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Honda Civic vs. Hyundai Elantra



  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    but if Subaru, Mitsubishi, and Nissan have skunk works versions of their platforms that do 5 second 0-60 times, why not Hyundai if it's going to be taken seriously? I wouldn't buy one, but if it becomes a popular niche market, why not?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    >>> Isn't 140 HP enough for a compact sedan? <<<

    Of course it is. Back in '85, I thought 70 hp was more than enough for my Civic S. But now we're in a horsepower war, so Honda puts 160hp into the new Civic Si, Ford puts 170 into the Focus SVT, Nissan puts 165 into the Sentra, and so on. To stay competitive, Hyundai may have to power-up its 4-banger or drop a V6 into the Elantra. They did it with the 2003 Tiburon, why not with a sports variant of the Elantra--GTS??
  • Correct me if it's wrong.

    I do hope Honda & Nissan spur up with more of warranties that cover "real" life-span of their vehicles, and hopefully, CATCH UP Hyundai while it's union under strike.

  • does not include vehicles produced here in the U.S. territory by Japanese companies, of course.
    I just hope Honda to provide better warranties than current ones for Civic.
  • thanks for the heads up claywater. i didn't see i made that mistake
  • I believe both of these cars have their good and bad points.

    Honda (good)
    1. Good Reputations
    2. Build quality (slipping a little in later models)
    3. Re-sale value
    4. Good MPG
    5. Broad trim level options, Ex, Lx,Dx, Hx etc.

    Honda (Bad)
    1. Price vs. Content
    2. Warranty
    3. No Road side Assistance
    4. Dealer Arrogance
    5. Cheaping certain parts of there vehicle. A. Moved away from double wishbone suspension, B. Rear drum brakes instead of 4 discs.
    6. Their engines are slugs except for SI.

    Hyundai (Bad)
    1. Reputation (Improving)
    2. Poor-Resale (This will improve with greater Rep.
    3. Some trim packages are hard to find.

    Hyundai (Good)
    1. Build quality (The number one improved area for this car company.
    2. Price vs. Content, Get more bang for your buck.
    3. Warranty
    4. Road side assistance
    5. Ability to make deals with dealers on price of purchase. More leeway etc.
    6. Most horse power for its class.
    7. Good MPG.
    8. Good safety features.

    I have test driven many Hondas and Hyundai's and I ended up purchasing a Hyundai Elantra GLS for my wife and a GT for myself. I did allot of research and a lot of seat time in these cars before making my decision. I made the choice on what car would fit both are lifestyles. The Hyundai came up the winner for what we needed.

    Wife’s Criteria
    1. Must have automatic
    2. Must have ABS. Traction control and 4 wheel disc brakes came with ABS package.
    3. Must have Cruise Control
    4. Must have comfortable seats and good ride.
    5. Car must have good safety features. 1.ABS traction control, 4 disc brakes, side airbags and good crash protection.
    6. Good MPG
    7. Car must be dependable.

    The Elantra GLS with option package 5 was purchased for my wife, for a daily commuter car in which she drives about 80 miles a day to work. This car excels at this job, it has great quiet ride with good horsepower to pass on the highway and added Pease of mind with ABS and traction control. This car has rock-solid build quality, everything is tight and in proper alignment. Gap tolerances are also very good. She has accrued over 10,000 miles in 4 months and there have been no problems with this car. We plan on keeping this car for a while so the Re-sale value doesn’t bother me since we will be driving this car for its life and the great warranty will help defer any cost if any problem occurs down the road. What I love about this car besides the Good build quality, content, and functionality is the little details Hyundai hasn’t missed while building this car. I love they put on top rated Michelin tires and not some cheap off-brand. This car has lots of room to, My parents got to ride in back while going to dinner with us and commented on how much room this car has compared to there friends new Camry, I haven’t ridden in the new Camry so I cant make that judgment but that was a good comment to get perceived or factual, I will have to check the specs on the new Camry.

