For 2018, Hyundai celebrates the sixth-generation Elantra with all-new powertrains.
Since its 1990 origin, Hyundai's Elantra has been noteworthy for economy and price.
The 2018 edition emphasizes those strengths. Fuel (regular unleaded) usage ranges from 25 to 40 miles per gallon. Engines develop 147 or 201 horsepower. Transmissions are manual or automatic. Prices range from $16,950 to $23,250. If buyers take advantage of a current manufacturer offer, $2,500 will be knocked off the price of any of the six models.
For example, a recently tested $23,250 top-of-the-line GT Sport model with the 201 horsepower engine mated to a stick transmission would cost $20,750. That does not include state tax, registration fee and license plate.
The price includes reasonable comforts. Notable are cruise control, intermittent wipers, a six-speaker sound system, AM-FM radio (presets), MP3 player, iPod, dual USB ports, smartphone and auxiliary input jacks. Bluetooth (hands-free telephone), Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. Power features include driver's seat, windows (one-touch driver), heated exterior mirrors (with redundant turn signal indicators) and door locks.
Elantra features a sleek body design that is wider by one-inch., with a more athletic stance that accentuates a sweeping side window silhouette. Available premium features such all-new LED door handle approach lights, side mirror LED turn signal indicators and LED taillights with high tech graphics add a level of sophistication and detail to this class-above compact sedan.
The GT Sport's inclusions also are a navigation system, satellite radio, eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system, Blue Link telematics system, free Connected Care for three years, Blue Link remote package free for three years. There are dual auto temperature controls; automatic dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink and compass on the GT. Wheels are 18- and not 17-inchers. Tires are wider and brake rotors are larger compared to the other Elantra models. For the first time, Elantra offers an eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system, including a center speaker and subwoofer.
The exhaust system provides a purring sound rather than silence. In the cabin, dark leather is stitched in red and the headliner is black. The suspension system is harder, the steering tighter. Headlights are HID, taillights and daytime running lights LEDs. Trim differences from other models include a more aggressive look in front (modest raised hood for spoiler effect), diffusers (underbody shaped to improve air flow) front and rear and side sill extensions.
During the test weeks, transmission shifts were slick and the power was instantaneous. With one person aboard in combined highway and city driving, fuel usage averaged 28.7 miles per gallon. The Environmental Protection Agency gives the GT Sport a combined city-highway average of 25 mpg. Different drivers get different results. Some drive sensibly, some do not.
When the rear seats are folded, storage expands to 55 cubic feet, which surpasses the compact hatchback competition.
Elantra's hands-free smart trunk allows drivers to conveniently open the trunk if their hands are full by simply approaching the rear of the vehicle with the key fob in a purse or pocket.
Competition comes from Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Suabru Impreza, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, and Kia Forte.
Exclusive to Elantra is the offer of memory for two for positions of driver's seat and exterior mirrors plus heated rear seats.
Once during the test weeks with the clutch pedal pushed in and another foot on the brake (the usual ignition start procedure) an effort was made to start the engine by pushing the pushbutton. Nothing happened and the reason was this. On the information panel there was a message. The driver's seatbelt also had to be attached. Once it was attached, the engine started. It is a neat safety feature. In short, the car will not start if one foot is not depressing the clutch, another touching the brake and seat belts are not fastened.
Do not expect perfection with the ride. The ride is OK but far from perfect. Bumps and imperfect roads will be felt. Buyers should not expect an electronic suspension system cushioning a ride such as in more expensive vehicles. The suspension system is standard and basic with coil springs, struts and multilinks.
Vehicle: GT Sport model of 2018 Hyundai Elantra
Type: front-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger compact hatchback
Engine: 1.6-liter, 201-horsepower turbocharged, dual overhead cam four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual
Fuel tank: 14 gallons
Tires (225), alloy wheels: 18 inches
Wheelbase, length, width, height, ground clearance in inches: 106.3 , 179.9, 71, 57, 5.3
Leg room in inches: 42.2 front, 35.7 rear
Trunk: 55 cubic feet maximum
Weight: 3,042 pounds
Suspension: struts, coil springs front, torsion beam and multi-link rear, stabilizer bar front and rear
Brakes: discs front, rear
Safety: blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, antilock brakes, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, tire pressure monitoring system, stability and traction controls, airbags in front, front sides, driver's knee and overhead for two rows, seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters in front, lower anchors and tethers for child seats, remote keyless entry with alarm
Assembly: Ulsan, Korea
Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles with roadside assistance, 10 years or 100,000 miles powertrain