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What’s the secret to the longevity of the Civic and the Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have been around for more than 40 years. What’s the secret to longevity in a model?

Let’s first look at the Corolla, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The first model rolled off the assembly line in Japan in November 1966. In the following years, over 40 million variations have been sold around the globe.

A celebration was held for the milestone during the New York Auto Show earlier this month. Past models were on display and what struck me was how much it has changed, yet how similar it is.

Trevor Horton, an Internet sales manager at Centennial Toyota of Las Vegas, said the Toyota Corolla is a reliable vehicle that will hold its value for years to come.

“Whether you want it for five or 20 years, it’ll still be running,” he said. “It’s the highest selling Toyota models.”

Horton added that it’s a dependable and safe vehicle for first-time or seasoned drivers.

“For the price point, it comes with a large number of features including hands-free Bluetooth and backup camera,” he said. “It’s very fuel efficient and cost effective. All around, it’s a great vehicle.”

The same is true of the Honda Civic. Since its introduction in 1973, the Civic has been a consistent winner in the American market while evolving its style. There’s no sense one is settling when buying it or the Corolla as might have been the case when both first graced our shores.

The first secret to their longevity is staying true to their missions: fuel efficiency practicality mixed with a certain amount of fun. The current Honda Civic is rated up to 31 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. The Corolla gets a tick less at 30 mpg city but the same high 42 mpg on the highway.

Recently, I spent a week with the 2016 Honda Civic. I used to own a 1995 Honda Civic. In the ensuing 20-plus years, nothing has changed. I loved driving my Civic and the all-new model is just as fun to drive. There is nothing cheap about this relatively inexpensive car.

The same is true of the Corolla. While I have never owned one, I have test driven many over the years. There’s never been an instance of reviewer’s remorse, including one stint when I drove one more than 350 miles and was impressed by its comfort and composure on long stretches of highway.

The second secret to their longevity is a subtle evolution. Sure, it was evident standing amidst the models on display at the Corolla celebration how much this Toyota has changed over the decades. Yet, much like the Civic, from generation to generation you’re never struck with glaring differences between the models.

The third secret is never underestimate the customer. Both companies have done a good job making sure neither car has felt like an afterthought. There’s a sense with most manufacturers — until about five years ago — that compact cars were mainly designed to be cheap entry points for consumers. Get them in with a low price and they’re hooked almost regardless of quality.

That’s never been an issue with the Corolla or the Civic. Honda did run into problems with the last-generation Civic because consumers felt it didn’t do justice to the model. However, the company was quick to turn things around and come out with a new model.

The 2016 Honda Civic was an instant success and was named North American Car of the Year. That’s fairly impressive for a model that has been around for 43 years.

Trevor Horton, an Internet sales manager at Centennial Toyota of Las Vegas, said the Toyota Corolla is a reliable vehicle that will hold its value for years to come.

“Whether you want it for five or 20 years, it’ll still be running,” he said. “It’s the highest selling Toyota models.”

Horton added that it’s a dependable and safe vehicle for first time or seasoned drivers.

“For the price point, it comes with a large amount of features including hands-free Bluetooth and backup camera,” he said. “It’s very fuel efficient and cost effective. All around, it’s a great vehicle.”

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