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Honda Civic vs. Hyundai Elantra



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    From what I have seen through my personal experience with Hondas and Hyundais and by observing these forums for the last five years, I'd say that almost all major problems regardless of brand are due to either 1) design issues, or 2) problems with specific parts. The assembly problems seem to be pretty minor ones, e.g. a paint flaw or loose interior trim or mis-aligned door or trunk lid. And from my experience, both brands have those. However, I've seen more visible assembly problems on U.S.-built Hondas (Accords and Civics) than I have on U.S.-built Hyundais. But that's kind of a moot point here, since Elantras aren't built in the U.S. nor will they be in the near future.

    For example, if you look at the recalls for the Civic and Elantra over the last five years you'll see lots of design issues and parts issues--gas line design, bad airbag sensors, bad radios, etc. And where do the parts come from? Almost all the parts for Hyundais, even those built in the U.S., come from overseas. I don't know the percentage for Honda but I would guess the majority of Honda parts come from overseas too.
  • Thanks backy, I really had no idea how many if any of these vehicles people keep going back and forth over are built in the U.S. or not. It was just a thought that I had because I knew that some manufacturers build here in the states and therefore I thought that maybe some of these problems were assembly problems that maybe were brought on by shoddy work here in the states.
  • Backy, I have a running argument with a friend of mine who lives over along the muddy Missouri River. He is sort of berating me for thinking about a "new" car. He has been thinking of replacing his Dodge Spirit and kind of liked the Dodge Stratus. I did some computer checking for him and the Stratus is not cheap. Stratuses with 30k 40k even 50k miles on them are going for anywhere from about $12K to more than $17K. Then, on top, you don't know how well the car has been cared for or what problems might be lurking that you don't find about until after you take the car home. I try to tell him my thinking is that why buy a used car for that kind of money when I can have a brand new car with all the bells and whistles for the same amount of money? Especially, when in reality, this car purchase would most likely be my last. I'm 56 years old and my health isn't all that great. I strongly suspect that this would be my last car purchase. Why not make it a good one (new car) rather than a bad one (used car)?
  • Something interesting along a similar line of "thinking". Not sure (haven't studied all the "stuff") about the Honda Civic, but the Korean twins, Spectra & Elantra are both assembled in Korea, 95% content or so. Different assembly plants but both are basically assembled start to finish in ONE location in their respective factories. Same can be said for the Mazda3 being built entirely in Hiroshima (same plant as the ol' Protege' in my garage - bulletproof "quality" BTW and it turns out that the 3 is doing pretty good in that regard as well. Not surprising.). Anyways, where it gets interesting as far as "quality" is concerned is when a manufacturer starts deciding to go, what I call, the world car route. Take for instance the Mazda6. On the surface, pretty sharp car, first appearing on the scene back in '03. Rave reviews yada, yada, yada. Now, two years later CR is hammerin' the thing on "reliability" or lack thereof. The key, I am convinced, is how the thing is put together. Not so much the design IMO. The four banger in that car comes Mexico. Transmission I think Japanese and the assembly, USA. IOW, all over the place. The six cylinder, don't hold me to this as I'm going from memory, is an American assembled thing with the same Japanese transmission again, put together in The States. The Zoomer 6 is clearly not as reliable as the Zoomer 3 as the real world tests are indicating to date.Where a car is stapled, glued, welded, rivoted, rubber-banded etc. etc. together matters...all IMHO of course.

