CARS.COM — The 2017 Honda Civic Si has grabbed more of the headlines lately, being newer and having the flashier name. But the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is no slouch, either — our editors have driven it on the track and on the street before, and it’s one of our favorite performance bargains.
These two match up very closely on price ($24,995 for the Civic Si on summer tires, $25,985 for the Elantra Sport with Premium Package) and on the spec sheet. Both have turbocharged four-cylinder engines — the Civic Si’s 1.5-liter makes 205 horsepower and 192 pounds-feet of torque, the Elantra Sport’s 1.6-liter makes 201 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque. Each also offers a six-speed manual.
With so much in common, the big question becomes, how are they different? And being the only person on staff to have driven both to this point, I get to answer those questions.
The Elantra Sport does offer a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic as a $1100 option, but the Civic Si is only offered with the aforementioned six-speed manual. So, if you’re not a fan of shifting your own gears, there’s only one option here.
I thoroughly enjoyed the manuals in both of these sedans. The Elantra Sport has one of the easiest manuals to drive right out of the gate that I’ve run into, with a light pedal but clear catch point and easy-to-find gates. It’s by far the best manual from Hyundai that I’ve ever experienced
The Civic Si is the sharper performer of the two, though the Elantra Sport is no slouch in that department. The Hyundai just lacks some of the sharpness of the Honda — it needs better steering and a more aggressive throttle setup to really compete in the performance categories.
However, it may be the easier of the two to live with because the Honda’s control systems make me want to punch things sometimes. Would I still take the Civic Si? Yes, but that’s because I put a premium on drivability. For those who want fun-to-drive and something easy to live with, there’s a place for the 2017 Elantra Sport in your garage.
Editor’s note: This story was updated July 7, 2017, to reflect that the Elantra Sport offers an available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.