The Elantra got a face-lift for 2019 with a new look inside and out and new standard features.
If you’re looking for a small, practical car, there’s a good chance the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra are on your radar. Both models got a slight refresh for the 2019 model year with the Elantra getting a new look and the Civic getting updated technology and a new Sport trim.
Let’s take a look at some of the differences and similarities between the Civic and the Elantra and which compact is better.
The versatile Civic is available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback. The Elantra is a sedan but has a hatchback variant called the Elantra GT, which is technically a different model. In sedan form, the Elantra and the Civic are almost identical in size. See the 2019 Hyundai Elantra models for sale near you
The Elantra got a pretty thorough midcycle refresh for 2019 while the Civic got a mild face-lift. The Elantra is now much sharper and more angular looking, which helps it to stand out a little more. The Civic’s look is only slightly revised, but it does get a new Sport trim, which adds a rear spoiler and center-exit exhaust finisher. See the 2019 Honda Civic models for sale near you
Since the exterior dimensions of these cars are pretty much the same, it’s a similar story on the inside. However, the Civic is a little roomier on the inside with more back-seat legroom making the Honda a slightly better family car.
They both have nice, comfortable seats, but the Civic’s interior is a little more well-built. We like the more modern interior design of the Civic. The Elantra’s interior isn’t bad, but it’s about in the middle of the road for its class and the Civic’s is towards the top.
The Civic has two engines available and the Elantra has three. They’re both front-wheel drive and are available with either a manual or an automatic transmission with most examples being automatic.
2019 Honda Civic Engines
2.0-liter inline four; 158 horsepower, 138 lb-ft of torque; 30 mpg city/38 mpg hwy
1.5-liter turbocharged inline four; 174 hp, 167 lb-ft of torque; 32 mpg city/42 mpg hwy
2019 Hyundai Elantra Engines
2.0-liter inline four; 147 hp, 132 lb-ft of torque; 29 mpg city/38 mpg hwy
1.4-liter turbocharged inline four; 128 hp, 156 lb-ft of torque; 32 mpg city/40 mpg hwy
1.6-liter turbocharged inline four; 201 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque; 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy
The base engines of the Elantra and the Civic are very similar in terms of performance and fuel economy. We like the optional turbocharged engine in the Civic, which improves both performance and fuel economy by a nice margin. The performance of the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the Elantra Sport can’t be matched by the standard Civic, but the Civic Si has an upgraded version of the 1.5-liter turbo-four making 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque.
The Civic has more agile, dynamic handling and is more of an enthusiast’s car than the Elantra. The Honda is also a little better on gas than the Hyundai, making the Civic a well-rounded winner.
Features and Technology
Technology is where the face-lift of the 2019 Civic really shines. The Honda Sensing driver-assistance technology suite is now standard on every trim of the Civic including the base LX model. Honda Sensing includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning and collision mitigation braking. There’s also been an update to the Display Audio infotainment system and it now has a normal volume knob instead of the frustrating slider in previous models. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on every trim except the Civic LX.
The Elantra has similar safety tech available, but almost none of it is standard on the base SE model. From the SEL trim up, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist are standard. If you want adaptive cruise control, it’s an option exclusively on the range-topping Limited trim. Also on the SEL trim and up is a standard 7-in infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but you only get a 5-in unit without the smartphone integration features on the base SE. For these reasons, we strongly recommend springing for an SEL or better if you’re shopping for an Elantra.
One of the 2019 Elantra’s strong suits is value. The compact Hyundai’s starting MSRP is just $17,100 and the Civic starts at $19,450. That means when it comes to price, the Elantra SEL is more comparable to the base Civic LX. The Honda also gets much more expensive on the high end with the range-topping Civic Touring having a starting price of $27,300 while the Elantra Limited starts at just $22,600, although doesn’t have as many features as the top-end Civic.
The Elantra is clearly the value proposition between the two cars if you’re shopping strictly on price, but we think the Civic has a lot more to offer. With better driving dynamics, more efficient engines and more standard safety tech, the Civic continues to be a class leader. The Elantra is a good car and we like the new changes in the 2019 model, but the 2019 Civic took a great car and made it even better. Find a Honda Civic for sale or Find a Hyundai Elantra for sale