Not everyone wants to drive an appliance, but although many of us would love to be able to afford something like a Porsche, that’s just not a reality. But there’s hope, for those drivers that want to add a bit more fun than the typical forgettable compact sedan there are few more memorable models, like the VW Jetta GLI and Honda Civic Si. Although Honda and VW have dominated the compact sport segment for years, Hyundai is jumping in the sporty compact segment with models, like the Veloster Turbo and the new 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport. The Veloster is Hyundai’s answer to the compact sport hatch, but can the Elantra Sport rival the Civic Si sedan? Here are the five things you need to know about the 2017 Elantra Sport:
Fun to Drive is baked in
Ok let’s get this out of the way, the Elantra Sport is not as sporty as the Honda Civic Si sedan. Its turbocharged engine is a nice upgrade from the standard Elantra, but it’s still tuned a bit softer and more relaxed than the Civic Si. Once you get past the Civic Si comparison, the Elantra Sport is actually a lot of fun, especially with the available manual transmission. The Elantra Sport also has a multilink rear suspension that is an upgrade over the torsion beam on the regular Elantra models.
Throw the Elantra Sport fast into a curve and it stays nicely planted with little body roll. The manual shifts with its short throw shifter are fast and thanks to its quicker steering ratio, the Elantra Sport will make your daily commute a lot more fun than you’d expect in this segment.
201 horses to play with
The Elantra Sport is powered by a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder that also powers the Veloster. The four-cylinder generates 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft and youcan choose between either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Spirited drivers should choose the manual, but obviously most buyers will go with the dual-clutch transmission. With 201 horsepower on paper, the Elantra Sport isn’t too far off from the new Civic Si and actually has more power than the turbocharged non-Si Civic, although its performance feels closer to the non-Civic Si model.
The Elantra Sport with the manual transmission is rated at 22/30, but if you choose the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission it’s rated at 26/33 mpg.
Stylish and classy
Compared to the last generation Elantra, the newest Elantra has a classy and sophisticated look that is welcome in the compact segment. The styling is less techy looking compared to the new Civic and looks a class or two above the Toyota Corolla. Speaking of the Corolla, the Elantra looks like its ready to hug the road, while the Corolla merely floats down the road.
Inside, the Elantra Sport features a well styled interior that isn’t covered in too much hard plastic. The overall layout of the dashboard is simple and low, with everything laid out as it should be. The interior is also large with 6-foot riders easily fitting in the back.
Comfortable Cruiser, with a bit of Sport
These days nearly every automaker will easily throw a “sport” or “S” badge on a car to make buyers think they are getting a sportier model. For example, look at the Toyota Corolla S, which is the same as the standard Corolla, but with a slightly more aggressive body kit, but not really any extra “sport” thrown in. The Elantra Sport is a true “sport” version of the popular Elantra. While the Civic Si goes after the tuner crowd with its standard manual transmission, the Elantra Sport tries to appeal to buyers that want something a bit a little more sporty, but that don’t want to give up on comfort. The Elantra Sport finds a nice balance between “sport” and “luxury.”
The Elantra Sport starts at $22,485
The 2017 Elantra Sport isn’t the most expensive Elantra available and starts at a reasonable $22,485. If you add the optional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the base price jumps to $23,585. That price will get you standard 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats and heated front seats. To compare, the Civic sedan with the turbocharged engine starts at $22,375 for the manual version, but that doesn’t include leather seats.
The 2017 Elantra Sport gives compact sedan buyers another option if they want something a bit sportier than the typical compact sedan can provide. With its turbocharged engine and sport tuned suspension, the 2017 Elantra Sport is a fun sedan that should be at the top of your list. If you we’re hoping the Elantra Sport would be a good alternative to the VW Jetta GLI or Honda Civic Si, then you might be slightly disappointed, but the Elantra Sport not only costs less than both, but is easily the better all around package with its low starting price, luxury features and fun turbocharged engine.