In some car comparisons, there’s just no question about which model is the over-achieving winner. And some say it’s a hands-down, no contest between the Honda Civic Type R and the Hyundai Veloster. The Honda Civic Type R far exceeds the Hyundai in a variety of head-to-head categories. But there is one key area of consideration in which the Hyundai Veloster can’t be beaten. And it might just be the one thing that matters most to you as a car buyer.
Where the Honda Civic Type R rules the roost
Critics, including those at MotorTrend, say the Honda Civic Type R is the undisputed ruler and best front-drive sports car in the U.S., and the proof is in the pudding with the robust roster of features on the Civic Type R’s résumé. Only available in a hatchback variation, the Type R comes with 20-inch wheels, a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder capable of harnessing 306 hp, and a six-speed manual transmission. There are also upgraded brakes and suspension and an even more impressive menu of interior extras. Enjoy the Honda Sensing platform of driver aids, a 12-speaker sound system, and a 7-inch touchscreen.
The Hyundai Veloster earns its place too
Those same Civic Type R fans and critics will also tell you the Hyundai Veloster is the close second choice for screaming sports cars in this segment. This three-door hatchback comes in six trim options, including the high-performance Turbo R-Spec, Turbo, Turbo Ultimate, and Veloster N.
Pick your engine from two options: the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder or the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The Veloster comes with Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of technology, as well.
Where the Honda Civic Type R outperforms the Hyundai Veloster
The Honda Civic Type R has more power under the hood, with its 306 hp compared to the Veloster’s top-end 275 hp. Some reviews suggest the Type R offers better braking ranges. The Honda drops to a stop from 60 mph in 99 feet when it takes the Hyundai Veloster N 111 feet to reach a complete halt.
The MotorTrend test drive also noted that after multiple drive tests, primarily to get the video footage they wanted, the Honda felt fresh compared to slight tiredness from the Hyundai. But in the end, these types of variations are fairly marginal when you really look at the numbers and will only be important to those who find these data points relevant before buying.
The one category that the Hyundai Veloster wins
When you’re ready to pull the trigger to buy your new car from this particular performance segment, you’ll more than likely also need to consider the price. And it’s the category that Hyundai wins every time. If you want a Honda Civic Type R, you’ll get a handsome and sporty ride loaded with extras. And you’ll pay for it too.
Typically, the Honda Civic Type R runs between $7,000 and $15,000 more than the Hyundai Veloster. Some Honda dealers are notorious for tacking on what critics call a “market adjustment” fee that can make the Type R models even pricier still. Considering just how capable the Hyundai Veloster is, you might decide it’s the better buy between these two performance hatchbacks.
Price and value are Hyundai’s signature positioning strategies across a variety of vehicle segments. And the Hyundai Veloster definitely outprices the Honda Civic Type R, in many cases, by several thousands of dollars. But in the end, you’ll want to test drive and experience both cars for yourself. Then you can decide if settling for the second-best is a more cost-effective choice. Or you may determine that only the best will do for your garage, at any price.