbo four. For the Civic Si, there’s a higher horsepower 1.5-liter producing 205 hp, while the Civic Type R boasts of 306 horsepower coming from a 2.0-liter turbo. The Toyota Prius, a family friendly 4-door hatchback in its fourth generation, continues a long tradition of being America’s best-selling hybrid. It offers industry-leading fuel economy numbers, seven trim levels, seating for five and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Power comes from a singular 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine and a small electric motor for a power rating of 121 horsepower and over 50 mpg.

Honda Civic Advantages

Filled with the latest tech and safety features. Spacious inside, fuel efficient and a reliable commuter car. High-performance 306-horsepower Type R model added in 2017; No new changes for 2018. A high-tech screen in your rearview mirror adds a sense of security when dealing with right-side blind spots. Premium interior materials with top-notch plastics. Efficient use of interior space carries over to the trunk, which offers 15.1 cubic feet in the sedan and 25.7 cubic feet in the hatchback, with the rear seats in the upright position. Fold them forward for an additional 20 cubic feet.

Toyota Prius Advantages

Comfortable, quiet and easy to drive, with surprisingly good handling. Minimal body roll while pushing the Prius through the turns, with light but precise steering. Equipped with Toyota Safety Sense P which includes radar-adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection assist, lane departure warning, and steering assist, auto high-beams and autonomous braking. Intelligent Park Assist, available on the top “Four Touring” trim level, will offer parallel parking skills to those who still may be a bit skittish. From under the hood, Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive combines a 95-hp gasoline engine with an electric motor and automatic transmission. There is definitely a spurt of power off the line, although there will be no thrills with a zero-to-60 mph time of around 10 seconds. Still, drive it like a Hoonigan and you’ll be good for more than 45 mpg.

Similarities

Both feature slightly space-age looks straight from the Jetson’s children’s cartoon show, and both boast great records for safety, reliability and resale value.

Final Recommendation

It just depends whether you want your fuel economy to come from a conventional internal combustion engine, or the hybrid synergy drive as pioneered by Toyota. Both are at the top of their classes, but for different reasons.

  2018 Honda Civic 2018 Toyota Prius
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 1.8-liter hybrid I4
Horsepower 158 hp @ 6,500 rpm 121 hp @ 5,200 rpm
Torque 138 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm 105 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission Manual, 6-Spd Automatic ECVT
Fuel Economy 32 mpg (28 city/40 hwy) 52 mpg (54 city/50 hwy)
Also Available 1.5L turbo I4, 1.5L turbo I4 (Si), 2.0L turbo I4 (Type R) Prius Eco model
Specs    
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 3 years or 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 176.9 inches 178.7 inches
Width 70.8 inches 69.3 inches
Height 54.9 inches 58.1 inches
Turning Diameter 35.7 feet 33.5 feet
Headroom, Front 38.2 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 34.6 inches 37.4 inches
Legroom, Front 42.3 inches 42.3 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.9 inches 33.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.9 inches 55.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 52.6 inches 53.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 91.0 cu. ft. 93.1 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 12.1 cu. ft. 24.6 cu. ft.
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