For our next installment of head to head automotive comparisons, we are taking a closer look at the 2014 Toyota Corolla and how it stacks up against heavy competition in the Honda Civic and Ford Focus.
Over the past decade, car buyers and sellers have learned a great deal about what to look for in a new car. Gas prices have shot up to over $4 per gallon and people have become genuinely disenchanted with huge, overpriced vehicles that only get 15 miles per gallon. This trend away from size towards more efficiency has led to the popularity of compact sedans such as the Corolla, Civic, Focus, and many other makes and models. Many of these compact sedans have become staples of their respective lineups due to their efficiency, reliability, and affordability. Today, we will take a look at how they compare.
Price and Trim Levels
The Corolla, Civic, and Focus are all very comparable in price at their lower trim levels, but seem to differ more when reaching their highest trim levels. The Corolla actually has 4 different trim levels at the following MSRPs: L ($16,800), the LE ($18,300), the LE Eco ($18,700), and the S ($19,000). The Honda Civic has the typical three trim levels but priced higher in the LX ($18,390), the EX ($21,090), and the EX-L ($24,240). Last, the Ford Focus with their S ($16,810), SE ($18,125), and Titanium ($23,075) models has a more reasonable price much like the Corolla but as you can see, jumps up nearly five grand for their Titanium level. The Toyota Corolla has a clear advantage in price for staying below $20,000.
All three compact sedans have the same thing going for them, a trendy and sporty style that a younger generation wants to drive. The Corolla, Civic, and Focus are all great looking vehicles on the outside, however, the interior is where all three differ for better or worse. The Civic has a very busy design aimed at the driver. It is not very symmetrical with console features and there is a full display on top of the dash that almost seems too distracting. The Focus has a very aggressive and futuristic design with the added silver trim on the steering wheel and shifter. The one thing that the Focus differs on is the placement of the navigation or the audio display depending on which trim level you prefer. It is located at the very top of the console area and almost set in to the car too far. Like I said, aggressive design. Last, the Corolla has a very inviting and sharp interior that is not overwhelming to look at. All the features are where you think they should be and nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. It has subtle air conditioning vents, a narrow middle section for added legroom, and a very symmetrical navigation display and climate control.
The dimensions of these compact sedans varies slightly as the Corolla is over 10 inches longer at 182.6 in. compared to the Focus, which is the smallest at 171.6 in. long and the Civic holding its own at 179.4 inches long. Cargo trunk space has also not been sacrificed in these compact sedans. The largest trunk space belongs to the Focus with 13.2 cubic feet and just under that is the Corolla with 13 cubic feet. The Civic takes a small hit in this department with 12.5 cubic feet.
By now, we all want the same standard technology features in our vehicles. We want auxiliary inputs for our music, we want hands free control of our audio and phone calls, and we want to know how to get somewhere without looking down at directions. Fortunately, cars are now packed with these optional features because hey, your car needs to keep up with all the tech in your pocket. Navigation is available on all three vehicles, however, only on certain trim levels. The Corolla and Focus offer theirs on all trim levels but their base. The Civic only offers navigation on their top of the line, EX-L model. They also all offer their own version of apps and audio in the center console. The Corolla has Entune, the Civic with Hondalink, and the Focus with SYNC with MyFord. All of these are available on their respective models with the exception of their base models.
I bet you never thought a key could get complicated, but come on, its 2014. Its time for an upgrade and the smart key seems to be the way of the future. No longer do you have to strain yourself by reaching in to your pocket and then with great effort place your key into the keyhole. Your car now senses when your key (which is more of a computer chip) is near your vehicle and will unlock upon pulling the door handle. The Corolla and Civic offer this feature on all but their base trim levels. The Ford Focus however, only offers it on their Titanium model.
And last, what we could call a luxury somewhere in between safety and convenience is the back up camera, which the Civic offers on all three trim levels whereas the Corolla offers it on everything but their base. Finally, the Focus comes in last where it is only offered on their top of the line Titanium trim level.
For the most part, the powertrain of these vehicles is similar with the exception of horsepower, which all three vehicles differ on. We’ll start with the Ford Focus that boasts the highest horsepower at 160. The Civic comes in second with 143 horsepower, and last comes the Corolla with 132 horsepower and 140 horsepower for their LE Eco model. For compact sedans, horsepower isn’t the biggest of issues considering their general purpose of getting you from point A to point B. Ford also wins in torque with 146@4450 and engine liter, which is a 2.0, however, it comes with a cost. The Focus gets the worst gas mileage of any of the vehicles with a combined 30 mpg. All those extra horses and torque seem kind of unimportant now. The Civic actually wins the mpg battle with a combined 33 mpg and the Corolla follows right behind it at 31 mpg.
The safety features are all pretty standard. Nothing really jumps out besides that the Corolla has the most airbags with 8, which includes a driver’s side knee airbag. The Focus follows behind with 7 airbags and last is the Civic with just 6.
Cost of Ownership
For those who may not now, the cost of ownership applies towards anything your vehicle would be costing you during your ownership. This covers things such as fuel, insurance, financing, fees, maintenance, repairs, and its overall depreciation. The Corolla’s cost of ownership costs the least at $28,978 over a five-year period. The Civic costs $30,458 over five years and the Focus ends up costing you the most at $31,511. Big advantage for the Corolla and anyone who is a fan of saving money, or spending it on things way more fun.
All three models have the same warranty that feature 3 year or 36,000 mile new vehicle warranty and a 5 year or 60,000 mile powertrain warranty. How Toyota manages to separate itself from the competition is by offering in addition its complimentary Toyota Care, which gives the owner 2 years of free maintenance including oil changes, tire rotations, and fluid refills.
Overall, all three vehicles offer the same features on various trim levels. The price is where the Corolla, Civic, and Focus mainly divide. The Civic and Focus can have you spending well over $20,000 by the time you’re finished, not to mention they both have the highest cost of ownership over five years. The Corolla’s top of the line trim level is still $5,000 cheaper than the Civic and $4,000 cheaper than the Focus while staying competitive with or beating the other compact sedan’s features. For the best value, we highly recommend you take a look at the Toyota Corolla.