Last post on Feb 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM
You are in the Honda Civic
What is this discussion about?
Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Sedan
#1077 of 1641 Really why the Elantra is better.
Mar 14, 2005 (7:37 pm)
I am a college student, and I attend the University of Oregon.
The following is why I have decided that the Elantra is better than the Civic.
I commute to and from school every day. This is about 15-20 miles in heavy city traffic everyday. Some days, there are 45-60 minute traffic jams for a 15 mile drive. Here in Eugene, sometimes it is 25 degrees, other days it is 95 degrees, so we have varitable weather. I am an 18 year old male, and I am what someone like my father would call a "lead foot." Sometimes, all of my driving is hard city driving, and other it is all freeway, so I have a well-rounded idea of each car.
My father drives a 2004 Honda Civic EX. My best friend drives a 2004 Hyundai Elantra GT. The Civic EX rang in about $19,000 after the non-debatable Oregon dealer markup for Hondas, and it is an automatic (this car is not equipped with side airbags). The Elantra GT (with ABS, Traction Control, sunroof, leather: whole enchilada basically) cost her about $13,000 while on sale at the Hyundai dealership. I drive a 1993 Honda Accord LX coupe with 180,000 miles on it and I have decided that my next car will be a Hyundai, not a Honda.
Driving back and forth in the Civic in the heavy city driving, you will see the gas mileage dip tremendously. The Civic gets 35 miles per gallon on the freeway at 60 miles per hous, but we have calculated it at an astonishing 24 miles per gallon on average in this kind of city driving. The Elantra's EPA estimates suggest that the car would get worse mileage, it doesn't. On the freeway, the Elantra rings in at 33 miles per gallon. In the city however, the Elantra gets 30 no matter what kind of driving is occuring. Mind you, this is with the air conditioning on in most cases.
Not only does the Elantra make more sense from a fiscal standpoint, as it gets better mileage and costs less, but it also is just as reliable. According to Strategic Vision, and published in USA Today, 54% of Hyundai owners buy another Hyundai. This is second only to Mercedes. You may say that this is based on price, but it is not, as Kias (which are owned by Hyundai and are purposefully less quality cars) are even cheaper and do not retain such loyalty. My friend had a 2000 Elantra before this one and she put 100,000 miles on it in 3.5 years. My father is the kind of guy that puts 250,000 miles on a car before he gets rid of them. Both of them swear by the reliability of the cars, and it makes sense. Both are extremely reliable. The only discrepency is that my father's last Civic had to have its automatic transmission replaced at 55,000 miles (a 1998 Civic LX sedan) which cost a whopping $2400 on a car worth about $8000... So yes, Hondas do need warranties. On the other hand, the Elantras have never had any mechanical malfunctions, and the minor repairs they have seen (like fuses going out, blah blah) have all been repaired free of charge. So what are we at now? Hyundai 3, Honda 0? Or is it more than that?!
Going on, the Honda gets tired. This sounds strange, but it is true. If you drive a Honda roughly, the car will get worn out and need to cool off. The engines have troubles with overheating when you drive too hard because they have plastic radiators (unlike the Hyundai), and the cheap drum brakes in the rear, and poorly ventilated discs in the front overheat like no other car I have ever seen. One more thing to point out about getting tired is the fact that the Honda is not comfortable. I guess there is no Japanese translation for the words 'lumbar support.' The Honda's we've had all have uncomfortable seats that make you tire 10 minutes into a commute. The Elantra on the other hand has supremely comfortable seats that almost seam luxurious, if you have to sit in them for long bouts. I attribute this to the fact that the Elantra is made for Europeans and Americans, who buy many times over more Elantras than the domestic market of Korea buys, whereas Civics sell just as primarily in Asian markets as America.
As far as fun to drive factors, this is a more even match. Comparing the two vehicles, it's all about taste. The Elantra has a more supple ride. The Civic has a firm ride. The Elantra does get floatly, but feels much more substantial than the Civic. The Civic has balanced handling, but every corner feels the same no matter how slow or fast you're driving, and the wheel doesn't give you enough input a lot of the time. This is the fork in the road. The Civic always drive the same. The Elantra doesn't. The Elantra most of the time is very smooth and comfortable, but if you need to take hard corners, you just gas it and it powers out of the corner with minimal understeer, while the Civic retains its moderate understeer at all times. So, whatever kind of handling characteristics you like, the cars are tailored to different tastes. I would give my seal of approval to the Elantra.
