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2018 Hyundai Elantra Buying Guide | Questions answered about a popular compact sedan

Autoblog answers all your questions about the 2018 Hyundai Elantra.

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The Elantra does everything you need in a small sedan well. It's roomy, easy-to-use, comfortable, and feature-packed. It even drives competently, but other competitors are better still to drive, and typically pack some extra style that the unassuming Hyundai lacks.

The Hyundai Elantra is a sensible small sedan that scores big when it comes to overall value and safety. But the 2018 Elantra won't get any pulses racing when it comes to driving excitement, or a look-at-me exterior. Rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda3 are simply more fun to drive, and the Civic in particular stands out with racy looks, but it's worth noting that the newer Elantra has made great strides in refinement and comfort compared to its predecessor.

Hyundai also offers the Elantra GT, a handy – and handsome – four-door hatchback. Since it was significantly updated for the 2017 model year, the 2018 Elantra receives only minor changes, focused primarily on available options on specific trim levels.

Here you'll find all the information needed to make an educated buying decision if you're considering a 2018 Hyundai Elantra, including safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing. We'll also summarize what Autoblog's professional auto reviewers think of the Elantra.

Is the 2018 Hyundai Elantra Safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 Hyundai Elantra an overall crash-test rating of four stars. In every crash test, the latest Elantra scored a four-star rating, though the NHTSA results do mention that rear passenger safety was compromised in the side barrier crash test. According to the NHTSA, this "simulates an intersection collision between a standing vehicle and moving barrier at 38.5 mph." During this test, the interior door panel intruded into the passenger compartment, raising the risk that a rear occupant could be injured – though the four-star rating remained.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which provides ratings for new vehicles based on its own comprehensive crash tests, has given the 2018 Hyundai Elantra its "Top Safety Pick+" award, the highest rating available.

The Elantra earned a "superior" rating for front crash prevention, along with "good" ratings in all but one of the IIHS' crash tests. Front passenger protection in the notoriously demanding small overlap test was deemed "acceptable." The Elantra also scored an "acceptable" rating for its LATCH anchors for child seats. Headlight performance, meanwhile, received a "good" rating.

Interestingly, the Elantra GT scored nearly identical safety ratings, but missed the coveted "Top Safety Pick+" award due to only scoring an "acceptable" rating (on certain trim levels) for the effectiveness of its headlights.

Ratings may differ for Elantras from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you're researching.

At the time of this writing, the 2018 Elantra is not listed as being part of any ongoing recalls.

Is the Elantra reliable?

J.D. Power most recently reviewed initial quality in the 2017 Elantra – which is almost identical to the 2018 model, excluding minor trim changes. It gave the Elantra sedan five out of five possible stars — a rating referred to as "among the best" — for overall quality, as well as overall design and quality in the "features and accessories" category.

The Elantra's scores did slip in other categories. J.D. Power gave the Elantra only three stars for overall powertrain quality, and body and interior mechanical quality. However, overall mechanical quality bounced back to a four-out-of-five-star rating.

A note about J.D. Power's methodology: we have some rather serious issues with the way it weights serious and less serious reliability issues. Read more about that here.

How much interior and cargo room does the Elantra have?

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra sedan seats up to five people, with 42.2 inches of front leg room and 35.7 inches in the backseat. Passengers get 38.8 inches of front head room and 37.3 inches in the rear seat. The Elantra GT offers the same 42.2 inches of front leg room as the sedan, but has slightly less space in the back, with 34.8 inches of backseat leg room. One benefit of the GT's more upright design is a small boost in overall headroom; 39.1 inches front, 38.5 inches rear.

The Elantra sedan offers 14.4 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats in the upright position. If hauling cargo is a priority, it's easy to see that the 24.9 cubic feet of trunk space in the Elantra GT is a clear winner. Fold the GT's rear seats down and you're greeted with a total of 55.1 cubic feet of cargo room.

For comparison, the 2018 Honda Civic sedan has a 15.1 cubic feet of cargo room with its folding rear seats in place.

Find 2018 Hyundai Elantra pricing, information, and even ones on sale near you.

What are the Elantra engines and specs?

The entry-level SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Limited trim level all come standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that generates 128 horsepower is standard on the fuel-miser Eco trim level, which comes coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Meanwhile, the Elantra Sport comes fitted with a more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that delivers a total of 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.

The Elantra GT comes standard with a 161 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with the more 201 hp 1.6-liter engine available on the Sport trim.

What fuel economy does the Elantra get?

Mileage varies slightly from model to model and depending on which transmission is chosen. The EPA rates the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder (fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox) model at 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway. Unsurprisingly given its name, the Eco trim level scores the best economy figures at 32 MPG. in the city and 40 MPG. on the highway. Meanwhile, an Elantra SEL fitted with a 6-speed automatic slots right in the middle, with a mileage rating of 28 MPG city and 37 MPG highway.

Is there a hybrid Elantra?

There is no hybrid version of the Elantra.

Does the Elantra have AWD?

All trim levels of the Elantra are front-wheel drive only.

What is the MSRP of the Elantra?

The 2018 Elantra has a starting MSRP of $16,950 for the SE trim and goes up to $22,900 for Sport trim level. An Elantra GT is slightly pricier, with a base MSRP of $19,350, while a GT Sport (fitted with an automatic gearbox) rings in at $24,350.

Use Autoblog's Smart Car Buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2018 Hyundai Elantra.

Can I read the latest review of the Elantra?

Autoblog tested the Elantra when it was brand new for the 2017 model year: With so little changed for 2018, these initial impressions still hold true for Hyundai's compact sedan. Executive editor David Gluckman said the new Elantra was better in every measurable way than its predecessor and praised the long list of both standard and optional features.

Overall ride quality and comfort were also noticeably improved – even if, as Gluckman pointed out, many Elantra owners would never push the limits of their car.

"Aside from the nicer interior and added features, the biggest strides were made in the car's ride and handling," he wrote. "Everything is much more composed, even when you're really pushing it, something most Elantra drivers will never do."

To get a sense of how the Elantra's closest competitors stack up, use our Compare Cars tool.

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Hyundai Elantra Information

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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