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Honda Civic vs. Toyota Corolla

dennis1dennis1 Member Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in Honda
My daughter graduates college in May and she's looking to buy her first car - either a 2004 Honda Civic LX or a 2004 Toyota Corola LE.

Both cars come highly rated so I don't think there is a "wrong" choice! I've researched prices and actually received some internet bids.

What I would appreciate is any comments, suggestions or recommendations from members. She is looking to buy early to mid-May.



  • qbanspiceqbanspice Member Posts: 5
    While I do highly regard Corollas, I think the Civic is an overall better choice for the following reasons:

    1. The fuel economy is better.
    2. You don't need a tune-up until you reach 110,000 miles (ask a dealer to verify this).
    3. From what I have been told, you don't need to change the oil until every 10,000 miles (again, ask a dealer to verify).
    4. It has a lower depreciation rate.
    5. It has a higher resale value.

    Obviously, the Civic is a worry-free car. It can save your daughter a lot of money (she will need to pay off those university-related expenses).

    It should be pointed out, however, that Corollas are also excellent cars; they have a 130-horsepower engine.

    Some advice: steer clear of popular domestic cars like the Ford Focus (trust me on this). Stay away from Kia too. Also, stay away from Hyundai (they may offer a 10 year or 100,000 mile warranty but believe me, you will probably need it).

    By the way, I too was considering either a Civic or a Corolla after my car was totalled in a car accident in February. After test driving both, I settled on the Civic because of the worry-free features.

    Since your daughter is also about my age, I think it is only fair to warn you that insurance costs may be slightly higher on a Civic. Bear in mind that both Civics and Corollas rank high as the most stolen vehicles in America, thought not nearly as high as the Accord or Camry. But either way, you really can't go wrong.

    I hope this is helpful. Keep us posted on your car shopping.
  • srocks4srocks4 Member Posts: 13
    I'm leaning towards a honda also, can you tell me what model/options and price you paid?

  • crazygrrrlcrazygrrrl Member Posts: 85
    Both cars are good choices for a first time buyer. It all comes down to what your daughter likes best.

    Have her test drive both cars, and I'm not talking about a short drive around the block. Take the cars on the highway, across railroad tracks, through city streets, and girdlock traffic. Have her parallel park the car and back it out of a driveway. Find out what she likes about the cars and what she dislikes.

    There are many pros and cons to both cars:

    Why Civic is better:
    Comes equipped with an anti-theft immobilizer (can't start the car without the coded key).
    Aftermarket parts more readily available
    Long term financing is cheaper
    No real options (makes it harder for dealer to dicker with the price)
    Higher resale value
    No daytime running lamps
    Dashboard gauges stays lit while driving (very beautiful. Not bland like the Corolla's gauges)
    More comfortable seats (subjective)

    Why Corolla is better:
    130 hp engine
    Short term financing is cheaper
    Can order ABS (if you want ABS in a Civic, you'll have to get the EX model)
    Options galore
    Cheaper price comprably equipped
    Low trunk lid makes it easier to see out the back.

    What made me choose the Civic over the Corolla was that the Civic felt more comfortable to me. The seat, steering wheel, and pedals were in the perfect position for me. The Corolla had uncomfortable seats.

    Also, I heard of horror stories about a sewer like smell coming from Corollas and problems with awful gas mileage. This made me think twice about the Corolla.

    My 2003 Civic LX sedan (which I bought new on 12/29/02 for $15,100. $0 down, 1.9% financing for 5 years!) regularly gets 34-37 mpg with my weekly commute. My commute is 70% freeway and 30% stop and go.

    The only problem with my Civic is that the paint scratches and chips easily. I don't think it would be so visible if I had not chosen dark navy blue. White, beige, or silver should hide scratches and swirl marks better.

    Other than the paint, I have no complaints with the Civic.
  • dunworthdunworth Member Posts: 338
    I will jump into this discussion since it is near and dear to my heart. Keep in mind that the Civic is Canada's most popular car and the Corolla is near the top as well. Both models are built in plants that are about a one hour's drive from Toronto, although many US models also come from plants in Ohio and California.

    I faced this dilemma about two years ago and ended up getting one of each since we needed to replace both of our cars. I have owned our 2002 Corolla for more than 2 years while our 2003 Civic for 1 1/2 years. Many of my neighbours also have this combination in their driveways.

