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Honda Civic vs. Hyundai Elantra



  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I thought CR had both cars as average in this department. As for dealer service Power ranks both tied for fifth (is this delivery experience?.)

    I think the big difference is the direction of both companies. IMHO the last gen. Civic was far superior to the present decontented one. Hyundai, just gets better and better.

    I would be very interested to see what asp696's experiences really were. Did he own a late model Elantra or an early 90's Excel.

    Honda was way ahead of the curve in the late eighties. Came close to buying an 88 Accord for a family member and it was so far ahead of the competition it wasn't even funny. It's sad to see the present model with its bloated Buick c-pillar and Skylark rear end. What happened? The European cars (sold as Acuras here) are a lot better. Apparently Honda's market research shows Americans want this kind of barge.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    The 2003 CR Buyer's Guide has the Civic's predicted reliability up to Above Average, Elantra up to Average. I think the recent JD Power ratings you refer to were for how well the dealers rate the manufacturer for service (whatever that means, I didn't bother to read the fine print). I agree though that Honda is not improving as fast as Hyundai these days--which means Hyundai is catching up.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    As in life, it's much harder staying on top of the ladder than it is to climb up the ladder.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    if you don't start going backwards.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    there are some negative reports on the xg boards, but almost all Elantra owners seem very satisfied. I really haven't heard anything about the kind of problems he's stated with this car-- or the last generation Elantra either, for that matter.

    Tell us more, please.
  • n2vswn2vsw Posts: 11
    In response to your post, you are correct. I have never previously owned a Hyundai BUT I have never owned a Honda either. I did say in my comments that I had no preconceived opinions about either of them. You made a statement about all the parts falling off Hyundai's leaving the factory. Perhaps you could elaborate as I have not had that problem, haven't read about anyone who has, and I'm quite sure that if it was a common occurrence you be either reading about it or seeing it on some news show. (remember the lawsuit against Consumer Reports for stating the Suzuki Samurai would tip over?) I looked at the build quality of both makes and I was hard pressed to find a difference. Again, in my opinion, build quality relates to overall fit and finish not reliability. I would guess you owned a Hyundai and were less than pleased with it. I can name a Honda owner that was less than pleased with his as well, So [non-permissible content removed] for tat. I simply stated the reason for my decision. What I did fail to mention, and probably the MOST important reason of all why I chose the Hyundai, or rather why I didn't buy a Honda. It was the Holier Than Thou attitude of the Honda dealers. (You Honda owners know exactly what I'm talking about) The Honda dealers feel that because their car is reliable and retains a good resale value there should be no question as to the price they command. Heaven forbid you mention that your torn between a Honda and ANY other car. They will look at you as if your mentally deficient for not knowing what the obvious choice should be. I know all dealers will put down another make to make their car look better, I'm not that naive. The Honda guys go that extra mile with their condescending attitude. Ask the local dealer what rebates Honda has and see what the answer is. Honda doesn't have rebates, never did and probably never will. Thats a quote from Sterling McCall Honda in Houston by the way. My earlier comments simply stated what the tangible differences were to me without taking into account any personal opinions. Since you brought in your personal experience with your previous Hyundai ownership, I thought I'd share my Honda experience(or rather lack of)
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    "The Honda dealers feel that because their car is reliable and retains a good resale value there should be no question as to the price they command."

