Hot hatches have come a long way since the original VW Golf GTI and its modest 110 PS (108 hp), 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine.
Nowadays, one can buy high-end hot hatches that deliver supercar performance and even base hot hatches have well over 200 horsepower. But while most customers enjoy the beefier styling of performance hatches, not all of them want the whole package — i.e. the thirsty powerful engines and harsh ride.
Automakers have figured that out and have started offering cars that split the gap between ordinary hatches and hot hatches. We’re talking about cars that look the part, but have less power and are geared towards everyday usability.
That’s not to say they’re underpowered, as this comparison between the 2019 Honda Civic Si and 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N Line proves. Okay, technically the Civic Si isn’t available with a hatchback body style, as Honda only offers it as a sedan and coupe. But the styling differences between the Civic sedan and the hatch are rather minor, so we’ll let this one slide.
The Civic Si packs a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 205 hp and 192 lb-ft (260 Nm) of torque. The Elantra GT N Line, on the other hand, is motivated by a 1.6-liter turbo-four producing 201 hp and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm) of torque. Both cars feature standard six-speed manual transmissions, sport suspensions and faster steering racks compared to the standard models. Even the prices are similar, at just under $25,000, which means this is a pretty close duel — on paper, at least.
Obviously, the side-by-side comparison reveals some key differences, including the fact that the Civic Si packs a limited-slip differential as standard. Check out the following video to see what else sets these two apart.