Published on October 23rd, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Which turbocharged car should I buy? Elantra, Civic or Focus?

You are looking at buying a new car…..and your budget sits between RM110-130k. You want a little excitement behind the wheel (so a turbocharged engine would be best). You would like the car to be an extension of your personality. More importantly, you need a car that you can be proud to drive when you meet with family and friends. Let us offer an idea and its rivals to you.

This all new Hyundai Elantra Sport shares almost nothing with the previous best selling Elantra. It carries a brand new design and is no just an appearance package. There is a new powerplant under the hood. A turbocharged 1.6L. Yes, you can still buy this Elantra with a 2.0L normal aspirated engine, but here we are test driving the Turbo version.

Its immediate rival comes from Japan and it is the current sales king, the all new Honda Civic. Honda sells the Civic with a 1.5L turbo or a 1.8L normal aspirated engine. For this review, we will look at the RM135,800.00 Civic 1.5L turbo as its immediate rival. The Civic 1.5L turbo delivers 173bhp and and impressive 220bhp.

Let us not forget the Ford Focus with its 1.5L EcoBoost engine that produces 180bhp and 240Nm of torque. Priced from RM118,000.00, the Focus represents great value for your Ringgit as it delivers decent power and cabin equipment at this price point. The only issue is the fact that this Focus is a little older than this new Civic and Elantra.

This RM131,488.00 Elantra 1.6L turbo is powered by Hyundai’s proven Gamma 1.6L Turbo-GDI inline four-cylinder engine, which produces 201bhp at 6,000rpm and 265Nm of torque at 1,500-4,500rpm which is an increase of 54hp over the standard naturally aspirated 2.0L Elantra. This engine is paired with a 7-speed DCT with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Your decision is going to be a tough call as you have to decide between ‘being like everyone else with the Civic’, or “being unique with this Elantra” or “having excitement with the Focus”.

The Civic comes with Honda branding and resale value. The Ford is having its own issues against the Civic’s popularity. Now this Elantra has a tough segment to play in. Priced so close to the Civic, buyers will undoubtable be drawn to Honda showrooms, unless Hyundai can sweeten this Elantra deal. Yes, there will be some buyers who are not taken by the Civic’s look and ‘Tron’ like dashboard and instrument cluster. Hyundai has given this Elantra a very straightforward instrument cluster and our personal favorite……a proper handbrake lever (not an electronic handbrake button like in the Civic). Final decision is yours and best you test drive all three cars on the same morning and decide over lunch which to buy and drive in the next 4-5 years.

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