    So what was the price of the Civic vs. the Elantra? I'm still curious to see where that big $3,000 difference came from.
  • Look, everyone is entitled to their opinion - I certainly wouldn't argue that anyone's decision to purchase an Elantra over a Civic was wrong. But I found none of that "holier than thou" attitude at the Honda dealer I dealt with when I purchased my Civic a few months back - in fact they were quite willing to negotiate on price and I was able to purchase the car for just a few bucks over invoice. Of course I didn't expect to purchase a Civic for what I could have gotten an Elantra for. What you've basically admitted in your last post is that the MOST important reason you chose a Hyundai over a Honda had nothing to do with either of the vehicles. If I understand your last post, you are saying the main reason you purchased an Elantra was because the Hyundai dealer was somehow nicer - or because Hyundai offered a lower price/higher rebate. If you made the decision that the Elantra offered what you needed for a price less than the Civic - then that is certainly a valid position. I'm not quite sure I understand you're being somehow offended by the fact that Honda doesn't offer the prices, incentives, and rebates that Hyundai does. Why should they? If you could sell more cars than your competitor and charge a higher price - wouldn't you? The debate over what you get for the price you pay is always valid. When someone says that they thought they were getting more for their money when purchasing
    an Elantra over a Civic - I accept that as a rational decision. If the extra features they get are important to them and the ownership experience is positive - then they certainly made the right choice for themselves. However, your post would indicate that emotion played as big of a part as logic in your decision.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Three recent occurances that lead me to believe it's best never to say never, as the good people at Sterling McCall Honda did:

    * Quote from a salesman at my local Honda dealer regarding the Elantra: "Yes, there are many fine small cars to choose from these days."

    * Civics selling for well below invoice.

    * Honda dealers actually advertising sale prices, not just lease rates (not a big deal in some cities, but unheard of until recently in my town).
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Civics selling for below invoice is correct...which is why I'm very curious as to where the $3,000 difference came from, since the Civic was noted as having crank windows, which is only available on the base model DX.

    If you go by TMV, that basically means n2vsw paid a little over $9,000 for an Elantra. I don't think even Hyundais don't sell that low.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I've seen Elantra GLSs advertised for as low as $9850. So it is possible that the difference between an Elantra and a Civic DX 4-door with A/C and stereo could be $3000. BTW, the Civics I've seen advertised below invoice are EXs. Why are you so obsessed with this $3000 thing, anyway?
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Because it's a huge amount. And we're talking about a DX Civic here...very few people buy them. Honda has even stated that its DX models are primarily used to lure people into the dealerships. Even the cockiest Honda dealers I've incurred would not haggle with you about a DX model - they'd be happier either giving it to you or moving you up to the LX or EX models, where they really start getting cocky.

    And the dealer rarely touches the DX models when it comes to options, unless you specifically ask for them. If you want a DX with A/C and a CD player, I'm willing to bet that the dealer will point in the direction of an LX Civic. He's not even going to through the trouble of having his people install those options on the DX.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    >>> He's not even going to through the trouble of having his people install those options on the DX. <<<

    I can't imagine a dealer turning down someone's $1000 or whatever they charge these days for dealer-installed A/C, if someone asks to have A/C installed in a Civic DX. Or turn down someone's money for a stereo, either. I agree that the LX is a better value, but I guess some people do actually buy the DX models--I see them once in awhile on the road.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    It happens. He gains more by pointing you to an LX Civic, which has power windows (unable to install that in the DX model with crank windows), power locks and a stereo. The customer, in turn, also gains because the real world difference between a DX and LX Civic is not as great as their respective MSRPs would imply.
  • n2vswn2vsw Posts: 11
    diploid...I guess I should clarify a few things. When I started looking at vehicles in my price/size range the first place I visited was a Honda dealer. This is more due to location since it was the first dealership near my home. I was up front with the salesman when I first walked on the lot. I told him I was comparing other vehicles and I wasn't going to buy right there and then. I wanted a small car with automatic,power steering, power windows etc. What one normally expects in a car these days. I asked for their best price and told them they'd get one shot at it. If a Toyota or Nissan was less money for a comparable car then I wouldn't be back. This initially didn't work as they'd quote me $200 under the sticker. I didn't argue or ask for a lower price. I'd simply jot it down on my notes and get up to leave. Then they'd scramble thinking I was kidding about going to another dealer. Finally after about 4 quotes (and mind you I never once asked them to go lower) they gave me their bottom line at 14,800.(it was in fact an LX.) I thanked them and told them I'd be going to the Toyota dealer down the road. I thought it amusing at the time when they commented on Toyota's reliability not being all that good compared to Honda. I visited Toyota and Nissan and they didn't have what I wanted in terms of color, options and price. I returned to Honda and closed the deal. I was getting my own financing through my credit union so I was going to return in a few days to pick up the car. As I stated in a previous post, before returning to the Honda dealer I stopped at hyundai (I don't know why) The Elantra with all the options including ABS and traction control was 11,900. I went home and did some quick research on Hyundai and found they weren't as bad as their reputation was leading everyone to believe. I talked with a few people at work who I knew owned hyundais and they seemed to be happy. One co-worker already had three of them. I returned to Honda to cancel the contract (In Texas you have three days to cancel no matter what the reason). This is where the dealer tried to match the price point of the Hyundai by showing me a cheaper civic. It was not lost on me that it was a bare bones model with crank up windows. This is where the $3000 difference came in. It wasn't between the Elantra and a Civic DX but rather the LX which is the car I had initially chosen. My mistake for not clarifying that.

