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2018 Honda Civic vs. 2018 Toyota Prius: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Chris O'Neill October 2018
  • The 2018 Honda Civic is available in sedan, coupe and 4-door hatchback body styles.

  • The 2018 Toyota Prius earns up to 58 miles per gallon in city driving.

  • Civic and Prius are not direct competitors.

Two of the more popular compact sedans on sale today are the Honda Civic and the Toyota Prius. While the two vehicles are not direct competitors, it isn't uncommon for buyers in search of a fuel-efficient compact sedan to cross-shop the two. Below we'll compare the two to help you to decide which is better for you.

Basic Specs

The Prius was last fully redesigned for the 2016 model year and is available in a number of different trim levels. At the low end is the Prius Two, which starts at $24,685. Prius Three and Prius Four models make up the rest of the trim levels, while Touring and Eco models round out the lineup. A fully loaded Prius Four tops out at around $34,000.

The Honda Civic was also all-new for the 2016 model year. A variety of trim levels are offered, including a performance-oriented Si model. While coupe and hatchback variants are offered, we'll focus on the sedan for the sake of this review. Entry level LX models start at $18,940, while a fully loaded, non-Si Touring model approaches $28,000.

Engines

Lower-end Civic LX and EX models are equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. Upper-trim EX-T, EX-L and Touring models come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder making 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Both engines can be paired with either a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Civic's most efficient configuration, the 1.5-liter turbo mated to the CVT, returns 32 mpg in the city, 42 mpg on the highway and 36 mpg combined.

The Prius employs a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors mated to a continuously variable transmission. Its total power output is 121 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque overall. Needless to say, the Prius isn't tuned for performance, but rather for efficiency. The regular Prius earns 54 mpg city/50 mpg hwy/52 mpg combined. Prius Eco models achieve slightly better fuel economy, earning 58 mpg city/53 mpg hwy/56 mpg combined.

Dimensions

Outside, the Honda Civic Sedan is slightly larger than the Toyota Prius. The Civic measures 182.3 inches long, 70.8 inches wide and 55.7 inches tall. The Prius is 178.7 inches long, 69.3 inches wide and 58.1 inches tall.

Inside, the Prius is larger in several dimensions, although the Civic offers considerably more second-row legroom. The Prius offers 39.4 inches of headroom and 43.2 inches of legroom in the front seat, while the Civic offers 39.3 inches and 42.3 inches respectively. In the rear, the Prius offers 37.4 inches of headroom and 33.4 inches of legroom, while the Civic offers 36.8 inches and 37.4 inches.

The Prius offers a whopping 25 cu ft. of cargo room to the Civic's 15 cu ft.

Safety

The 2018 Honda Civic and the Toyota Prius both earn good scores in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Prius earns a Top Safety Pick designation, while the Civic misses this mark only because of a poor score for headlights and a lack of standard driver-assistance safety features.

The Prius comes standard with adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. The Civic offers a variety of great features as well as a $1,000 option on all models equipped with an automatic transmission, although this tech comes standard on the Touring models. The Civic's suite of features includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. The Civic forgoes traditional blind spot detection.

Altogether, the Civic and Prius are both very safe vehicles, although the Civic's omission of blind spot detection is a strike against it.

Infotainment

The Prius offers an available 11.6-in touchscreen infotainment system, but Toyota's reluctance to offer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility limits the usefulness of this large tablet-style screen. The Prius offers two 12-volt outlets and one USB port, along with a wireless charging pad.

Entry-level Civic LX models come with a basic center screen featuring traditional knobs and buttons. All other trim levels get a 7.0-in touchscreen unit using Honda's Homelink infotainment system, and come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The Civic's lack of a physical volume knob on this higher-end system is considered a major drawback. Still, the presence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make this a much better overall package than what is offered in the Prius. The Civic offers one 12-volt outlet and two USB ports. As in the Prius, a wireless charging pad is available.

Features

The Prius can be had with rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights and taillights, a color heads-up display, a two-tiered center-mounted gauge cluster, heated front seats and a power driver's seat.

The Civic is available with heated front and rear seats, power driver and passenger seats, and a color driver's display in the gauge cluster.

Both vehicles offer a standard tilt-telescopic steering wheel, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an available sunroof.

Reliability

Honda and Toyota have both earned strong reputations for quality. Therefore, Prius and Civic buyers should both see above-average reliability from their vehicles. Toyota and Honda both offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, on par with the rest of the industry.

Autotrader's Advice

The Civic and Prius aren't meant to be direct competitors. Buyers interested in the Civic should also consider the Toyota Corolla, while buyers interested in the Prius should also consider the Honda Insight. Buyers interested primarily in fuel economy and environmental consciousness should favor the Prius, while buyers looking for space, modern infotainment features and more engaging driving dynamics will want to opt for the more mainstream Civic.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Honda Civic vs. 2018 Toyota Prius: Which Is Better? - Autotrader