Hyundai has redesigned the four-door Elantra compact sedan for 2017 with a fresh, new classy look outside, a choice of three new engines, a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a more-upscale interior, improved ride quality, and lots of new technology.
The three engines include a base 2.0-liter, a turbocharged 1.4-liter tuned for fuel economy, and a sporty1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder designed to raise pulses.
Elantra comes in five trims – SE, Value Edition, Eco, Limited, and Sport – with prices ranging from $17,150 to $22,750.
Three transmissions are available, depending on the trim chosen – a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic ($1,000 more), and a seven-speed dual-clutch ($1,100 extra).
My tester was an eye-catching Ceramic White Sport ($22,750), riding on impressive Sport-specific 18-inch alloy wheels with 10 split spokes – five chiseled, painted silver; five sculpted, painted dark gray/gunmetal – wearing ultra-high-performance all-season tires.
It was powered by the 201 horsepower Gamma 1.6-liter Turbo-GDI inline four-cylinder engine, 54 horses more than the naturally aspirated Elantra. My Sport had the optional seven-speed DCT with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The manual six-speed gearbox is standard.
Sport’s unique appearance sets it apart from its peers, starting with the large black hexagonal grille, outlined with gloss black, with chrome-trimmed horizontal fins and a subtle red-lettered Turbo badge. The same split chrome strip underlines the large black faux intake below a horizontal line of LED daytime running lights, with solid chrome extending up and around the lights.
Unique inner housings for the standard HID headlights – with chrome and red details – stood out in the Sport-exclusive front fascia.
Aggressive side-sill extensions led the eye to the rear fascia with Sport-specific LED taillights in a unique housing, and duel chrome-tipped exhaust outlets in the gloss black diffuser insert with chrome trim strip, accented by red reflectors around the outer edge of the bumper.
Elantra Sport is offered in six exterior colors with simple names – Electric Blue, Silver, Black, Red, Gray, and Ceramic White – with Black Leather interior. The other trims have up to eight exterior and five interior choices including cloth and leather in Gray, Beige, and Black.
The heated Black Leather Sport front seats were heavily bolstered, with red stitching and “Sport” embroidered on the upper seatbacks. The front console/armrest, leather shifter boot, rear seats, and large flat-bottomed leather-wrapped steering wheel had the same red stitching, and the steering wheel had a red strip in the center of the lower edge.
Carbon-fiber-look trim separated the upper dash from the lower dash, running under the Sport instrument cluster and the navigation screen, continuing to the upper door, between the windowsill and the door panel. A Black headliner and alloy Sport pedals finished the exclusive interior. Red needles on the gauges and red stitching are the only nods to color in the Sport trim. A power sunroof, included in a Premium Package, provided a break from the dark interior.
Elantra Sport has only one available option, the Premium Package ($2,400), which brings an eight-inch navigation system; Infinity Premium Audio with eight speakers including a center channel and subwoofer; Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology; Hyundai Blue Link Connected Car System with Connected Care trial and Remote Start trial; Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert; Dual Automatic Temperature Control; and Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror with HomeLink and Compass.
Hyundai’s intuitive AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM audio system, upgraded by the Premium Package, came standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Blue Link Connected Car is a set of OnStar-like services, including remote start, Geofencing and remote speed and curfew alerts. Dual USB chargers and one USB data port, and Bluetooth hands-free phone were also standard.
Connected Care includes Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, Service Link (to schedule a service appointment) and Monthly Vehicle Health Report (simplify maintenance with a vehicle health evaluation sent to email or mobile app).
Remote Access allows Remote Start, Remote Lock/Unlock, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery using a smartphone from virtually anywhere. Destination Search by Google allows voice search for an address, point of interest, or category, while POI Web Search and Download sends results directly to the vehicle via web or mobile app.
Clari-Fi is a patented music-restoration algorithm for all compressed audio formats, which restores sound information that has been lost in the compression process, applying only the amount of correction needed – a great deal of correction to low-res sources such as satellite radio, and none to a high quality CD.
A 60/40 folding rear seatback allowed hauling of shelving, although the sedan body wouldn’t allow wide or tall items such as wallboard or an office chair. The trunk provided 14.4 cubic feet of storage – near the top of the class. A hands-free Smart Trunk and low liftover height made it easy to load heavy bags of cat food and litter.
Sport is more than an appearance package, with sport-tuned suspension and steering, bigger brakes, and the more-powerful turbocharged engine. The car’s exhaust note also matches the power hidden under the muscular exterior, with a satisfying snarl. Muffler tuning and less baffling in the intake system, as well as porous material utilized in the air intake pipe give the Sport an authentic, sporty sound straight from the factory.
My Hyundai Sport was a fun daily driver with lots of style, plenty of power for highway merging and overtaking, a quiet cabin, an impressive list of tech features, easy in-and-out, and logically placed center-stack controls.
Carpeted floor mats added $125 and destination charges were $835, for a total delivered price of $26,110.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.