    chalupny.... The Elantra was quite a bit less for more features and with a better warranty. That boiled down to money pure and simple. I've been known to pay more for things when I know it isn't the best choice but I overlook that for one reason or another. So money is not always the only reason. When I returned to the Honda dealer to make the deal I went there because I didn't have another viable alternative. It galled me to buy the car from them. I was treated in a condescending manner, told I needed to use their financing to get the lowest price and generally treated like I was some dope. Was there some emotion involved? Call it what you will but if this is how they treat a prospective customer how do they treat their existing customers? When I had another option that was less money and a more pleasant buying experience I gladly took it. I believe the buying experience is one of the reasons Saturn does so well. People know they are paying full sticker price and that the dealer is making a generous profit. I am told by Saturn owners that the buying experience is worth it. From YOUR post I take it you don't feel this is a valid reason for making a decision. So, are you telling me that you don't mind being treating like [non-permissible content removed] at a restaurant so long as the food is good? A dealer has to earn my business and their business practices have to reflect that. In regards to prices of Honda in general here in the Houston area, they are not very negotiable. They are in short supply so the dealers are somewhat arrogant. That fact I'm sure has a lot to do with it. I'm originally from the northeast and dealers there have all their cars lined up in front of the lots with a few pick ups in back. Here it is the other way around. More pick ups are sold than cars. Hyundais have a huge market share in Florida and New Jersey why? I don't know but market area affects price. If you live in an area where dealers really negotiate on Hondas and are great and happy salesmen then more power to you.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    Here's a question for you. For the Saturn owners that are paying full MSRP for their cars knowing very well the dealerships are making thousands from them but they are ok with it because of the buying experience, can you ask them if they ever tried going to a Honda or Toyota dealership and offer MSRP for the cars?

    I am sure Honda and Toyota will be more than happy to sell the car to them as MSRP coz' most of the time, the cars will be sold below MSRP. So, there's no haggling involve just like the Saturn dealerships. In fact they might save a few hundred if not thousands coz' the cars might actually be sold at below MSRP.

    I think what it is is basic human nature/instinct driving the Saturn buyers. They don't want to feel that they paid more than the next person but it is ok if everyone paid full price at the Saturn dealerships.