As far as power, there is no comparison. The Honda Civic is a decidedly slow car. The Elantra is no rocket, but it has the get-up-and-go of cars in the next class up. The Civic feels like a subcompact Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio in its engine's driving demeanor, while the Elantra actually feels like it has a similar powerband to a 2005 Honda Accord 4-cylinder (when with automatic) factoring in power-to-weight characteristics. If you floored them both from a stop next to each other, they'd probably be a close match, though I'd put money on the Elantra. It's in the mid-range where the Elantra really kicks though. The Elantra has an even powerband. The Civic only has power on the top. When you floor the Elantra from a stop (w/ traction control turned off) it will actually spin its tires (and by the way, the Elantra comes with better tires than the Civic), while the Civic feels like it has an asthma attack all the way up to the redline.
As far as build-quality, both cars are put together extremely well. You can push and pull on both cars' panels and interior pieces and nothing is going to come loose. The quality of the materials inside differs somewhat. The Civic is made of excellent materials that are not executed in design very well, while the Elantra uses good materials that are executed in design much better than the Civic. Feel the HVAC controls in both cars, the Elantra's feel nicer. It is my humble prediction that the next Elantra will definitely have a stepped-up interior compared to the current one, just as what happened with the last generation and the current. My squabbles with the Elantra are its lack of chrome pieces on things like the auto shifter, around the gauges, and on the interior door handles. There is also some hard plastic on the front doors inside. The Civic has the stupidest placement for cup holders I have ever seen in a car. The Elantra has a dampened glovebox, so all of your stuff doesn't come crashing down when opened. The Civic does not. The Elantra has plastic on the back of
#1078 of 1641 Re: Really why the Elantra is better. [mononeo]
Mar 14, 2005 (8:47 pm)
Thanks for your thorough comparison (I think it got truncated at the end, though--character limit in the Forums). As an owner of two Elantras and a former owner of two Civics, I agree with much of what you said. However, I have yet to achieve 30 mpg on a regular basis on in-town driving on either my 5-speed '01 GLS or my '04 GT automatic. I get really close to 30 in town in the summer on my GLS, but in the winter it's closer to 27-28. With the automatic GT, I can get mid-to-upper 20s, but my wife, with a lead foot, gets low 20s in town. However, I do pretty well on the highway with both cars, getting low 40s at moderate speeds (60-65) with the GLS and upper 30s with the GT automatic. One thing I really appreciate is the good torque on the Elantra vs. the Civic. I can glide around at 1500 rpm with the Elantras with no problem, and I find I don't need to downshift as much because of the ample torque. Not so on the Civic.
#1080 of 1641 Re: Really why the Elantra is better. [mononeo]
Mar 15, 2005 (6:25 am)
My father drives a 2004 Honda Civic EX. My best friend drives a 2004 Hyundai Elantra GT. The Civic EX rang in about $19,000 after the non-debatable Oregon dealer markup for Hondas, and it is an automatic (this car is not equipped with side airbags). The Elantra GT (with ABS, Traction Control, sunroof, leather: whole enchilada basically) cost her about $13,000 while on sale at the Hyundai dealership.
Everything is negotiable in this world, just because your friend is better negotiator than your father does not mean that Civic is overpriced. There are plenty of people who got their 2004 Civic EX's for high $14K - mid-$15K's.
I drive a 1993 Honda Accord LX coupe with 180,000 miles on it and I have decided that my next car will be a Hyundai, not a Honda.
I am glad you liked the Elantra. Now, come back when it hits 250,000 miles and report then. I have yet to see a Hyundai get that high in miles and is still marketable. On the other hand, I sold my 1985 Civic DX with 250,000 miles for a cool $1500.
I attribute this to the fact that the Elantra is made for Europeans and Americans, who buy many times over more Elantras than the domestic market of Korea buys, whereas Civics sell just as primarily in Asian markets as America.
