2011 Hyundai Elantra vs. 2012 Honda Civic: Price Comparison

2011 Hyundai Elantra  vs. 2012 Honda Civic

The compact-car segment is heating up now that American and Korean automakers are fielding strong competition against the already venerable Japanese carmakers.

Late last year we compiled an affordability index that looked at the 2012 Ford Focus, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The index showed that despite an increase in entry-level pricing, once you outfitted the new Focus, Cruze and Jetta with the features most car buyers have come to expect, the cars ended up priced similarly. The large outlier in that story was the 2011 Honda Civic, whose outdated feature packaging hindered its affordability, making the vehicle 21.6% more expensive than the average compact car.

For the 2012 model year, the Honda Civic is all-new. However, it looks, feels and handles a lot like the previous generation, according to Cars.com senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder, who recently reviewed the model. Its price has also remained relatively unchanged while the level of features is now much more competitive. We figured the new Civic, one of the most popular cars in the country, warranted a second look against the field.

Since our last report, the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra has gone on sale to rave reviews. While the model is $685 more expensive than its predecessor, the nameplate still has one of the most affordable entry prices and offers a plethora of features, including heated seats, which are often found on larger or more luxurious vehicles.

So, how do these two vehicles compare in terms of affordability against their peers?

For the sake of our comparison, each compact needs to come equipped with the following creature comforts: an automatic transmission; air conditioning; power locks, windows and side mirrors; keyless entry; cruise control; Bluetooth connectivity; a USB port; and electronic stability control.

In late April, Hyundai raised the price of the 2011 Elantra by $115 to $14,945. It’s part of the automaker’s mid-annual price increase, which happened across its lineup.

The $14,945 2011 Elantra base GLS offers most of the equipment — power everything, USB port, electronic stability control and even heated side mirrors. A six-speed automatic transmission brings the cost up to $17,195, and Bluetooth is a part of a $550 Preferred Package, which includes 16-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel controls, a center armrest and vanity mirrors. Total cost for an Elantra is $17,745, before a $720 destination charge.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

The 2012 Civic starts out cheap — at $15,805, it’s the same entry price as last year’s model — making the model less expensive than an entry-level Focus or Cruze.

Unlike the Elantra, however, the base Civic doesn’t have many features; it doesn’t have a radio, air conditioning or cruise control. Jumping to the LX trim with an automatic transmission ($18,655) gets you standard features such as air conditioning, cruise control, USB, color information screen and keyless entry. Unfortunately, you have to jump to the EX trim at $20,505 (not including a $750 destination fee) to get Bluetooth. Admittedly, the trim also gives you 16-alloy wheels, 60/40-split rear seats and moonroof.

At $20,505, the new Civic remains the second most-expensive mainstream compact car, according to our graphic (above). The addition of electronic stability control, which is federally required on 2012 models, to all Honda Civic trims means you’ll no longer have to buy a leather-trimmed EX-L just to get the basic safety feature. That also means the Civic is $3,450 cheaper than last year’s model with the same features, not including the new bonus features such as i-MID, intelligent Multi Information Display. The new Jetta is now the most-expensive compact car when competitively equipped. Its trim levels have also been discontented to better compete on price.

2012 Honda Civic
While the 2011 Elantra is about $2,000 less than most of its competition, the model is no longer the cheapest model with the selected content. That distinction now goes to its Korean sibling, the 2011 Kia Forte.



ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Sorry, I fell asleep staring at the styling of that new Civic.


I don't like the feminine styling of the Elantra, so I'd have to pay a bit more for the Civic. They also forgot to mention the EX Civic has a sunroof which youd have to pay extra for on the Elantra anyways. Honestly, tho Id rather spend 2 grand more and get a Focus Hatch!



Do you know where the Mazda3 places on this index? It seems like a relevant option considering that it recently beat the Elantra, Cruze, and Jetta in a Car and Driver comparison.


@ Card13

Forget the Mazda 3, Its gas mileage sucks until they replace it with the engine from the 2012 Focus later this year...