    So, my hyphothesis is they buy at Saturn not because of the experience. I believe it is because they do not want to hear from their neighbor down from where they live, they paid $100 less than what they paid if they bought the same Honda or Toyota. What do you think?
  • n2vswn2vsw Posts: 11
    The reason that Saturn owners don't simply pay MSRP for either a Toyota or Honda is this; For the sake of argument, your average (I stress average)price of a Civic or Corolla is about $15,000. This is not MSRP but rather what most people can negotiate with a little effort on their part. The MSRP of a Saturn is $15,000. No haggling, or negotiating involved. So a Saturn happens to be priced right where most people can buy their Corollas and Civics without all the headaches of negotiating. If this works for you then great. I look at it this way. Yes, a Saturn is comparably priced with a Civic or Corolla and it is a decent car (although it's design is now very dated) But if I subtract the $1500 dealer profit now your looking at a car that should really sell for less than Civics and Corollas yet your still paying top dollar. It can be called semantics I guess but I just refuse to give the dealer that much profit without a struggle. I'm not going to argue that you can get Civics or Corollas for less. I stressed average because some sell for less some for more.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    and expects the customers to negotiate. So I have to disagree with you on this.

    I think they based the price of the car based on what competitors are selling their cars at.

    Here's an example. I just picked up a Saturn car randomly.

    2002 Saturn S-Series 3dr Coupe SC2 with:
    - 5 speed
    - 15" alloy
    - Sunroof
    - ABS
    - dest

    MSRP = $18,295 Invoice = $16,556

    Note that invoice is more or less what the Saturn dealership paid GM.

    Now, for an equiv. car, say a Honda Civic EX Coupe
    Everything that I added on the Saturn SC2 is standard on the EX Coupe.

    Here's the price:
    MSRP = $17,270 Invoice = $15,824

    As you can see, the MSRP of the Honda is even lower than that of the SC2. I'm sure if you look up an Accord and L series, the Honda MSRP is probably a little higher than Saturn but that's coz' Accord is a better selling car.

    To tell you the truth, I was expecting the SC2 MSRP to come below that of Civic EX Coupe prices.

    You are assuming a comparable Saturn MSRP will be somewhere bet. the MSRP and Invoice price of a comparable Civic or Corolla (for example). Well, it looks like in the case of SC2 and Civic EX Coupe, that's not the case.

    Also, isn't it the invoice price that matters? The Saturn dealership is making $1700 just for being there and if I paid MSRP for the Civic, they make $1400. Still less than the Saturn. Anything less is sugar obviously.

    Besides, Saturn is not like a BMW where the customers is charged MSRP almost every single time. But that's because almost all BMW dealership charge MSRP. So, what if all Honda, Toyota, GM, Ford etc. starts charging MSRP like Saturn? But of course we have to agree that the MSRP for other cars are representative of the cars' value just like Saturn.
  • Look, All I'm saying is that there is a difference between a salesman being rude or condenscending and them being unwilling to deal with you. If the guy you dealt with was actually rude then you were right not to deal with him. However, If a salesman tells you that he won't come off the price any more because he doesn't have to (knows he can sell the car to someone else in the near future at that price or better) - and that pisses you off - well, you're the one with the problem. You are the one spouting that the Elantra is a better deal for the price. You then come back with a post where you say the MOST important reason you didn't buy a Civic was because the dealer wouldn't come down on price, or offer a rebate, and had a condescending attitiude. You then proceed to insinuate that all Honda dealers act like this and anyone who purchases a Honda is nuts for putting up with it. Your post where you attribute the quote about Honda never offering rebates and probably never will - tells it all. Why would this stateement upset you? Why should Honda offer rebates if they can sell the cars without doing so? This whole "everybody mistakenly thinks Honda's are better than they really are" argument is old and weak. I sometimes wonder if the people who use this argument are those who fear they have made the wrong choice - but desperately need to justify their choice to themselves and others. You paid less for a car that had more features. Did you get more features for your money? - absolutlely. Did you get a better car for a lower cost? - I don't think so. But that really deosn't matter - if you think you did -then great.
  • The Hyundai Elantra is a better car than the Civic. The low price and fantastic warranty are just icing on the cake.
  • n2vswn2vsw Posts: 11
    Let me clarify something for you on basic economics. You are mistaken if you think a dealer wont come down on a price of a car because "he can sell the car to someone else in the near future at that price or better" This is only true in two cases. He is allocated a certain number of vehicles to sell. This works for things like Harley Davidson, Dodge Vipers, and Ferraris where dealers are only given a certain number of vehicles to sell. They want to sell those things at top dollar. The other case is simply supply and demand. If the car is in short supply or there is a big demand because it's popular then again, they get top dollar. A good example of this would be a mini cooper. The last time I checked civics were neither in short supply nor in demand to a point where they are scarce. If a dealer can sell you one and make his minimum profit then he will do so. Sure there might be a guy who comes in an hour later who'd pay $500 more for that same car but then again there might not be. He could sit on that car for a week waiting for that elusive buyer who'll pay him that extra $100 that you offered him. Dealers don't do business that way. (you've no doubt heard the saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush)If 50 people went in to the local Honda dealer today and offered $200 over true invoice (whatever that may be) the dealer would sell them in a heart beat. He'd have his inventory replenished in a week if not less. It's called selling volume and getting a little less profit for it. Of course if the sales manager didn't get laid last night and is in a bad mood or if you rub them the wrong way for whatever reason they may hold out for more than they would on some other day.
    Your mistaken if you think I'm upset that he didn't deal with me or that I think Honda's are over rated. I've mentioned more than once in my postings that I had no preconceived notions about either car. I did after all go to a Honda dealer so that shows I was interested in the car. What I don't have to put up with is the attitude. I didn't and I left. I got this same attitude from another Honda dealer in Houston. Is this coincidence? I have no idea, call it what you will. All I know is that I didn't buy a Honda because I didnt care for the way I was treated. Am I insinuating that all Honda dealers are like this?, no I'm not stupid, I'm sure there are Honda dealers out there who are great. The trouble is I'm not going to travel 100 miles to that great dealer somewhere. If the dealer is lousy on the buy, what are they like on the service? I will however, say you are nuts if you are treated this way and put up with it, they need you not the other way around.

