When it comes to small frontal overlap crashes, the 2016 Honda Civic fares better than the 2016 Toyota Corolla by a country mile.
Sure, there are literally a dozen or more choices in the small sedan segment but only two reign supreme in sales, the Civic and Corolla. Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Better Car uploaded a video comparing the small frontal crash tests between the 2016 Honda Civic and the 2016 Toyota Corolla. The differences between the two couldn’t be farther apart. Whereas the Civic maintained the integrity of its driver and passenger cell with little intrusion into the cockpit, the Toyota Corolla’s driver’s space was seriously compromised by intruding structure. Take a look at the video for yourself below.
In the most recent IIHS crash testing between the two vehicles, both cars matched up against each other when it came to the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint and seat tests. The only major difference between the Civic and Corolla came from the small overlap frontal test where the Corolla received a marginal score with a poor rating on Structure and safety cage while the Civic received a good score overall. Here are the two side by side.
First the Civic.
And now the Corolla
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Even if you go back a generation for the Civic, the 9th Generation Honda Civic outperforms the Toyota Corolla when it comes to crashworthiness. Around the time they were engineering the 9th generation Civic around 2005, Honda was incorporating its Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE for short) Automobile body structure design in most of its lineup. The 2006 Honda Civic was the first year this concept was applied and continues on today with ACE ii for the 2016 Honda Civic.
According to Honda,
"ACE is a Honda-exclusive body design that utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute frontal crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This helps reduce the force transferred to the cabin and more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles involved."
This video from Hagerstown Honda does a great job of explaining what that means in detail.
In real life, no one wants to encounter what a small frontal overlap impact would feel like, but they occur far more often than you would think. According to a study by the Medical College of Wisconsin, 40 percent of single vehicle accidents (crashing into a tree or pole) have the characteristics of a small overlap collision. And in many parts of the United States where two lane highways with opposing traffic and no median barrier between the two lanes is the norm, you’ll find this type of collision occurring as well.
So if you’re in the market for a small sedan and are choosing between a Civic and Corolla (or know someone that is) it would behoove you to go with the Civic if safety is important for you. Even more so if you live in a rural area or drive in areas with lots of foliage (trees etc.) to the right and left of your car.