    My Criteria for my CAR
    1. Must be stick
    2. Must combine sport and functionality
    3. Has to have good suspension and ride quality.
    4. Must have 4-wheel disc breaks.
    5. Must have Moon roof (I just love moon roofs)

    I purchased the Hyundai Elantra GT and I love it fits my needs perfectly, I was looking at a Acura RSX type S and boy is that a sweet ride, it just didn’t have the back leg and head room of the Elantra and the warranty was not there, but the dealership was top-rate. I also contemplated paying for the insurance and premium gas and decided against it. My GT has leather, which wasn’t a top in my list but a nice feature to have especially at the price I paid for the car. The car has great build quality and is quiet on the highway. I wouldn’t have bought this car if I couldn’t get stick, this car was meant for stick and nothing else, a blast to drive. I also like the VDO dash. I think they could have improved on the shift gate a little, but not bad. This car has good cargo space as well. Those folks that are over 6ft should have no problem fitting into this car even with the moon roof in it. That was a problem when I test-drove the Civic EX, just not enough room in that car as far as headroom.

    Hyundai vs. Honda the companies. My own reflections.

    I think both companies are great but one is improving while the other is resting on there laurels.

    Hyundai- This Company has improved the quality of there product 100 fold, look at there cars 5-10 years ago, they don’t compare to the cars they are building today. I believe the cars they build are approaching or exceeding the build quality of Toyota and Honda both. They continue to exceed in build quality from 2000, to 2002 models. For instance the Elantra went from 4 engine counter weights to eight and added hydraulic dampers to the engine as well as adding more sound damping material to their vehicles. They didn’t have to do this but they did because as we all no 4 cylinder engines can get pretty tinny at high rpms, the added improvements will help alleviate engine vibration and noise from entering driver’s space. They did this because the customers where complaining about engine vibration and noise, and implemented it within a year, that’s what I call having your ear to the customer. They have also come out with a great warranty and roadside assistance, this tells me they stand by their product. The last comment I want to make about the company is there sales, no pressure fairly good dealerships and easy to bargain with at least in my case. Sales have shown this to be true, up on the average of 40% a month for the past year. Honda sales have gone down by 28 to 30% the past year, but they are still a juggernaught.


    The cars are great, but unffortuenly I hate dealing with arrogant dealers and they don’t cut you any breaks with there models. They are lacking price content quota, they are putting less into their cars and charging more than ever this is also a problem with Toyotas as well. I still love the build quality but this has been slipping in the later models, I wish they would have kept the new civic on par with the 96-99 models, now those are a great cars with outstanding handling characteristics. They offer a poor warranty and offer no roadside assistance, unlike their sister Acura. There new designs seem bland except for the new 2002 Si which is coming out. I see Nissan and Mazda coming out with better and new model re-designs. Example Nissan Altima and coming soon the new Maxima.

    I am sorry this post is so long. I love Honda I just feel they are going in the wrong direction, they need to get back to the old days, that is why I chose Hyundai over them.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    James, thanks for your comparison. As a two-time Civic owner who was very happy with both of them, I know Honda makes great small cars. But I share your opinions on the improvement in Hyundais, especially with the Elantra, compared to status quo or even slippage in some areas with the Civic. For instance, Civic's high price is partly justified by its excellent reliability, yet measurements such as recalls and Consumer Reports' survey show that the '01 Civic is no better than average in reliability. So I chose the Elantra ('01 GLS) because I thought I was not just getting a better value than the Civic, but actually a better car, for my needs anyway. I think Honda is realizing that they have some tough competition with Hyundai and other small cars like Focus and Protege, as evidenced by their unprecedented step of making significant improvements to the Civic in only its second year. I still think Honda is the king of small cars and has the skill to counter the upsurge by Hyundai, if they don't get complacent.
  • hi all -
    i'm having a hard-time choosing between the two. please give me comparisons of 2002 honda civic lx and 2002 hyundai elantra gls. tnx!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    The most important thing is to take each car on a long test drive, because their ride and handling is different and that may decide it for you. Also that way you can test the seat comfort, driving position, noise, stereo, acceleration, fit and finish, and all those other things that are best done on close inspection.

    Here is a capsule comparison:

    Pros for Civic LX:
    Fuel economy, low emissions, excellent crash test scores (both NHTSA and IIHS offset), reliability (only average per Consumer Reports but a bit better than Elantra), high resale value, slick 5-speed (slight edge, Elantra's is pretty good too), handling, no hump in rear seat, micron air filtration, engine immobilizer.

