2018 Honda Civic

Starting Price: $20,245 | Price yours  

Above Average: Fuel economy, resale value, overall driving manners

Below Average: No volume knob, no tuning knob, no worse than that

Consensus: The spacious, reliable, fun-to-drive segment benchmark

 

2018 Hyundai Elantra

Starting Price: $17,835 | Price yours

Above Average: Quiet cabin, engaging design, top-tier infotainment

Below Average: Middling interior materials, interior space

Consensus: Stylish and well-sorted, it can give segment leaders a legitimate run for their money.

 

The 2018 Honda Civic has become the compact by which others are measured. Offered as a sedan, coupe or hatchback, and with seven trim levels ranging from base LX to the Civic Type R performance model, with a choice of engines, transmissions, tech options and more, there is something for everyone. Base models get the 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four, while mid-level versions see the 174-horsepower turbo four. For the Civic Si, there’s a gutsier 1.5-liter producing 205 horsepower, while the Civic Type R boasts 306 horsepower coming from a 2.0-liter turbo. The Civic is also practical, efficient, and comfortable, and has plenty of innovative safety features. Oh, and did we mention Honda’s history of reliability and resale value? Well, there’s that, too. The Hyundai Elantra has stylish good looks, premium interior outfitting and a class-leading 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty that are all part of the mix. The Eco sedan drops down to 1.4 liters in engine size, while the Elantra Sport model features a 1.6-liter engine that gets up and goes. Available in six trim levels including 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback, the Elantra’s line is rounded out by a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder and an eco-tuned 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, both with a choice of 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions. The Sporty Elantra GT includes a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch automatic.

Honda Civic Advantages

Filled with the latest tech and safety features. Spacious inside, fuel efficient and a reliable commuter car. High-performance 306-horsepower Type R continues to turn heads. A high-tech screen in your rearview mirror adds a sense of security when dealing with right-side blind spots. Premium interior materials with top-notch plastics. Efficient use of interior space carries over to the trunk, which offers 15.1 cubic feet in the sedan and 25.7 cubic feet in the hatchback, with the rear seats in the upright position. Fold them forward for an additional 20 cubic feet.

Hyundai Elantra Advantages

The 2018 Elantra was redesigned last year, but now includes Blind Spot Detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, a 7.0-inch display, and heated outside mirrors. Additional models like the Eco cater to the green/frugal car buyers, while the Elantra GT with its turbo engine and multi-link rear suspension takes aim for the enthusiasts amongst us. Available power-operated trunk will automatically open if the key fob is in your pocket and you’re standing close to it for a few seconds. The Elantra’s exterior appearance is more refined with an athletic stance that doesn’t scream spaceship the way the Civic does.

Similarities

The 2018 Honda Civic and the 2018 Hyundai Elantra pretty much run neck and neck on engine size, power, torque and even down to their respective measurements, as though they might have been benchmarked against each other. The Elantra Sport GT can match the Civic Si for power, but when compared to the 306 ponies found under the hood of the Civic Type R, there is currently no answer from Hyundai.

Final Recommendation

The Honda Civic has earned KBB’s Small Car Best Buy award for four years running, and with every new generation this compact car continues to raise the bar for the rest of the segment. On the other hand, Hyundai’s Elantra continues to improve, but still hasn’t matched the refinement and room that the Civic offers, or the 305 horses produced by the Civic Type R. But Hyundais offer a tremendous value, plus a 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that manages to sell quite a few Hyundai models alone. 

  2018 Honda Civic 2018 Hyundai Elantra
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower 158 hp @ 6,500 rpm 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 138 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission Continuously variable Automatic, 6-spd
Fuel Economy 34 mpg (31 city/40 hwy) 33 mpg (29 city/38 hwy)
Also Available 158-205-hp 1.5L turbo I4, 306-hp 2.0L turbo I4 (Type R) 128-hp I4 (Eco), 195-hp turbo I4 (GT, Sport)
Specs    
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 4 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 176.9 inches 179.9 inches
Width 70.8 inches 70.9 inches
Height 54.9 inches 56.5 inches
Turning Diameter 35.7 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 38.2 inches 38.8 inches
Headroom, Rear 34.6 inches 37.6 inches
Legroom, Front 42.3 inches 42.2 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.9 inches 35.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.9 inches 56.2 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 52.6 inches 55.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 91.0 cu. ft. 95.8 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 12.1 cu. ft. 14.4 cu. ft.
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