i have read all the up and down correspondence and comparison of altis vs current civic vti. i would like to add my comments as below;
i have extensivley driven both the cars both within the city and inter city to as far as up north of pakistan. also i frequently travel and have rented both corollas and civics.
my views are as below:
there is no doubt that civic has better handling and maneuvering characteristics and it feels more sure-footed in tight corners and on highways. also the interior of civic is eye-catching and more modern.
i have been a civic fan, however i hate to say that in terms of build-quality and durability, the recent civic (from 2002-2005) does not come close to corolla. cant say about upcoming 2006 model, but in the current version (200-2005), civic has significantly dropped its build quality.
the first and fore-most is the evident and annoying engine sound during hard acceleration which easily transmits into the cabin through the thin metal. previous civic designs/engines were far more quiet.this gives a very unsophisticated feel to the car. honda must consider reviving its build quality or else.......
also, the current civic vti cant match the power and torque of corolla altis and its obvious that an altis can outperform a vti.
civic does seem to have a more sophisticated and supple ride, however again its quiet common to develop body/panel and suspension noises/rattles in civics just over a year or two old. where as corolla takes much more abuse and has a much more durable suspension and better build quality.its better-suited for pakistani roads and driving conditions. This is the reason that civics generally dont survive with car rental companies and most of them offer corollas.
to sum up things. honda and toyota are targetting different clientale. civics are more modern and sophisticated than corolla but are definitely delicate and have not kept up their quality. in terms of build-quality and durability corolla is better and longer lasting and due to these reasons has a higher resale value compared to civic.