    Both of our cars have been flawless, with superb fuel economy and low maintenance. Dealer service locally is comparable as well - both excellent. Insurance costs are identical for my two cars (my wife and I are in our late thirties and live in the Toronto area).

    Here is what I have experienced as differences.

    The Toyota is more solid and feels heavier, although the two vehicles are comparable in curb weight. The Corolla has a softer more comfortable ride but this makes its handling less crisp than the Civic.

    The Civic fells lighter, despite being slightly larger inside. The Civic is the largest compact in its class for real-world usable space thanks to the flat floor in the rear. This latter feature allows you to put three people in the back seat more comfortably then in the Corolla. Keep in mind my Corolla is the older body style - the new one is slightly larger.

    The Civic would be my choice if you are choosing a stick shift while the Corolla is my choice for automatic. Despite being slightly underpowered, the Civic is more fun to drive while the Corolla feels like a baby Lexus. The switch gear and interior quality for both vehicles are industry benchmarks, although in LE form the Corolla with wood and leather is prettier.

    Like everyone has said, you cannot go wrong with either car. In Canada, the new Mazda3 is giving the Civic a run for its money. For a younger person, the Mazda should be on their list, although our local dealer is not very good and Mazda's quality has not been as consistent as Toyota's and Honda's. Still Mazda's are great cars and it is pretty hard to go wrong with most Japanese cars.
  • qbanspiceqbanspice Member Posts: 5
    Hey there, SRocks! How is the whether up in 'Frisco? It's a little on the warmer end of cool here in LA, but not hot enough for me. Anyway, to answer your question, I have yet to buy my Civic LX. I am waiting for Mercury Insurance Company to pay off the lessor for my totalled car(my accident was on Feb. 24, and Mercury is taking their time).

    I did, however, get a price quote for a Civic LX at about $14,400, which is a little below invoice. I also test drove several cars, including the Civic and Corolla. I prefer the Civic because I like the idea of waiting until I reach 10,000 miles to change the oil. Also, I want a coupe and Corollas only come as a sedan.

    The weird thing is that the Civic looks better as a two-door and a Corolla looks better as a four-door.

    I must say Corollas look great. They have a hint of Jetta with Lexus reliability. And they are pretty fast, thus causing the fuel economy to suffer a bit.

    One thing about Corollas is that the higher-end models - the LE and S - can cost as much, or perhaps even more, than the Civic EX. A well-equipped S is well over $18,000 MSRP; it just depends on the options you want on your car.

    As crazygrrrl suggested, since the Civic has a set amount of options per trim level, the dealer cannot rip you off (well they can, but it may be tougher if you are prepared).

    Overall, you cannot go wrong. Both will last. I do, however, prefer the Civic. Though it would be great to have a Civic and a Corolla like dunworth!

    Shop wisely!
  • mcap56mcap56 Member Posts: 48
    I like both cars but choose the Civic EX. I felt the manual transmission was smoother and I liked having a set group of options per trim level. Also, I liked the styling a bit more (the corolla looks better to most people though). Some other minor things that set the civic apart were:

    1. Better mileage
    2. Slightly better resale (honda does not sell fleet cars - perhaps this is why).
    3. The steering wheel in the corolla is a bit far from the driver and the front leg room is cramped.
    4. The civic feels roomier
    5. Very good crash results
    6. Some people have been reporting a sulfer smell problem
    7. And most of all, I don't like the look of fake wood trim in an economy car.

    Both are great. I am sure the corolla has many advantages over the civic. Look at the mazda3 also. Another great car and sportier.

  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    What exactly are the EPA figures on the Civic LX auto? I was under the impression that the Corolla actually had the advantage in fuel economy for the automatics.

    The Corolla also offers more hp and torque, and in my opinion, a better ride. The Civic handles more nimbly, no doubt (but not the DX or VP models).

    Lack of ABS on the Civic LX is a big detriment, IMO. Around here, the Corolla LE is on lots with a few option packages that include ABS and Side Airbags for about $17,000 (certainly negotiable). To see how Corollas in your area are typcially equipped, go to

    In terms of crast tests, the Civic and Corolla score almost identically- both have a double 5 star in the frontal NHTSA, a double 4 star in the side NHTSA (which is a poorly designed test with many deficiencies, if youre interested in my opion), and both are Good-Best Picks by the IIHS in the frontal offset (though the Corolla is ranked slightly higher within that designation).