    Lastly let's look at your comment "This whole "everybody mistakenly thinks Honda's are better than they really are" argument is old and weak. I sometimes wonder if the people who use this argument are those who fear they have made the wrong choice - but desperately need to justify their choice to themselves and others." Yup, I think that I got a great deal and I'm happy with what I bought. Am I "spouting" it as you say? I sure am, but I'm doing it on a Hyundai board. Thats what this board is here for. You don't see me going to the Honda board and bashing the Honda's right? I'm sure the people who bought Honda's are very happy with them and they discuss it among themselves over on their board. It's pretty obvious that it is you who has the problem, the fact that you like Hondas is pretty obvious from your rhetoric and yet here YOU are on the Hyundai board telling us all how, in your opinion, we didnt get a better car for a lower cost. Maybe you got lost in the board selection process? you meant to click on Honda and somehow ended up here. I'm pretty sure you'd be much happier over there though, You can all pat each other on the back at what great cars you all have.
  • gt_fangt_fan Posts: 159

    You're right when you say that not all Honda dealers treat their customers poorly. I'm sure that there are plenty of them out there that put customer service first. My problem is that I've never been into one. My local Honda dealer is the only one in this county of close to 500,000 people, and darn well knows it. I've shopped there several times over the last 12 years (and a change of ownership on their part, which didn't seem to help) and while they're usually polite, there's always this unspoken attitude that they'd be doing me a favor to sell me one of their precious cars. I found this to be uniformly the case at several different Honda dealers in three different cities where I've lived over the years.

    I really like Hondas. I've driven a lot of them and have owned several of their motorcycles over the years. Both my brother and sister have driven nothing but Hondas for years and have had fabulous luck with them. But I've never been able to get past the attitudes of the salespeople I've worked with. By contrast, all three of the Hyundai dealers I visited when I bought my GT were very friendly and genuinely seemed to want to do what it took to earn my business.
  • n2vswn2vsw Posts: 11
    I can't help but wonder if Honda Motors Corp is oblivious to this and what would happen if they really tried to get their dealers to eat some humble pie. Can you imagine? A good car and truly pleasant dealers who weren't arrogant?
  • rivertownrivertown Posts: 928
    From what I can tell, Honda does camp on dealers who give poor sales service. It's market forces that make a difference, as Si buyers are finding. Most dealers are very sweet when they've got cars they aren't selling.

