Honda Civic Si vs. Hyundai Veloster N: 0-60 Times, Price, Specs & More

Honda Civic Si vs. Hyundai Veloster N: 0-60 Times, Price, Specs & More

It's not a perfect comparison to put the 2020 Honda Civic Si up against the 2020 Hyundai Veloster N. The Veloster N doesn't have any exact equals in the field of small performance cars. So sometimes it's going to be the underdog — like if we ran it against the more powerful and more expensive Honda Civic Type R — and other times it'll have the edge, like it does here against the Civic Si. 

Still, these two cars are close enough to make the comparison interesting. The Veloster N has an under-$30,000 starting price and a unique three-door hatchback style. Honda doesn't offer the Civic Si as a hatchback, but the two-door coupe (which sadly won't be back for 2021) projects a similar small-and-sassy sports car vibe. It checks in around $26,000.

So, Civic Si versus Veloster N. Which one wins?

Jump to compare: Price | 0-60 & Top Speed | Horsepower & MPG | Transmission | Interior | Model History | The Verdict: Edmunds Says

Price Comparison: 2020 Civic Si vs. 2020 Hyundai Veloster N

In a race to empty your wallet, the Hyundai Veloster N will get there first by about $5,000. One of the selling points for the Civic Si is that it's pretty much a complete package. There aren't too many options to bump up the price, so you get the driver assist features, a premium audio system, and upgraded interior and exterior details as part of the Si trim. The Civic Si's MSRP for our test car, including destination, came to $26,155.

The Hyundai's Performance package over the base Veloster N is a $2,100 option, so the Veloster N's MSRP of $27,600 jumps to $30,675 with destination. Still a deal, but you can no longer brag about getting an under-$30K number.

2020 Hyundai Veloster N.

2020 Hyundai Veloster N.

0-60 Times and Top Speed: 2020 Civic Si vs. 2020 Hyundai Veloster N

Let's start our competition with straightforward, straight-ahead numbers: 0-60, quarter-mile and top speed.

The Civic Si accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. The Veloster N jumped way ahead with a 0-60 mph sprint of only 6 seconds. Nothing changed down the track. The Veloster N crossed the finish line first at 98 mph for a 14.3-second quarter-mile time. The Civic Si trailed behind, taking 15.2 seconds to cover the same distance and peaking at 91.4 mph.

We ran out of test track before we could discover top speeds for either car, but Honda says the Civic Si tops out at 137 mph. The Veloster N? It'll get up to 155 mph, Hyundai says.

It should come as no surprise that the Si lost the drag race every time — that's what happens when you're missing 70 horsepower. What is surprising is that the lighter Civic posted virtually identical 60-0 mph braking performance as the Veloster and actually had better lateral acceleration around our skidpad during handling testing. That's why we test — to find out where cars perform as expected, and where they surprise us. Though it may be slower on the straight, the Si's value shines in the corners.

Horsepower, Specs and MPG: 2020 Civic Si vs. 2020 Hyundai Veloster N

We knew going in that the Civic Si was underpowered compared to the Veloster N. The Hyundai's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque in the standard Veloster N. Add the optional Performance package and that rises to 275 hp. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard.

There are no power upgrades for the Civic Si, so you're looking at 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque from its 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Just as on the Veloster N, a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard.

OK, so the Civic Si's power is down about 34% compared to the Veloster N. Can it make it up by being lighter? Our test Civic Si's curb weight was 2,886 pounds. The Veloster N tipped the scales at 3,086 pounds. That 200-pound difference helps, but it's not enough.

The Honda Civic Si is the more frugal of the two. It gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg in combined driving (26 city/36 highway). Not bad for how much fun it is. The Hyundai pays for its power with a drop in efficiency: The EPA estimates you'll get 25 mpg (22 city/29 highway).

Transmission Comparison: 2020 Civic Si vs. 2020 Veloster N

Both cars are front-wheel-drive, and both put the power down through a six-speed manual transmission. That tremendously adds to the fun quotient. Matching up two stick shifts for our race meant that a talented driver in a Civic could beat a sloppy hand in the Veloster.

Unfortunately for the Civic, nobody made any mistakes in the Hyundai. That's all the more impressive because getting a good launch out of the Veloster is tricky. The line between spinning the tires and bogging the engine is a fine one, and it gets finer as the 19-inch Pirelli P Zero tires warm up. However, once the Veloster is in motion, its shifter accepts fast changes without hanging up or hesitating.

The Civic is easier to launch, with a sweet spot around 3,000 rpm that scoots it forward with just a little hop and fizz. When it comes to the shift to second gear, though — oh my, things get tragic. Unlike many performance stick shifts, the Civic Si won't let you bang the gears quickly, which is not only physically unsatisfying but also slows you down. In the long run you'll probably appreciate a longer drivetrain life, but living out your Fast & Furious dreams will have to wait ... or be transferred over to the Veloster.

2020 Honda Civic Si.

2020 Honda Civic Si.

Interior Comparison: Civic Si vs. Veloster N

The Civic and the Veloster have their fair share of economical plastic, but both have a few special interior details that highlight their sporty natures, such as Si badging on the Civic sport seats and red accents on the dash and stitching. Red makes it faster.

The Civic Si coupe has comfortable seats front and rear, although rear-seat air vents would be a welcome addition. (The Veloster doesn't have them either, so at least they're evenly matched there.) The controls in the Si are easy to use and will be familiar to any Civic owner. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration comes standard and displays on a 7-inch touchscreen. The touchscreen, though, looks a little small and has dated graphics.

The Veloster's interior is smart and well packaged but not particularly exciting. It's a bit dark and plain for a car with a roof-mounted wing. The Veloster does get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an LED shift light in the gauge cluster. The controls are all well placed for ease of use at least, and Hyundai's infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a larger 8-inch touchscreen.

Planning on hauling stuff? The Civic Si coupe's trunk doesn't offer quite the voluminous space of a Civic hatchback's trunk, but the 11.9 cubic feet is very usable. Like all Hondas, the Civic has small-item storage down to a science with movable cupholders, cubby dividers and giant door pockets.

The Veloster's cargo area is generously sized for a small car. There's 19.9 cubic feet available behind the rear seats. But you'll have to lift items to clear the high trunk opening.

History and Significance: Civic Si vs. Veloster N

Honda introduced the idea of a sporty Civic in 1985 with the U.S. debut of the two-door Civic CRX Si. Honda dropped the CRX badge from the fifth generation of the Civic in 1992 but then formally introduced the Civic Si hatchback for the U.S. that year.

For each new Civic generation, the Si variant has become more powerful. Honda has also introduced new body styles for the Si such as the sedan and coupe.

The Veloster doesn't have the long history of the Civic Si, but it's been a popular choice since its introduction in 2011. Hyundai amped up the Veloster with the introduction of the N version for the second-generation model that debuted for 2019.

Edmunds Says

From a pure straight-line performance perspective, the Hyundai Veloster N is the clear winner. How could it not be with its added power and quicker-shifting transmission? Honda fans can take comfort in knowing that a matchup with the Si's more powerful sibling, the Honda Civic Type R, would completely swap the results.

And what about when you're not at the drag strip? For all-around appeal, we'd give the value win to the Civic Si. It has better fuel mileage and a smaller price tag. It also has a slight advantage in seat comfort over the Veloster N. That's not to say the Veloster N isn't a solid choice as a daily driver. Both these cars would make excellent entries into manual-transmission ownership and are fun enough to make a convert out of the most die-hard slushbox fan. The real question is: Why aren't there more cars like this?