2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Review

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport - The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is a surprisingly good, affordable sports sedan


Prices: $21,650-$22,750

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is an affordable sports sedan that is a surprisingly good step up from the standard, worthy Elantra sedan.

For starters, the Elantra Sport has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 201 horsepower, compared with 147 for the standard Elantra. Performance thus jumps from moderate to quick, with a 0-60 m.p.h. time of nearly 7 seconds. Passing from 65-75 m.ph. and entrances into fast highway traffic are a breeze.

You can even get a six-speed manual transmission, although my test Elantra Sport came with a 7-speed dual clutch automatic with paddle shifters. Go for the efficient automatic if you must regularly contend with congested traffic. The manual transmission isn't one of the best, but at least is offered.

A sport-tuned suspension, larger front brakes and an independent multi-link rear suspension that replaces the regular Elantra's torsion-beam rear axle back up the more-potent engine. So do electronic stability and traction controls.

Steering is quick and precise, although more road feel would be appreciated, and the ride is generally supple. The anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution are controlled by a pedal some may feel is overly firm, although it has a progressive action. A driver can select "normal" or "sport" driving modes via a console button. Sport mode tightens things up a bit for more aggressive driving, but doesn't make things uncomfortable.

The Elantra Sport with the manual lists at $21,650 and at $22,750 with the automatic. So right off the bat you're paying thousands less you would for rival, better-known sports sedans.

The standard Elantra is handsome, but the Sport version has a sport front grille and bumper fascia, side sill extensions, sport rear fascia with chrome twin-tip exhaust outlets and diffuser. Low-profile 40-series tires ride on 18-inch alloy wheels.

Wide-opening doors allow easy access to the interior, which has supportive leather-covered front seats, a flat-bottom leather-wrapped wheel, carbon fiber-look trim, attractive red stitching, alloy sport pedals and sport gauges.

To further entice prospective buyers, Hyundai has given the Elantra Sport high-quality interior materials and a good amount of equipment. It includes a push-button start, rearview camera with guidelines, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls,  easily used 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, audio system with 6 speakers, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a hands-free "smart" trunk.

Safety equipment includes a driver's knee air bag, HID headlights and LED daytime running lights and taillights. Side mirrors have turn-signal indicators.

My test car was equipped with a generally desirable $2,400 Premium package. It contains a power sunroof, dual automatic climate control, 8-inch touchscreen, navigation system, Infiniti premium audio system with 8 speakers, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

The backlit gauges can be quickly read, and there's both a regular and digital speedometer. The clearly marked mixture of small and large dashboard controls are easy to use. Console cupholders are within convenient reach, and there are a good number of cabin storage areas, including storage pockets in all doors and a covered console bin. Additional sound-deadening material makes for quiet cruising.

The roomy cargo area has a low, wide opening and rear seat backs, which have trunk-release controls, fold forward to enlarge the storage area.

The Elantra Sport has Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which a Hyundai executive once told me "saved the company." Now, cars such as the Elantra Sport are adding to the automaker's reputation.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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