2018 Elantra New Car Test Drive
Following a 2017 revamp of the Elantra lineup, Hyundai has introduced a new Elantra GT Sport hatchback for the 2018 model year. A new Elantra SEL trim level takes the place of the previous SE with a Popular Equipment Package. Otherwise, little has changed for 2018.
Offered in sedan and GT hatchback body styles, Elantra is a serious competitor among compacts, with sharp design, a roomy cabin, and abundant features. Its last major redesign was for the 2014 model year.
Elantra offers three engine choices. Base engine for both body styles is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which develops 147 horsepower in the sedan and 162 hp in the GT hatchback. Torque output is 137 or 150 pound-feet, respectively. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, but most Elantras are fitted with a fuel-thrifty 6-speed automatic transmission.
Sport trim levels in sedan and hatchback body styles share a peppy 1.6-liter turbo four, producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. As an alternative to manual shift, the turbo can mate with a smooth-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Finally, the Eco sedan gets a 1.4-liter turbo four, coupled to the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Differences between the sedan and the GT hatchbacks are significant, as the two body styles are not really related. Not only does the hatch offer greater cabin space, with more premium-looking finishes, but the GT Sport's suspension promises greater control.
Crash-test scores are incomplete. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the sedan only a four-star overall rating, with four stars for both frontal and side impacts. The 2017 hatchback got a five-star rating overall, but four stars in the frontal-impact test. No testing has been done on the 2018 GT hatchback.
For its crash-test program, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Electra sedan a Top Safety Pick+, based upon Good test scores. Unfortunately, that award applies only to the top Limited trim level, when fitted with advanced-safety options.
An optional suite of safety features includes blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Elantra 2.0L SE sedan comes with the 2.0-liter engine and manual ($16,950) or automatic ($17,950) transmission, 15-inch wheels, six-speaker audio, cloth upholstery, and a 3.5-inch screen. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $885 destination charge.)
Elantra 2.0L SEL sedan ($18,850) gets an automatic transmission, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 16-inch alloy wheels, rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, and Bluetooth. Blind-spot detection also is standard. Elantra 2.0L Value Edition sedan ($19,850) comes with an automatic transmission and features from the Limited, including a sunroof an heated front seats.
Elantra 2.0L Limited ($22,100) includes an automatic transmission, chrome trim, leather seating surfaces, BlueLink telematics, and 17-inch wheels. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation is optional.
Elantra 1.4T Eco sedan ($20,550) is similar to SEL, but with the 1.4-liter turbo engine, dual-clutch transmission, and smaller (15-inch) wheels to improve fuel economy.
Elantra 1.6T Sport comes with a more potent turbo engine and manual ($21,800) or automatic ($22,900) and is trimmed similar to Limited.
Elantra GT hatchback comes is similar in equipment to SEL sedan, with the 2.0-liter engine and 6-speed manual ($19,350) or automatic ($20,350) transmission; an 8.0-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and rearview camera are standard.
Elantra GT Sport hatch gets the 1.6-liter turbo engine with manual ($23,250) or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission ($24,350), along with a multi-link rear suspension and bigger brakes.