Five years ago neither Chevrolet or Hyundai were viewed as class leaders. Now however things have changed. Both the Elantra and the Cruze are some of the best sellers in the compact car segment and have high ratings for value and quality. Just like there was always the Civic vs Corolla debate there is now the Cruze vs Elantra dilemma. The question on everybody’s mind is: which is best? Our test cars were Canadian models. All pricing and financing information is from Canadian sources. This test will examine 3 mains areas: Standard Equipment, Pricing and Financing as well as Comfort and Convenience. Fuel economy will not be a deciding factor for two reasons. First, the real world fuel efficiency of both these vehicles is so close it’s essentially an intellectual debate and second, discussing fuel economy is just bloody boring.
Standard Equipment: Or test cars were the GL level Elantra with an automatic and the LT level Cruze also with an automatic. Both cars have a long list of standard features with all the power options you would expect, as well as heated exterior mirrors. However the Elantra has Bluetooth and heated seats included in the GL package where as the Cruze does not. Advantage goes to Elantra.
Pricing and Financing: The Cruze has a slightly higher base price of $21,700 including freight and pdi, while the Elantra comes in at $20,944 including freight and pdi. For the cash buyer, the Elantra is the obvious choice. However if one chooses to finance the vehicle as the vast majority of buyers will, the Cruze takes the advantage with its available 84 month 0% offer available at the time of the writing of this article. On a monthly basis the Cruze ends up being about $12 a month cheaper. Advantage goes to Cruze.
Comfort and Convenience: Both the Cruze and the Elantra have a host of standard features that you would not have found on a compact car just a few years ago. These include heated exterior mirrors, iPod line in jacks and in the case of the Elantra heated seats. Both cars are very pleasant to drive and are well mannered. The Elantra has a great steering wheel that feels nice to grip with your hand. Both cars also have a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. In terms of interior noise levels the Cruze is the winner. It is remarkably quiet on the highway for a small car. Ride and handling also have to favor the Cruze due to its more advanced “z-link” rear suspension set up that improves handling and provides a better ride over bumpy roads. Advantage goes to Cruze.
Our winner: the Chevrolet Cruze. The Cruze is our winner by the smallest of margins but a winner none the less. It is one of the most refined and well priced cars you can buy for under $25,000.