    Resale value is in favor of the Civic, but not by as much as many people may think. Check the December 2003 issue of Kiplingers Personal Finance for exact figures (from ALG).

    dunworth- are you basing your Corolla comments on your 2002 or the the newer generation that is in question?

    If it were the Civic EX we were talking about, Id probably give the nod to that vehicle because Im more impressed by the Civics handling than the Corollas creamy ride. But- we're not. The LX's lack of power, torque, no ABS are bigger detriments for me.

  • mcap56mcap56 Member Posts: 48
    I agree. However, perhaps this individual should actually compare the EX to the corolla. You can get an EX for about 17. I paid a little over 16 for a 5 spd.

  • crazygrrrlcrazygrrrl Member Posts: 85
    The EPA figures on my 2003 Civic LX sedan (automatic) is 29 city, 39 highway.

    I have never gotten less than 32 mpg, even during the break in period. The highest mileage I've gotten was 42 mpg on a long trip from Oakland to Rancho Cordova CA and back.

    My average is 34-37 mpg depending on how bad traffic is, or how leadfooted I get during my commute.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    All Corolla automatics are rated at 29/38 cty/hwy.
    The Civic LX automatic is likewise rated at 29/38.
    The Civic EX automatic is rated at 31/38.
    All Corolla 5 speed manuals are rated at 32/40.
    The Civic LX 5M is rated at 32/38.
    The Civic EX 5M is rated 32/37.
    Car and Driver in the November 2002 issue, had a comparison of the manual transmission Corolla LE and manual transmission Civic LX. A few things have changed on the Civics- most notably the tires are now finally 15 inchers, but it can serve as a reference point nonetheless.

  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    If your daughter is like majority of the girls of her age, she is only interested in a car because of its looks not because of its content. Her first choice is probably a MINI, and second a VW Jetta. And no matter what car you chose for her, she is not going to be happy.

    Either HOnda or Toyota are fine choices, but only if one were to make a decision based on content. Ask your daughter what she thinks of a JEtta, and se her responce. VW may not be the most reliable or most fun to drive, but it has an appeal to sub-25 age category.
  • dennis1dennis1 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks to all.

    My daughter is very conservative and doesn't care that much about looks. Being 6'-0" tall, she'd never consider a MINI and the Jetta's are about $3,000 higher.

    She's poured over comparisons, checked all the facts and numbers(she's a fimance major), and basically rates both vehicles about even.

    The last pricing she received was about $14,800 for the Toyota and $15,400 for the Honda (both equipped with automatics, and cruise so she is comparing apples to apples). These were out the door prices and included all rebates, taxes, destination charges, title, license, etc. I think the quoted prices were very good.

    Any other comments or recommendations would be appreciated. She will be buying early May unless some rebates expire before then.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Hi dennis1 - if you haven't already, you (or your daughter) might want to peruse the individual discussions we have on both of these vehicles. The Make/Model search on the left will list them for you.

    And of course there's all the edmunds info on each that is accessible via the New Cars tab at the top of the page.

    Hope this is helpful - keep us posted!
  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    Unless your state doesn't have much sales tax, your $15,400 is off. The best price you can get an 04 Civic LX 4 door automatic is about $14,700 which only includes destination and is hard to get that low. You need to reference exactly which models and options you are comparing if you want us to give you accurate input.
  • srocks4srocks4 Member Posts: 13
    Hi qbanspice, weather in SF has been a little odd, but good. The bay area warms up towards the afternoon, happy to see that the sunsets later.

    It was great to hear opinions from everyone. I was going to commit to a civic vp with side air, gotten quotes via net. The quotes were a few hundred $ below Edmund's TMV. I emailed both dealers to test drive at 5pm, both were fine with the time. The 1st dealer left for the day, test drove with another dealer. The 2nd dealer no where to be found, was told he normally has that day off.

    I really don't want to sit and haggle for 4 hours with the salesperson. I was going to work with the quote already give, try and get couple of hundred off or added options at no cost would have done it for me. My goal is out the door for less than $14k

    Question for all, do you get your quote talking face to face or over the email? Thanks.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I negotiated a deal for my aunt in late February on a Civic LX 4 door no accessories, at a sales price of $14,200 plus TTL. Better than $14,700 is definitely possible. (I posted all the details and progress of that deal on the Civic- Prices Paid thread).

