The Hyundai Elantra defies the segment status quo by offering midsize comfort and convenience at a compact price. First offered in 1992, the front-wheel drive Elantra continually earns a spot as one of the automaker’s top sellers.
2017 to Present: Hyundai Elantra
The sixth-generation Hyundai Elantra was introduced for the 2017 model year. The latest model includes a host of standard features and many premium options that have trickled down from Hyundai’s more expensive Genesis sedan. The design is modern and sleek, showcasing Hyundai’s signature grille and lights.
The sixth-generation Hyundai Elantra comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower. Either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission is standard, depending on trim level and options.
A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that creates 128 horsepower sits under the hood of the Elantra Eco, which employs an efficiency-tuned seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The driving characteristics of the Elantra show maturity and compliance. The sedan is composed on winding roads and provides miles of comfort on long stretches of highway. While acceleration may not be the Elantra’s forte, the available engines provide enough power for stress-free highway passing and maneuvering through busy traffic.
The latest Hyundai Elantra features a driver-oriented cockpit with easy-to-use controls that are well within reach. Seating is comfortable and nicely bolstered. The Elantra’s rear seats provide adequate room for two adults or three children.
The new Elantra is surprisingly well-equipped considering the attractive pricing. Fully loaded models offer active safety technologies usually reserved for premium vehicles, including lane keeping assist, HID headlights with dynamic bending light, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking with pedestrian detection.
Chief competitors for the Hyundai Elantra include the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Dodge Dart, Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic. Shoppers might also consider the Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza and Kia Forte.
Earlier Hyundai Elantra Models
The fourth-generation Hyundai Elantra was introduced for the 2007 model year. A 138-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission are standard, while a four-speed automatic transmission was available as an option.
When it debuted, the fourth-generation Elantra was offered in four trim levels. Base models offered little in the way of standard equipment, with features like air conditioning and a stereo system available as options. Higher trims brought in these items, as well as features like alloy wheels, cruise control, satellite radio, leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Safety features like electronic stability control were first made available for the 2008 model year, but did not become standard until the Elantra was redesigned for 2011.
The Elantra received some interior updates for 2009, along with a revised suspension system. A USB port was also added to the options list. In its last year before a full redesign, the 2010 Elantra saw minor trim shuffling with the introduction of a new base model, as well as some small exterior updates.
The fifth-generation Hyundai Elantra was introduced in 2011. It was offered as a coupe, sedan or a hatchback, depending on the model year.
When it debuted, the fifth-generation Elantra was powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 145 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission was standard and a six-speed automatic was optional.
A more powerful, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine became available for the 2014 model year. This engine makes 173 horsepower and comes standard with Elantra coupe and GT models.
The Hyundai Elantra's exterior is marked by a narrow, horizontal upper grille, oversized wraparound headlamp assemblies, a pronounced lower grille opening and distinctive incisions housing the available fog lights. A rising beltline, upper and lower profile character lines and a sloping roofline ease into a raised rear deck to define this model. At the rear are wraparound tail lamps and a single exhaust port.
The Elantra GT offers distinctive exterior features that include an oversized trapezoidal grille, a rear spoiler and wiper and rear fog lights.
The Hyundai Elantra provides room for five with nearly 96 cubic feet of passenger space, which is equal to what some midsize sedans offer. Choose the Elantra GT and you have 23 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row, which expands to 53 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
The instrument panel features a two analog display — tachometer and speedometer — with a digital driver's information center also present. Every model comes equipped with power accessories, a 60-40 split-folding rear seat, USB and auxiliary input jacks, a 12-volt outlet and satellite radio. More standard features were introduced for the 2014 model year, including air conditioning and cruise control.
Common upgrades include push-button start, aluminum pedals, leather seats, a touch-screen audio system and Bluetooth connectivity. In-door storage pockets, cup holders and concealed storage compartments are included.