The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Dethroned the Mighty Honda Civic for a Prestigious Award

Recently, the team at Kelley Blue Book gave the 2021 Hyundai Elantra its Best Buy award for compact cars. A feature-rich, upscale car with a bold new look, the brand-new Elantra rightfully earned the title. It offers tons of standard driver-assistance features and even more tech. There will also be a hybrid model of this impressive sedan.

Take a look at why the Elantra won KBB’s Best Buy Award.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra at a glance

For the past six years, the Honda Civic won Kelley Blue Book’s Compact Car Best Buy award. So how did the Hyundai Elantra pull out the win in 2021?

The Kelley Blue Book team explains that the latest Elantra defeated the Civic on several fronts. Larger than previous models and based on a stronger chassis, the Elantra also boasts an exciting new look. This new Hyundai stepped up this model year in refinement and quality. But it starts around only $20,000. 

There are also four models to choose from. The base is front-wheel drive and has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 147 hp. It gets an impressive EPA-estimated 33 mpg city/43 mpg highway/37 mpg combined. 

The sporty new N-Line also offers impressive fuel economy. With a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine harnessing 201 hp, this Elantra model gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway/31 mpg combined. The engine pairs with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With a multi-link rear instead of the standard twist-beam axle, the N-Line is designed for enthusiastic driving, KBB reports.

If fuel economy is important to you, consider the hybrid version. With a 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, a 1.32-kWh lithium-ion battery, and a 32-kilowatt electric motor, the hybrid SE models can get as much as 56 mpg on the highway.

The 2021 Elantra has all the right stuff

The KBB team appreciates the 2021 Hyundai Elantra’s abundant standard features. The base models’ infotainment systems get an eight-inch color display and a safety suite including automatic emergency braking. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and selectable drive modes come too.

The 2021 Elantra also offers lane-following assist, lane-keeping assist, and active high-beam headlights, along with driver-attention monitoring. The top-shelf Limited models boast 17-inch wheels, an eight-speaker sound system, LED headlights, a 10.25-inch display screen with voice commands, and a gorgeous leather cabin.

The Elantra also offers a sharp, modern interior. KBB says the cabin is low and wide with a polished look. Boasting an impressive level of quality, this compact sedan is more spacious than you’d think. It offers plenty of headroom and legroom.

The KBB team also likes how the Elantra drives. They say the Hyundai’s continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is responsive and does an impressive job of directing power to the front wheels. KBB test drivers were easily able to merge into highway traffic with sufficient power.

They find the ride quality to be top-notch, with all controls working in harmony. The team also appreciates the Elantra’s graceful ride, something not typically found in the compact segment.

Beating the Honda Civic


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While the Elantra stepped up this year, the Civic scaled back. KBB’s experts found the 2021 Civic to be as practical and fun to drive as ever. But they also pointed out the two-door coupe and Si models got the axe. The Civic also doesn’t offer a hybrid model like the Hyundai Elantra.

And Civic base models lack Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. You can’t get blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alerts either. There’s also a good deal of road noise in the cabin.

Kelley Blue Book awarded the Compact Car Best Buy of 2021 to the Hyundai Elantra because it’s a great value for the money. It’s bigger, bolder, and bursting with standard tech and driver-assist features. Not only does the Elantra’s resale value continue to rise, but its appealing 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is also one of the best around.