    PS. I'm getting closer and closer to my launch date (hittin' the dealer lots and doing some serious hagglin'.) End of quarter comin' up. End of model year getting real close. Come on '06 Elantra's. Need ya to start showing up on those lots anytime. :)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Well, let's try putting this back in the context of this discussion with a used Civic vs. a new Elantra. You can get a new Elantra GLS with full warranty for about the same price as a 2-3 year old Civic LX (or 3-4 year old EX) in my town. The Civic will probably be out of warranty, unless there's an extended warranty. I think a lot has to do with how you like driving the used car vs. the new car. For me, that would be an easy decision because I prefer driving the Elantra to the '01-'05 Civic even when the Civic is new. I also like the peace of mind of knowing that the car is warranted for five years (and ten for powertrain). But suppose the used car is much more car than the new car, e.g. you can get a slightly-used 2004 Sonata or Optima or about the same price as a new Elantra. Some people might prefer the larger car. If I were to go the used route, it certainly would not be with a Stratus, which is IMO (and the opinion of many professional reviewers) one of the worst mid-sized cars on the market.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    The Edmunds TMV price for a 2001 Stratus is $6280 for a personal sale and $7326 for a dealer sale. I think that's a mediocre car that depreciates rather quickly, and I can't believe that cars with that mileage would bring $12-$17K in any market.
  • that is what the darn things are going for in this area. I don't really want to get off the subject of Civic vs Elantra, it was supposed to be an example of a real world situation I had run in to. I used to know a guy who had a civic and often times thought it was kind of a neat little car. However, he was a single guy and kind of a pig and the interior upkeep of his Civic bore that out.....think rolling garbage dump. :( Anyway, the civic always seemed a little small to me while the Elantra seems like a larger car. I don't really know what the actual comparison of size is between the two. I haven't really compared the two as the Civic has never been on my list of possibles. The Elantra or maybe a Spectra5 seems more like a size that would be more appropriate for me. Not too big and not too small. Back to my original thought, when thinking of cars that are roughly the same size, it just seems more feasible to me to purchase a new car over a used car IF the asking prices for the used cars are nearly the same as the prices for the new car. I guess maybe I'm like a kid, I'd rather have something new and shiny rather than something another kid has played with for a year or two. :D
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    iowaelantra said, "what percentage of these problems would be considered design/engineering problems and what percentage could actually be chalked up to assembly problems???????????"

    What percentage of problems are due to owner neglect, maintenance, abuse, stupidity or ignorance? I had a Ford Aspire (built by Kia) for nearly 10 years, and it had one major problem in warranty (CV joint replaced) and one out of warranty (a bracket inside the transmission broke along a weld, costing about $400 to fix). Everything else was normal wear and tear. I only replaced the clutch once in almost 120k miles. The car was to large extent, bulletproof. Yet, overall reliability ratings for Aspires were not so good. Why? I would say the owner is a big part of the equation. Most people who buy a car like that are doing so because they want a new car but can't afford it. This was true for me at the time, but I knew enough to maintain it regularly, not abuse it, and fix little things before they turned into big things. I suspect I was not a typical Aspire owner in that respect.

    Bottom line, if you take care of your car, a lot of these problems just don't happen.

    By they way, have you bought your car yet, iowaelantra? I'm lovin' my new Elantra in Electric Red!
  • "The roadside assistance is actually a pretty nice benefit. I had to use it for the first time on my '04 GT the other day when DW locked the keys in the car. It took only about 10 minutes for the tow truck to arrive and the guy to open the car."

    hey, backy,
    i had read in previous posts that the elantra has a feature where you cannot lock your keys in the car.. true?

    jo :confuse:
  • Hey.. hi everybody and thanks for all the good information. I am posting here cuz I think I will be on subject since I currently own a Honda and am thinking about replacing it with an Elantra. If my Honda doesn’t pass smog in 2006 I will be forced to get a new car.

    I purchased my 1984 Honda Civic Wagon DX in Feb 1984 for $8k. I am one of those “bad” car owners. At some point in the past 21 years I stopped maintaining it. I take it thru the car wash maybe once a year. I do make sure it has oil. Sometimes the oil level is pretty low; almost to empty on the dip stick. Due to its age EPA has offered me some money to get it off the road. The engine dies at every stop. I have learned how to pop the clutch so that I don’t have turn on the engine every time. In 2001 I threw another $3k at it to fix a broken cv boot (?) and other suspension related problems. Ever since that repair my Honda has had the most amazing acceleration power. It runs like a champ!

    I think the Honda Civic Wagon is the best car ever designed and that makes it very hard to give up. I thought that when Honda brought out the CRV and the Element that they would be a good replacement for my little car but they proved to be much larger and way more expensive. I am soo angry at Honda for wanting to be a truck company instead of a little (small / subcompact) car company. They showed up on the SUV market so much later that everyone else. It seems that they can’t curb that momentum and go back to making little cheap cars.. which is how they started out.. remember the first Honda car with the little back window and tiny tires?

    I never thought that I would consider anything other than a Honda but they just aren’t offering what I want. There was talk about the Fit/Jazz but I haven’t heard anything more about it. Of all the cars currently on the market, the Elantra Hatchback comes closest to qualifying as replacement vehicle for the Civic Wagon.

    I am very encouraged by the positive experiences some of you are having with your Elantras. I am beginning to feel like a desperate shopper. It feels like the price of the Elantra will soon be more than what I will be willing to pay.. so I have to jump on it now while Hyundai is still offering rebates.

    I will be reading the forum on Elantra problems before I purchase one.

