Powertrain – Civic wins, easily
The Honda Civic facelift gets the choice of 2 powertrains – a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated (141 PS, 174 Nm) or a 1.5-litre turbocharged unit (173 PS, 220 Nm). Both engines are mated to a CVT-type automatic transmission.
The Corolla Altis on the other hand, is powered by a 1.8-litre naturally-aspirated unit that does 139 PS and 172 Nm.
Like the Civic, the Corolla Altis gets a CVT-type automatic that sends power to the front wheels.
Without a doubt, for those seeking outright performance should check out the updated Civic, as it is the most powerful C-segment sedan on sale right now.
Having said that, although the Corolla Altis lacks power, its CVT is a lot better than the Civic's, offering a more direct feel, almost like a torque converter automatic.
Fuel consumption wise, Honda says that the Civic TC-P returns 6.2-litre/100 km under their own internal tests, while the 1.8 S and 1.5 TC return 6.3- and 5.8-litre/100 km, respectively.
Toyota does not provide a fuel consumption figure for the Corolla Altis.
Features – Honda's Man Maximum, Machine Minimum keeps it ahead
In terms of features, both cars are quite evenly matched – both range-topping versions get LED headlights, 8-way power adjustable driver seat, leather upholstery, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
New to the Civic is the addition of 60:40 split folding rear seats, which replaces the fixed rear seats on the pre-facelift model, expanding the Civic's already cavernous 519-litre boot even further.
Adding on to that is the Civic's already-excellent interior practicality, with large storage spaces that easy to reach.
The Corolla Altis, on the other hand, only gets 2 cup holders and a comparatively tiny centre console up front. The Toyota's cabin is also a lot smaller. Shoulder and legroom is lacking front and back. It's best used as a four-seater.
Boot space of the Corolla Altis is also less than the Civic, coming in at 470 litres.
Infotainment – Civic has the edge
Setting the Civic apart from the Corolla Altis is the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Corolla Altis only gets MirrorLink (T-Link), which as you already know by now, doesn't work if you turn off your phone's screen, or changes its orientation.
Unlike other markets that a get a thinner, sleeker lookng free-standing display, our local market Corolla Altis's infotainment is actually a 2-DIN unit, thus explains the large bezels around the screen.
Update 1-June 2020: The Corolla Altis 1.8G now gets a 9-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Price has gone up by RM 3,000 to RM 139,888, but the price now includes vehicle telematics security system (previously optional).
The Civic's 7-inch screen looks far better. It also offers 8 speakers across all variants, while the Corolla Altis only offers a 6-speaker audio system.
It remains to be seen which car offers the best audio experience, as having more speakers don't necessarily equal to being better.
Ride and Handling – Civic is still the de-facto driver’s pick
For the driving enthusiasts, the Civic is still the default option – not only does the Civic offer a more powerful engine, its driving dynamics are also geared towards the sportier end of the scale.
That said, it’s not like the Corolla Altis can’t handle, it’s just that the Corolla’s steering felt somewhat artificial when compared to the Civic, which is a shame considering that the platform can accommodate a sportier drive.
Gazoo Corolla Altis, anyone?
Safety – Nearly identical safety features
New to the Civic facelift is the inclusion of the Honda Sensing ADAS suite (1.5 TC-P only), which includes a rather comprehensive list of features:
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
- Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Low Speed Follow (LSF)
- Auto High Beam (AHB)
It is also worth noting that both the 1.5 TC and 1.5 TC-P variants of the Civic include the Honda LaneWatch camera.
The Corolla Altis, on the other hand, gets the Toyota Safety Sense ADAS suite, which bundles equivalent features, such as:
- Pre-Collision System (PCS)
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with Stop&Go
- Automatic High Beam (AHB)
- Lane Departure Alert (LDA)
- Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
With that said, the Corolla Altis also adds a 360-degree view monitor, front and rear digital video recorders (DVR), blind spot monitor, and a driver’s knee airbag (total 7 airbags).
Prices - About the same
Prices start from RM 113,600 for the Honda Civic 1.8 S, before topping out at RM 139,600 for the Civic 1.5 TC-P variant.
As for the Corolla Altis, this made-in-Thailand C-segment sedan has a starting price of RM 128,888.