2023 Hyundai Elantra vs. 2023 Honda Civic

June 30th, 2023 by

Some folks still think that American-made is the only way to go when it comes to automobiles. While it’s true that the good ole U-S-of-A still makes a fantastic car, there’s a whole wide world’s worth of other countries cranking our stellar vehicles.

For instance, our friends over on the other side of the Pacific have been making some of the most well-regarded cars for decades now. In the competition of best small cars, two titans dominate the market: Hyundai and Honda.

They may have some similarities, but they also have some key differences to consider when the time comes to decide which to buy. Let’s see how the Hyundai vs. Honda debate shakes out by comparing their flagship spacious small cars: the Elantra and the Civic.


Sticker price is always important when conducting a small car comparison, so let’s cut right to the chase.

Currently, the 2023 Elantra comes with a starting MSRP of $20,950 for the SE trim. The next step up is the Hyundai Elantra SEL, which has an MSRP of $22,200. The highest level, the Elantra Limited, comes in with an MSRP of $26,800.

In contrast, the 2023 Civic is pricier at every level. The Civic LX starts at $23,750. Step up to the Civic Sport, and you’re looking at $25,350. The Civic EX has an MSRP of $26,200, and the most expensive Civic Touring has a price tag of $30,350, and that’s before you factor in all the other optional packages, lot fees, taxes, etcetera.

Considering the fact that both cars are quite well-appointed in terms of comfort and tech amenities even at the base level, it may be hard for some to justify spending thousands of dollars more. If you’re looking for the best compact car for the money, the Elantra is by far the most affordable small car.


Now, we know what you’re thinking: there has to be a reason the Civic is so much more expensive, right? Doesn’t that mean it has better features available?

First, let’s check out the all-important infotainment features. The base Elantra is kitted with a decently-sized 8.0-inch central touchscreen display, with a 4.2-inch analog gauge cluster, whereas the base Civic’s central touch screen measures at 7.0 inches, and is complemented by a matching 7.0-inch digital dash display. At the higher end, the Elantra comes with dual 10.25-inch digital display screens, whereas the Civic gets a 9.0-inch center display and upgraded 10.2-inch digital dash. So, overall, the Elantra is able to offer a greater infotainment experience and a friendlier price tag.

In terms of other features, it’s a close race. Both have decent base sound systems, with optional premium Bose upgrades. Both have wireless phone charging. Both have Bluetooth, HD Radio, and Sirius XM capacity included at the higher trims. And, both have standard Apple Carplay and Android Auto, though only the Elantra has them with wireless as standard.

So, with the tech competition so close, we’re forced to circle back around to which one gives you the greatest bang for your buck. The winner of best small car for the money is still the Hyundai Elantra.


Of course, all of this is moot of the thing isn’t safe.

To be clear, the Civic and Elantra are very safe cars, evidenced by the fact that they both have five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Is one of them safer, though?

Hyundai and Honda have their own respective bundles of ADAS features. While these features are no substitute for sturdy construction and defensive driving, they can be incredibly beneficial for mitigating crashes. Compact vehicles with robust ADAS packages are widely considered to be the safest small cars for teenagers.

Here’s a quick rundown of standard, optional, and unavailable ADAS options:

Features 2023 Hyundai Elantra 2023 Honda Civic
Frontal collision avoidance Standard Standard
Blind spot alert Standard Optional
Lane keeping assist Standard Standard
Rear cross-traffic collision alert Standard Unavailable
Collision mitigation braking Unavailable Standard
Safe exit warning Standard Unavailable
Driver attention warning Standard Standard
High beam assist Standard Standard
Adaptive cruise control Optional Standard
Highway driving assist Optional Unavailable

You could almost call it a wash on this one. The 2023 Elantra and Civic both put their best tire forward, so to speak, when it comes to providing the safest economy cars on the market, but the Elantra has a slight edge when it comes to standard ADAS.

Fuel Economy

The Elantra and Civic have each received their fair share of accolades for being two of the most fuel-efficient small cars over the years.

Once again, it’s almost too close to call. Both have a bit of wiggle room in their EPA ratings, depending on the exact trim and engine selected. The best-rated Elantra gets a combined fuel economy of 37 MPG, while the best-rated Civic gets 36 MPG estimated, making them nearly identical.

We see the Elantra pull ahead in one key aspect, though: its available hybridized powertrains. The 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is available in two trim levels, Blue and Limited, which return 54 combined MPG and 50 combined MPG, respectively.

This positions the Elantra in quite an advantageous spot for buyers who don’t like worrying about fluctuating gas prices and want to join in on the ever-growing green car trend. Honda has unveiled plans for a new Civic Hybrid in the near future, but for now, Hyundai leads the pack as the best small city car.


On the other side of the coin, maybe you’re more worried about having the best small car with a powerful engine, rather than gas mileage. If that’s the case, the Elantra and Civic have performance models for your consideration.

Well, no, that’s not entirely true. The Civic actually has two: the Civic Si, and the Civic Type-R. Meanwhile, the Hyundai has added the Elantra N to their ever-growing roster of souped-up standbys.

How do they compare?

In terms of price, the Civic Si is the cheapest, with an MSRP of $28,800 as of this writing. The Civic Type-R is by far the most expensive at $43,795. The 2023 Hyundai Elantra N sits at a surprisingly affordable $32,900.

We actually see a similar breakdown in terms of engine power, too:

  • 2023 Honda Civic Si: Turbo Inline 4-cylinder w/6-speed manual (200 hp, 192 lb.-ft. torque)
  • 2023 Honda Civic Type-R: Turbo Inline 4-cylinder w/6-speed manual (315 hp, 310 lb.-ft. torque)
  • 2023 Hyundai Elantra N: Turbo Inline 4-cylinder w/6-speed manual (276 hp, 289 lb.-ft torque)

Both iterations of performance Civic vary wildly, with the Elantra N falling somewhere in the middle in terms of top speed and acceleration. It’s also worth noting that the Elantra N has the option to swap out the stick shift for an 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, meaning it’ll likely prove preferable for most daily drivers who want a little more pep in their step.

While the Civic Type-R boasts the most giddy-up out of the three, it’s likely it won’t be quite enough power to justify over 10k more on the price tag. The Elantra N is the top compact sedan for savvy buyers looking for something fun to drive without breaking the bank.


It’s no secret that Hyundai offers America’s best warranty:

  • 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage
  • 5-year/60,000-mile limited
  • 7-year/unlimited miles anti-perforation coverage
  • 12-month/12,000-miles parts and accessories
  • 8-year/80,000-mile emission and performance
  • 10-year/100,000-mile hybrid/EV battery protection
  • 5-year/unlimited miles 24-hour roadside assistance

Meanwhile, here’s what Honda provides their new vehicle buyers:

  • 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage
  • 3-year/36,000-mile limited
  • 5-year/unlimited miles corrosion coverage
  • 12-month parts and accessories
  • NO included roadside assistance

When assessing compact car ratings in terms of warranty coverage, it’s no contest. Elantra beats the Civic by a country mile.

Looking for a Hyundai Elantra for Sale in Birmingham?

Jim Burke is your one-stop shop!

We have plenty of new vehicle specials going on, as well as programs for college grads, first responders, and armed forces. If you live in central Alabama, call our Hyundai dealer in Birmingham at (205) 502-2792, or send us a message online, and be sure to ask about the time the Elantra won the award for Best Car in America.