The compact sedan segment is flooded with options to choose from. Which kind of sucks considering that hatchbacks and wagons are far superior in both style and versatility. But for those who prefer the three-box design, the Hyundai Elantra maybe one of those options worth looking further into. If a Toyota Corolla doesn’t tickle your fancy.
The Elantra offers three engine options; the standard 2-liter four-cylinder offers decent flexibility and will be the engine that mainstream Elantras come equipped with. Eco models get a 1.4 turbocharged four-cylinder. It doesn’t have as much horsepower as the 2-liter but it makes up for that with 156lb-ft torque available at a low 1400rpm for more flexibility around town and on the highway. Plus this engine running costs are much lower than the 2-liter. Those who want a bit more sport will find the 1.6 turbo engine offers plenty of get up and go punch. It’s odd that this engine isn’t offered in the Limited trim as well, considering that the Limited trim is the most expensive of the range.
The Elantra we had as a tester for majority of the review was the Eco model which was the most impressive of the range. It didn’t feel sluggish at all and the engine’s high torque means that acceleration is pretty peppy considering a 128hp vs 147hp deficit. Handling is more on the neutral side and steering is almost as if it just lost all communication from the front wheels. There’s almost no feedback when desired and doesn’t really encourage you to drive enthusiastically, which sucks even more because the Sport trim begs for a firmer suspension and better steering. Refinement is actually quite good, there’s almost no wind and road noise to complain of. The seven-speed automatic in our tester car isn’t all that great but it really isn’t a deal breaker either.
One thing that I loathe about sedans is that they are very awkwardly designed and it makes parking such a chore. The Elantra however isn’t really the case here. It’s compact size makes parking pretty easy, with visibility being quite good. The front seats aren’t all that comfortable though and the infotainment system can be a little fussy at times, but it’s not all bad news. The rear seat does offer decent space for three and the boot space is generous too, but the old fashioned trunk hinges does eat into cargo space. Interior materials used are good and overall feel of the plastics used aren’t completely rubbish, but they aren’t the best either.
SE trim comes standard with Driver’s Blind spot mirror, remote keyless entry with alarm and driver’s knee airbag. Value Edition adds dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and hands-free smart trunk. Eco trim adds a 7-speed automatic, automatic headlight control, rearview parking camera and push button ignition switch. Sport adds LED taillights, sport front seats with leather seating surfaces and sporty exterior styling. Limited trim gets LED daytime running lamps, dual charging USB ports, Android/Apple CarPlay integration, blind spot detection and 7-inch infotainment display.
The Elantra does offer good value for the money. It may not be as sharp to drive as the Mazda 3 or as roomy as a Volkswagen Jetta. But for the money you are getting a pretty good vehicle overall, we just wish the Sport trim had better steering feedback and the Limited Trim came with the 1.6 turbo also. The Elantra however is worthy of your short list if a small sedan is a must.
Likes: Great value for the money, Eco trim has lowest running costs. It’s hard to fault it.
Dislikes: Resale value is still iffy. Limited trim hard to justify with no turbo engine, and when you compare it to the Value Edition it makes even less sense. Steering feedback could be better.
Devon’s Pick: We’d choose the Eco model because it’s decently priced, offers low running costs and seems like the better deal. However, the Value Edition is also worth considering too if you can’t justify the Limited trim.