I am not sure what you meant by that sentnce, but North America is Honda's biggest market. Toyota rules the Japanese domestic market in sales. But, I will give you this, Hondas fit me perfectly, and are the only compacts that I feel comfortable in (6 foot at 190 lbs)
The only Hyundai I would consider is the new Tiburon, but I would still stuff it with Honda internals. Just because Hyundai paid Pininnfarina to design the shell still does not make it a reliable car. Besides, when was the last time you heard "reliable" and "Italian car" in one sentence?
This is the fork in the road. The Civic always drive the same. The Elantra doesn't. The Elantra most of the time is very smooth and comfortable, but if you need to take hard corners, you just gas it and it powers out of the corner with minimal understeer, while the Civic retains its moderate understeer at all times.
Maybe that is why Hyundai Elantra's are so popular with auto cross people. Oh wait a minute, I have not seen one Hyundai Elantra GT get to the top 10 in auto cross, they are always Honda Cvic, Acura integra, and an occasional BMW or Lexus.
Enjoy the Hyundai, maybe time will tell. Back in the 70's and 80's people were bad mouthing Honda's and Toyota, but they perseviered. So far, since 1986, Hyundai has not proven it self being long living.
#1081 of 1641 Re: Really why the Elantra is better. [blueiedgod]
Mar 15, 2005 (8:37 am)
Please tell me where I can buy a '05 Civic EX 4-door automatic (list about $18,800) for high $14k's, or about $4000 off MSRP (way, way under invoice). I will probably go buy one, since I could sell it for more than that.
#1083 of 1641 Re: Really why the Elantra is better. [mononeo]
Mar 15, 2005 (10:11 am)
Eloquent review, however, I'd listen to blue-eyed god on this one before buying your car. I think a statiscally representative negotiated price would be about 17,000 for a loaded Civic EX and 14,000 for a loaded Elantra GT. If you intend to keep the car for a long time (100,000 miles +), Honda engines have proven to be the most durable over time. If you intend to sell the car after 5 years, I think the Hyundai might be a reasonable choice based upon the warranty (5 years instead of 3). However, barring a marketing bonanza by Hyundai, you will probably lose the $3,000 initial price savings with the lower resale value of the Hyundai after 5 years. Therefore, you are back to break-even and your comfort and style preferences should dictate your purchase.
Your comment about the seats has sparked my interest. I've always been extremely fit (almost obsessively so), however, shortly after buying a Honda Civic in 2003 I've had an annoying back-ache that I can't pin down the source of other than the timing of me buying the Civic. Maybe I need to look at a Hundai if the seats are that comfortable.
#1084 of 1641 Re: Really why the Elantra is better. [john500]
Mar 15, 2005 (10:28 am)
Please do check out the Elantra re driver's seat. That was its #1 benefit for me over almost every other car in its class. C/D has called the Elantra's seat adjusters the best in the business.
P.S. My loaded Elantra GT 5-door was $13,200 + T&L last year, including 3 years scheduled maintenance. Civic wasn't even in the mix then because it's not offered in 5-door sedan.
Mar 15, 2005 (11:41 am)
It's amazing how folks seem to be willing to purchase a car based on speculation and gut feel. Comparing a '95 Civic to anything made today is apples & oranges at best; "reliable" and "Italian car" certainly don't belong in the same sentence, but that same paragraph mentioned that it is only the shell; I could go on and on, with preconceived notions pertaining to Honda, Hyundai, and any other manufacturer from Toyota to Land Cruiser. I've heard of Volvo 240DLs last a quarter of a million miles and I've seen one owned by a co-worker totally *censored* after 80k.
Objectively speaking, my Elantra GT provided far more amenities (leather, CD/MP3, keyless, 4 door hatch functionality, alloys) than anything else within $3500 of the purchase price ($11,622), with a warranty that easily covers the entire time I will be making payments. How can one beat that?
Also, I've gotta second the driver's seat. If you get in one, check out the little 3-position lever right under the side airbag "SRS" embroidery. That additional lumbar support makes the hours slip by far more comfortably.
#1086 of 1641 "The only Hyundai I would consider
Mar 15, 2005 (1:12 pm)
is the new Tiburon, but I would still stuff it with Honda internals."
What does that mean???