2017 Hyundai Elantra
Review of: 2017 Hyundai Elantra 4dr Sdn Man Sport
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport: Where “Sport” really means something
By G. R. Whale
Aug. 18, 2017
In a previous Elantra Limited review, we lamented the lack of a turbo option—strike that. Elantra Sport adds a turbo, and a bunch of other goodness, rather than badges and stripes, for not a whole lot of money.
Pros & Cons
- + Efficient performance
- + Usable technology
- + Understated styling
- - Rear seat space
- - Value for money
- - Steering feel
The Sport takes an already handsome, sleek shape and enhances it with blessed subtlety. A black grille houses a “turbo” badge so discreet most will miss it. The lower leading and trailing edges are slightly more aggressive, twin chrome tailpipes lurk curbside, and the chiselled and many-spoked 18-inch alloy wheels would look at home on a luxury sedan.
I’m even happier that Hyundai didn’t cheap out on the little things, like the painted sharkfin roof antenna that many leave black, HID headlamps for both high and low beams, LED door pocket lights, and a brown key housing rather than the ubiquitous black.
Of course the cabin’s upgraded with red stitching and faux carbon-composite-weave trim, but more points for the unique red anodized slice bottom of the D-shape heated wheel and leather seats with more grip. They’re manual, as is the tilt/telescope steering wheel with useful range, so fitment was quick, though I admit I looked for a lumbar adjustment only to find none.
The layout is standard Elantra, a good place to start and not mess with. Everything is easy to find, work, and live with, and I prefer this “40” side-folding rear seat behind the driver for enlarging the 407-litre trunk space (with hands-free opening and temporary-use spare under the floor). Alas, Elantra-based means it also has the same rear seat which, while comfortable for those who fit, doesn’t skew as large as in a Sentra or other, less-slick sedans.
In theory, you’ll never get lost with an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, works intuitively, and doesn’t require endless menu drill-down. There’s also an eight-speaker Infiniti sound system with Clari-Fi to recover some music data lost to compressed files, predictive rear camera and blind-spot warning (after five days without any false alerts, I had to purposely test if it was working), but not the forward collision warning/braking and lane-keeping offered on SE Elantras. No word yet on whether that’s because of cooling system packaging on the turbo or because Hyundai assumes more Sport drivers actually drive and pay attention.
If you consider technology’s mission to be making your life easier, you’ll like this.
This is Hyundai’s most amusing front-driver. Maybe not its fastest, but the one I’d pick if they were lined up in front of me.
Mind you, 201 hp is helpful, yet the 50 per cent bump in torque is more noticeable and negates any need for redline roaming. Specs say 195 lb-ft occurs at 4,500 rpm, but you’ll feel genuine urge at half those revs. Response is a little lifeless right off idle, but a little clutch-slip from rest and you’re good until tripping the limiter or being cuffed. The sound is better too, neither obnoxious nor artificial.
Clutch and shifter are light, not particularly precise but easy to manage in traffic, and the transmission’s geared for proper use, not idling along the expressway, about 2,700 showing at 115 kph. Despite manual ratings of 10.7/7.8 l/100km, my three-pedal cog-swapper beat the DCT’s 8.9/7.0 with 7.9 in town, 5.9 highway, and averaged 7.3. Filling pump and Google maps verified the trip computer was accurate.
Unique rear suspension and 225/40HR18 tires give the Sport better grip, turn-in, balance, and fun factor without destroying the ride. That’s taut and starched; the 18s don’t like bad roads and the GLI and Fiesta ST have more polished compliance and transitions, but they’re thousands more. Bigger brakes keep it all nicely in check, and the stability-control department got the “Sport” memo.
Negatives are quicker steering but little feedback, rough roads and high speeds aren’t quiet, and the upshift light has zero tolerance, illuminating the instant you lift right your foot to, ironically, shift up during hard acceleration.
Everything you’ve read so far comes standard on this $27,499 Sport, which is $1,300 less than a Limited Ultimate with turn-following headlights, active safety, and power driver seat with memory that the Sport doesn’t offer. A good value elsewhere maybe, but average by Hyundai’s well-equipped standards. A Sentra SR turbo is less luxury, refinement, and money. A not-so-fun 1.5 turbo CVT-only Civic EX-T without nav costs similar money (so an Si should be more), while the larger, more refined Jetta GLI DSG is $35,000.
Elantra Sport looks and drives a notch above, best summed up by one passenger’s comment: “I bought the wrong car, dude!” All we need now—if you’re taking requests, Hyundai—is a GT Sport to join the hot-hatch ranks.