New Toyota Corolla vs Honda Civic: interiors

These hybrid hatchbacks from Honda and Toyota are two of the best family cars you can buy. But which should you choose?...

New Toyota Corolla dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Each car has a sound driving position, with enough movement in the seat and steering wheel to allow you to get comfortable. They also come with electric lumbar support adjustment for the driver, although fine-tuning the angle of their seatbacks can be a bit awkward.

That’s because you have to pull a lever and shift your weight back and forth; a wheel for this task (like you get in numerous rivals) would be simpler and more precise. The Toyota Corolla's softer seat base doesn't feel quite as supportive as the Honda Civic's on longer journeys, and the seatback is a bit short on side support to hold you in place when cornering. 

Honda Civic dashboard

However you adjust the Civic's seat, you'll find yourself sitting closer to the ground than in the Corolla, and the relatively high centre console that separates the driver and front passenger only adds to that impression. The Corolla feels airier up front, while its higher seating position gives you a great view down the road.

Indeed, the Corolla's windscreen pillars are even slimmer than the Civic's, although the view is hindered by chunky rear pillars. At least each car comes with front and rear parking sensors, along with a rear-view camera, to help guide you into tighter parking sports. 

The interiors of both benefit from simple, tidy-looking layouts with a pleasing number of physical (as opposed to touch-sensitive) controls. The knobs for adjusting the air temperature are a doddle to operate without looking away from the road for long, although the Civic's are larger and even more user-friendly than the Corolla's.

New Toyota Corolla steering wheel

Only the Corolla has a fully digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel, with the 12.3in screen offering a choice of four themes. Meanwhile, the Civic pairs a 7.0in digital screen with an analogue speedometer and isn't as versatile when it comes to displaying various types of information, although a fully digital screen is available in the top-spec Advance model. 

Both cars have solidly built interiors with a good range of high-quality materials. Both use soft-touch plastics and glossy trim finishers that lift the ambience, but the added attention to detail in the Civic makes it feel a little more upmarket. The adjusters for the air vents and the knurled climate control knobs work with a satisfying level of precision, while the honeycomb air vents running across the dash are a nice touch. 

Infotainment systems

Toyota Corolla

New Toyota Corolla infotainment

The Corolla’s new 10.5in touchscreen is a big improvement on the previous model’s. As well as being bigger, it now comes with wireless phone mirroring and the menus are much clearer. With shortcuts down the left side of the screen, hopping between menus is relatively easy, and the icons are a good size. However, the screen is slower to respond to inputs than the Civic’s system, and the volume buttons are rather small and fiddly.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic infotainment

The Civic’s 9.0in touchscreen is a bit smaller than the Corolla’s, but it’s easier to use, with handy physical shortcut keys close to the driver and a knob for some audio functions. The screen is slightly easier to see, too. The system works smoothly, although we had some issues with Apple CarPlay not always loading up. The eight-speaker stereo sounds nice and clear but has to work harder than the Corolla’s six-speaker system to drown out road noise.

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