These vehicles are miles apart in value. Elantra tops the Civic in every category worth mentioning. Warranty, HP, wheelbase, transmission, passenger volume, trunk volume, sticker.. what's to compare?

Mark of Excellence

Civic is a premium small car and they price it that way. You know it will be running for 20 years. Elantra still has something to prove to make everyone forget the horrible Hyundais from past years, like the crappy Excel. Honda has never sold a bad car in the US.


The Elantra is an all around better looking vehicle than the Civic. Hyundai should come out with a high-performance version (think Civic Si)add some subtle body work, and that would be amazing.



Would you mind to throw in the maintenance, insurance and depreciation into the mix? We can see a more complete picture that way.
You did the start up cost but left out the operating cost.


@ Sofyan

The Mazda3's new engine will not be from the Focus. The Skyactiv family of engines was developed by Mazda and has significant diferences from Ford's. If fuel economy is a concern, why was the Lancer put on the list? It is barely competitive on any level.


Honda has brand value and Hyundai does not. A sucker believes the Sonata is better than the Accord and the Elantra is better than the Civic. Smart money buys Honda every single time. Check the sales figures - there's a reason those Honda models keep outselling the Hyundai's. Brand value. Hyundai needs another decade to establish theirs.


I have a 97 Civic. Get over Honda. They sell overpriced cars that don't offer anything over their competitors. You can get better deals on equally comparably cars elsewhere. With the ugly, boring, average stuff they're selling, Honda's days are over. Sorry, it's not 1984 again. Get a grip Honda, your cars on subpar and overpriced. Get a clue.


@Mark of Excellence

Sounds like you live in third world country who wouldn't afford car next 20 yrs. lol

@Card13 We didn't include the Mazda3 because the automaker couldn't confirm that iPod or USB integration is an option, which is a part of this comparison

The civic also has a feature called the econ button which on average saves 15% fuel over its 39 mpg. This is huge.

Do you have some other latest design aside from the design above..Are really sure that the model less expensive?


Honda continues to easily outsell Hyundai because people know they get what they pay for. Honda still makes better cars than Hyundai and I don't see that changing anytime soon.


The opinion that a Honda will always be better than a Hyundai is near-sighted at best. That comparrison may have been the case 25 years ago but I think it's ignorant to draw conclusions based off of 25 year old info. It's true, though, that Hyundai has another decade to go before it can really prove itself. On that note, they seem to be well on their way in accomplishing that feat.


I agree with Jesse.

Derrick G

"Honda has never sold a bad car in the US."

Oh please; the first gen Civics rusted so badly that both the FTC and NHTSA had to get involved and many had to have many suspension components rebuilt or Honda just had to buy them back.

Mark of Excellence

Sorry you're wrong. The first generation Civic was so well regarded that there were waiting lists to get one. The Civic was recognized as a landmark car with its revolutionary CVCC engine. It was so durable that the drivetrain far outlasted other cars and its own bodywork. Hyundai's first cars had rust and drivetrain problems - that's why they have a 10 year warranty, to convince people they've changed. Elantra is more evidence that they have changed.

Peter DeGregorio

Elantra seat heat comes with 19k Limited version only not 17k GLS. Arrticle was wrong on this point and led me to test drive the car on this basis. Was fun though.

Derrick G

Mark of Excellence:

Please stop lying or either talking when you know not what you're talking about. Here's a link to the recall:


Can't link it directly from the NHTSA site, but I checked and it's there.

The FTC final consent decree reference is on Wikipedia. It's a book, so can't link it.

And my point was the body rusted really quickly. Who cares how long the drivetrain lasts if the body rusts out from under it? Yes, there were waiting lists because it was the first gas crisis and people didn't realize how quickly it would rust. Lines when new prove nothing about long-term durability.

By the way, if you didn't know, early CVCC's would have their auxiliary valves retaining collars vibrate loose, making it seem like they'd blown. Might have been an easy enough fix if you caught it before all the oil was burned up, but hardly total excellence.

