The Honda Civic wrote the book on modern compact cars. Introduced in 1972 with a focus on outstanding fuel economy, affordability and outright reliability, the Civic was an instant hit and since then has been one of the best-selling cars in America.
The all-new 2012 Honda Civic (MSRP $15,805) is the model’s ninth generation, sporting a sleeker, more aerodynamic design with a host of enhancements throughout. In the last decade, Hyundai has attempted to meet the challenge. Redesigned for 2011, the Hyundai Elantra starts 2012 at a higher MSRP, $16,445, than the Civic. Comparably equipped, the Civic still holds the advantage with its $17,375 MSRP, compared to $18,205 for the Elantra. Automotive residual value expert and consulting firm ALG also gives a higher 60-month residual value to the Civic, meaning the Civic is predicted to be worth more after five years than the Elantra.
Another thing the Civic gives you far more of is powertrain options. With models ranging from sporty to performance and even a hybrid, you have engine options to suit any need. The Civic overwhelms the Elantra with four four-cylinder options for maximum balance of performance and efficiency. Buyers can choose the economy gasoline engine in the Civic HF (1.8-liter, 140 hp and up to 41 mpg highway); the high-performance gasoline engine in the Civic Si (2.4-liter, 201 hp and up to 31 mpg highway); the Civic Hybrid (44 mpg average combined) or even a Civic powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), the only OEM-built, dedicated CNG passenger car assembled in America.
The Elantra, on the other hand, offers one engine, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 148 hp and 131 lb/ft of torque while returning up to 40 mpg highway.
The Civic is also loaded with standard and optional technology innovations. For instance, all Civic models except for the Si come with Eco Assist™ technology, a push button system that enhances driving efficiency for maximum fuel economy and provides visual feedback to the driver as to how efficiently they’re driving.
Ride and handling improvements were also made on the already athletic Civic. Honda engineers developed a 10 percent more rigid unibody consisting of five percent more high-strength steel than the previous generation. The result is a car that balances sporty handling with refined ride quality at any speed, on any road surface.
The Elantra, while fun to drive, doesn’t feel as refined and collected as the Civic does on back roads, freeways and bumpy stretches. On the highway, the Elantra also generates more wind noise than the sleeker and quieter Civic. In the Elantra, it’s a constant reminder that you’re driving a compact car; a notion absent inside the cabin of the Civic.
Inside, the Civic benefits from a redesign focused on a “two-tier” layout, putting the most used instruments, like the speedometer, directly in the driver’s line of sight. The dash and center stack also divide vehicle controls into intuitive zones with ergonomic dials that have a precision feel when operated. It might seem like minutiae, but it’s little details like this that continue to give the Civic an edge over competitors like the Elantra.
The Civic is also available with an “intelligent” Multi-Information Display (i-MID), located on the upper tier of the dash to the right of the speedometer, which works in conjunction with a high-resolution LCD screen in the center stack. The i-MID allows the driver to more easily and safely see and control functions like navigation, Bluetooth, music source and real-time fuel economy from controls on the steering wheel. It’s a technologically advanced feature not often found on compact cars like the Civic, and one not found in the Elantra.
The Hyundai Elantra is a car that has garnered a solid reputation, but when compared against the new 2012 Honda Civic, it simply can’t compete. The Civic boasts an overwhelming amount of performance, efficiency, technology, quality, reliability and value – factors recently helped Honda earn its best-ever result in the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study – but what’s most important is you get to choose a model that suits your individual needs.
With a host of trim and engine options in both sedan and coupe designs, there’s a Civic that’s right for you. Schedule a test drive today and we’ll help you find the right one.
Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $770.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary