Torque (Singapore) - - SUBARU IMPREZA 1.6 VS HONDA CIVIC 1.6 VS HYUNDAI E -

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

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