  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    Yes that was in Feb when Honda had up to a $1000 dealer incentive on Civics. Now it's only $400, so $14,200 is not realistic. Like I said, currently about $14,700 is about as good as you will do and that will be hard to come by. If you are trading something in, it's a moot point because it just muddies what you are really paying for the car. I read your post and you actually paid over over $15,200, because your trade was worth at least $1,250, if you were able to drive it on the lot. I'm a mechanic and it is easy to sell any Japanese economy car, especially a Honda that runs for over a grand, regardless of age or condition if it runs and is not totally wrecked. It's rarely a good idea to trade a car in, because you can get more off the dealer's price without a trade and you can sell your car for more privately. Trading cars in just makes it simpler for the customer, but in the end you are paying significantly more for this convenience.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    You made some pretty big assumptions.
    Heres what happened:

    We decided against working the trade in the deal, as the value given to us by the Honda dealership was $250. They did take the car off my aunts hands, just because she did not want the hassle of selling it (and neither did I). We negotiated with the salesman for an upgraded security system that would be covered by the 1992 Civic's trade in value. This negotiation was separate from the sales price of the 2004.

    Really, although kbb listed the car at $1250, and it was in decent shape, it needed tires, general maintenance, and had begun stalling after startup on cold mornings (but not after running for awhile, and thus easily disguised). My aunt figured she cut and run before she fixed anything, so the $250 in exchange for the security system as well as easy disposal of the 1992, was worth it, in her eyes.

    So, she paid 14,200 before TTL, and the payment at 60 months and 2.9 is 238/month with 2g's down. Do the math, its based on a sales price of 14,200 (Jersey tax is 6.0%, doc fees were a palatable $99). If you want to contend that we got taken on the trade, fine- my aunt did what she was most comfortable doing, and if that cost her anything, Id chalk it up to a convenience fee.

    But the deal for the 04 Civic was $14,200 before TTL.

  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    I didn't assume anything and you just validated everything I stated. I didn't say you had been taken, but no matter how you slice it, you didn't pay $14,200, because as you stated your trade was worth over $1000. Even with the security system, you still paid over $15,000 regardless of the 14,200 price on your paperwork. That was just the dealer making you feel good with the numbers. I garrantee I can take a kids Match box car with me to any dealer and get over $2000 trade in on any new vehicle. It just means they will adjust the real bottom line figure. You have to count that value into the deal. I bought the same car in Feb for $14,700, which included the dealer processing fee and doc fee(no trade)at 1.9 APR. You can't simply ignore your true market trade value in the deal. My main point anyway was most people will have to pay $14,700 or more now to buy the same car. We both got a great car and your aunt got rid of her old car without having to worry about it, so it really doesn't matter. I just like people on this board to have a clear picture of what people are actually paying for a car.
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Member Posts: 764
    Both cars are great, but why don't you surprise her with a 2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1 - 2door Coupe with a 4.6 V8 -310hp engine, 5 speed manual trans, rear wheel drive, rear limited slip differential, twin exhaust pipes with "glass packed mufflers, in "basic black"! Now that is a "car"!
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I disagree with you. The negotiated price of the Civic LX my Aunt purchased was 14,200. We NEVER mentioned a trade until AFTER agreeing upon a sales price, which is what all the publications tell you to do. When initially asked if there was a trade involved, we replied NO, then AFTER the dealer drew up the sales invoice at 14,200, 2.9%, 2000 gs down, 99 doc fee, tax, title, license... we mentioned that wed like to dispose of the old car, at which point the trade for the security system was completed.

    If you choose to factor the trade in the purchase, fine. But since we did them as basically two separate things, I count them as different, since we could have walked away from the dealer (WITHOUT trading in the 1992) with a selling price of $14,200. As you state, if the dealer made up money by us offering the 1992 Civic- given my aunts preferences- that was fine. Anyone would pay more than $1000 for that car is crazy, IMO. Good car, but needed plenty of work at 174,000 miles.

    Good luck with your Civic, and happy motoring.


    PS- I prefered the Corolla, but she (my aunt) went with the Civic because of the better APR, and her past experience with Honda. The Corolla for 2005 will have stability control and side curtain airbags available, both desirable options, IMO.
  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    You did the deal right and you got a great price. I couldn't get a dealer within 200 miles to go any lower than I got it for. I count all fees except state tax and tags/registration as the price paid for the car, so I count DOC fees as part of the price paid, along with any dealer processing fees. I was at about $14,500, if you leave those out. I just hate involving trades to the dealer, because they can't afford to give you what it's worth along with a great price on the car you are buying. Happy Motoring too!
  • 280hp280hp Member Posts: 36
    both cars are about even.

    if the civic was cheaper id say go with the civic. to me it would be worth $600 more. but thats a very personal call.

    if she has no personal preference, i would suggest pushing both dealers hard within the time frame left, before making a final decision.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    Quote: /#13 of 25 by dennis1 Apr 09, 2004 (12:33 pm)
    Thanks to all.

