Korea's sport compact | 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport First Drive

When we drove the then all-new 2017 Hyundai Elantra earlier this year, we came away impressed but slightly bored. There is nothing fundamentally flawed with the compact sedan, but there also is nothing about the car that gets our blood pumping. The new Elantra is an affordable and reasonably well-equipped people mover. It's an improvement over its predecessor, but the driving experience leaves us indifferent.

Hyundai was aware of this from the outset. The product plan includes the Sport model you see here, intended to inject some life into what is otherwise a rather milquetoast car. On paper, everything looks good and all of the right boxes are checked, including more power and a tighter suspension. Hyundai was clear that this is far more than just an appearance package like the previous generation's Sport trim.

As such, the new Elantra Sport is fitted with a 201-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch automatic. A revised suspension replaces the standard torsion-beam rear axle with a fully independent multi-link rear setup, paired with bigger brakes, wheels, and tires. Other accoutrements, like sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, are also included. Check, check, check.

The Elantra Sport with a manual transmission starts at $21,650 before destination and, sitting just below the top-of-the-range Limited model, comes very well equipped for the price. Heated leather seats are standard, as are HID headlights, keyless entry and ignition, and a seven-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That's a lot of equipment for a car in this size and price range. Read more...

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07 Jan 2017

By Reese Counts