2021 Honda Civic vs. 2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Honda Civic vs Hyundai Elantra

For 2021, Hyundai has marked their Elantra as “all-new.” It certainly feels redesigned, too, with the 7th-generation Elantra gaining a few advantages over its aged 2020 model, like Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness style, improved fuel economy, a more spacious cabin, and touches of modernity here and there. It’s a nice car, truth be told.

Yet, in upgrading its Elantra, Hyundai has essentially made a copycat of the Honda Civic, which has been delivering sensual sportiness, great fuel efficiency, roominess and innovative tech for the better part of five decades. While these two compact cars have several similar features and traits, the 2021 Civic gives its owners a bit more expectation-setting value.

Safety Tech

Standard Adaptive Cruise Control

Each Honda Civic, starting with the base LX, includes Honda’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow system. This setup enables drivers to set both speeds and following distances between the Civic and traffic. ACC automatically adjusts driving speed and even comes to a stop to maintain those presets. That’s standard Honda Sensing, folks.

To get Hyundai’s comparable feature (Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go), you’d need to upgrade from the base SE to the SEL.

Standard Road Departure Mitigation

In combination with Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning, Civic’s standard Road Departure Mitigation System does what its name would suggest: mitigates the risk of departing from the road. It detects lane markers and determines when the vehicle veers out of its lane without utilizing turn signals. When that happens, RDM gently steers the vehicle back or brakes entirely to avoid driving off the road.

Elantra’s similar feature, Highway Drive Assist, is not available in the base SE or mid-level SEL trim.



You’ve got options when buying a new Civic. Choose either the Civic LX or Sport and you’ll get a juicy 2.0L inline-four that makes 158 horsepower and 138 lb.-ft. of torque*. Opt for a Civic EX, EX-L or range-topping Touring model for a juicier 1.5L turbo-four that makes 174 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque*. Either way, you’ll have juice from the get-go.

All Hyundai Elantra models (SE, SEL, Limited) include the same powertrain under the hood: a 2.0L inline-four that makes a modest 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque.

2021 Civic Sedan
(LX, Sport)
2021 Civic Sedan
(EX, EX-L, Touring)
2021 Elantra
(SE, SEL, Limited)
Horsepower 158* 174* 147
Torque (lb.-ft.) 138* 162* 132

Fuel Economy

While the Elantra is certainly worthy of a gas-sipping award, the Civic literally one-ups the Hyundai. It returns one more EPA-estimated mpg, across the board, than the Elantra -- and looks better doing it, too. So, if fuel efficiency is important to you, the Honda Civic EX or EX-L should be your driveway ornament.

2021 Civic Sedan
(EX, EX-L)
2021 Elantra
(SEL, Limited)
MPG (city / hwy / combined) 32 / 42 / 36* 31 / 41 / 35


2021 Civic - Premium Audio System

450W 10-Speaker Premium Audio

With Civic’s available 10-speaker sound system, you’ll get to experience high-fidelity sound like it’s meant to be experienced. Whether it’s the sultry tone of your favorite podcaster or the gravelly voice of your favorite ‘90s grunge rock singer, Civic’s audio system always puts you in a concert environment. Heck, even Taylor Swift sounds good with the 450-watt system’s subwoofer thumping.

Hyundai Elantra, with its optional 8-speaker sound system, can’t match Civic’s audiophile-friendly sound setup.

8-Way Power Driver’s Seat

Seat height has been lowered in the 2021 Elantra, providing a more comfortable, connected experience for the driver. However, tushy cushioning is a weak point for the Elantra, and its “6-way power driver’s seat” cut-off leaves much to be desired.

Getting comfy is easier in the CIvic. In addition to its available 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, the new Civic also boasts a lower cushion that tilts up and down with the push of a lever. In essence, you’ll never have trouble finding the perfect seat position or right amount of ride height and visibility.

2021 Civic - Wheel Choices

Wheel Choices

Need even more visibility? Gain an extra inch of ride height with the Civic. Standard on ever Civic LX are 16-inch wheels, which beat the standard 15-inch wheels in the base Elantra SE. At the top of each model’s lineup, you’ll find a one-inch wheel difference, too; Civic Touring (and Sport) models come standard with 18-inch alloys, while the Elantra Limited sports 17-inchers.

Rear Heater Ducts

Both the Civic and Elantra include available dual-zone climate, but only the Honda Civic includes rear-seat vents to maximize the comfort level for all riders.

2021 Civic - Center Console with Sliding Storage and Armrest

Sliding Center Console

Hyundai’s basic center console -- which is partitioned off from the passenger, making the driver’s seat feel like a cubicle -- offers the bare minimum: cupholders, an elbow rest, and a small storage compartment. It lacks the refinement that’s bred into Civic’s center console.

With the Civic, you’re granted access to one of the segment’s best kept secrets: its sliding center console. The armrest moves forward and back, giving driver’s several resting options for elbows. Its cupholders can slide forward and back, too, or be completely removed to increase storage space for tablets and purses. You can even add an illuminated console light strip for added embellishment.

Trunk Space

What on Earth do you do when you’ve got 107 gallons of grade-A whole milk to bring home? With the Hyundai Elantra, whose trunk space maxes out at 14.2 cubic feet, you’ve only got room for 106 gallons.

But the Civic packs all that dairy in its 15.1-cubic-foot derriere, no problemo. In fact, the Civic is a dairy-carrying angel in the compact sedan segment, offering more cargo space than most rivals.

2021 Civic LX Sedan 2021 Elantra SE
Cargo Volume 15.1 cu. ft. 14.2 cu. ft.


30 city/38 highway/33 combined mpg rating for LX and Touring trims. 29 city/37 highway/32 combined mpg rating for Sport trim. 32 city/42 highway/36 combined mpg rating for EX and EX-L trims. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

158 @ 6500 rpm (SAE net), 174 @ 6000 rpm (SAE net)

138 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm (SAE net),162 lb-ft @ 1700-5500 rpm (SAE net)