    My daughter is very conservative and doesn't care that much about looks. Being 6'-0" tall, she'd never consider a MINI and the Jetta's are about $3,000 higher.

    She's poured over comparisons, checked all the facts and numbers(she's a fimance major), and basically rates both vehicles about even.

    The last pricing she received was about $14,800 for the Toyota and $15,400 for the Honda (both equipped with automatics, and cruise so she is comparing apples to apples). These were out the door prices and included all rebates, taxes, destination charges, title, license, etc. I think the quoted prices were very good.

    Any other comments or recommendations would be appreciated. She will be buying early May unless some rebates expire before then.

    I am 6 foot and MINI is fine, I have a friend who is 6'2" and drives a mini with no problem.

    When comparing Honda to Toyota one has to be careful. You mention that you looked at Civic with auto and cruise vs. Toyota with auto and cruise. To get Cruise on a Civic, I think you have to go with LX, while Toyota's ala carte pricing allows you to pick just the items you want. Civic LX offers a/c, power windows, and door locks. While one can get a Corolla with just the two ameneties you spoke about. If your daughter is not planning on carrying passngers all the time, Civic is also available in 2 door version while corolla is not.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    LE has A/C, power windows, locks, mirrors standard as well. It is very easy to equip a Civic LX and Corolla LE identically, except for the fact that Honda wont let you choose ABS if you can afford an $18,000 EX.

  • dennis1dennis1 Member Posts: 4
    My daughter ended up buying the Toyota Corolla.

    We test drove the Honda Civic at two dealerships and the Toyota Corolla at 3 dealerships. She liked the ride and looks of the Toyota a little better plus the price difference of comparably equipped vehicles was $340.00 less for the Toyota.

    She takes delivery May 1 but will be storing the vehicle at my house until May 22 when she graduates college and moves to her new apartment. I will end up going with her when she picks up the car because I'm sure they will try to sell her a maintenance program, rustproofing, fabric protection, extended warranty, etc. and there should be no reason to buy any of these.

    Thanks to all for advise and comments.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    Congrats on the decision. If your daughter is just graduating college and the car is being paid for in her name- are you aware that Toyota (a nationwide offer, I believe) is offering a $1000 rebate to recent grads with verification? Of course, this wont hold if the car is in your name. I'm sorry I didnt mention this sooner, I didnt realize she was graduating college.

  • stevengordonstevengordon Member Posts: 130
    I've been shopping this level of car for the past several weeks, looking to replace my 5-speed Accord with an automatic Civic, Corolla, etc.

    In considering used vehicles (such as from Hertz), I'd opt for the Corolla because the powertrain portion of the manufacturer's warranty is 2 years / 24,000 miles longer than that from Honda.

    It's a bit of an insurance policy for the car's mechanical components when considering used...and new.
  • holenone79holenone79 Member Posts: 20
    On March 30th I bought a civic lx auto coupe for 14k plus ttl--no trade

    This was in tempe, az.

    We bought a civic ex sedan auto for 16k two weeks latter in Tucson, AZ.

    Both of these deals were $1000 below invoice.--maybe more since the ex had wheel locks, trunk tray, and splash guards.

    BTW, we normally dont buy cars like we buy groceries, but my wife liked my daughters car so much, we sold her taurus, and bought her a civic.
  • warnerwarner Member Posts: 196
    Well, I've just spent the last few weeks trying to figure out what to do about my aging Hyundai Elantra Wagon. With some help from my wife (and mother-in-law....what a surprise that she had an opinion!), I finally decided to buy a new car instead of having the unknown repair bills on the aging Hyundai (which has been a very good car by the way, but the resale value is a joke!). I have driven and considered the 3 cars in the title of this posting as well as the Honda Element. Let me start by saying that I really WANTED to like and buy the Element, which I test drove just after test driving the Scion Xb. I thought for certain that the Element would have TONS more power and feel much faster than the Scion, but it did not! I was disappointed to say the least. So between those two, unless you are REALLY going to be going off road or have poor snow removal on the roads where you live (in the Chicago area, we're pretty good with snow removal - I've NEVER owned a 4-wheel drive vehicle and can't remember ever being stuck, either)the Scion is a no-brainer. Couple that with the extra 5 grand that the 4wd Element costs over the Scion and it's an easy choice (not to mention 5 seats in the Scion vs 4 in the Element). Wait a minute...this is about the Civic and the Corolla, right? Sorry!