    Just another possible convert to the Elantra 5-Door Hatchback.. I too don’t care about the resale value since I will run it into the ground. I will be happy if it lasts for 10years. As has been mentioned in previous posts, poor resale value does not necessarily mean poor quality. I truly hope this is the case with the Elantra GLS Hatchback. I love its styling and all the standard features.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    That may be true--if the keys are left in the ignition. I haven't tested it, though. My DW left the keys sitting on the passenger seat. And she did that twice in the space of about two weeks. :cry: After the second time, I went right out and bought three extra keys.

    P.S. The Hyundai Roadside assistance was just as quick and courteous the 2nd time, too. Also, when the clutch on my '01 Elantra broke from misuse by my teenage son and he had to get a tow off the freeway access ramp to our house, Hyundai towed the car from there to the dealer and reimbursed me for the tow to my house. (They didn't pay for the clutch replacement, however.)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Try to wait to buy the Elantra if you can. Rebates are at a near-historic low on that car, and I really think they will increase as we go into 2006. The main reason for that is that the '07 Elantra will be all-new, so they may have to clear out the '06s as they did with big rebates on the old Sonatas. No guarantees on rebates, just a hunch based on watching the market and particularly the Elantra very closely over the past six years.

    Also, if you can wait until March or so you might want to at least try a few other cars that might meet your needs: the Honda Fit should be out by then (and may remind you a lot of your Civic Wagon), and also the '07 Accent 3-door hatchback, the Yaris 3-door hatchback, and the Nissan Versa 5-door. The Rio5 and Spectra5 are worth a look, too. Might as well check them all out before you put down your hard-earned money.
  • I agree with just about everything Backy says. As usual. :blush:

    Anyway, I found this out with respect to extra keys and locks and stuff: I had an extra key made up from a blank, with no fob or whatever. I can use it to unlock the door, but if the alarm is set, it goes off and the engine will not start. So it is helpful in a situation like Backy's wife got herself into where the "real" keys are inside the car, but if you lose the keys the spare will not help you out too much. (Maybe hide a spare set of full keys with fob in the car if you're worried about it?)
  • If you liked the old Honda Wagon: The Suzuki Aerio SX. Quite powerful with I think 150-160 hp out of a 2.3l 4-banger, amazing storage space and headroom, similar profile to older Civic wagons. They have a 7-year, 100k powertrain warranty. I looked at it but decided to go with the Elantra instead.
  • chidorochidoro Posts: 125
    I'm curious, how many miles do you have racked up on that civic?

    As far as the cars being looked at, the scion xA and xB could probably be added to the list as well.
  • Yep, them too. The xA was too small for my tastes, while the xB was too xButt-Ugly.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    I've read most of the posts here and agree with several of them. Basically I think it comes down to how frequently you will replace your car. If you're going to get a new car every 3 or 4 years, there's no question that you should get a Honda Civic due to the retained value. Alternatively, if you are going to run your car into the ground then the Hyundai makes some sense. The real question is just how far into the ground can a Hyundai go before it's buried, versus how far into the ground a Honda will go before it's in a similar condition? I can't answer that because I haven't owned either that long. Here's what I have experienced, though. In 2000, I bought a new Hyundai Elanta Wagon for $11,600 (which I think was well under invoice that year). I put 82,000 miles on it over 4 years before wanting to get a new car. I tried to trade it in on a 2004 Civic, but what I was offered for trade was so low that I opted to sell it myself. (I was offered $1,800 in trade by the dealer). I ended up selling it privately for $3,650 (in other words, it lost $7950 in 4 years of owning it, or more than 68% of it's value.) On the other hand, I just traded my 2004 Honda Civic in on a new 2006 Civic. I bought the 2004 for $15,100 new 18 months ago and put 41,000 miles on it. I got $11,900 when I traded it in last week. So 18 months after buying the car (and let's be honest, that's when MOST of the depreciation of a car takes the first 24 months) I lost $3,200 in 18 months (and 41,000 miles). I'm fairly certain that one could NOT get that type of trade in on an 18 month old Hyundai with 41,000 miles on it, whatever model it may be. I had to do zero maintenance on the Honda other than what was scheduled. I had the Hyundai in for several issues in it's 4 year stay with us....nothing overly expensive (We spent three or four hundred bucks on non-scheduled maintenance), but it is inconvenient to have to bring (or tow in our case) a car in for service. Would I buy another Hyundai? Perhaps, but not if given the choice between that and spending a few grand more and getting a Honda. I know I'm not "stuck" with the car for an extended period with the Honda, and I also know that if I decide to drive the wheels off of it, it should last quite well in that regard. I can see both sides of the equation though....this is simply my opinion after having both makes of cars.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    So your four-year-old Elantra (which was not nearly as good a car as the current Elantra) lost a bit more than twice the dollar amount in depreciation compared to your two-year-old Civic, which had 1/2 the miles of the Elantra. The dollar difference, comparing like miles and years, is a few hundred dollars. Based on that, I'd conclude that if the cars themselves are a wash (in this case they are not because Honda didn't offer a Civic wagon in 2000), then it would be worth it to spend maybe $1500 or so more on the Honda, since you could recoup that much more in four years. It would be interesting to see what a four-year-old Honda with 80,000 miles would fetch. Would it get over $7000? Maybe. I know for a fact that I didn't lose more than $3200 on my '04 Elantra GT in the first 18 months. I bought it for $13,200 + TTL and the last time I checked on its resale value, it was well over $10,000. So a big part of the equation is the initial purchase price. If you can get an Elantra for several thousand less than a Civic--and you can--then it can be a good deal financially even after 3-4 years. But if the price is close, the Civic has the advantage in the short term. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, when the price of the Elantra should go up substantially.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    So your four-year-old Elantra (which was not nearly as good a car as the current Elantra) lost a bit more than twice the dollar amount in depreciation compared to your two-year-old Civic, which had 1/2 the miles of the Elantra. The dollar difference, comparing like miles and years, is a few hundred dollars.

