This Car Review Is About: The latest version of Hyundai’s long running Elantra, formerly Lantra, nameplate. It’s a small mid-sizer sedan and recently was given a mild facelift. It’s a sister car to the Kia Cerato and comes in a four tier, two engine, manual or DCT auto range. The range consists of Go, Active, Sport, and Sport Premium.Under The Bonnet Is: A 1.6L turbo in our test car, with a seven speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), with manual shift options driving the front wheels. There’s a fair bit of oomph available here, with 150kW @ 6,000rpm, and torque of 265Nm between 1,500rpm to 4,500rpm. It’s EURO V compliant and runs on standard E10 unleaded. Our overall average was 7.1L on a mainly urban cycle with Hyundai quoting 7.0L/100km for the combined, a far too high 9.9L/100km on the urban, and 5.8L/100km for the highway. On one highway run the fuel meter appeared to indicate just 4.9L/100km.
The other engine is a 112kW/192Nm 2.0L MPI and a six speed manual the other transmission. Fuel tank is 50.0L.How Much Does It Cost?: The Go kicks off the range at a very nice $20,990 driveaway for the manual, $2K more for the auto. Premium paint is $495. Add $5,000 for the Active before the Sport starting at $32,600 and the Sport Premium at $35,200.
On The Outside Is: A familiar shape, with a refreshed front and rear. It’s the front that has received the most attention and it’s a personal taste thing. It’s not unpleasing, by any measure, but there are a couple of angular aspects that seem at odds with the otherwise curvaceous body. The front lamps have been refined to a sharp triangle with LED driving lights housed within. the Sport also has a full suite of LED main lights. The sharpest point on the triangle now goes inside the “Cascading Grille” which sits between “Z” shaped supports, which on the Sport house the indicator lamps.The bonnet runs back to a steeply raked windscreen before finishing in the familiar coupe-style rear windowline. The rear lights have also had the makeover wand waved, with these also slightly sharper and a leading edge further into the rear flanks and bootlid. A pair of side skirts and a pair of crease lines on each side add some extra visual appeal. The windows themselves are shallow yet from the inside still offer plenty of breadth for vision.
Our test car came supplied with truly stunning alloys, with a crossover two by ten spoke design in silver and black. Michelin supply the Pilot Sport 225/40/18 rubber and they’re superbly grippy and absorbent. Sheetmetal was in Pearl White. This colour perhaps highlights the lithe profile of the Elantra, masking its surprisingly long 4,650mm length. That’s helped by a diminutive 1,450mm height. There’s plenty of shoulder room (1,427mm/1,405mm) thanks to 1,800mm in width.On The Inside Is: An interior familiar to anyone with exposure to the Korean brands. However, in the Sport, Hyundai have gone for a bit of spice with red leather on the seats and door inserts (a $295 option), a flat bottomed leather clad steering wheel with red alignment stripe, and alloy pedals. The red looks and feels great, and breaks up an otherwise solidly black colour scheme. By the way, the seats are manually adjusted, not powered, nor are they vented or heated. The Sport is push button Start/Stop. When it comes to indicating, here there’s something that isn’t 100% safety conducive. The spec sheet says the indicators are a soft touch setup, with 3, 5, or 7 flashes. AWT fully supports a setup that has no option than on or off, as far too many drivers don’t provide the required “satisfactory indication” in lane changing. This also applies to the headlight switch. Auto should be the minimum, with no Off option.The dash is as cleanly laid out as you can get, with space between tabs and buttons, white print on the black background, and an in-dash, not on-dash, eight inch touchscreen. the driver’s dials are analogue, bracketing the now standard info screen activated via steering wheel controls. The aircon controls have had their housing revamped and to use them is an exercise in simplicity. Underlying the screens and tastefully chrome trimmed air vents is a strip of carbon-fibre look material joining each side.Familiarity comes in the form of a pair of 12V sockets and a USB port directly below the aircon controls, a U-shaped surround for the gear selector and a button housed here for the drive modes. There are air vents but no USB ports for the rear passengers. They also have up to 906mm of rear leg room, with 947mm of head room. Cargo space is a minimum of 458L and the