    I have ordered (and the dealer is doing his best to get the vehicle from another dealer who has the exact car that I want...we'll see if they can play nice with each other) a 2004 Honda Civix LX SSRS 5-speed(side air bag option). I used to negotiate the purchase price on the Honda (this was VERY helpful and easy!). I ended up with the car that I want for $250 under invoice, and will get 2.9% financing for 60 months, so I think I did well. MSRP on the car that I ordered is $16,100 - Invoice is $14,759 - my price is $14,509 which I think is great. Maybe some have done better than this, but I bet it wasn't by much. Here's what I didn't like about the other cars that I considered, and what I did like about the Civic:

    Toyota Corolla - Seating ergonomics were terrible. I'm a normal sized guy - 5'10" tall and 180lb. I felt as if I had to reach for the steering wheel, pulling my back off the back of the seat, while at the same time my legs felt cramped. Adjusting the seat forward or backward would make one condition better and the other worse. Seat comfort (without holding the wheel) was very good, and I like the look of the interior as much as the Civic's. The seating position blew it for me. (not to mention the attitude difference between the Honda dealership and the Toyota dealership...they are basically across the street from each other, but what a difference in attitude!) The Toyota feels like a bigger heavier car, when it is in fact roughly the same size as the Civic. For me the Civic's ergonomics were perfect! (and again, I'm average sized....I don't have stubby little arms and long legs, so it's not ME, it's the Toyota that's laid out strangely) Because Toyota is cheaper with the same options and is also offering 0% financing on their 2004 models, I wanted to like this better than the Civic, but I had to be honest with myself; the civic was clearly better. In terms of resale value, neither the Toyota nor the Civic is a slouch by any means, but I do believe the Civic holds it's value a bit better than the Toyota.

    Scion Xb - What an interesting vehicle! My wife who's 30 (8 years younger than me) and a pretty happening European chick thought the Scion was really cool looking. It makes a lot of sense, too....with great gas mileage, TONS of room inside, and lots of standard features for a great price. Here's what I didn't like about it:

    NO CENTER ARM REST! (that was enough to kill the idea for me....maybe it sounds trivial, but it's a big deal to me)

    Availability - If I had ordered one yesterday, I MIGHT have it in 7 or 8 weeks. That's 2 months, folks. I really don't feel like waiting for a car, but that's just me....maybe it's not an issue for others, but it is worth mentioning. You can't just go in and buy one; you have to order one.

    Appearance - While I love the funky square look of the vehicle today (in an English Bulldog sort of way), I wonder how I'd feel about it 4 years from now? Maybe I'd love it even more...who knows? It's a consideration, though.

    Power - Okay, let's be real....NONE of the vehicles that I'm interested in buying this time are going to set any acceleration records (I used to drag race motorcycles, so it's difficult to impress me anyway), but this thing was dog slow. It may perform a little better with the 5 speed (which is the way that I would order one if I were to buy one), but it's only got 105 HP. I did not take it onto the highway during my test drive, but I would imagine that would have been very telling. Although the Civic only has 10 more horsepower than this vehicle, it's definitely got more pop.

    Resale value - Yeah, it's made by Toyota so it SHOULD be good, but in 4 years this boxy look may be WAY out of vogue making the vehicle difficult to sell...who can say?

    Civic - The seating ergonomics are near perfect for me, right down to where my left foot rests while driving. Acceleration was more than acceptable, tbe blue color is beautiful, and the dealer that I worked with didn't waste much time with me. He didn't argue on the price of the car (I had the quote and I told him up front that I didn't care if I bought the car from him or from them, so he knew that he had to match the price if he wanted to sell me the car). The ONLY thing that we discussed at all was the trade in value of my Hyundai, which was dismal at best. We did reach an agreement on that, but I'm still going to take the car to Carmax and see what they offer me for it. It's got $2,000 worth of hail damage on it, a crack in the windshield, and damage to the rear bumper cover and I STILL got $2,000 for it so to me it's the same as getting almost $5k for it if those things were all fixed. Other good stuff about the Civic that everyone knows about are the great gas mileage and resale value. Honestly, I'd consider another Hyundai because mine has been a very reliable, good, relatively powerful car for me, but even if I could get one for a thousand less than the Civic, it would lose more than the difference in resale value so it's simply NOT a good investment (unless you buy cars and drive the wheels off of them, which is what I had planned to do with the Hyundai when I bought it, but with a family to think about I can't afford to have a car breaking down on me somewhere so the "driving it into the ground" theory simply isn't feasible to me).