    Well, this is faulty logic because cars lose the most value the first two years of ownership. Do you agree?

    I know for a fact that I didn't lose more than $3200 on my '04 Elantra GT in the first 18 months. I bought it for $13,200 + TTL and the last time I checked on its resale value, it was well over $10,000.

    According to Kelly Blue Book, the trade in value today on an '04 Elantra GT with 41,000 miles on it is $7,420 compared to the '04 Civic LX 5-speed with 41,000 miles (and alloy wheels, which mine had and were figured in to the cost of the car at $15,100) whose trade in is listed at $9,730 (or roughly $2,300 difference). As I mentioned in several other posts on here, I actually GOT $11,900 for my '04 Civic on trade. I doubt that the Hyundai would get an equal boost on trade in, but I'd like to hear from anyone who has. And the $11,900 number is real - the price of the new car wasn't boosted to make that $11,900 number - I paid over $1,000 under MSRP for the new civic, in-line with smart shoppers on here who didn't trade anything in. So based on the numbers on the civic depreciated $5,370 since I bought it (although I only lost $3,200) and the Hyundai would have depreciated $5,780. Only about $400 less based on, but the question is what are the real world numbers? Based on my 2000 Hyundai wagon, it should STILL be worth $3,800 in trade in and I could only get $1,800 offered by the dealer (and this was a year and a half ago) and $2,600 offered by carmax. As I stated, I finally sold it privately for $3,650 which is WELL under what the listed private party value is for it today ($5,000) let alone a year and a half ago. So the numbers listed anywhere don't really mean squat. The only thing that matters is what you actually GET for the vehicle. Maybe some people can post their personal experiences when trading in their Hyundais (or even selling them privately) so we can get an accurate picture of what's really happening out there, instead of some crazy "book values"

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    There's so many variables in resale value that I don't know that you can say as a rule that cars lose most of their value early on. I think that happens more with higher-priced cars, vs. a low-end car like an Elantra which might have been purchased at a huge discount.

    I do think it is not apples-to-apples to compare depreciation on an Elantra GT automatic with leather, ABS/traction, moonroof, alloys, six-speaker stereo, foglamps etc. to a Civic LX. At the least the comparison should be to a Civic EX automatic. But even with this disparity, the difference in resale is only a few hundred dollars (btw, my Elantra didn't have 41,000 miles on it).

    $13,200 - $7240 (assuming that is correct for an automatic GT hatchback with ABS and moonroof) = $5960
    $15,100 - $9730 = $5370

    Even if this is the true picture, I'd rather pay the extra $600 over the Civic LX and have the benefit of the hatchback versatility, automatic, ABS/traction, and moonroof. (Shoot, I learned on the Civic discussion recently that Honda charges over $500 for foglamps on a Civic--there's most of the difference right there!)
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Here are the projected value retentions for the 2006 Civic EX and the 2006 Hyundai Elantra GT. According to this, after 2 years of ownership, the Elantra will have lost more than $10,700 of it's value while the Honda will have lost less than $8,700 of it's value almost making up for the cost difference between the vehicles. The difference is that with the Honda you'll have a car that's worth almost $11,000 and with the Hyundai you'll have a vehicle that's worth less than $7,000. That's a $4,000 difference after just 2 years. So the car that cost $2,000 more to buy is worth $4,000 more down the road.


