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Honda Civic vs. Hyundai Elantra: Which Should You Buy?

The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are two of the most popular small cars on the market. However, other models are starting to make waves in the small car class. Cars like the Hyundai Elantra compete directly with perennial class leaders on price and features and small car buyers are starting to take notice. According to Automotive News, Honda sold 336,180 Civics in 2013, which is an increase of 6 percent over 2012. Hyundai sold 247,912 Elantras -- an increase of 23 percent over 2012.

It’s clear that the Hyundai Elantra is building momentum, but does that mean you should buy an Elantra instead of a Civic? Let’s find out. 

[See our full Small Car Rankings]

2014 Honda Civic LX Sedan

2014 Hyundai Elantra SE Sedan

143 HP

Power

145 HP

$1,750

EPA-Estimated Annual Fuel Cost

$1,700

94.6 cubic feet

Passenger Volume

95.6 cubic feet

12.5 cubic feet

Cargo Space

14.8 cubic feet

3-year/36,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty

Warranty

5-year/60,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty, 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty

AC, Bluetooth, power windows and door locks, USB and auxiliary input ports, rearview camera

Standard Features

AC, power windows and door locks, USB and auxiliary input ports

$18,390

Base Price

$17,200

[See pictures of the 2014 Hyundai Elantra and pictures of the 2014 Honda Civic]

At first glance, it’s tough to differentiate between the base Honda Civic sedan and the base Hyundai Elantra sedan. The Civic makes two more horsepower and the Elantra has an extra cubic foot of passenger space. The Elantra should be slightly cheaper to fuel – but the savings amount to only $50 per year over the Civic. The Elantra also has a slightly larger trunk and a slightly lower starting price.

What separates the Elantra and the Civic is their warranty coverage and standard features. The Elantra has significantly longer new-car and powertrain warranties than the Civic does. On the other hand, the Civic has standard features, like Bluetooth and a rearview camera, that you have to pay extra for on the Elantra. If you add Hyundai’s Preferred Package to the Elantra, you’ll get Bluetooth and the rearview camera (as well as some other features) but you’ll also bump the Elantra’s price by $975, making the Elantra cost just $215 less than the Civic.

Deals also separate the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra. This month, you can get the 2014 Hyundai Elantra with zero percent financing for up to 60 months or $1,500 cash back. The Honda Civic only has lease deals this month, and only on certain models, but those lease deals have lower monthy payments than the lease deals currently available on the Elantra.

[See all Hyundai Deals or all Honda Deals]

With so much in common with a class leader like the Honda Civic, it’s not tough to see why the Hyundai Elantra is gaining ground with small car shoppers. Go for the Civic if you don’t want to have to pay extra for tech features like Bluetooth and aren’t worried about having to make warranty claims. and a rearview camera. Go for the Elantra if you want to get a deal, have a smidge more space and longer warranty coverage.

[Compare the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra for yourself.]

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