Mark of Excellence

You're on the losing end of this argument. Civic is one of the most time honored nameplates in cardom. I didn't say all Hondas are perfect, I said Honda has never sold a bad car in this country and that is a true statement, as evidenced by the fact that the Civic nameplate has been in continuous production since 1973. Hyundai on the other hand stopped building the horrible Excel and wants everyone to forget about it. Don't bring up the rust issue again - every car built in the 1970s, before the industry went to galvanized metal, rusted out - except the Corvette with its fiberglass body. By your standards other cars with rust problems, including ferraris, the Jaguar XKE, BMWs and all the classic Datsun Zs would be considered bad cars. That's not the case and you know it. So lay off the name calling junior and run along outside to play. You've lost - badly.


Wise man says, best car are the one you like most. Its all about the feeling.


Just bought a 2011 Elantra and it has horrific suspension and the visibilty with the wipers is an accident waiting to happen. Hopefully dealership will recall & fix or refund. Otherwise, I love everything else about the Elantra.


Test drove a 2012 Honda Civic and a 2011 Hyundai Elantra last weekend. My impressions: the Elantra is definitely roomier. I'm only 5 foot 10 and felt a lack of headroom and legroom in the Civic. Also, I gunned the Civic when getting on the highway and felt a noticeable lag in downshift which reminded me of my old VW Jetta that had a transmission problem. Not sure I could live with the Civic's lack of pick up, especially given it's price tag. I can get an Elantra Limited with leather (minus nav package) for the same price as a Civic EX with cloth seats. Guess it's the Elantra for me. I do admit the Civic corners on a dime much like my current Jeep Wrangler.


I'm ready to make the jump to Hyindai. I have a 2000 Odyssey van that after 10+ years has a transmission leak that they knew back in 2002 would develope problems and after going to the dealer and Honda Corp I'm told that it may be a seal or a cracked casing but to just keep putting fluid in because they offer no help other than to have me pay $5000. for a new trans on a car worth $3400 on a trade. That's what I call real quality. I have owned several Hondas and bragged for years but I will NO MORE. Can't look for quality in Honda anymore. They are no better than any one else.

Derrick G

Please, those other cars were investigated by the FTC and and many had to be bought back by the company? Many had to have complete suspension rebuilds. NO! And by your logic, since the Impala nameplate is still around, it must be a wonderful! car. Those early Civics were rusty crap and just because you proclaim them good doesn't make them so. And I notice you didn't mention the faulty valves. Guess because you know you'd been proven wrong.

Derrick G

Just in case anyone doubts that early Civics had problems, I direct you to page 251 of the April, 1979, issue of "Consumer Reports." Under "Some used-card models to avoid" is listed Honda Civic (not CVCC), 1973-1974. There is no listing for a CVCC model for those years, but the regular chart shows both years have a solid black dot (Much Worse than Average) for Engine Mechanical. The 1976 Accord has the same blemish, though it's not on the avoid list. For 1980, the '76-'77 Accord makes the avoid list, for engine problems. The '73-'75 Civic and '76-'77 Civic CVCC also make the avoid list. Again, engine trouble is the main reason. So don't even try to tell me Honda's never sold a bad car in the U.S. Their owners have told CR that indeed they have.

Mark of Excellence

Congratulations on doing lots of research, but the first generation Civics were remarkable cars that sold for only about $2,000, except where dealers added their own markup because of demand. They were reliable, nimble, economical and far superior to the truly bad cars from that era: VW bugs, all Audis, Fiats, Pintos, Vegas, and Yugos. If you were to poll 100 people on whether the Civic was a good or bad car, 100 people would say it was a good car. Yes cars can have minor problems like the ones you pointed out and still be considered good cars. Compared to the other cars of the era Hondas stood out for their excellence, not a couple glitches that were quickly corrected. A 73 Honda Civic was recently listed on Ebay for $8,000 - and it was rust free. No one pays that kind of money for a bad car.


Odd "Mark" must try so hard to prove others' viewpoints wrong. I say why bother. For me, it's the Elantra all the way. HANDS DOWN.