    4d Sdn GT ELANTRA - MSRP $17,439

    ALG Residual Value
    24 months 36 months 48 months
    $6,700 $4,775 $3,425
    38% 27% 20%

    4d Sdn EX CIVIC - MSRP $19,610

    ALG Residual Value
    24 months 36 months 48 months
    56% 45% 37%
    $10,950 $8,825 $7,325
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I will respect those figures when I hear that most people buy cars at full MSRP.

    The Elantra GT is more like a $14,500 + TTL purchase for me with current rebates right now (not as good as they were 20 months ago). So there is about a $4000 difference up front between the Elantra GT and the Civic EX. So shouldn't the Civic EX be worth at least $4000 more down the road?
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Understood. Just keep in mind that smart shoppers don't pay MSRP for the Civic, either - even today when the supply is a bit limited. While I didn't get a give-away price on mine, I did get more than $1,000 off MSRP. I expect that this Spring the prices will be at or around invoice pricing, so the numbers will be closer to real world.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Yes, note that I took over $1000 off the Civic EX--a pretty good discount these days. Come spring, Civic prices should moderate, but who knows what will happen to the Elantra's prices? If it gets back to where it was in the spring of '04 (quite possible since an all-new Elantra is due next year), we are looking at closer to a $5000 gap between the GT Elantra and the Civic EX, or $6000+ between an Elantra GLS with ABS and moonroof vs. the Civic EX. The Civic is a great car, but that kind of difference is hard to ignore.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Agreed. It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out. I'm happy with my choice of cars and you seem happy with your choice. I'm sure that neither choice was a poor one.

  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Hi all,

    I tend to agree with Warner on this one. I also agree that cars lose the most appreciation in the first 2 years.

    Anyway, in October of 2000 I bought a 2001 Elantra GLS for 13800 plus TTL. At the time of purchase this was a good deal and there were no rebates. It was an auto with moonroof, upgraded CD and mud flaps. I drove it for next 2 years and put 35K miles. The car was nearly in mint condition and I never had a single failure (oh I forgot a headlight bulb blew out). Anyway, I traded it in for a 2003 Suzuki Aerio SX in September of 2002. 1 month shy of it being 2 years old. The dealer originally only offered me 5200 for it but I worked him over and got 7200 for the trade. This at the time was a little under the KKB trade in value as I remember with those miles for a 2001 Elantra GLS. Also you need to note what type of car are you trading it in for is a part of equation. Had I decided to trade the Elantra for a more popular and in demand car such as the 03 Civic the dealer probably would have given me such a good price as did the Suzuki dealer did. Because I was doing the opposite - trading in a car that was in more demand that the Suzuki.

    Happy motoring
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    The key to your story is, "...there were no rebates." The Elantra was an all-new design in the fall of 2000 (like the Civic is today) and rebates and even discounts were hard to come by. But then the rebates and discounts came big-time, so a car like yours could be had for closer to $11-12k. That was the situation at the time you traded your Elantra in (I know, because I looked at trading my '01 in for a '03 at the end of '02 and again in late '03 since the rebates and discounts were so large then). And those rebates and discounts were in fact reflected in the low trade-in value you received. That is the price that people like you and me and warner, who buy a new design when it is first introduced, pay for that privilege.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Yea, but you cannot always count on a rebates to make up the difference in lost appreciation. Though I believe Hyundai is now matching both Honda and Toyota on the quality and reliability side they cannot match either one of them on there resale values for their cars. I know when I trade in my 05 GT for another car (maybe an 07 Elantra or the new Kia Optima) I am only expecting about 50% of what I payed for it which BTW was 12800 out the door with ABS/Moonroof/Auto/Mud Guards. And that price include TTL.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Yea, but you cannot always count on a rebates to make up the difference in lost appreciation.

    Sure, you can... if you buy with an eye to maximizing the rebates and discounts. So for example, I would not buy an Elantra with the current rebate picture. (At least, I wouldn't buy a new Elantra... when you buy used, the depreciation works in your favor.) But let's see what happens come spring. If the big rebates return, and I can get a loaded Elantra for between $11-12k, that could be too good a deal to turn down.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    There is no guarantee that rebates from Hyundai would ever make up for the Elantra's unusual high depreciation as compared to other leaders such as the Corolla or Civic. Case in point is the current rebates on the 06 Elantra and there is no guarantee that Hyundai will give generous rebates like they did in first part of this year on the 06s.
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