2018 Hyundai Elantra Review

Elantra

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2018 Hyundai Elantra Overview

Hyundai has made great strides in the past decade to bring its vehicles from underdogs to frontrunners in their respective fields. One shining example is the 2018 Elantra, a compact sedan that delivers in spades and has become one of the most compelling cars in its class. New for 2018 is the SEL trim, which is slotted just above the base SE trim and offers a number of appealing high-tech and safety features.

Though the Hyundai Elantra has been around since 1990, it didn’t become a serious contender until the fifth-generation model was introduced in 2010. Hyundai stepped up its game once more for the sixth generation in 2016, which has carried over to the 2018 model. The Elantra is also offered as a separate sporty hatchback model, the Elantra GT, which receives a full redesign for 2018.

For a compact car, the Elantra makes a rather impressive visual statement. A large trapezoidal grille flanked by menacingly raked headlights displays hints of Ford Fusion or Audi A4 influence, and at the rear, handsome taillights round out the upscale look. Lifting the sculpted rear trunk lid reveals 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space.

The Elantra offers a thoughtful, attractive, well laid-out interior that feels like the cabin of a much more expensive vehicle. Bolstered seats and the tight binnacle for the instrument panel give off a performance-focused look, and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat provides extra cargo versatility.

Trims for the Elantra sedan include the SE, SEL, Value Edition, Eco, Sport, and Limited. The base SE comes standard with Bluetooth hands-free connectivity with voice control, USB and Aux audio inputs, and an easy-to-read 3.5-inch TFT cluster display. The all-new SEL trim adds dual automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, proximity-key entry with push-button start, a 6-speaker stereo with HD Radio and SiriusXM, and a 7-inch touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Value Edition comes with a power sunroof, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with a built-in compass. The fuel-saving Eco trim is mainly distinguished by its engine capabilities and offers most of the same features as the Value Edition.

Moving up the Elantra trim lineup, the Sport adds a number of sporty appearance upgrades such as extra chrome trimming, LED taillights, a unique grille, leather sport seats with red contrast stitching, and a flat-bottom steering wheel. Finally, the range-topping Limited features dual USB charging ports, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, and an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation.

The Elantra SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Limited models are powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine making 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Eco trim receives a turbocharged 1.4-liter I4 good for 128 hp and 156 lb-ft, while the Sport is equipped with a turbo 1.6-liter I4 with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft. Power is sent to the front wheels via a choice of three transmissions—a 6-speed manual transmission comes standard on the SE and Sport trims; a 6-speed automatic is standard on the SEL, Value Edition, and Limited and available on the SE; and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) comes standard on the Eco trim and is optional on the Sport.

Fuel economy for the Elantra SE is 26 mpg city, 36 highway, and 29 combined with the manual and 29, 38, and 33. Other trims equipped with the 2.0-liter engine will do 28, 37, and 32, while the fuel-efficient Eco boasts figures of 32, 40, and 35. The Sport gets 22, 30, and 25 with the manual and 26, 33, and 29 with the automatic.

Standard safety features include front and side impact airbags, a tire-pressure monitoring system, vehicle stability management, and a LATCH child-seat anchoring system. The base SE also comes with helpful wide-angle blind-spot mirrors, a clever low-tech solution to blind spots. You’ll have to move up to the SEL to get the reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, but you’ll also receive blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. The highest-tech safety features like lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control are only available as options on the range-topping Limited trim.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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