I don’t always have the privilege of being at every media drive; not because of the publication I’m at or previously from but probably due to a lack of exposure, I suppose, in this field. But when I do, it almost always never disappoint.
And I’m happy to say, yesterday was one of those days.
Fresh of the boat from the MINI Track Days 2017 just a few days ago, we got to experience two different cars today at the Hyundai Elantra Media Drive. They were the newly launched naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre Elantra and the 1.6-litre turbocharged Elantra Sport.
First impressions were great. It was instantly noticeable how much better looking they were from its predecessor – with leaner proportions and sharper features. Within the 2.0-liter model itself, comes two different variants, the Executive and the Dynamic where the latter essentially comes with a sporty body kit to differentiate itself from the Executive. Personally, I preferred the clean and simple lines of the Executive but as the saying goes, to each his own.
2.0-litre Elantra Executive
Moving on to the drive, the 2.0-liter Elantra was my designated vehicle. Setting aside the interior for now, I find myself checking a lot of boxes pertaining to the Elantra and one of them is throttle response. Equipped with a 6-speed Automatic gearbox, the Elantra’s acceleration and gear changes reacted swiftly to every input of the accelerator – very connected, very pleasing.
That said, while initial throttle response is superb, and even more so in Sports Mode, the 2.0-liter MPI engine that produces around 150 horsepower and 192 Nm of torque just seemed to lack the extra grunt to pull itself to the end of the rev range.
Another thing I’d like to highlight is the ride comfort. There were 3 of us motoring media sharing the same Elantra and we all unanimously agreed on how comfortable the ride was. Whether it was on the PLUS highway or the trunk roads, the Elantra absorbed the humps and bumps on the road so well that its undulations could simply go unnoticed.
1.6-litre Elantra Sport
While the interior’s design remained largely unchanged, there are a few standout features in this turbocharged sports variant. Distinguishing itself from the sombre surroundings of the 2.0-litre’s cabin, the Elantra Sports features additional trims with a carbon fibre appearance, vibrant Red and Black leather combination upholstery with sufficiently supportive Sport Seats..
And you’d need those seats to keep you in place cause this Elantra loves and relishes being thrown around. That’s because the Elantra Sport comes with a multi-link rear axle as compared to the 2.0-litre Elantra’s Torsion Beam setup and the vast difference could instantly be noticed at the first bend. It felt sure-footed and poised even at high speeds and although it has made the ride a tad stiffer, comfort was not at all compromised.
Its got a different steering too; one that resembles the same unit from the Hyundai IONIQ together with pedal shifters that allows you to seamlessly go through the gears of the 7-speed DCT transmission. It’s performance is something to be reckoned with. With a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine producing just over 200 horsepower and 264 Nm of torque, the Elantra Sport’s performance was simply unbelievable.
If anything, power delivery was so smooth that it did not feel like a turbocharged engine but it instead provided the performance of a strong Naturally-aspirated engine. That said, I stand corrected.
The edgy exterior of the turbocharged Elantra certainly reflected the sporty nature of its drive. It’s even got some aerodynamic bits to further enhance it’s stability – which provided impeccable stability as we stretched its legs on the open road. Not only comes with wheel air curtains, it’s undercarriage is also largely covered up, giving the Elantra a class leading drag coefficient of 0.27 Cd.
Given my limited time behind the wheel, I’m afraid there’s only so much that can be shared from my experience with both variants of the Elantra. I’d say this though; as thrilling as it was to drive, it’s still far from being the yardstick of it’s segment but seeing the improvements the Elantra has undergone over the years, this is Hyundai’s most exciting offering to date. To drive, at least.
2.0-litre Elantra Executive & Dynamic
1.6 Turbo Elantra Sport