2012 Hyundai Elantra

According to AutoGuide.com, "In the fuel economy wars the Hyundai Elantra is now the unrivalled champion." AutoGuide says Hyundai’s new Elantra isn’t just winning praise, it’s topping multi-car comparisons, besting vehicles that have sat untouched at the top of the compact car pedestal for decades." With 29 city and 40 highway mpg., it's not just delivering great mileage, it's also more affordable too, and new buyers who are flocking to it say they love the superior handling and tight steering.

If you've visited a Hyundai dealership, you probably already know how popular these vehicles have become. They're booming. Hyundai's momentum is unwelcome news for Honda and Toyota, and many auto industry analysts say it's one of the reasons why Honda's recently redesigned Civic is already back in re-design mode.

The Wall Street Journal says Honda's in a rush to redesign a disappointing 2012 Honda Civic model and get the redesigned version launched later this year as the 2013 version.

The effort to improve the Civic is part of a broader push to regain competitive footing in the U.S. market, where Ford's Focus and Chevy's Cruze are also gaining market share.

At a December meeeting with Honda dealers, Tetsuo Iwamura, president of Honda America, said bluntly that Honda had erred with the Civic and had underestimated the models its competitors were developing to compete with it. "We produced a good car when we should have produced a great car," said Iwamura.

Honda has been criticized for producing a Civic that has many hard plastic parts in its interior and for ride and handling characteristics that fall short of earlier versions of the car. Perhaps worst of all, Consumer Reports left the Honda Civic off its closely watched "Recommended List".

According to one dealer who attended the December meeting where Iwamura spoke, Honda got kicked and has been humbled by negative reviews.

Will the Civics' redesign recapture its status as the preeminent vehicle for superior fuel economy? Reliability? Affordability? We'll see.