Introduced in the early 1990s, the Hyundai Elantra didn't exactly get off to a good start, earning a well-deserved reputation for overall shoddiness and unreliability. But more than two decades later, the Elantra has become one of America's most popular small sedans. Take one for a spin and you'll likely be impressed with its smooth ride, roomy interior, high fuel economy and solid build quality. The Elantra also offers plenty of features for the money and a long warranty. While those long-ago Elantras are best forgotten, any new or used Elantra is an excellent choice for shoppers looking for a small car.
Current Hyundai Elantra
The current, sixth-generation Hyundai Elantra is a five-passenger compact sedan that offers an extensive list of standard and optional features as well as a quiet and attractive cabin. It's available in SE, SE Value Edition, Eco, Limited and Sport trim levels.
The base SE trim comes with 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, power windows and locks, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatback, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and a CD player. Moving up to the SE Value Edition nets buyers alloy wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, a hands-free trunk opener, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, and a sunroof. All of these features (aside from the sunroof) can be added to the SE with the Popular Equipment and Tech packages. The Limited adds larger wheels and unique styling, Hyundai's Blue Link system, leather upholstery and a few other luxuries, with the option to add a larger touchscreen, heated rear seats, navigation, an upgraded sound system, adaptive cruise control, and more active safety features.
All three of these trims are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower. On the SE, it comes standard with a six-speed manual, with the option for a six-speed automatic. On the Value Edition and Limited, the six-speed automatic is standard. The Eco is equipped similarly to the Value Edition, but it uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that makes 128 horsepower and is paired with a seven-speed automatic for improved efficiency.
The Sport largely resembles the Limited in terms of equipment and options, but it uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower and can be had with either the six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. A sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, bigger brakes and sporty styling cues further set the Sport apart.
In reviews, we praised the Elantra for its comfortable seats, above-average ride quality and quiet cabin. Unfortunately, the base engine offers some of the slowest acceleration in the class, and the dual-clutch transmission can be clunky at low speeds. Buyers willing to trade speed for a laundry list of features at a surprisingly affordable price will want the SE Value Edition, and those looking for more oomph can check out the Sport trim with its more powerful engine.
Read the most recent 2018 Hyundai Elantra review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Hyundai Elantra page.