The 2018 Hyundai Elantra helps to prove that compact sedans have come a long way. Once they might have been little more than barebones, budget-minded transportation, but the current crop offers a lot of quality and value for the money. In order to stand out in this crowd, Hyundai packed the Elantra with features, making for a good-looking small car that does more than you might expect.
Last year's complete redesign improved everything about the Elantra, so Hyundai hasn't done much to change the formula for 2018. The interior is still comfortable and surprisingly quiet, with well-laid-out and easy to understand controls. Space is used efficiently, with lots of clever compartments for small items and enough room to carry adults in the rear seat.
There are six trim levels available. The base SE comes with a pretty limited set of features, and really is the budget option. You get a stereo, Bluetooth phone connectivity, air-conditioning, and a manually adjustable driver seat: just what's needed and not much more. Move up to the SEL, and you get alloy wheels, disc brakes at all four corners, and technologies such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and, just added for 2018, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Value Edition adds keyless entry with push-button start, a hands-free trunk, dual-zone climate control and a power sunroof. Finally, there's the Limited, which Hyundai has loaded with leather, LED lights, three USB ports, and can be upgraded with a premium stereo, heated rear seats, and a full set of active driver aids such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.
If the Elantra has a weakness, it's the performance of its base engine. All four of these trims come with a 2.0-liter four cylinder making 147 horsepower. That means these Hyundai Elantra trims are slower than average for the class. Still, they return good fuel economy, and there are two alternate engines for buyers looking for more grunt but who still want that Hyundai value.
The Eco trim is equipped similarly to the Value Edition, but minus the sunroof, and comes with a thrifty turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that returns 35 mpg combined (32 city/40 highway) and still produces more torque than the base motor. There's also the Sport trim, with a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, that comes with a lot of the Limited's upscale features.
The Elantra has a lot to offer tech-savvy and value-oriented buyers, and if you're looking for a compact sedan it's definitely worth checking out. Make sure to read our full review to find out more and take advantage of our shopping tools for the best deal on a 2018 Hyundai Elantra near you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.