A few weeks ago, Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) launched the 11th-generation Civic in the country. The new model comes with revised styling both inside and out. But perhaps the biggest upgrade can be found under the hood. Gone is the 1.8-liter naturally aspirated mill, and in its place is a 1.5-liter turbocharged i-VTEC engine, which is standard across the entire range. All Civic models also come with Honda Sensing as standard.
With the arrival of the all-new Civic, we wondered how it stacks up against Toyota's longest-running model and its rival – the Corolla Altis. Below we'll do a comparison of the specs of the range-topping Civic RS Turbo CVT and the Corolla Altis 1.8 V Hybrid CVT.
Bigger is better
Both the Civic and the Altis are in the compact sedan segment, meaning their sizes are roughly the same. However, one will always be bigger than the other, even by a little.
The bigger model between the two is the Civic, measuring 4678mm long and 1802mm wide, compared to the Altis which is 4630mm long and 1780mm wide. However, the Altis is taller at 1455mm over the Civic's 1415mm height.
But when it comes to the wheelbase, the Civic has the advantage at 2735mm over the Altis which only measures 2700mm. The 35mm might seem insignificant, but it's enough to make a big difference for passengers seating in the second row. A longer wheelbase often equates to more rear legroom, meaning a comfier ride for those seated at the back.
So the Civic is the bigger vehicle between the two, but what about the more powerful one?
More power, more torque
As mentioned earlier, the Civic now comes with an all turbocharged lineup, from the base S to the top-spec RS. That engine is the 1.5-liter DOHC VTEC unit similar to the Accord, and it produces 178 PS and 240 Nm torque, making it one of the most powerful sedans on the market. All that power is then sent to the front wheels via a CVT.
In comparison, the Altis uses a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter mill that only produces 97 PS and 142 Nm torque. Not a lot, but it does have an ace up its sleeve – an electric motor. The electric motor in the Altis Hybrid generates an additional 71 PS. As a result, the total combined output is rated at 121 PS. Similar to the Civic, the gearbox is a CVT.
While the Civic might accelerate faster, the Altis will definitely be the most fuel-efficient. In our review, we managed to average 28.5 km/L mixed city and highway driving, something the Civic can only dream of.
When it comes to features inside the cabin, both the Corolla Altis Hybrid and the Civic RS are equally matched.
Toyota finally ditched the dated head unit we saw in the review in favor of a larger 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smart Device Link, and Miracast. It's similar to what you would find on the Corolla Cross Hybrid. However, the 4 speakers plus 2 tweeter setup has been retained from before.
In comparison, the top-spec Civic RS has a larger 9-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation, Bluetooth, and Android Auto similar to the Altis. However, it does have the advantage of Wireless Apple CarPlay and a Bose 12-speaker sound system which audiophiles will enjoy. There's also a wireless charger so no need for messy wires in the cabin.
For this category, it seems the Civic has the advantage with the larger head unit, extra speakers, and wireless Apple CarPlay.
Safety makes sense
In terms of safety, both the Altis Hybrid and Civic RS are fairly equipped. The Altis comes with 7 airbags – driver, passenger, curtain shield, side, and driver's knee.
It's the same for the Civic RS, however, it lacks the knee airbag of the Altis. Both models also come standard with the usual safety features such as ABS, EBD, VSC, and Hill Start Assist.
One of the biggest highlights of both the Civic and Hybrid in terms of safety are Honda Sensing and Toyota Safety Sense. These systems add adaptive/dynamic cruise control, pre-collision system, lane-keep assist, lane-trace assist, and more.
As mentioned earlier, Honda Sensing is standard for the entire range, but Toyota Safety Sense is only available on the Hybrid.
Price is right
One of the biggest factors most buyers look at is always the price. Since these are the top-spec variants, they are quite pricey, especially compared to the base model.
The more affordable model between the two is the Altis 1.8 V Hybrid, which retails for PHP 1,595,000, while the Civic RS Turbo with Sensing costs PHP 1,690,000. It's a PHP 95,000 difference between the two sedans, which might be enough to put some buyers off the Civic.
Do remember, however, that the Civic is the newer vehicle between the two, and it also comes with more features such as a larger infotainment screen and a Bose sound system.
The big advantage the Altis does have over the Civic is the hybrid engine, which would provide for very fuel-efficient drives. Considering the prices of gasoline lately, it does make a lot of sense.
If you're considering a top-of-the-line compact sedan the new Civic fits the bill with all it has to offer. While the Corolla Altis Hybrid might be a bit older in comparison, it's still very competitive with its fuel-efficient hybrid engine. Which one will you choose? We leave that to you.