    In summary (I'm about to shut up now), anyone looking for a car in this category should consider both the Civic and the Scion (resale on the Scion is still a big unknown) and if you have short legs and long arms the Corolla may be a perfect fit for you!

  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    This is a great research paper, lol. Edmunds should make an article out of it. I just have a few comments. First of all, congrats on the new civic. Second, I am pretty sure you can get an arm rest for the Scion. If you are going to compare the Scion with Element compare the 2WD Element, not 4WD.

    Scions will have good resale in 4-5 years, as the kids who are dreaming about owning one now, will be able to afford a used one. I figure a 5 year old Scion xB will be about $8K, which is not bad if someone bought it for $14K new.
  • warnerwarner Member Posts: 196
    Thanks...and you are correct about comparing apples to apples as far as the Scion and the Element. If I did choose the Element, one of the reasons for that would be that I could get it in 4WD so although that makes for a lousy comparison, that's what my choices boiled down to for me. Apples to apples, the Scion is still a lot cheaper though. I just question the radical styling of the seems like a trendy style that could very easily go out of vogue in 5 years. It's an unknown at least. The Civic is the Civic.....and for what it is will probably never go out of style. As far as my comments, they were honest and I treid to let people know what my opinions were after looking at and driving the cars. I hope it helped!

  • cincyshoppercincyshopper Member Posts: 2
    I understand that the Corolla comes with a timing chain rather than a belt. I would think this would be an important advantage for the Corolla.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    We've discussed the chain vs. belt issue. Either one has advantages, but chains break too!!!
  • stevengordonstevengordon Member Posts: 130
    What's the advantage to the driver of the belt over the chain?
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    What is the advantage to the driver of the Overhead camshaft over pushrod?
  • stevengordonstevengordon Member Posts: 130
    Is there a reason to consider one vehicle versus another on the basis of chain versus belt? I sometimes encounter salesmen who market the chain of their vehicle versus the belt of their competitors. They phrase it in terms of additional expense that the other guy's vehicle will cost you when you hit the 60K to 100K mileage mark.

    Is there an advantage to the belt over the chain?
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    and perhaps someone could answer it without the sarcasm?
  • bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    It really depends on how long you keep your cars. Currently on a Honda that uses a belt, it's due replacement at 105,000 miles or 7 years at cost of about $600 to $800. The cost is so high because service departments like to change the water pump when they have to change the timing belt. If you are selling your car when it is coming due a timing belt change, it will be a detractor for the buyer. If your car has a timing chain and you do regular oil changes and don't drive it like a race car, the chain can easily last the life of the engine or at least 200,000 miles. If I had a choice, I prefer a chain, because in the end you will save on maintenance costs over a belt. Even if you ever had to change the timing chain and sprockets, the cost is not much more than you would have spent to do a belt. Belts were originally used because they operated quieter than a chain, but that is really not a factor anymore. I would let many other aspects of a car drive my purchase decision, not whether the engine had a belt or a chain. In the end it's really a not a big deal.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    Sorry, that was me. My point is that if someone is going to spend $15,000 on a brand new car and quibbles about $500 maintenance item 10 years, 100,000 miles later it makes me wonder whether they are just starting up a fight. $500 belt replacement is miniscule compared to operating costs over the 10 year period. What about tires, some cars come with good gripping tires that only last 40,000 miles, while others come with long lasting 80,000 mile tires that have less grip. I don't see anyone comparing the costs there, which are in $300-$500 range. Brakes are a wear and tear items, so are hoses, filters, fluids. There are tons of items that needs replacing on regular basis. How about the driving dynamics of a car, reliability, quality of fit and finish, fuel economy, and so on, why would a timing belt be your descision guide? If the belt vs chain is your biggest descision maker, go with GM's push rod engine.
  • stevengordonstevengordon Member Posts: 130
    Timing belt becomes important as the car ages. At some point you have to bite the bullet and pay for the expense or simply trade the car or sell it privately having decided not to have the belt replaced.