    Pros for Elantra GLS:
    More power (140 vs 115 hp), costs thousands less with comparable equipment, smoother ride, quiet (especially automatic), excellent NHTSA crash scores and IIHS bumper scores (but poor IIHS offset score), warranty coverage (5/60 b-to-b and 10/100 powertrain vs. Civic's 3/36), standard side airbags, height-adjustable driver's seat, center console with padded armrest, available ABS with traction control, available factory moonroof (can get either ABS or moonroof, but not both), available factory keyless entry w/alarm, available factory CD/6-speaker upgrade, 15" wheels, heated mirrors, auto-off headlights, rear cupholders.

    Personal opinion: if high mpg or resale value is most important to you (i.e. you'll probably sell it in less than 4 years) and you like how the Civic drives, get the Civic. Otherwise save a lot of money and get the Elantra. If you prefer a car with crisp handling, look at the Protege and Focus too.
  • orcinmanorcinman Posts: 24
    It's also worth noting that a loaded 'Lantra still books way below the cheapest Civic, in almost all cases (given the average dealer of each).
  • I own 2 Hyundai Elantras, a 1993 and 1999. I have over 190,000 miles (312,000 kms) on the 1993 and it still runs like a charm. The 1999 has over 50,000 miles (90,000 kms) and it also has been a great car. Added to the quality of the cars has been the quality of the service I have received at my dealership (yes, I bought both cars at the same dealer). The service manager is second to none ... someone at Hyundai should take notice of this guy and put him in charge of their world wide customer service program. Yes, Hyundai has improved their quality over the years ... and yet their prices haven't risen very much. Unfortunately, in Canada, they have not seen fit to include the extended warranty.
  • th003gth003g Posts: 149
    backy, you gave the civic a pro in handling?
    GLS Pro: Build quality, roomier, more stylish (subjective), more nooks + crannies (big gulp holder in door, sunglass holder, dual level armrest, padded storage areas in dash and console, standard power everything, and I think moonroof and ABS can be had together.

    Pro GT: (in addition to GLS,) alloys,indiglo gauges, standard cd w/6 spkrs, hella more cargo capacity,leather,fogs, and did i metion the suspension? for the price of a dx with auto Civic which I think has no style at all...
  • orcinmanorcinman Posts: 24
    It's not that the Civic is a bad looker, it's a good looking car- just nowhere near a GT. But I give em' good points for sharp interiors...with cloth seats.

    The core problem with Civics, is Honda wants to nickle and dime for everything.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    th003g, unless there has been a recent change in the package options for the GLS, you can get only ABS/traction OR the moonroof, but not both. The GT offers a package that has both.

    Yes, I did give the Civic a pro for handling, albeit a slight one. I also would not rank the build quality of the Elantra over that of the Civic, although I think they are pretty close. As far as room, the Civic is pretty roomy too, especially in the back because there is no center hump.

