- The 2020 Honda Civic and 2020 Hyundai Elantra are two competitive compact cars.
- The Elantra gets some new standard features for 2020, and the Civic is mostly unchanged after its 2019 refresh.
- The Civic has many advantages over the Elantra, but the Hyundai is more affordable.
If you’re in the market for a compact car, two cars that might be on your shopping list are the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra. Both of these compacts are efficient, practical and affordable, and they both come with some pros and cons that you should know about.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s similar, what’s different and which is better between the Civic and the Elantra.
The Civic and the Elantra can both be had in multiple body styles. The Civic is available as a coupe, a sedan or a hatchback and the Elantra comes as a sedan, with a hatchback variant in the form of the Elantra GT — which is technically a different model. When comparing these two cars in their most common sedan forms, they’re almost identical in size. See the 2020 Honda Civic models for sale near you
As for styling, both cars use sharp angles to make bold-looking exteriors. Both sedans have a sloping rear roofline that gives them a sporty liftback look. The aesthetics of the 2020 Civic Hatchback have been updated to bring it more in-line with the 2019 face-lift that the sedan and coupe variants of the Civic received last year. The look of the Civic hatchback is a bit controversial, while the Elantra GT has a more conventional hatchback style. See the 2020 Hyundai Elantra models for sale near you
Since these two cars are similar in size, they have a similar amount of room on the inside. If you’re planning on using your next car as a small family vehicle, the Civic has a little more back-seat legroom than the Elantra, which your passengers will appreciate.
As for interior design and quality, neither of these cars has a bad interior, but the inside of the Honda is a little nicer than the Hyundai. The Civic has a more modern and pleasing interior design and uses nicer materials throughout. Both cars are comfortable, but the Civic is just nicer.
The Civic has two engines available, and the Elantra has three. Both cars are front-wheel drive and are available with either an automatic or manual transmission, but the availability of the manual is limited to a few trims for both cars. For 2020, the manual option has been dropped for the Elantra sedan and is now only available on the Elantra GT.
2020 Honda Civic Engines
- 2.0-liter inline-four; 158 horsepower, 138 lb-ft of torque; up to 30 city/38 highway mpg
- 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four; 174 hp, 167 lb-ft of torque (Si: 205 hp, 192 lb-ft of torque); up to 32 city/42 highway mpg (Si: 29 city/37 highway mpg)
2020 Hyundai Elantra Engines
- 2.0-liter inline-four; 147 hp, 132 lb-ft of torque; up to 31 city/41 highway mpg
- 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four; 128 hp, 156 lb-ft of torque; up to 33 city/41 highway mpg
- 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four; 201 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque; up to 26 city/33 highway mpg
As you can see by the numbers, the Civic has a slight edge over the Elantra in terms of both performance and efficiency. The Honda Civic Si, with its upgraded turbocharged engine and a standard manual transmission, is an absolute blast to drive at any speed. The Elantra Sport is fun, too, but it can’t quite match the driving thrills offered by the Civic Si. For those looking for a more frugal ride, a non-Si turbocharged Civic is a little more efficient than even the most efficient Elantra Eco while also serving up better performance.
The Elantra got a few new standard features for 2020, including dual-zone automatic climate control, forward-collision warning with brake assist, and a driver attention monitor. Additional available safety tech features include blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The Elantra has a standard 5-in infotainment system, but if you go with the SEL trim or better, you get a 7-in unit with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Civic shines when it comes to standard safety tech, with every 2020 model coming standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technology. Honda Sensing includes lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, collision mitigation braking and adaptive cruise control. Like the Elantra, every trim of the Civic except the base model has an upgraded 7-in infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while the base trim comes with a 5-in screen that does not include the aforementioned smartphone integration features — though it does have Bluetooth.
The Elantra is a little more affordable than the Civic. The Elantra has a starting price of $18,950, and the Civic starts at $19,750. The Civic is also more expensive on the high end, going up into the higher $20K range for the Touring sedan or the Sport Touring hatchback. Meanwhile, the most expensive Elantra models get into the mid-$20K range for the Elantra GT N Line.
In just about every aspect other than price, the Civic is a better car than the Elantra. It’s not a matter of the Elantra being a bad car — it certainly isn’t. It’s just that the Elantra is a good car and the Civic is a great one. With better performance, better fuel economy, more interior space, more standard safety tech and more variety in the body styles, the Civic is an easy compact to recommend. Find a Honda Civic for sale or Find a Hyundai Elantra for sale