Derrick G

Please. The early Civics had both the NHTSA and the FTC investigating them for rust, a distinction that puts them in a class with turds like the Aspen/Volare'. Their engines had problems that I've clearly shown are well documented. And so many of them had them that it clearly shows up in CR's survey. And you're trying to make ENGINE troubles that were still showing up in 1980 for 1973 through 1977 models seem like minor, quickly settled glitches. So a rust-free version sells for $8K now? Well of course it does. The rest have rusted leaving few available to buy. Oh, and what did it SELL for? The listed amount means little to nothing. You need to get your head out of your keister. I'm dealing with facts and you're dealing with what you imagine people in some mythical pole might say decades later. And the facts show that until MY 1977, plenty of people bought truly bad Hondas.

Mark of Excellence

Give it up. You're wrong and you know it. So does everybody else who reads your rambling diatribes.
My original statement stands: Honda has never sold a bad car in this country.

Derrick G

Yet no one at all has agreed with you, and you've presented no objective data at all the prove your case and I've presented plenty. Fact is, you have none or you'd provide it instead of childishly crying that I'm wrong when all I've presented is proof and all you've presented is your own sweeping opinions. Your statement doesn't stand; in fact it falls. When you have an iota of proof to support it, come back. Until then, admit you've proved nothing.

Mark of Excellence

16,500,000 people who have actually purchased a Honda Civic say you're wrong and I'm right. That proves my point with irrefutable facts. You lost the argument when you compared the Civic to the Aspen/Volare twins. No one except you would put the Civic in the same class as Aspen/Volare. Civic won "car of the year" awards from US magazines in 1974 and 1980. In 1973 it placed third in the European car of the year competition - the highest ranking ever given to a Japanese car at that time. You're not going to convince me or anyone else that Civic is a bad car or that my original statement was wrong, so just let it go.


Mark, you lost by trying so hard to prove people wrong. The Civic is great. The Elantra is preferred. Apparently, there is need from your end to not respect others views.

Derrick G

Again, Mark, Aspen/Volare' won Car of the Year awards upon introduction and then went on to be proved unmitigated crap. But they too sold well out of the gate. Then you're talking '80 models when I CLEARLY said that the reference was to pre '77 models. You remind me of the shrew I went to college with who got very angry when I advised him that the newly-optional at the time cornering lights on his Maxima weren't a Japanese invention; GM offered them from the early '60's. I even offered to bring in my grandmother's 1979 Cougar with them, but he insisted Nissan invented them.

Of course I won't convince you that the earliest (not ALL) Civics were bad cars. You're not interested one bit in the facts, just your prejudices. All you've proved is how ignorant and closed-minded you are, since you've still not come up with one thing to disprove what I've said. You've only claimed that some how the first Civics were great cars despite their rusting away in a few years and tried to claim that their powertrains were so good that it made up for the rust, even after I've offered neutral evidence they had engine problems, too. No one here is convinced but you, bud. I'll not let this rest until you admit that in fact that Honda has sold some bad cars in the US, because you're WRONG. Or just stop responding. Whichever suits you best.

Mark of Excellence

Honda has never sold a bad car in this country. End of story.


MoE and DG,
It all depends on your definition of a "bad" car. Most would agree that a bad car is poorly designed, poorly engineered and poorly assembled. Since the Honda Civic is none of those, it is not a "bad" car. Rust is an indication of poor care by the owner. Anyone with any sense who lived in the rust belt in the 70's had their new cars rustproofed by Ziebart or Rusty Jones, which consisted of a coating on the underbody and in all the body panels. Because some Honda buyers didn't do that does not make the Civic a bad car. Mark's original statement is essentially true, and Derrick's challenge is a FAIL.

Derrick G

Once again, you two have TOTALLY ignored that in addition to the rust, the car had ENGINE problems. They are documented on the car's Wikipedia page! And they showed up in CR's survey. There's just no denying them. Plus, Dander's statement is a big fail because sufficient rust proofing is the company's responsibility, NOT the owners. Furthermore, once again, the Civic and Chrysler F-bodies are the only two where the FTC had to get involved. And even the F-bodies didn't require NHTSA to get involved with the suspension. Plus, the original Civic wasn't even a very nice car. It was so slow, noisy, cramped, and most importantly punishing to ride in that Consumer Reports not only didn't recommend it once the reliability improved, they specifically noted when the 1980 model came out how surprised they were that Honda had managed to improve it enough to recommend. Once one of you have some specific to rebuttal with beyond the Internet equivalent of "'yo Mamma," please come back and try again. Until then, the record shows you've failed to redeem the original Civic.