    But the real value is with the GT--as you pointed out, all that content for the price of a Civic DX with automatic. And if you compare actual sale prices, the GT will cost about the same as the base DX, which is about as stripped as you can get for a car these days. No comparison in value.
  • atblisatblis Posts: 2
    It's nice to see a horsepower war again. Honda probably still makes a better car (ignoring price) though it does appear that Honda is starting to get a little soft. Hyundai is definitely improving their product and hopefully this will force Honda get to get off their lazy [non-permissible content removed]. The end result should be a better car from both companies. The consumer in theory stands to win from this situation. American cars hit rock bottom in the eighties. Competition eventually forced them to improve. Some of the crap the automotive industry has pulled is almost criminal. The only way consumers win is from competition. Hopefully we will see better cars for less but most likely better cars for more.
  • th003gth003g Posts: 149
    while the elantra gt would be a maxima...
    maybe its just me but the interior quality of a civic does not appeal to me at all... if you say build quality is better than gt I grudgingly give it to you but for some reason the gt interior feels more substantial and better material finish an quality to me...
    just like how the new altima compares to the new maxima... step into an altima and you see exactly where they cut costs... hard plastic dash, misaligned platic gaps with unfinished edges and many adjoining pieces with rough edges on the door panel, low quality and thin feeling clost seats with crappy leather upholstry....
    then you step into the max and you see the difference a few grand makes in a car the same size... plastics with a little give (softness) switchgear thats lit...finished edges and uniform gaps... door panels exude quality and solidity...supple upholstry.... adjustments up the yin-yang...
    only difference in the elantra civic comparo... you dont have to pay more to get more....
    again... i really hate new Honda's ... i will only buy old ones from early nineties when they still had nice features as standard... (before decontenting began).... that is if i ever do buy honda...
  • centarforcentarfor Posts: 22
    Im not going to go over all the points again, but its totally clear that the Elantra is so much better than the Civic it can't even compete.
  • lab63lab63 Posts: 6
    Need a car! Of course I first went to Honda, Toyota & Nissan looking at Civics, Corollas and Sentras, respectively. Gotta say that after reading these posts and not really thinking of Hyundai, I think I will have to check out the Elantra's. I also did not think of Mazda Protege, but have read some good things about them. Any opinions on the Protege over the Elantra?
  • jimbeaumijimbeaumi Posts: 620
    I looked at a certified used '00 Protege ES (and others) plus my '01 Elantra. It took me a little while too to add the Elantra to my consideration list, but I am glad I did. The Pro was very fun to drive and the engine has a nice sound; dealer just didn't wish to come down much in price, in an area where 5-speeds don't exactly fly off the lots. The more I looked at the Elantra, the more I liked it. Not just because of price and equipment, but because of the good upgrades they made to the engine, suspension, etc. Reviews were very good from many sources, and my salesman offered a very good price. The Pro would have been fun except for driving up my hill in the winter (a Protege owner that I know wishes for better winter traction).

    After a year and just about to roll 15K, I can tell you that I am VERY pleased with the Elantra.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Both fine small cars, but distinctly different driving experiences. The Pro is perhaps the best-handling low-end compact, but has a firm ride and considerable engine noise. The Elantra is tuned for ride comfort, so handling is not as sharp, but it's a little quieter inside. The Pro has a better reliability record than Elantra, and a little better resale value. Bottom-end cost on the Elantra is less than the Pro; in my area base 5-speed Elantras are $10k and Pro LX 5-speeds (comparable in equipment to the Elantra) go for around $13k. The Elantra has the longer warranty. Test drive both and you will probably have a clear choice based on how they drive, if not it comes down to the other differences.
  • th003gth003g Posts: 149
    more power standard.. bigger interior... if you dont like GLS handling test drive GT is a bit better... imho... Pro and PRo5 are closest but not quite equal comarisons to Elantra/ elantra GT..
    elantra has more power.. more room... power windows with indiv.. illuminated switches... (nice to have in the dark) standard side air bags.. GT has 4 disc brakes... heated mirrors on both elantras... better stereo standard... (protege stereo is really bad as told by many owners I know)....leather standard on GT, more seat adjustments for driver, more compliant ride...test drive both for yourself and make decision based on your priorities...
    i did and came out with both GT and GLS (for my sister)
  • 20exc20exc Posts: 16
    We are shopping and doing the test drives. We have been going up and down I35 north of Dallas to all the dealers. The local Hyundai dealer in Denton was on our stop and drive list yesterday. The salesman was rude, a real smarta**. I went in and spoke to the manager and he could have cared less. My wife was mortified at how we were treated. This is the company that is up and coming? Consumer Reports once stated that a Hyundai was the first disposable car, not a good value at any price. We were willing to give it a try because she likes/liked the Santa Fe. If you have a good dealer be glad but the one in Denton, Texas is run by a bunch of rectal donuts!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    >>> Consumer Reports once stated that a Hyundai was the first disposable car <<<

    And when was that? Lately CR has been singing a different tune. They have given the Santa Fe and Elantra positive reviews in their road tests--as you should know since you follow CR. If you want to use outdated quotes from CR to justify your decision not to buy a Hyundai, well, that's your business. It's unfortunate you had a bad experience with the dealer in Denton, but they're not all like that. Why not check out some of the other dealers in the DFW Metroplex? You could try a post in the Santa Fe forum to ask about good dealers in the area.
  • 20exc did say that CR "once stated" Hyundai was disposable -- that very well could have been. After all they have been testing them since those horrid Excels landed on these shores. We know CR has noticed the improvements.

