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2023 Hyundai Elantra vs. 2023 Honda Civic

Comparison between the 2023 Hyundai Elantra and the 2023 Honda Civic

1. Exterior Design

Hyundai has always been a vehicle to separate from the norm, to push the boundaries of design and expectation, and the all-new Elantra ultimately elicits a positive response. Eyebrows may be raised, and some folks will appreciate the new design more than others, but it is undeniable that there is something special occurring here. Hyundai's design mantra for the new Elantra was 'parametric dynamics'. It's all just marketing jargon, but what this actually ends up translating to is a rather attractive and modern four-door sedan. By combining acute faces at the front and rear and using lines and shapes that the competition isn't even thinking about, Hyundai has created something truly refreshing. The most striking aspect of the Elantra is the front end. Squinty, angry bug headlights and an angular and plunging grille give the ultra-modern sedan a distinct touch of aggression. The grille itself is made up of hundreds of tiny diamond shapes and depending on the light and viewing angle, the pattern seems animate; it's really quite dazzling. The side profile of the Elantra is more coupe-like than sedan, and its prominent character line leads to an inward canting rear-end that comes to a point, somewhat like the rear of a Lamborghini Aventador. The rear taillights are another design highlight. There is no other way to describe them other than 'digital'. They light up in pixelated squares and each time the car is turned off or locked, the taillights perform a sequencing matrix display. Keanu Reeves would be proud. Step back, and the whole package creates a truly head-turning sedan, which is a tough feat in the mid-sized family car segment.

1.1. Hyundai Elantra's sleek and modern design

The 2023 Hyundai Elantra has a new vehicle platform, offering a sporty four-door, and merging with Hyundai's latest parametric design is also seen with the seventh generation model. The Korean carmaker says the angular look comes from 'parametric dynamics' and a combination of changed proportions and 'edgy and aggressive' design is one of a kind for the Elantra. The wheelbase, overall length, and width of the vehicle have grown, and the width of the vehicle has increased just a bit compared to the previous generation. The 2023 Hyundai Elantra now adds a new performance N-Line model, with a more dynamic new design, and the enthusiast-oriented model will offer a more powerful 1.6L Turbo GDI engine along with adaptive suspension and gearbox programming for a unique and attractive driving experience. The new door start design adds a more coupe-like look to the rear doors and the Elantra now has a full panoramic sunroof. The scene at the rear of the vehicle with the new LED tail light design implementation and the full width of the Elantra nameplate on the trunk makes the Hyundai Elantra stand out. The Elantra aims to use less chrome for a cleaner look, but the top-of-the-line model will still have the chrome look on the front and rear with higher production value. The step towards a clean and simplistic design does not skip the inside, and the new Elantra model intends to have a clear, simple look that is divided into two buffer LCD zones, rather than a traditional tiered effect. The buttons are moved into the display, and the new Elantra has eliminated most of the unconventional parking brake and gear lever for advanced push-button and shift-by-wire features. With these new developmental changes, Hyundai has redefined the Hyundai Elantra's design ideology to reach current and new era consumers. The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N comes with a different wheel design and LED daytime lights, which are still undercovered.

1.2. Honda Civic's bold and sporty appearance

Honda Civic's new design is sportier and more expressively styled. Boasting a youthful modern look, Civic stands out as a vehicle for the next generation. The vehicle's wheelbase has been shortened by 20mm, but the length and width of the vehicle have been increased by 40mm and 50mm respectively. Civic has a low wide stance to convey a strong athletic character through its looks. The character line that runs from the front fender to the rear end was inspired by the 3-door hatchback. The cabin has a sleek design, and the front of the vehicle gives a feeling of openness. The front fascia has a 2-level design with a unidirectional flow from the center to the side. This creates a human-centered feeling. In layman's terms, the front end of the Civic is supposed to resemble a face with the headlights being the eyes and the lower part of the fascia the mouth. This design gives the car an expressive yet focused look. The sleek style of the car has been achieved with some minor aerodynamic changes. The aerodynamic performance was improved for fuel economy and quietness, but as a result, the car gained higher stability and driving performance as well. This car design has been a love it or leave it on many automotive forums. But the move to a more aggressive styling is indicative of Civic's movement toward a sportier vehicle in the years to come. Through the use of more modern design methods and innovative use of color and materials, the look of the Civic was designed to stand out from the crowd. It seems as though Honda has tried to develop a more dynamic and emotional user experience through the design of the vehicle. This can be seen in the resulting changes in the vehicle's interior and exterior styling.