It's only low-wage earners who dump on Honda because they can't afford one.

Mark of Excellence

Forbes magazine recently issued a list of the top 20 Japanese cars of all time. The 1974 Honda Civic was ranked 9th on the list and this is a direct quote from Forbes: "...Honda was already the world leader in selling motorcycles and had been since 1962, so Americans already knew the brand. But it was the Civic that made Americans respect Honda for building good cars." If you notice Forbes calls the Civic a good car, not a bad car. Enough said, Derrick G is wrong.

Derrick G

Here again you go ignoring facts. Forbes specifically pointed out the new CVCC in the '73 Civic, which I have already clearly noted didn't have the same engine problems the non-CVCC models did. We're talking specifically about the '73-74 non-CVCC Civic, though other Hondas have had troubles. But I'm saying specifically that for the '73-'74 non-CVCC Civic, it has too many troubles not offset by any outstanding virtues to be labeled anything but a bad car. Fender rust, suspension failure due to rust (that's a fatal accident, mister) engine troubles, NHTSA and FTC investigations, torque steeer despite modest power, 0-60 in 14.3 secs with an observed fuel economy of 20.4 MPG per Motor Trend, a ride called painful by CR, and a back seat ridiculously cramped. Again, I ask you, what makes this other than a bad car? You are wrong.

Derrick G


We're talking about Hondas from the early '70's, not current models, so I fail to see what wages, though I make twice the median for my area and still in five figures above the U.S. median, have to do with anything.


First off, with me being an Elantra owner, I will say this much. Honda has been making excellent cars for years. The civic for the most part, has had a great run for a while. With that said, the civic's run is quickly coming to an end. Hyundai is quickly picking up market share in US and Canada. In fact, Hyundai is either on the brink of or has surpassed Nissan's sales in the western market. Prices have always been in a favor of Hyundai. I myself am a systems analyst in one of the most paid IT areas in the world. Money is really not a factor here. Honestly the Elantra to me is a better pick even at the same price. I just bought my Elantra with free oil changes and tires as long at I get serviced with my dealership.

Again, there nothing wrong with sticking with the civic. to each it's own. But if you think about it, Hyundai’s track record isn't bad at all. Grant it, its not as plausible as Honda's but its a worthy contender at a cheaper price. Hyundai's main struggle was never really quality. It was their blandness, lack of innovation, and appeal to a particular market segment. This however as changed. Hyundai's new line up is bold, aggressive, innovative, and fiercely price against it's competitors with a ten year power-train warranty and a five year bumper to bumper warranty. Heck, viewing the comments in this forum indicate a need to defend the civic from previous owners/admirers where ten years ago, would not have even been considered a debate. Overall, it seems like the biggest claim Honda has against the Elantra is “But we're Honda!!!” Yea.........and its 2012 now. 250,000 on a car is not uncommon now. My 2002 Chrysler 300m has 178,000 miles and not one sign of engine trouble. This doesn't mean every car is as now as good as Honda's. It means what was uncommon back then, is more common now. And Honda hasn't shown me a clear advantage in reliability in almost a decade.

Feel free to respond as vigorously and aggressively as you like. Don't however expect the same response from me. I could care less of what is thought from others, compared to undisputed facts. If you need me to research my claims, feel free to ask, I will present my proof when proof is presented. Or you can just Google Hyundai and find it yourself.

hyundai elantra

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Saying Honda never made a bad car is a rather overly inclusive statement. To me a car with defective automatic transmission like the well-documented Odysseys is a "bad" car. I have a 2001 Odyssey that I has had its transmission replaced 3 times already. Honda's are good cars but it has has its share of defects and recalls over the years and having owned many Hondas over the last 30 years I can state from experience that its quality has declined.