    Yes 20exc, Hyundai is up and coming -- dealer dufuses are neither trained nor employed by Hyundai USA. Everyone has a story about one Honda or Toyota dealer that stinks. Your story reminds us to shop for a better dealer. Keep the Santa Fe under consideration; it will still be money well spent.
  • I just have to chuckle to myself whenever I see a Civic on the road - so, yes, I laugh a lot when I'm driving :) I just love looking at the Civic and knowing that the poor sucker paid way too much and got way too little. Not to mention the terribly boring cookie-cutter appearance that everyone and their brother is driving. Then I look around my sporty GT and smile at all that is mine for such a bargin. So far, 8 months of driving bliss and not even one minor problem. If you are considering a Civic, do yourself a favor. Ignore the dealers - they're all paid on commission so they're all suspect - and at least test drive the GT.
  • mpynempyne Posts: 120
    i own a 2003 corolla but if i had to choose between the civic and elantra i would definetly take the elantra. i think the honda sedan looks extremely cheap looking(i kinda like the coupe). also even though i own a toyota i am getting annoyed about some peoples attitudes that hyundais are sub-standard cars compared to honda and toyota. also the only reason people can come to this conclusion is because hyundais have lower resale value(which i have not seen). allot of the sales people will visit these boards and say how lousy hyundais are and they cant sell them when they are traded in, but every single message board i go to these days people are praising hyundai and how happy they are with their quality. i also see more and more people complain about toyota and honda about their quality going down hill.

    so hyundai owners be proud and show your support vote with your wallets and get the word out!!!!
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    In the past couple of years I've made several attempts to buy late model Hyundais, either for me or for family members. I've never been able to get a good deal, I actually was refused an offer on a Hertz rental that had love bugs all over the back from a Florida to Missouri transport. In each case, the seller demanded close to Edmunds retail on the car and they must have known what they were doing because the cars moved fast--none of them were on the lot when I checked back within a week or two. If the horror stories of wholesalers are true, I can only surmise that they are using Hyundais as a cash cow buying for next to nothing and selling at top dollar.
  • I love my Elantra GLS as well, and now have over 18K on the odometer in just over a year. No problems. The Civic might have been on my consideration list if I had more cash, but I have no regrets. From time to time I will travel side by side with one of the newer model Civics and wonder why it is bobbing up and down when mine is steady. That would get quite tiring over time. Hyundai is catching up alot faster than people realize.
  • th003gth003g Posts: 149
    we have 1 landcruiser from 96 but all our newer cars are hyundai's 95 accent (bought new 106k miles)... 2001.5 elantra GT 2002elantra GLS, almost bought a 2002 sonata LX.. funny how the toyta cost more than the three hyundai's put together...
  • We purchased our 2001 Elantra GT just one year ago. It's been great, so far no major problems. We just purchased a 2002 Civic EX one month ago and today I have made my first service appointment with the dealership for 5 different service problems! I have been comparing the two cars ever since we purchased the Civic and the Civic lacks in a lot areas. One of them being the cheap cd player that comes standard. At first I thought it was a bad unit but through testing, I discovered that the cd player will not play colored cd-r's. And yes, the Elantra's cd player will play the colored cd-r's with no problem. Other pro's for the Elantra GT vs Civic EX, the warranty, lets face it...most people now-a-days will blow through 36,000 miles within a year and half to two years. If Honda really thinks they make such an incredible, dependable car (certainly price their cars like they are something special) then they should stand behind their product for more than a couple of years. Besides a better cd player and better warranty, the GT comes with standard leather seats (which are very comfortable), lumbar support (neither of which are on the Civic EX). The GT has more hp and we discovered that when using the a\c....the Civic's performance drops tremendously, while the Elantra GT's performance drops only slightly! The Civic does get better gas mileage and is just a bit roomier. The Elantra GT has a very nice blue/purplish gauge illumination and has gauges to show how many miles to the gallon you are getting and how many miles you have left on your tank of gas....the Civic....notta. I could go on and on.....but hey....I think you get the picture. Hyundai has a lot going for it right now and I think Honda had better start trying to catch up. I just hope I don't regret putting my trust into Honda's reputation...considering the number of issues I already have with my 1 month old Civic.....yikes!
This discussion has been closed.