1.3. Differences in grille design and headlight styling

The 11th generation 2023 Honda Civic uses a front grille that is simpler than the 10th generation design. It has a black color grille with a chrome accent on the top edge. The upper grille has a Honda emblem, while the lower grille has a fake air vent, which is the fog light integrated design. It is located on each side with the same design, and it is made of black shiny plastic. The headlamp has a one-side connected design parallel to the center. It has a complex and advanced design on the LED DRL. The low beam and high beam are located under the LED DRL, and it has a sharp and slim design eye. There is a turn signal located on the fender, with a chrome accent. Overall, the Civic's front fascia looks similar to the previous generation, but with a concept of futuristic and high-tech design for the headlamp.

2023 Hyundai Elantra uses a Parametric Jewel Pattern grille. It is wide and extends deep into the lower fascia. It is black in color with the surrounding body color. The upper and lower grille are connected to each other with the same design character line. It has a badge of the Hyundai emblem in the center of the grille. There is an air curtain or air vent on each side of the lower fascia. It is a slit in shape, with a connecting line of the Parametric Jewel Pattern grille. It gives a more aerodynamic look to the car. The headlamp has a sharp and aggressive design. It is integrated with the grille, with a combination of LED DRL and low beam system. The high beam and turn signal are located on the other side. The hood character line extends from the A pillar to the headlamp and continues to the fender. There is a metallic line frame on the window edge and extends to the rear to the C pillar. The Elantra has a futuristic design for the mirror, with a black color and integrated turn signal.

2. Interior Features

The new Hyundai Elantra has a spacious and ergonomic cabin. The dash is fully digital, and the various knobs and controls are well placed and overly simple to use. The center stack is slightly angled for the driver and also the console is high. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable, and therefore the driver's seat is exposed to an eight-way power adjustable process. The leather-wrapped system is obtainable. The beats within the Elantra is controlled by an Infinity Premium Audio System with 6 speakers. Other available options include iPod cable, 4.3-inch color audio, rear backup camera, and navigation system incorporate a high-resolution 7-inch screen. Honda's new compact vehicle comes with two available trims: Sedan and Coupe. Both, however, come with a similar 5-seat capacity. The Civic's cabin is termed as "driver-focused" and is quite comfortable with a soft touch instrument panel and dashboard. The steering wheel feels high-quality and most of the modern features are conveniently placed with simple and fast usability. High quality materials are utilized throughout the cabin including an optional leather shift knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The audio will come in the sort of a 160-watt AM/FM/CD Audio System or an optional 360-watt premium audio tracks. The infotainment system may be a 7-inch display audio with electrostatic touchscreen and comes with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

2.1. Hyundai Elantra's spacious and ergonomic cabin

Meant to bring more style and space to the small car segment, the Elantra's interior design is aside from being roomier is definitely one of the main reasons to consider purchasing. Not only does it offer more unique styling elements than its predecessor, the materials quality and fit and finish surpass that of many competitors and even some of the cars of Hyundai's past. The available two-tone interior color schemes (blue/black or red/black) help give the Elantra a more upscale appearance. Ergonomics are well thought out, and the various controls are intuitive. Honeycomb grain accents on the audio and HVAC controls of some models add a nice touch. High-end features such as a navigation system and Bluetooth are also available.

The Elantra's cabin is one of its strongest points. It has more passenger and cargo space than many competitors, a modern and attractive design, and an easy-to-use control layout. At 14.2 cubic feet, the Elantra's trunk is among the largest in this segment. Except for the base SE, all models get a 60/40-split folding rear seat. On the downside, the Elantra offers only average interior storage. The front-seat area provides a good amount of room overall. The backseat can be a tight fit for taller folks, but three can sit back there in a pinch. Backseat entrance and exit is fairly easy, thanks to the Elantra's high roof line and decent rear door opening dimensions.

2.2. Honda Civic's premium materials and refined interior

Many consumers have expressed that they feel certain trim levels of the Honda Civic offer a level of interior quality and elegance that is traditionally found in luxury vehicles. While this may be a stretch, there is no doubt that the Honda Civic ranks among the top vehicles in its class in terms of interior comfort and style. The Honda Civic offers a wealth of standard and optional features for interior trim such as leather seats, power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, and heated front seats. The Honda Civic was also designed with premium noise and vibration enhancements, which include acoustic windshields, sound-insulating glass, and additional body and door seals.

