The Toyota Prius introduces a new all-wheel drive option for 2019
The Civic and the Prius are not direct competitors
The Honda Civic and the Toyota Prius are two of the most trusted compact sedans offered today. The two aren’t meant to be direct competitors, as Toyota offers the Corolla as a Civic competitor, while Honda’s Insight is aimed directly at the Prius. That said, many buyers still cross-shop the two in their search for dependable, fuel-efficient transportation. To help you to understand exactly what sets these popular name plates apart, we’ll compare the two in a number of categories below.
The Prius has been on sale in its current generation since the 2016 model year and receives a few key updates for 2019. The most notable change is the addition of available all-wheel drive. An AWD Prius has been on sale in Japan for a few years now, but it’ll go on sale in the U.S. for the first time in the coming model year. While it’s a primitive system that works primarily at very low speeds, the new AWD Prius will offer added capability to anyone living in a snowy climate. Additional changes to the Prius for 2019 include updated front and rear styling, along with new trim levels. Out are the numerical model designations and in are L, LE, XLE and Limited trims, which follow a nomenclature more in line with the rest of the Toyota portfolio.
Pricing for the 2019 Prius has yet to be released at the time of this writing, but expect prices to follow those of the 2018 model, which started at around $25,000 and topped out at $34,000, not including the higher-tech Prius Prime, which Toyota considers to be a separate product line. See the 2019 Toyota Prius models for sale near you
The Civic was also last all new for 2016, and also receives a mid-life refresh for 2019. For the sake of this comparison, we’ll focus on the basic sedan body style, although coupe and hatchback variants, along with performance-oriented Si and Type R models, are also offered. Base LX models start at $19,450, while a fully loaded Touring model will exceed $28,000
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, Touring model approaches $28,000. See the 2019 Honda Civic models for sale near you
Aside from the Prius’ new available AWD system, powertrains in either of these vehicles carry over unchanged for 2019.
The 2019 Honda Civic is available with two different engines. Lower end models come with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine putting out 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. Upper trim level vehicles get a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder making 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Either engine can be had with either a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a 6-speed manual. Fitted with the 1.5-liter turbo and the CVT, which is its most efficient configuration, the Civic earns 32 miles per gallon in the city, 42 mpg on the highway and 36 mpg in combined driving.
The Prius uses a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder paired with two electric motors and a CVT. Total output from the engine and motors is 121 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. The Prius is obviously tuned purely for efficiency. The standard Prius earns 54 mpg city/50 mpg hwy/52 mpg combined, while an available Eco model earns 58 mpg city/53 mpg hwy/56 mpg combined. As for the new AWD variant, Toyota expects it to ring in at 52 mpg city/48 mpg hwy/50 mpg combined.
On the outside, the Civic is bigger than the Prius. The Civic is 182.3 inches long, 70.8 inches wide and 55.7 inches tall, while the Prius is 178.7 inches long, 69.3 inches wide and 58.1 inches tall.
The interior is a different story, as the Prius actually bests the Civic in a few dimensions. Up front, the Prius has 39.4 inches of headroom and 43.2 inches of legroom, while the Civic offers 39.3 inches and 42.3 inches of head and legroom, respectively. In the back seat, the Prius has 37.4 inches of headroom and 33.4 inches of legroom, compared to the Civic’s 36.8 inches of headroom and 37.4 inches of legroom.
While the Civic’s trunk offers a passable 15 cu ft. of trunk space, the Prius offers a respectable 25 cu ft., thanks to its hatchback design. Worth noting is that the more practical Civic hatchback offers between 23 cu ft. and 26 cu ft. of cargo room, depending on the trim level.
The Prius and the Civic both earn good marks in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing. IIHS names the Prius a Top Safety Pick, while the Civic seems to have barely missed out on the designation.
The Prius gets a generous array of standard driver-assistance safety features. Every Prius comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, front automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane keeping assist.
Honda’s suite of driver assistance-safety features is also now standard fare across the Civic model line. The 2019 Civic comes standard with lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and automatic headlights. Honda’s website and branding of these features makes it difficult to determine whether blind spot monitoring is included.
Altogether, these are two safe vehicles.
The Prius is available with three different infotainment screen sizes, the largest of which is 11.6 inches. Despite all of this screen real estate, not even the highest trim level Prius offers Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, leaving buyers no choice but to tolerate Toyota’s mediocre Entune system. The Prius comes with two 12 volt outlets and one USB port, plus an available wireless charging pad.
Civic LX and Sport models get a 5-in infotainment screen, while EX, EX-L and Touring models get a 7-in screen. All trim levels of the Civic gain a physical volume knob for 2019. The Civic’s HondaLink infotainment system gets an update for 2019. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are offered on all but the LX trims. The Civic comes with one 12 volt outlet and two USB ports, along with a wireless charging pad.
The Civic and the Prius both come standard with a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, automatic climate control and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Buyers can also opt for a sunroof on either one.
While the Prius’ most notable new feature for 2019 is the availability of AWD, it offers a few additional conveniences that buyers will enjoy. The 2019 Toyota Prius is available with rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat and a color head up display.
The Civic offers a few additional luxury touches including heated rear seats and a power passenger seat, along with a color display screen in its gauge cluster.
Buyers of either the Civic or the Prius should have much to worry about when it comes to reliability, as Honda and Toyota earn some of the highest quality scores in the industry. Both manufacturers offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
While the Civic and Prius aren’t meant to be direct competitors, buyers in search of a compact sedan would be wise to include either one in their search. If fuel economy is your number one concern, and you don’t mind sacrificing driving dynamics in favor of efficiency, the Prius is a great option. Buyers looking for a little bit of both would be wise to favor the Civic, which has long been praised for its handling and build quality, in addition to offering respectable fuel efficiency. If either or both of these vehicles is high on your list, it’s also worth checking out a Toyota Corolla, which will be all-new for 2020, and a Honda Insight, which shares most of its components with the Civic while offering fuel efficiency on par with the Prius. Find a Honda Civic for sale or Find a Toyota Prius for sale