    If you want a Honda and the local dealer is a jerk, my thought is to net shop. By-pass the sales hooey. If you think you're trapped with a specific dealer, you are; but it's not necessary. The service shop will take care of your car, and you've got the Honda org to back you up if they don't.
  • Dude, get a grip. I don't know what you're problem is. I've never said anything bad about Hyundai. In fact, I've said more than once that you do get more features for the price with an Elantra over a Civic. I've also said that I couldn't argue with anyone who used that logic to buy a Elantra. I just happened to go a different way. I felt the long term quality and reliability of the Civic was better and was willing to pay a little more and get less features because of it. I can't even argue with anyone who thinks the Hyundai will be as reliable as the Civic - it may very well be. I just didn't think so. You're the one saying all the Honda dealers are jerks and that people just buy into some myth about Honda's being good cars. I don't need a lesson in economics. If a car dealer won't sell you the car for the price you want to pay it is because the price you want is below his minimum acceptable selling price - period, deal with it. If his real reason for not giving you the price you want is to make you mad -he's a nut. I tend to see a little aggressiveness in your personality - this may hinder you're negotiations somewhat. It's apparent that when someone tells you something you don't like you kind of go off the deep end. Like the way you freaked out in that last post about me somehow encroaching on the Hyundai board. Has it not occured to you that this topic may be on both boards? I can assure you that when I come into this topic it is through the Honda Civic board. Why would that matter anyway? Don't bother responding - I won't see it. However, if it will make you feel big (and I'm sure it will) flame away. Good luck with your Hyundai. I'm done with you.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    About a year ago I read (and posted somewhere, maybe on the Low-End Cars board) a story about how Honda and Toyota were going to put a lot of effort, and money ($10,000 per dealership I think), into training to improve how their dealers treat customers. I don't remember all the details, but one thing I remember because I thought it was kind of funny was that the program would teach salespeople nice ways to tell people that the price of a car was over MSRP.

    To be fair, you can take a look at the Hyundai boards and find all kinds of examples of not-so-great dealers. So they're all over. The two Hyundai dealers I've used in my area have been fine so far, so no complaints there.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I think the argument, however, is that Honda has more arrogant dealers. I read in a Forbes article that Honda has the highest profit per car in the industry. Given that, I think there might be some truth in the high number of arrogant Honda dealers.

    The supermarkets in my area are similar - the ones with less business have the better customer service.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    How could that be? Are you talking percent or amount? I would expect luxury makes like Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, and even Acura would have a higher profit per car than Honda. Maybe in their market segment, Honda has the highest profit per car.
  • one has greatly improved in the fit and finish department, while the other has gone backwards (my '95 civic, friend's '94, and another's '92 all had far better fit and finish than the 2 generations since). my opinion is also that the civic's suspension evolution has gone backwards.

    my dilemna is whether to choose motor and transmission quality despite mediocre interior and exterior finish (civic), or excellent fit and finish, features, and motor reliability and mediocre transmission reliability (elantra) when i buy my next car.

    (btw, i had a new '91 hyundai excel that is still on the road with no problems whatsoever.)
  • jimpimmsjimpimms Pittsfield MAPosts: 81
    I've met two people in the past year that once owned Excels, and another who owned an early model Sonata. Every one of them started to have minor problems with the cars, and eventually got rid of them. One Excel had over 140K miles on it; the other Excel and the Sonata both had gone over 170K miles. All claim that their Hyundai was one of the best cars they've ever owned, and relatively trouble-free to the end. Is a Civic THAT much better?
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