The Hyundai Elantra’s strong points include its sturdy construction, functional cockpit layout and smooth gearbox. At $95,999, it also costs about $10k less than the previous model, and is the most affordable saloon in this story.
The lower price, however, means the Elantra is less “Elite” than before, for it lacks some of its predecessor’s standard features, which include a blind spot monitor and ventilated front seats.
But if you can do without these goodies, the Elantra makes a very tempting proposition for the family man on a tighter budget. Even more tempting than the Elantra is the Honda Civic. Families will like the roomy backseat and similarly roomy boot, while boyracers-turned-fathers will love the driver-oriented cockpit, responsive powertrain and agile handling, all of which is sure to make them fondly recall their bachelorhood.
The Civic has its shortcomings, though. Apart from having just two airbags (versus six in the Elantra and seven in the Impreza), it is also relatively expensive. The $118,999 Civic (at time of writing) is $23k and $18.1k dearer than the Elantra and Impreza respectively. The numerous improvements made to the Impreza’s cabin, especially the enhanced connectivity, reduced NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) and roomier backseat, are indeed very impressive. The creamy boxer engine and quiet CVT also deserve plaudits. You wouldn’t expect a family saloon to be this refined, but it is.
However, we do feel that the all-wheel-drive system is unnecessary in our urban context. The Subaru Impreza might not be as exciting to drive as the Honda Civic or as well-made as the Hyundai Elantra. But as an overall package, it is the fancier family saloon to beat.
KEYS (left to right) Civic’s fob feels the most solid, Impreza’s device goes into bags and pockets most easily, while the buttons on the Elantra’s key are the widest and nicest to press. SEPTEMBER 2017