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The 2021 Hyundai Elantra vs. the 2021 Honda Civic—which is best?


The revised 2021 Hyundai HYMTF, + 4.26% Elantra, competes against the established 2021 Honda HMC, + 0.58% Civic in the compact car category. Let’s see how they compare.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra


2021 Hyundai Elantra starting price: $ 19,650

Above average: Low starting price; sporty N Line model; impressive fuel consumption; available hybrid; spacious interior; great guarantee.

Below average: Not a hatchback body style.

Consensus: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra has a clean new design that matches its high-tech interior. A number of engine options, including a Performance N version and a hybrid, are suitable for both enthusiasts and hypermilers.

The 2021 Honda Civic

2021 Honda Civic starting price: 22,005 USD

Above average: Body styles for sedans and hatchbacks; powerful and efficient 1.5 liter turbo engine; spirited interaction; powerful variant type R; spacious cabin.

Below average: Traffic noise; Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic warning not available; no Android Auto / Apple AAPL, + 2.58% CarPlay on the base model; not a hybrid option.

Consensus: The 2021 Honda Civic is practical, reliable and fun to drive. It remains an epitome of the small car virtue. However, the lineup was scaled back that year with the loss of the sporty Si and the two-door coupe.

Elantra vs. Civic: class-leading small cars

The Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra, redesigned for 2021, is making great strides while maintaining its attractive prices. A hybrid model complements the product range and its smooth powertrain together delivers up to 54 mpg. There is also a new sporty N-Line variant with a 1.6-liter turbo with 201 hp, a 7-speed dual clutch automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. The standard powertrain is now a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder with 147 hp and a CVT. This powertrain is good for up to 37 mpg together. The Elantra is slightly larger than before and carries dramatically wrinkled metal sheets that span a spacious interior.

See also: The updated VW Arteon offers miles of style and plenty of cargo space

Inside there are plenty of tech features, including a digital instrument cluster, 8-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen, smartphone wireless mirroring, and wireless device charging. You can even use your smartphone to lock, unlock, and start the car.

All Elantras are equipped with a forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. Other standard elements are the lane departure warning system, the blind spot monitor, the rear cross traffic alarm and an alarm for safe exit. The latter warns when passengers try to get out of the vehicle when traffic is approaching on that side. Adaptive cruise control is available on the upper panels.

The Honda Civic

With its indisputable reliability, high resale value, practical packaging and driving pleasure, the Honda Civic remains an outstanding small car. However, the Civic is in its final year before a restyling and the range has been reduced. The two-door coupe and sporty Si come from the team from 2021. Buyers still have a choice of sedan or hatchback body styles, the former with a 15 cubic foot trunk and the latter with 46 cubic feet of luggage space. There are also several trim levels, including a classy Civic Type R with 302 hp.

See also: Which is better, the 2021 Honda Accord or the 2021 Nissan Altima?

A 2.0-liter engine with 156 hp powers the two most affordable sedans. However, we prefer the more powerful and economical 1.5 liter turbo, which can be combined with a CVT or (in the hatchback) a 6-speed manual transmission. The Civic has a well-tuned chassis, is more solid in Sport and Sport Touring equipment and in the Type R is downright trackable. The street noise is higher than we would prefer. Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are standard. However, rear cross traffic alarm and blind spot monitoring are not available.


Extroverted design, choice of engines, spacious interior, available gear levers.

2021 Hyundai Elantra benefits

Lower starting price, better fuel economy, available hybrid, feature content, great warranty, free scheduled maintenance.

2021 Honda Civic benefits

Available hatchback, driveability, bulletproof reliability, strong resale value.

Final recommendation

The redesigned Hyundai Elantra 2021 has seen significant improvements and now outperforms the Civic in several objective categories, including fuel economy, equipment and interior space, although Honda maintains its long-standing reputation for reliability and resale value. However, Hyundai’s benefits may be short-lived in the face of a new Civic arriving soon.

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