The Honda Civic has been around for quite some time, and it has built itself quite the reputation for premium interior comfort and refined style. This is undeniably still the case with the 2023 model. Overall, the Honda Civic is a high quality vehicle, and the manufacturer has certainly spared no expense with the interior. All controls feel tight and solid, and expert panel interlocks help join components together in a seamless manner. When compared to the Hyundai Elantra, the Honda Civic's interior quality still continues to be unsurpassed.

2.3. Comparison of infotainment systems and available technology

In terms of pure audio and infotainment equipment, the Elantra earns its top marks on paper over competitor Civics that look to be shy on standard high-quality audio this time around. AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM satellite radio is standard for all Elantra audio systems (except when the available navigation system is deleted on the GLS with Preferred Package), appealing to fans of all audio mediums. Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition is standard for all models, and steering wheel audio controls are available on GLS trims which have the Popular Equipment Package or navigation system. A 172-watt 6-speaker audio system (including two front door-mounted tweeters) is standard for GLS and Limited trims, and auxiliary and USB input jacks are standard for all audio systems. Finally, the Limited Technology Package includes a 360-watt premium audio system with an external amplifier. This package also bundles the best of Elantra's internal technology: a 7-inch touchscreen multimedia navigation system with a rearview camera and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass.

The new Elantra has, in its top-line Limited trim, featured a 3.5-inch TFT screen nestled between a speedometer and a tachometer. It functions as a display for fuel efficiency, safety, and comfort and convenience settings. Limited trims are also provided with the latest Hyundai BlueLink and Guidance package, which is an advanced telematics system that employs location interactivity to provide various navigation and vehicle management services.

2.4. Differences in seating comfort and cargo space

The Elantra offers more front headroom and legroom than the Civic, along with 38.8 inches of front leg room. The Elantra's 38.8 inches of front leg room and 58.3 inches of front shoulder room tops the Civic's respective figures of 37.1 inches and 57.0 inches. Both cars offer cloth and leather seat trim, but the Elantra provides more seat adjustment capability with available 8-way power driver's seat and power lumbar support. The Civic's driver's seat is only 6-way adjustable, which may still be sufficient for some drivers. Rear space in compact cars is always a toss-up, but the Elantra manages to outdo the Civic in most measurements. The Elantra has more rear headroom and legroom than the Civic. Rear headroom in the Elantra measures 37.3 inches compared with 37.1 inches in the Civic. The Elantra's rear legroom of 38.0 inches is 0.9 inches more than that of the Civic. Also, the Elantra offers more rear shoulder room and hip room than the Civic. This expansion of interior space equates to the Elantra having more room for 5 passengers than the Civic, which only has added space for rear passengers. Both cars make use of 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks in order to increase cargo space. This is one area where the Civic manages to pull ahead of the Elantra, but just barely. The Civic's 15.1 cu ft of trunk room is only 1.4 cu ft more than the Elantra's 13.7 cu ft. While the numbers make it seem like the Civic has a lot more cargo space, the Elantra has more interior space including several convenient pockets and storage compartments for smaller items. Although both cars are neck and neck for the usefulness of space, the Civic wins this round. In summary, both the Elantra and Civic provide very comfortable offerings for the compact car class, and both have unique advantages over each other. It is up to the buyer to decide which car is more comfortable for their needs.

3. Performance and Efficiency

Hyundai's 2023 Elantra amplifies powertrains for added performance and efficiency. Elantra has done away with the 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder and a conventional 6-speed automatic. Now they offer an available 2.0-liter GDI Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine which is coupled to a CVT. A step above that would be the Elantra N Line. In contrast, Elantra is now the only vehicle in its class to offer a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine. In terms of fuel economy, Elantra starts with an EPA-estimated 33 combined MPG fuel economy rating and will also have a consistently reliable MPG as we will see in the N Line. The Elantra Hybrid is now as frugal and offers an EPA-estimated 50 combined MPG fuel economy rating. These figures are super output for a vehicle with this much power and size. Elantra also has a super ultra low emissions rating and will continue to be a friend to the Earth. Honda boasts that the new 2023 Civic Si and the Type R will be the 'most fun to drive' Civics ever while still being one of the best performance vehicles under 30,000. Unfortunately, that is all the information that is available for Civics to come, but high hopes can be set for a car that has long lived up to the statement. Measuring performance and efficiency will be key to the new generation of Civics success in the states. In the last two generations, Civics have been known to return excellent fuel economy ratings while still being class leading in performance. With fuel costing the prices that it is today, it will be more important than ever before to have a nice balance between power and fuel savings. Step one in getting the power is having a reliable and efficient engine; Honda has done just that in the past and there should be no reason to think they won't do the same for the vehicles to come in the future.