    Unlike tires and brake pads, the timing belt does not enter your awareness as you put miles on the car. You can inspect tires, feel their give as they wear, etc. The timing belt's presence remains cloaked, until it breaks or until your mechanic suggests replacing it.

    For any two vehicles that you assess as equals when shopping for a car, it might be the factor that tips the balance in favor of one over the other.
  • nycanyca Member Posts: 232
    just to chime in here - have (had, you'll see why) a 94 Civic, 165K miles, two timing belt changes, water pump changed, regular oil changes and tune-ups, very well maintained car. head gasket went last week, engine flooded with water, oil fouled causing loss of lubrication - bottom line, mechanic says its not worth fixing. so for loss of a head gasket, the motor is gone. have to junk the car.

    looking at the Corolla now. the honda may well be a good car, but if you plan on doing high mileage with it (commuter car), no way you can get 200K miles on a Honda engine based on my experience.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    Not to be rude (and Im actually pro-Toyota on this one), but your experience is just that- one experience. Recommending the Corolla over the Civic based on your experience with only one of the two, and one that is 10 years old at that, seems hardly fair. The Civic engine now is quite different than the 1.5L (DX, LX) that powered the 1994. That said, I think the head gasket issue is reasonably valid for that model year Civic. Mine went at 97,000 miles or so, and a friends at 130,000. Still, this is not a predictor of the quality of the 2004s or 2005s, which are wholly different vehicles.

  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    ....are any cars still using timing belts of the 'interference' variety? That is, on interference cars, when the belt breaks, the engine is pretty much toast? I remember someone telling me when I had my '90 Mazda Protege LX that Hondas of that era were 'interference' while the Mazda was non-interference. Ergo, you could just wait for the belt to break without worrying about destroying the engine (not that I'd recommend that course of inaction, but still, it's possible).

    Please correct me if I'm wrong here, folks?
  • tombtomb Member Posts: 4
    Far above in message #8 dated 4/24/2004, alpha01 writes,

    "The Civic handles more nimbly, no doubt (but not the DX or VP models)."

    Is the handling of the DX different from the LX? Is the hardware different in these two models?

    I have a price of $12,500.00 for a two door DX VP, which is presented as a DX with air and CD. I drove the car and it handled well. I thought. Should I drive an LX? Should I expect the handling to be different?


    Tom B.
  • tombtomb Member Posts: 4
    I've got the brochure for the 2004 Civic Coupe, and inside the back cover it lists the DX and HX without stabilizer bar, but shows the LX and EX with stabilizer bars, which are 15.9 mm in front and 12.00 mm in back.

    Do these stabilizer bars make for much of a difference in handling?

  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I had a tail happy 1994 Civic DX coupe w/o the stabilizer bar, and it felt sloppier (lots more body roll) than a friend's 95 Civic EX.

    If you can afford the LX, go for that car. Its just much nicer overall, and will be a lot easier to resell down the road.

    Would you instead consider an Elantra? You can easily get one equipped like the Civic LX except with head protection side airbags, for the price you're being quoted for the Civic DX.

    Also, you may want to check with your insurance company on the cost to insure a Civic 2 door vs. the cost to insure the 4-door. I'm guessing you could save some money there.

  • tombtomb Member Posts: 4
    Thanks, alpha, for your helpful comments.

    What is you opinion of spending $228.00 for front side air bags?

    Tom B.
  • mautomauto Member Posts: 75
    Most cars today have switched to the timing chain and the Civic engines will eventually do the same. A timing chain lasts the life of the engine - a belt last about 100k miles. The reason to use a belt is partly noise related, but mostly cost related. It's much cheaper (for Honda) to build an engine with a belt and make the consumer pay for its eventual replacement. I've always traded in my Civic before 100k because I figure that the $500 would be better spent towards another new Civic. If you plan on buying and keeping a Civic for the 100k miles, this is certainly something to think about. With this in mind you really need to add $500 to the new price of a Civic to compare it to other new cars with the chain.
  • tombtomb Member Posts: 4
    Referring to Message 50 above.

    I'm insured by State Farm, and they said the 2-door would cost me $58.00 a year more than the 4-door, everything else being equal.

    I'm a 60-something-year-old geezer, and that surely affects the amount they quoted.

    Tom B.
This discussion has been closed.