boot is operated via the key fob.The audio system is DAB compatible and the speakers are from Infinity. It’s an impressive setup and really showcases the clarity of DAB in full reception areas. Naturally Bluetooth streaming is standard, as are the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay apps. There is no smartphone charge pad (Premium has it) and no electric parking brake. That last one, personally, isn’t a deal breaker. What is a niggle is the boot lid release mechanism. Although the fob has a button, it’s also supposedly engineered to wireless release the lid by standing behind the car for a hands-free operation. This, though, has to be enabled via the Menu system in the car. A few tries and not one successful activation. The interior handle also failed to pop the lid. When opened though, the cargo floor can be lifted to reveal the space saver spare.On The Road It’s:Fluid in the way the engine and transmission work. The caveat here seems to apply to just about every DCT driven of late: it needs to warm up before it’s as smooth and slick as the technology promises. In this car, from a cold start, it was noticeably jerky and hesitant, and also exhibits the typical gap between engagements of Reverse to Drive or Park to Drive. Getting off the line also showcased the issue with DCTs, with minimal engagement seeing a slow pace before the clutches engage.
Once everything is working, it’s as it should be. And, again, the gears are better for changing by using the manual shift option. It’s a crisper, more reactive, change, and the computers even allow changes at lower rev points from the engine. That 265Nm doesn’t seem a lot, but considering a 2.0L turbo averages 350Nm, and the weight of the Elantra Sport starts at just under 1,400kg, it’s plenty to keep the performance percolating. It’s a free and willing spinner, the 1.6L, and well proven in other cars across the Hyundai and Kia range.
The three drive modes were largely ignored as Normal, the default, is far better than adequate. Eco would suit any long distance highway drive but Sport, ironically, is virtually redundant unless punting the Elantra Sport in a track day environment. The steering is fingertip perfect, with a weighting that is Goldilock’s porridge. The same applies to the suspension. As always, Hyundai’s engineers spend months sorting spring and shock combinations, and it shows. The MacPherson strut and multi-link rear are supple, compliant, reactive to body movement instantly meaning body roll is non existent, and the usual minor road imperfections are disappeared. It’s deft and adept, and offers sharp handling without compromising comfort.Rough roads have the short tyre-wall Michelins humming through noise, but on the newer and smooth blacktop, it’s quiet. The Sport lives up to its name with these tyres, with maximum grip in the tighter corners, and almost non-existent understeer at normal driving velocities. Go harder in legal situations and there’s no doubt at all that these tyres will be there and have your back. this same exuberant driving allows the free spinning engine to breathe and dump its spent gasses with a bit of rasp. It’s subtle but adds a bit of aural backup to the Sport nameplate.
When it comes to safety, the active Lane Keep Assist is perhaps a little too willing to move the tiller. It’s not a gentle pull, it’s a toddler’s impatient tug on the trouser leg, and can catch lesser experienced drivers unaware. However it’s easily switched off via a tab near the driver’s right knee.
What About The Safety?: Along with the aforementioned Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning is standard, as is Forward Collision Avoidance Assistance for city and urban drives. The spec sheet doesn’t state that Autonomous Emergency Braking or Smart Cruise Control are available.
Warranty And Service Are?: Five years as standard for the warranty however Hyundai are (at the time of writing) offering a seven year warranty. Hyundai also offer prepaid servicing which is factored into the purchase price. The Hyundai website has more information.At The End Of the Drive: It’s a great four seater and an excellent family car. There’s plenty of performance, grip, and the edgy good looks complement the drive, plus draw the eye. The DCT is a corker when warmed up and using the manual shift but still has the same DCT hiccups found anywhere these gearboxes exist. It’s well priced and with the added (at the time of writing) appeal of an extra two years warranty, should be on the shopping list for anyone looking for a very competent small to medium sedan.