i would vote for Civic. The new Civic is hot and IMHO does not look cheaper than the Elantra. Elantra's free flow design is all over the board and cheap plasticy interior is nasty as shit.
If it was the mini cooper S then different story, but you can't get a nicely loaded mini for 25k. last but not least, mini is german owned but i believe the enjine is French made by PSA Peugeot CitroŽn citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_(marque