The Honda Civic is in a crowded market share of family compact cars, but its main competitors are the Toyota Corolla, and the Nissan Sentra. "In a three-way comparison that included a 2001 Civic EX, Toyota Corolla S, and a 2000 Nissan Sentra SE, we concluded that Honda “significantly changed the demeanor of its popular Civic…. Subtle ‘de-contenting’ has crept into … the Civic, and some of its exceptional driving dynamics, once due to its unique double-wishbone front suspension, have been lost.” Meanwhile, the Sentra excelled at handling and other key areas including perceived quality and value."http://www.motortrend.com/cars/honda/civic/. While the American car companies do compete with them, these three all come from Japan with very similar tendencies and values. All three are known to be reliable, efficient, safe, and cost similar prices.
Toyota has been reeling from the safety recall of past years, due to this their campaigns are geared towards the safety of the brand. The Corolla has similar heritage as well, as it is one of the most successful cars of all time. "Historically reliable and relatively affordable, the Toyota Corolla is a prudent but unexciting choice among compact sedans."http://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/corolla. Where they differ is when it comes to styling, the past decade has seen the compact market come to a boring similarity among all brands. Just like Honda Toyota is looking to stand out, styling the Corolla with a more rounded look similar to their successful line of hybrid cars the Prius. The Toyota Corolla consistently places at or near the top of the sales charts in the compact sedan segment. The small sedan has a reputation for being reliable, but also for being one of the least exciting vehicles in its class. http://www.motortrend.com/cars/toyota/corolla/. This is their main challenge, as while they are trying to play it safe with their styling and ads, they are not acknowledging the joy of driving. "Celebrating 50 years of global sales, the Corolla enters 2017 with a host of changes that continue to appeal to consumers’ sensibilities, if not their fervor."http://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/corolla. Matched neck and neck with the features that both companies offer, Honda has clearly positioned itself ahead.
"The painful mediocrity of the Sentra suggests that the days of truly great small Nissans might be gone."http://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/sentra Nissan has been know for its sports car line and has a great tradition of offering incredibly coupes that are revered to this day. It continues the tradition to this day with such cars as the Nissan GTR, but that is in fact their biggest weakness when it comes to their every day cars like the Sentra. "Although we find the Nissan Sentra distressingly mediocre and one of our least favorite compact cars, the model is nonetheless quite popular, with the company moving some 203,500 Sentras in the U.S. last year" http://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/sentra. They have put some much time and effort to showcase the boundless attention to detail on the manufacturing of their high end lines, that you’re just left disappointed when the Sentra is parked side by side. The amenities that are offered with the car are far more conservative than the Civics’ standard amenities such as the back up camera included in all models. “More than half of all Sentras sold are the lower two trims, and that makes sense,” we said in our First Drive. The refreshed Nissan isn’t an aspirational compact, but it is spacious, relatively efficient, and not overpriced.”http://www.motortrend.com/cars/nissan/sentra/. Its this conservative guide that has also left their body styling somewhere in-between Toyotas rolling curves and Honda’s tight body lines.
Both main competitors have been long standing rivals with Honda, but for the time being Honda has been able to successfully create a distinction between itself and the other two. "The 2017 Honda Civic won this year's Small Car Best Buy Award because it simply blows away everything else in its class. And for the second year in a row, it takes the Overall Best Buy trophy for the same reasons: The 2017 Civic so dominates its class, it was an obvious choice."https://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/best-buy-awards-overall/2000011410/. Its class leading standard features and brand heritage make it the strongest contender of the three.