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Comparisons

February 8, 2012

Out With The Old And In With The New

Hyundai has been, as of late, filling a void in the affordable car segment that hasn’t been seen in a long time, if ever.  Offering stylish, albeit at times over-styled, well equipped and packaged, fuel efficient, and affordable vehicles to the masses.  The new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe, based on the newly debuted Elantra Sedan, is just another car for Hyundai to take over the cheapest of the cheap.

The Elantra Coupe will go on sale in just a few months after making its debut appearance at this months’ Chicago Auto Show.  It will, of course, be based on the Elantra Sedan that has already seen some promising sales results since its launch last year.  The new Elantra Coupe will square off with some established cars in the Sub-$20,000 Coupe segment, the most obvious of which is the Honda Civic Coupe.

To do battle, the Elantra Coupe brings a fresh looking exterior and trendy interior to compete with the Civic Coupes other nondescript and otherwise boring or conventional exterior and interior.  Something we have come to expect from Honda as of late.  If style is your thing and your budget it tight, the Elantra Coupe, with an estimated base price of around $15,000, is your easy choice.

Inside the theme is much the same.  Where the Elantra Coupe is stylistically modern, the Civic Coupe is dated and frankly just awkward looking.  A large touch-screen in the center of the dash sets the stage for the Elantra Coupe.  While the Civic Coupe does have a large screen on its dash, it is not center in any way and not touch screen either.  And then there is a secondary screen further up in the dash for other functions of the infotainment system.  More integrated into the gauge cluster than anything else.

Honda is known for the material and build quality at their low price point but the Elantra is just a much more pleasing place to spend your time, whether behind the steering wheel or just as you walk up to it after a days’ worth of work.

Objectively speaking the Elantra Coupe does well too.  The Civic Coupe utilizes a 1.8L I4 to make 140 hp and delivers either 28 mpg City and 36 mpg Hwy with the 5-Speed Manual or 28 mpg City and 39 mpg Hwy with the optional 5-Speed Automatic.  The Elantra Coupe uses a 1.8L I4 to make 148 hp while delivering an impressive 29 mpg City and 40 mpg Hwy with the  6-Speed Manual and 28 mpg City and 39 mpg Hwy with the optional 6-Speed Automatic..  Don’t keep your fingers crossed for too long as Hyundai has had some issues in meeting their EPA figures in the real world.

Now, since price and cost is very important to any looking to spend under $20,000 on any new car these days, lets’ address that as well.  The Civic Coupe is priced from $15,605 for the super stripped DX trim level.  The Elantra Coupe hasn’t been officially priced but we expect it to start under $15,000, likely in the $14,500 to $15,000 range.
Features and content have always been Hyundais strong suit and the Elantra Coupe is no exception.  Offering a seemingly impossible amount of standard and optional equipment from things like a 7” voice-activated infotainment, 360 watt audio system, rear view camera, leather-heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and proximity key with push-button start, to name a few.  Things that a Honda Civic Coupe lacks with its fairly basic level of equipment for this segment.

The new Elantra Coupe appears to be a winner in the affordable coupe segment by blending high style, high feature content, acceptable performance with good gas mileage and an affordable package.  Be sure to check it out at this year’s Chicago Auto Show which opens to the public this weekend or you can wait till it hits showrooms sometime within the next 6 months.

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