3.1. Hyundai Elantra's efficient engine options

For the 2023 model year, Hyundai has scrapped the 147-hp 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated inline four and the 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo four engine options. The Elantra sports sedan now comes solely with a 147-hp 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated inline four engine, which can be mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a six-speed manual transmission. A hybrid model with a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injected (GDI) Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine is also available. The GDI engine combined with the electric motor makes 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a 32-kW electric motor, drawing its power from a lithium-ion-polymer battery. Power is sent through a six-speed double-clutch automatic transmission, providing responsive and efficient power delivery. Moving to the more performance-oriented end of the spectrum, the N Line variant is also available. It is powered by the 1.6T Smartstream engine, which is an all-aluminum 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This engine is shared from the Kona and makes 195 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque at a 1500-4500 torque range. This engine's extensive use of low-pressure cooled EGR system and a wastegate for the turbocharger, combined with very high (compared to other turbo engines) 10.0:1 compression ratio contribute to a thermal efficiency level of 40 percent. Overall, engine options for the Elantra cater to a variety of customers while still innovating to minimize emissions and fuel consumption.

3.2. Honda Civic's responsive handling and agile performance

When it comes to handling, the new Civic matches up to our expectations and then some. Now, as we delve into the complex world of suspension for 8th gen, I'll apologize in advance for the vast number of technical terms used. Taking a cue from the performance-oriented Civic Type R, the standard Civic has really stepped up its game by using a very sophisticated front suspension design. By switching from the tried and true double wishbone design to a more modern Macpherson strut design, many critics and even Honda enthusiasts feared that the new Civic would suffer in handling. However, on paper and through testing, this fear was unwarranted. In a nutshell, the new Macpherson strut design is lighter in weight and only sacrifices a small bit of cornering performance while maintaining a comfortable ride characteristic. To make up for this small loss, Honda's suspension engineers have utilized what Honda calls Motion Adaptive EPS (Electric Power Steering), which is a fancy term for a steering system that aids driver control in slippery conditions or in abrupt steering. Without getting into too much detail that is better suited for suspension-specific articles, the new Civic has an increased steering rate, front stabilizer size, and increased steering angle, which all translate into sharper and more nimble steering characteristics. At the rear, the Civic continues to use a multi-link suspension design (where new age integrated compact cars have chosen a less complex and cheaper torsion bar design) and has an increased stabilizer size for improved cornering. Now, the average Joe will not know what much of this means and how it affects how his car handles, but all this mumbo jumbo means that the new Civic is able to outshine most of its competition in terms of handling. To compliment the new suspension, Honda has also improved the driving rigidity of the new Civic. Measures were taken to improve the new Civic's body rigidity, i.e. the Civic's resistance to bending and twisting forces, which serves the purpose of reducing noise and vibration, but more importantly provides a platform for which the suspension and steering can do their job in providing responsive and predictable handling characteristics. All these measures combined have given the new Civic handling characteristics that are fun to drive, predictable in all conditions, and comfortable at the same time. This next little bit may be irrelevant to many North American Civic owners, but it's important to note that handling characteristics of the European and Asia Pacific Civic models are even more advanced than the North American models due to the fact that they utilize a more complex and independent rear suspension design, with future Type R models still taking it to another level.

3.3. Comparison of fuel economy and available drivetrain options

The 2023 Elantra and the 2023 Civic are both equipped with technologies that have solidified their reputation for being leaders in fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, it is difficult to compare which vehicle is truly more efficient because neither the Elantra nor the Civic are out on the market. A baseline comparison would be the fuel rating of the combustion engine. The Elantra accomplishes this with its 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that outputs 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. This simple engine allows the Elantra to achieve a fuel rating of 7.8/5.6/6.8 L/100km city/highway/combined. The Civic is reputed to release a lower fuel output from a 2.0L 4-cylinder or near the same with a 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine. In offering two engines with different outputs, the Civic would be more fuel efficient when compared to an Elantra with more than 147 horsepower. But comparing the 2.0L engines, the Civic's fuel rating will be close to the Elantra. For those who desire more power but without the compromise of fuel efficiency, the higher output Civic engine is an attractive option. The availability of manual transmission with the base Elantra engine is also an incentive to consumers who prioritize fuel economy, as there are only less efficient CVT automatic transmissions available with the Civic engines.

