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Is the Civic vs. Elantra battle on again?

Is the Civic vs. Elantra battle on again?

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During 2011, Hyundai's Elantra came close to knocking the Honda Civic off its perch. Canada’s bestselling car had a tough year, getting through a redesign, production halts and bad press, while the Elantra was on fire, ending the 2011 calendar year with a 57% hike in sales compared to 2010.

2012 Honda Civic front 3/4 view
2012 Honda Civic (Sébastien D'Amour/

In fact, by the end of August 2011, only 110 unit sales separated the two compact cars (33,047 for the Civic, 32,937 for the Elantra) and we were expecting the Hyundai to blow past the the Honda in September. However, the Civic prevailed and widened the gap to earn the bestselling car title for the 14th straight year.

Well, after the first two months of 2012, it seems as though things are heating up again between the two. As we speak, both are offering very interesting incentives:

Civic Coupe & Sedan (excluding Hybrid)
1.99% leasing for 48 months
1.99% financing for 60 months
Cash purchase rebate up to $1,500

Elantra Sedan
0.99% leasing for 48 months
0.9% financing for 60 months

Elantra Touring
$500 rebate
0% financing for up to 84 months

I don’t want this to sound like a marketing line, but for the consumer, it’s a great time to buy one of these cars.

So far in 2012, the Civic has a good lead with 8,244 units sold versus 5,755 for the Elantra. Hyundai will soon be adding two more models to the family, namely the Elantra Coupe and the five-door Elantra GT; on the other hand, the practical Touring wagon will disappear, potentially sacrificing about 500 sales a month. Personally, I don’t think the Coupe and GT will compensate, as they’re not as family oriented.

What about the others? The Toyota Corolla (4,930 units) and Mazda3 (4,167) aren’t that far off, but the Chevrolet Cruze (3,443), Volkswagen Jetta (3,056) and Ford Focus (2,708) are further behind.

I guess the Honda Civic shouldn’t worry too much after all.

2012 Hyundai Elantra rear 3/4 view
2012 Hyundai Elantra (Photo: Hyundai)