I just bought the new elantra.
I must say the design already won me over when i saw it.
The ride was smooth love the whole feel of the car.
As compared to Honda, i would say over the years, the competition in the car market has picked up so much that the Honda badge is having a run for it's money.
At the end of the day Jap cars and Korean cars will still be label or compared in the same market.... So if Honda doesnt come out with some stylish new designs that will sweep you off your feet. I guess they are going to be like another Nissan.


Elantra, Cleopatra

Glad I found this website. The comments are hilarious.

So I recently bought an Elantra 2 months ago...only to return it 3 days later. True, it had better tech inside, the car however wouldn't start. I called the dealer, they fixed it (somehow, they didn't what was wrong with it. Ok..), the second day it wouldn't turn on again and I had to be at work. Oh boy was I mad. Plus as when I opened the driver's door that day, the rubber on the side fell. Ummmmmm safe to say I returned that car with 78 miles on it, and bought the '12 Civic LX instead. It's been a month now, no problems, what-so-ever. Brand Value as they say. :)

For Jeep service in Dubai there is no better place to go than the Jeep experts at Offroad-Zone. These guys know, what they are talking about, they even have there own offroad track at Jebel Ali.


Hyundai is a much better product. I owned a Honda Civic, and now own an Elantra. Better warranty, better features, smoother ride, better gas mileage, and looks hot! Hyundai is quickly taking over and will continue to do... I supprot the brand I sell ;) go hyundai!


Just bought the Elantra Limited, Much better deal than the Honda. More room,heated leather, nav. rides decent,great milage. Honda has run its course, boring styling and over priced.


I'm seriously doing the car comparisons on- line using equal rivals: civic mazda3 forte, impreza,focus,corolla and the elantra--- All 2012 models and using 19K to 20K as a benchmark price gauge for trim. The elantra squeezes ahead value wise in all respects.I'll say it: Honda needs to pull up their socks and fast !! Because honestly folks..
The dreadful Pony and Stellar are still in my memory !!
They voted the elantra today "car of the year 2012" Far cry from 1987


I've looked at the compact menu under a microscope and have come to the conclusion the Civic is still the best buy-but I'm on the practical end of the spectrum! I love the design of the Korea cars (and Ford/Chevy), but I'm not sold on the engine/drivetrains/resale/ longevity! Also, with the new mandates for high mileage, expect the repair tabs to rise significantly! Ex: direct injection may be very problematic because of carbon build-up,very high pressure fuel pumps, etc! The civic is a bargain cause it's older school/proven simplicity (single overhead cam, 5 sp, etc) with stability control and dealers now willing to discount! Seasoned Engineer, ex Jap factory Rep!


My parents had a civic 2008. Got it brand new. My wife has a 2007 civic. Both my parents and my wife have taken good care of their cars, but... The suspension in both cars has been atrocious. My parents got rid of it after it ate through 2 sets of tires in a year. It had less than 60,000 miles. The tires came out of alignment by looking at them and the whole car would vibrate like crazy. We though it may have been a lemon, but my wife's car is the same. Within a month of new tires and alignment the vibration started again. We'll be getting rid of it, and I hope I can convince her not to buy Honda...

Carl James

It's really so funny to compare a Japanese car to a Korean. Get a life. How can you compare a HONDA to a HYUNDAI? Hyundai is good not bad but would never get to the level of Honda. Think about the history before you buy. Hyundai has always been an imitation to Honda, even in it's trade logo. Honda wins NO DOUBT


Yeah, good luck with your new flashy Hyundai's. In 3 years when they start breaking down, I'll wave to ya as I'm driving by in my Civic.

Car Enthusiast

Comparing Honda to Hyundai is like comparing a Sony television to a Vizio. The Vizio may seem like a better and cheaper alternative sometimes, but the Sony is the better choice if money wasn't a factor. You get what you pay for. Honda is a great quality vehicle with excellent engineering whereas Hyundai makes cheap imitations that are often geared toward what is popular at the time their cars are made.

I found that I could get a better lease deal with the 2012 Civic, so I went with that. I love it so far, but if I were buying, I might go with the Elantra based on price.

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