The 2018 Hyundai Elantra carries over largely unchanged from the 2017 model because it underwent a more comprehensive redesign last year. Unlike before where the Elantra used to flaunt a bold design, the model now looks more matures and more refined. Inside, the model’s cabin looks cleaner, well laid out and much quieter. The automaker has also enhanced the Elantra’s safety as well as technological features. The additions are meant to improve the model’s competitiveness against its rivals. Overall, the Elantra blends in efficiency, a hint of fun-filled driving and a little refinement.
2018 Hyundai Elantra Exterior
The Elantra still looks stylish but has since lost the adventurous impression it once had. The model has already cut itself a sizeable market share hence no need to be as bold as it once was. Surprisingly, even the GT models are not as bold as they used to be.
The sedan has a lower, wide grille (wider than that of the hatchback). In addition, the sedan features deeply cut lines on its doors. The Elantra hatchbacks feature a shorter grille with a mesh insert. The headlights of the sedan and the hatchback models also look different but both look unimpressive except for Limited trim. The hatchbacks don not feature LED DRLs like the sedans. The headlights rated as “Good” by IIHS are only optional for the Limited trim otherwise the standard halogen headlights are rated as “Poor”. At the rear, while the sedan features a revised deck-lid and taillights while the hatchbacks feature a more rounded rear which s largely carried over unchanged.
Base SE and Eco models ride on 15-inch wheels, SEL models on the other hand ride on 16-inch wheels while Limited and higher trims ride on 17-inch wheels.
The sedan is comfortable for the driver and the front passenger as the rear seating space is constrained. Front passengers also get numerous storage spaces and cup-holders including a covered bin next to the shift lever. Front seats also come with cushions that are not available for rear passengers. The rear seats are mounted lower to give tall passengers more headroom and knee room. In terms of storage space, the sedan offers 14.4 cubic feet of space but it can be extended by folding the split-folding rear seats. By the way, the trunk is operated via gesture controls.
The hatchbacks are equipped the same as the sedans but are based on a shorter wheelbase (2 inches shorter) resulting in a 1-inch less legroom for passengers at the rear. The hatchbacks offer 24.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats but folding these seats expands cargo space to 55.4 cubic feet.
The base SE trim comes standard with a 3.5-inch LCD display as well as a 6-speaker audio system. Other features are just basic. Actually, many buyers prefer the SEL trim which features a 7.0-inch touchscreen that integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also features Bluetooth connectivity. The Value Edition trim adds heated seats, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control and leather-wrapped gear shifter and steering wheel. The model, however, features fabric upholstery.
Limited trim features a dose of chrome accenting, leather upholstery, USB charging ports, telematics, keyless ignition and an 8.0-inch infotainment system that integrates a navigation system. Sport models are equipped like their Limited counterparts; the only difference is the more powerful engine of the Sport models. Eco trims are also equipped like SEL models with the difference also being the engine.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is rated as the safest model in the segment; however, this rating is accorded for the top Limited models with the optional advanced safety options. The available options include active lane control, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning along with autonomous emergency braking. The Elantra is set to lose this crown as the likes of Toyota and Honda are making these features standard. All models feature a driver knee airbag, stability control as well as a blind-spot mirror on the driver’s side as standard.
Engine and performance
Hyundai offers four engines on the Elantra. The base unit is a 2.0 L, 4-cylinder engine which powers SE, SEL, Limited as well as the Value Edition trims. The engine produces 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. On the SE and GT trims the engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual/automatic transmission but the rest feature only an automatic system. The engine is EPA rated at 26 mpg city and 36 mpg on highway drives with the manual while with the automatic, it is rated at 29 mpg city and 38 mpg on highway drives; the rating decline for the SEL, Limited and Value Edition trims which are rated at 28 mpg city and 37 mpg on highway drives. The engine is also used on the Elantra GT but it is tweaked to produce 162 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. On the GT, the mill returns 23 mpg and 31 mpg on city and highway drives respectively with a manual gearbox and 24 mpg city and 32 mpg on highway drives with an automatic gearbox.
The Sport and GT Sport trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.6 L, inline-4 good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. They mate to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. With a manual gearbox, the Sport trim is EPA rated at 22 mpg city and 30 mpg on highway drives while automatic models return 26 mpg city and 33 mpg on highway drives. The GT Sport, on the other hand, returns 22 mpg city and 29 mpg on highways with a manual gearbox and 26 mpg city and 32 mpg on highways with an automatic gearbox.
Eco-oriented buyers can opt for the Elantra Eco which is powered by a turbocharged 1.4 L, inline-4 good for 128 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. It mates to a 7-speed automatic gearbox. This is the most economical engine with an EPA rating of 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on highway drives.
Price and release date
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is very affordable considering a number of features it offers. The base sedan has an MSRP of $17,835, the SEL also fetches less than $20,000 will the Value Edition also starts under $21,000. The Eco trim is available for $21,500. The Sport trim fetches $22,685 and $22,985 for the Limited trim. The Ultimate package is available for an extra $4,350. Moving over to hatchbacks, the base GT trim starts slightly above $20,000 while the GT Sport fetches around $24,000.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra sedan and hatchback competes with sedan and hatchback variants of the Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus and the “top-dog’ of the segment, the Subaru Impreza.