4. Safety and Technology

Anticipated but yet to be ANCAP tested, the 2023 Honda Civic has a lot to live up to after its predecessor achieved a five-star safety rating and no less than seven airbags across the model. Standard on the Honda Civic from the base model to the range-topping RS is a suite of safety systems labeled Honda Sensing, combining collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, and driver attention monitoring. Despite both models of Elantra and the Civic offering similar systems as standard, Civic may have the upper hand here when comparing entry-level models. Honda has previously been very generous with its safety systems even on the lowest spec models, and this may reflect in the safety technology available for the Honda Civic at a cheaper price than the Elantra. Still, the Elantra offers more total safety systems across the models.

Hyundai's focus on safety technology and features has resulted in an Elantra that is, at least on paper, one of the safer small cars on the market. It offers not one, but two types of automatic emergency braking, with car and pedestrian detection for the mid to higher range models built off a camera system, and a radar-based system with intersection and oncoming traffic monitoring for the higher-level models still. Lane keep assist and lane follow assist are standard on all Elantra trims, as are adaptive cruise control and driver attention warning. Optional extras include forward collision avoidance assistance, blind spot avoidance assist, and rear cross-traffic avoidance assist. During an accident, safe exit warning uses the blind spot radar to detect vehicles approaching from behind and stops the rear doors from opening if the risk is too high.

4.1. Hyundai Elantra's advanced safety features and driver-assistance systems

This is a feature that is currently found almost exclusively on premium vehicles, and it's surprising that the Elantra can be equipped with such a system given its competitive price point. In testing, the feature proved to be effective and very proactive in steering the car, though it only works when the adaptive cruise control is engaged. This doesn't fall under our usual definition of lane centering, as the driver is essentially letting the car drive itself, and the response is likely to vary as to whether or not many customers feel it is worth letting a vehicle in this segment do. Still, it's good to have such an advanced system available for customers, and it should serve as a selling point for enthusiast technophiles who want the latest and greatest.

The top Limited trim also offers a segment-exclusive feature in the form of a lane follow assist system. This advanced driver assistance system uses the lane keeping system and navigation-based smart cruise control to provide real-time feedback and make adjustments to the steering as necessary in order to keep the vehicle in the center of the lane. The system leverages the Elantra's automatic transmission and electric power steering to achieve smoother operation.

The Elantra enjoys a long list of advanced safety features. It comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, as well as lane keep assist plus lane departure warning. Those are features that often are not standard at this price point, and Hyundai is to be commended for making them so. Other driver assistance features include optional blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic avoidance assist, and adaptive cruise control.

4.2. Honda Civic's comprehensive suite of safety technologies

In terms of safety features, Honda states that the 2023 Civic will be the leader in its class and aims to achieve top collision safety ratings. While the Elantra focuses more on a semi-autonomous driving experience, the Civic aims to provide a comprehensive suite of both passive and active safety features that enhance protection for the driver, passengers, and other road users. The Civic will be the first vehicle to feature Honda's new airbag technology which is designed to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries in a wider variety of collision scenarios. The system uses four one-of-a-kind inflated chambers that cradle the occupants head in a roll motion to decelerate angular and lateral G's. This will work in conjunction with another industry-first technology featuring a central sensor that deploys side airbags in the event of a severe side-on collision. The side airbags will stay inflated longer to prevent passenger ejection or lateral head movement. These two systems will prevent up to 90% of brain injury in a variety of collisions and add to the current standard passive safety features on offer in the vehicle.

4.3. Differences in available connectivity features and smart features

Connectivity and smart features have become increasingly important to car buyers, especially for younger buyers shopping the compact segment. The best vehicles in this class offer various ways to stay connected and often include features from larger and more expensive vehicles. Honda is including a 7-inch digital instrument display standard on all trims, something that not all competitors are offering. The new Elantra likewise will offer a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. The Hyundai's display is larger but the Civic's all trims come with this feature whereas the Elantra's will only be available on higher trims. Both vehicles will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features that are also becoming essential for many car shoppers. Both vehicles also offer wireless charging and a more premium feature, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new Civic has a single USB port while the new Elantra has multiple USB ports in the front and back. These USB ports are there to support faster charger and higher power demand for connected devices. Honda will offer a 12-speaker Bose audio system but only on top trims while the Elantra will offer its premium Bose audio system on lower trims as well. These features are a great boon for music lovers and audiophiles. It seems the Elantra edges out the Civic in this category with better availability of premium audio features on lower trims.