The Elantra's trim structure has been completely overhauled for the latest model year, but the fundamental car remains unchanged.
Once a stand-out design in its segment, the Elantra now boasts a more conservative, mature look. The fluidic sculpting of the earlier model has been reshaped to a more angular, aggressive look similar to that of its larger sibling, the Hyundai Sonata.
The Elantra recently received a substantial interior overhaul, but even that was not spared by the most recent model refresh. The dashboard has been reworked with higher-mounted, more effective air vents along with more user-friendly stereo and HVAC controls. All Elantras save the base model gain a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen audio system and a rearview camera as standard equipment, depending on whether you option for models with navigation.
Hyundai's useful Blue Link telematics service is also available on the Elantra, bringing with it a wide variety of function and services like voice text messaging, point-of-interest web search and download, automatic collision notification, and remote vehicle unlocking in addition to traffic, weather, restaurant and nearby gas station information.
Interior space remains plentiful, with a slightly confining roofline that impedes second-row headroom being the Elantra's only flaw when it comes to passenger comfort. Trunk space measures a midsize sedan-rivaling 14.4 cubic feet.
Cabin noise levels are down for the latest model year due to a plethora of NVH-combating measures, including extra A-pillar foam, a full underbody cover and anti-vibration dash panel material.
Power and handling
The Elantra SE and Limited come standard with a two-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. This engine can be paired to either a six-speed manual (SE only) or a revised six-speed automatic.
The SE has been rated at 29 mpg city, 38 highway and 33 combined when matched to the automatic. Manual transmission models are rated at 26 mpg city, 36 highway and 31 combined. Limited models (automatic only, but fitted with larger wheels/tires), split the difference at 28 mpg city, 37 highway and 32 combined.
Like other models within the Hyundai lineup, an Eco trim is available for the new Elantra. This trim features Hyundai's 1.4L, turbocharged GDI four-cylinder which produces 128 horsepower and 156lb-ft of torque mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Hyundai is projecting a combined rating of 35 MPG for this variant.
The Elantra's chassis is typical of the value end of the compact segment. The front suspension is a MacPherson strut setup and features disc brakes. In the rear, you'll find a torsion-beam suspension and either drum brakes (SE, Eco) or discs (Limited).
Sport models are the exception to this. Powered by a hotted-up version of the 1.6L turbo-four, they boast 201 horsepower and 195lb-ft of torque. They are also equipped with a fully independent rear suspension and are offered with either automatic or manual transmissions.
Trim level breakdown
Hyundai offers the Elantra in five different trims—Se, SEL, Eco, Limited and Sport. A "Value Edition" model based on the SEL bundles additional popular equipment.
The SE comes standard with front disc and rear drum brakes, drive mode select (on automatic transmission vehicles only), 15" steel wheels, a driver-side blind spot mirror, projector headlamps with DRLs, power side mirrors, remote keyless entry, cloth seating, AC, a six-way manual driver's seat with height adjustment (driver and passenger), a 60/40 split folding rear seat, a temporary spare tire, and a AM/FM/Satellite/CD/MP3 audio system with USB input and a 3.5" display.
The SEL adds seven-inch display audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, 16" alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, heated side mirrors and Bluetooth hands-free phone operation.
The Value Edition adds on a power sunroof, LED DRLs, heated front seats, and a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Eco trim is available exclusively with the 1.4L, turbocharged engine and seven-speed DCT. It is otherwise equipped similarly to the SE model with the Popular Equipment and Tech packages with some exceptions where appropriate for fuel savings. For example, the Eco comes with 15" alloy wheels, rather than the SEL's 16-inch offering.
The Limited trim is almost loaded. It comes standard with four-wheel disc brakes, 17" alloy wheels, mirror-mounted turn signal indicators, LED tail lamps, chrome exterior trim, leather seating surfaces, a power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, Hyundai's Blue Link connectivity suite and dual USB charging.
A Tech package is also available for the Limited. It upgrades the touchscreen to an 8" unit with navigation; adds Infinity audio with 8 speakers and Clari-fi music restoration tech; bumps the center cluster screen up to a 4.2-inch unit; and adds a power sunroof, heated rear seats and an auto-dimming interior mirror.
The Ultimate package is the Elantra's all-in spec. It adds HID head lamps, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and driver's seat and side mirror memory.
The Elantra Sport is almost a model unto itself. In addition to its unique engine and independent rear suspension, the Sport gets revised front and rear fasciae and unique wheels. Equipment-wise, it is specced similarly to the Value Edition (which is in turn based on the SEL).
All Elantra models come standard with dual front, front side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
A rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection are available on various grades or with packages.