It is common to put the Civic vs. Elantra since they are among the most popular options in the compact car segment. Each model has plenty going for itself, with a range of standout features and configurations.
While the 2021 Honda Civic is the more established of the two, the 2021 Elantra has also made a strong name for itself. But when you take a closer look at the sedans, one of them edges ahead as the best compact car.
While most people who choose to compare the 2021 Civic vs. the 2021 Elantra are in search of a compact car, some may still be open to other body styles. If that is the case, you will be happy to learn that the Honda Civic offers a hatchback body style. It is a great option for increasing your cargo space and interior versatility. By contrast, the Elantra is only available as a sedan. Even if you stick to the sedan version of the Civic, it has more cargo space than the Elantra, with 15.1 cubic feet compared to 14.2. That can increase to up to 46 cubic feet in the Civic hatchback with the rear seats folded.
All Honda Civic models except for the base trim come with a 7-inch touchscreen that includes both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This is similar to Hyundai’s offerings on the Elantra. For most drivers, the more spacious interior of the 2021 Honda Civic makes it the winner on the drive home from Allen Honda.
When comparing the Honda vs. the Hyundai, you will notice that both compact cars offer three engine choices, with one of those being a higher-performance model. For the 2021 Honda Civic, the base engine is a 2-liter with 156 horsepower. However, most models come with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that increases horsepower from 174 to 180. The Elantra only offers one main non-hybrid option for most drivers, the base 2-liter that delivers 147 horsepower. This is already less output than the Civic. Also, the other non-performance option, the Elantra Hybrid engine, reduces the output to 139 horsepower.
When it comes to pure performance, the Honda Civic cements its lead as the best compact car out of the two. The Type R features a high-performance turbo-4 engine with 302 horsepower and a 6-speed manual transmission. By contrast, the Elantra N-Line only delivers 201 horsepower from its own 1.6-liter turbo.
Given the reasonable fuel economy of both compact sedans, most drivers will not want to sacrifice the Civic’s power for such a small difference in gas mileage.
Every single 2021 Honda Civic features forward-collision warning that includes automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. They also all feature adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. You can enjoy the industry-exclusive Honda Lane Watch, as well.
Like the Civic, all of the Elantra models have similar features and add rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring, and safe-exit alerts to its models. However, you have to opt for a higher trim level if you want the adaptive cruise control that comes standard on the Civic. The 2021 Civic features adaptive cruise control as standard, while the Elantra does not. In addition, the Civic has a low-speed follow feature to help you drive more safely.
While both vehicles have their strengths, the 2021 Honda Civic pulls ahead as the best compact car. It stands out with its more powerful engine options, including a truly sporty option in the R-Line. You also get the choice of either a sedan or hatchback. Both offer more cargo room than the Elantra, and the hatchback has almost three times the Elantra’s cargo room when you fold down the rear seats.
When you are ready to shop for the 2021 Honda Civic, you will find it at Allen Honda in College Station, TX. In the meantime, explore our inventory of new sedans and other vehicles to see if another model catches your eye.