8 Alternatives to the 2018 Hyundai Elantra

Looking for Cars Similar to the Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra was last redesigned in 2017. The updates made it less barebones and more stylish than before. Available as a sedan or hatchback, the updated Elantra also came better equipped, offering Bluetooth, a 7-inch display screen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for less than $19,000.

Little has changed for 2018, except that the hatchback receives the updates that the sedan got last year. The five-passenger compact car remains as comfortable and roomy as ever, but the cabin’s hard plastic pieces have been replaced by soft-touch surfaces and brushed finishes. Luxury-seeking buyers can even add leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats – options that aren’t always available in pricier rivals.

Along with its more luxurious new look, the Elantra boasts strong safety ratings and excellent fuel economy – 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway for the base model with an automatic transmission. Its excellent safety ratings earned it the Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, the similar 2017 model was named the Best New Car for Teens.

But shoppers know the Elantra is not the only safe and well-equipped compact car in the segment. If you’re considering buying one, you might want to look at nameplates such as the Honda Civic or the Mazda3, too. Or you might find that you can get more space for roughly the same price with a Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3 subcompact SUV.

Read ahead to see how other vehicles compare to the Elantra. Keep in mind that our scores are constantly updated as new expert reviews and data become available. Therefore, the U.S. News scores listed here may differ slightly from the ones listed on our rankings page.

2017 Honda Civic

$18,740 | U.S. News Score: 8.8/10

The Honda Civic, one of our highly ranked compact cars, earns praise for its dynamic handling, athletic performance, and fuel economy, delivering 32 mpg around town and 42 mpg in the city – better than even the Elantra’s Eco trim.

The Civic also has a more powerful standard engine that makes 158 horsepower to the Elantra’s 147. But the Elantra’s Sport model surpasses the highest-performing Civic, delivering 201 horsepower compared with the Civic Sport Touring trim’s 180 ponies.

Unlike the Elantra, the Civic is also available as a coupe, as well as a sedan or hatchback. The Civic comes with an option to add the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance technology – including lane departure warning and lane keep assist – for less than you’d pay to equip an Elantra with comparable features.  

2018 Mazda3

$18,095 | U.S. News Score: 8.7/10

The Mazda3, a finalist for our 2017 Best Compact Car for the Money award, stands out for its sporty handling and fun-to-drive quality. What you’ll gain in horsepower, you’ll lose in interior technology: Unlike the Elantra, the Mazda3 doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

At 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, the Mazda3’s fuel economy ratings are slightly lower than the Elantra’s. It’s also more expensive to add advanced safety features. You’ll need to upgrade to the Elantra’s highest trim, the $22,100 Limited, to add lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control, but you’ll need to get the Mazda3’s $24,195 Grand Touring model to buy Mazda’s i-Activsense package with similar capabilities.

2018 Honda HR-V

$19,465 | U.S. News Score: 8.4/10

The Honda HR-V, our top-rated subcompact SUV, offers a larger, affordable alternative to the Elantra. The HR-V won our awards for 2017 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money and 2017 Best Subcompact SUV for Families, which speaks to its versatility.

Compared with the Elantra, the HR-V increases cargo space, ride height, and head- and legroom for its five passengers – important characteristics for a comfortable ride. Unlike the Elantra, it’s available with all-wheel drive.

The HR-V’s fuel economy is not as strong as the Elantra’s, but it achieves decent estimates for a larger vehicle: 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with an automatic transmission. However, unlike the Honda Civic, the HR-V can cannot be equipped with the Honda Sensing package of safety features.

2017 Kia Forte

$16,600 | U.S. News Score: 8.5/10

The Kia Forte, a finalist for our 2017 Best Compact Car for the Money award, received new exterior styling and a more powerful base engine. At $16,600, the Forte’s starting price is even lower than the Elantra’s $16,950, and – at 29 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway for models with an automatic transmission – it’s also more fuel efficient, which means you’ll make fewer trips to the pump.

As of the 2017 model year, buyers can add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking and forward collision alert. 

2017 Toyota Corolla

$18,500 | U.S. News Score: 8.0/10

The Toyota Corolla has more legroom and more safety equipment than the Elantra. The Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced driver assistance features, which became standard on 2017 Corollas, includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings, and lane departure alert, helping the compact car stand out in a traditionally barebones segment.

However, the Corolla is more expensive than the Elantra and less fun to drive. Toyota also doesn’t equip its cars with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, preferring instead to use its proprietary Entune infotainment system.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

$22,050 | U.S. News Score: 8.7/10

Highly rated in our midsize car rankings, the Sonata is the next size up from the Elantra in the Hyundai family. It’s more expensive – the base model’s starting price is $5,100 more than its younger sibling’s – but it comes with more standard equipment, as well as more legroom.

The Sonata is also smoother and more powerful than the Elantra. The base model delivers 185 horsepower, and upper trims pack a 245-horsepower turbo.

2017 Mazda CX-3

$19,960 | U.S. News Score: 8.4/10

Tied with the Honda HR-V as our top-rated subcompact SUV, the Mazda CX-3 provides plenty of space starting at less than $20,000. Factor in its excellent safety scores and athletic handling, and it’s no surprise that Mazda’s smallest crossover was named a finalist for our 2017 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award.

Even though it’s larger, the CX-3 delivers fuel economy that’s nearly as strong as the Elantra’s, at 29 mpg around town and 34 mpg on the highway.

2018 Chevrolet Sonic

$15,145 | U.S. News Score: 8.6/10

Starting at $15,145, the Chevrolet Sonic is tough to beat on value or versatility. A highly rated subcompact car in our rankings, the Sonic is available as a sedan or a hatchback.

The Sonic offers comparable fuel economy to the Elantra but less power. Its base engine delivers 138 horsepower. However, Chevrolet’s subcompact car offers more standard technology than the Elantra, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the brand’s MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, and a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot.