Comparability Take a look at: 2022 Honda Civic Si vs. Hyundai Elantra N vs. Volkswagen Jetta GLI

From the April 2022 subject of Automotive and Driver.

A long time in the past, meals appeared very completely different. Folks would scarf down one thing referred to as creamed chipped beef, then, with out lacking a beat, combine canned tuna with Jell-O to create a tuna mildew. Thought-about artistic of their time, these dishes can be made in the present day solely to check gag reflexes. Time has modified our roads, too, and vehicles have all the time been subjected to the identical kind of daring experimentation and style (which explains the rise and fall of the AMC Pacer and the Chrysler PT Cruiser).

Extolling the virtues of hotted-up economic system vehicles fitted with handbook transmissions to nonenthusiasts can really feel like attempting to encourage somebody to style the chipped beef. Regardless of how laborious we strive, many of us won’t ever even contemplate driving these vehicles.

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Compact sports activities sedans are a lot enjoyable, we plead. Simply strive the six-speed handbook—you may like it. You’ll nook more durable than you ever have earlier than. “Uh, no thanks,” they will demur as they politely step again. Positive, it is their loss, however each time we fail, one other boring, CVT-equipped crossover leaves a dealership.

The three sports activities sedans we have gathered for this sampler platter are for daring palates. The Honda Civic Si, the Hyundai Elantra N, and the Volkswagen Jetta GLI all are spicy variations of in any other case completely smart transportation. Replete with taste and enjoyable that could be an excessive amount of for some patrons, every follows a barely completely different recipe. However they share the identical key substances: a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, 4 doorways, three pedals, and 6 speeds.

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Merely realizing they exist is a litmus check for automobile enthusiasm. To jot down a verify for one is to grasp that for about $30,000 you’ll be able to personal a automobile that handles and performs at a stage far past the workaday norm. To seek out our favourite, we turned to the roads that traverse the San Gabriel Mountains in California, the place we ate up corners, labored shifters, and usually savored the issues these vehicles do effectively whereas recognizing that driving them this tough would make most individuals sick. In the long run, we discovered the one we would order.

2022 volkswagen jetta gli

Marc UrbanoAutomotive and Driver

third Place:

2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Highs: Keen and pleased engine, safe dealing with, civilized trip.

All-season tires, long-throw shifter, seats lack lateral help.

Somebody traded sportiness for refinement and options.

A phase forefather, a 2020 and 2021 10Best winner, and the victor on this phase’s final comparability check, the Jetta GLI continues to be what it has been since 1983: a GTI with a trunk. The refreshed GLI enters 2022 with new bumpers and a redesigned grille, however different modifications are much less savory. The GLI now comes solely in loaded Autobahn trim that sees its base worth rise from $27,340 to $31,990, and summer season efficiency tires are off the menu. We in all probability do not should inform you concerning the significance of tires or {that a} name to Tire Rack will right the state of affairs, however we’ll anyway. The improper tires can wreck the temper sooner than serving ham-and-bananas hollandaise on a dinner date.

Though the Volkswagen falls wanting the Honda and the Hyundai by way of inside quantity numbers, its cabin feels extra spacious. The GLI’s Pure Grey nonmetallic paint seems to be Lamborghini-­worthy however is simply $295 (Lambo would in all probability cost $5000).

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Tires have an effect on each a part of the expertise and ding the GLI’s goal efficiency numbers. In contrast with a 2020 GLI sporting summer season sneakers, skidpad grip falls from 0.91 g to 0.86, and it takes 12 extra ft to cease from 70 mph and 30 extra ft to cease from 100 mph. Regardless of the comparatively low-grip rubber, the GLI retains its safe sense of management and can nonetheless placed on a canyon-­highway clinic if pressed. It is a squeal-filled lesson, however discovering and utilizing all of the grip is accessible and straightforward.

Subsequent to the opposite two, the GLI behaves like a bigger automobile. Maybe it is the enormous (and heavy) sunroof that is now normal or the marginally softer suspension tuning. The profit is a quieter and higher trip and a cushty rear seat that is roomier than its measurements would point out. The luxurious automobile of the group, the GLI comes with heated and ventilated energy entrance seats, leather-based upholstery, dual-zone local weather management, adaptive cruise management, and a punchy Beats audio system. Inside high quality remains to be a sticking level, however in contrast to the brand new GTI, the GLI has a quantity knob, and it retains the outdated GTI’s very good steering wheel.

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Volkswagen’s terrific turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is the 228-hp model from final yr’s GTI. It is keen and free revving. Enhance arrives rapidly, and offered you do not have the engine’s sound settings in immature modes, the 4’s machinations stay at arm’s size. Step into the Jetta after driving the Civic, and the VW’s shift throws can really feel lengthy and disconnected; one driver likened them to one thing you’d anticipate in a Setra bus. Nonetheless, we did not miss any shifts, and the gearbox will swallow quick shifts with out hiccups.

Along with the summer season rubber, the opposite little bit of GTI lacking within the GLI are the hatchback’s seats. GLI chairs come from the Jetta SEL Premium, and so they lack the lateral bolstering discovered within the Honda and the Hyundai. Few issues inform you extra about how severely a automobile takes efficiency than its tires and seats.

2022 honda civic si

Marc UrbanoAutomotive and Driver

2nd Place:

2022 Honda Civic Si

Highs: Grips and handles like a sports activities automobile, by no means having to brake for corners, the enjoyment of shifting it.

Engine wants extra kick, brakes go delicate if labored laborious.

Honda nails the worth and dealing with components, however a candy gearbox cannot make up for a bland engine.

Seeing a brand new Civic Si on the highway reveals rather a lot concerning the driver. First, they will drive a handbook—each new Si has a do-it-yourself gearbox. Begin speaking about automatics in entrance of a Honda salesperson and so they’ll usher you over to a Civic Sport, with much less energy and with out the Si’s agency suspension. Your loss. Summer time tires—you need the Summer time tires—add $200 to the Civic Si’s $28,315 base worth. Our check automobile arrived wearing $395 Blazing Orange Pearl paint, which glows like a carrot-filled aspic.

The Si’s shifter snicks into gear with the lubricated precision of Civics previous, however we discovered it set just a little too far ahead. Row it and the impression is that the impartial aircraft is the place you’d anticipate gears 1, 3, and 5 to stay.

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Redesigned final yr, the brand new Civic is a strong little citizen that will not jiggle like gelatin. On this automobile, nonetheless, horsepower is down by 5 because the final Si. The 200-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter is the least highly effective on this group, and 60 mph comes up in a slowest-in-test 6.7 seconds. Stirring the six-speed handbook, although, is a delight regardless of the shifter being a pair inches farther ahead than you’d anticipate. The engine is easy and can growl at excessive rpm, but it surely hangs on to revs and lacks the punchy character and liveliness of the fours within the Hyundai and the VW. It feels primarily like what it’s: a daily Civic’s engine with 20 additional horsepower.

Honda makes up for the engine-room deficiency with a safe, vigorous, and playful chassis that could be a pleasure all the way in which as much as the 0.97-g restrict. The agency trip is a wholly acceptable trade-off for the thrilling dealing with. Deft and lightweight, the Si sneaks in underneath 3000 kilos. Whereas the Civic is a tenth of an inch wider than the Jetta, tight roll management and easy, pure directional modifications make it appear a foot narrower. The steering might be extra informative, but when your aim is to keep up a velocity and by no means brake for corners, the Si is a good buddy. Brake laborious and sometimes, as we do in our testing, and the warmth will set off a brake warning mild and a soggy pedal.

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Take a while to chill the brakes and you may discover a fuss-free instrument panel with clear digital gauges that mimic analog dials. The massive touchscreen protruding from the dashboard responds rapidly. Honda thoughtfully features a quantity knob, so life is nice. The entrance seats have glorious lateral help, though one in all our testers complained of glute soreness after solely an hour or so. Rear-seat area felt just a little tighter than within the different two, but it surely’s a lot comfy in again for 2 adults.

If worth and dealing with maintain main enchantment, the Civic Si is a good alternative. In the event you’re on the lookout for a bit extra firepower, the opposite two sedans are definitely worth the spend.

2022 hyundai elantra n

Marc UrbanoAutomotive and Driver

1st Place:

2022 Hyundai Elantra N

Highs: Class-leading acceleration and dealing with, most enjoyable to drive, hold-me-tight seats.

Limitless settings, occasional trip harshness.

The letter N elevates the Elantra to the sports-­sedan A-list.

The identify Elantra N may sound like pimento loaf to some patrons, however to us it describes a tasty mix that pairs sedan practicality with the outrageous and joyous flavors of Hyundai’s barely loopy and deeply great Veloster N. New for 2022, the Elantra N is the most recent automobile from the Korean carmaker’s sporty N subbrand. It comes with a six-speed handbook or a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized. Costs open at $32,945 for the handbook model, to which we added Efficiency Blue paint for $400. The auto is a $1500 choice, however contemplate the slick six-speed essential.

The shifter lacks the mechanical chunk of the Honda’s, however we by no means missed a gear or beat the synchros.

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Driving the Hyundai banishes any ideas that “Elantra sports activities sedan” is an oxymoron. From the second you begin the engine, it feels alive, keen, and assured. A 276-hp turbocharged 4 brilliantly places the ability down via the entrance tires, taking the Hyundai to 60 in 5.1 seconds and thru the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 105 mph. A agency (generally a bit too agency) suspension and an electronically managed limited-slip differential take advantage of the usual Hyundai-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. A have a look at the scoring reveals that Hyundai practically ran the desk on each goal and subjective efficiency scores, proving it is not only a numbers automobile. Bend it into a number of corners and by the third one you are comfy utilizing all 0.99 g of grip. Each element works collectively to get you to go sooner.

Like these in BMW’s M division, N engineers current the motive force with a dizzying array of adjustability. Begin with the engine quantity—there are 5 settings for the Lively Sound Design system and three exhaust modes. Even in probably the most excessive TCR mode (named after Hyundai’s TCR race automobile), the rumbles and zings sound genuine, even when it is a pc blowing the kazoo. The snap-crackle-pops coming from the tailpipe are actual, however we would depart the exhaust in its tamest mode. The louder ones have all of the subtlety of a child with a snare drum.

Past the three suspension changes, there are additionally three for steering, engine response, rev matching, and stability management, plus two differential settings. And do not forget concerning the adjustable rpm in launch-control mode.

The very best seats within the check function illuminated N logos paying homage to BMW’s lit-up M logos.

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A minimum of you’ll be able to’t screw issues up too badly. Modifications in engine response and rev matching are refined. Shifting up via the steering settings backs off the help with out affecting the fast rack’s regular suggestions, so cycle via and discover a favourite. Altering the diff’s setting has a higher influence on the steering, because the diff’s aggressiveness will tug on the wheel extra because the automobile bites more durable into corners. And it eats corners by the mouthful. Suppose the entrance tires are about to start out sliding? Get on the ability and the differential works to tighten your line.

All of the enjoyable comes with a spacious cabin, hold-me-tight seats, and a worth solely barely increased than the others. This can be a breakthrough automobile that may make individuals take the N model severely. It has the flavors we love and left us with a chipped-beef-eating grin.

2022 honda civic si, 2022 hyundai elantra n, and 2022 volkswagen jetta gli results

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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