2. Lots of fun in a small package
This is the crux of the argument for buying an Elantra Sport: What’s under the hood.
The Sport comes with a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine; with either manual or automatic transmission offered. The numbers on this powerplant are 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, and it’s a front-wheel drive ride.
Often when I test something labeled as Sport, it’s a bit of a misnomer. I’m happy to report that wasn’t the case here. You can opt in and out of sport mode, but you’ll want to keep it on. Unlike the standard Elantra, which offers your standard driving experience and limits the fun, the Sport variety is one you’ll look forward to driving. Given the right conditions you can really put it to the test, and you’ll find a responsive, punchy driving experience that lets you maneuver efficiently and features quick throttle response (aka acceleration). It’s like the Mr. Hyde to the regular Elantra’s Dr. Jekyll. (and there’s even an Elantra Eco if you want a really mellow Dr. Jekyll).
The rear suspension gets a big makeover this year, with the implementation of a fully independent multilink suspension with stabilizer bar (and not the standard Elantra’s torsion-beam rear axle setup.)
3. So-so fuel mileage
One area where the Hyundai Elantra Sport does not shine vs. its competition is fuel mileage. Both the manual and automatic varieties have numbers that are easily topped by vehicles from competitors including Mazda and Honda. Official numbers on the automatic version I tested are 26 city/33 highway/29 combined. Manual transmission is even lower (22 city/30 highway).
To be fair, though, the driving experience is more fun in this Elantra than much of the competition, and that’s what many buyers will have more in mind when choosing a ride.
4. It’s affordable
If you opt for the six-speed manual transmission, the Elantra Sport has starting price of $21,650. Choosing the automatic transmission will have you start at $22,750.
One addition many buyers will want is the Premium package, which gives you navigation, a sunroof and a better sound system, along with the excellent BlueLink telematics system.
On the other side of the spectrum, If the base Elantra is enough for you, it starts out at $17,150; a genuinely low price. But you’ll miss out on the sportiness of the model I tested.
5. Bottom line
If you’re looking for a fun little ride, the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport fits the bill quite well. There’s some decent competition in the category, but this upstart entry from Hyundai puts up a strong fight and has some solid pep in its step. It’s a must for your testing list if you are in the mood for something in this segment.