2014 HYUNDAI ELANTRA REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Small sedan
Price: $23,190 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 110kW/178Nm 1.8 petrol 4cyl | 6sp auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 7.1 l/100km | tested: 7.8 l/100km
Updated at the beginning of the year with a new suspension tune, mild interior improvements and a revised spec sheet, Hyundai’s Elantra small sedan also kicked off 2014 with a slightly higher pricetag.
We spent a week behind the wheel of the base model Elantra Active, but with the optional automatic rather than the default six-speed manual.
At $23,240 the Active automatic isn’t the cheapest self-shifting small sedan around, but it does have its charms - not least the locally-developed suspension tune.
- Five-inch colour touchscreen interface
- Bluetooth audio/phone integration standard, USB and 3.5mm audio input for six-speaker audio system.
- Cruise control, rear parking sensors
- Steering wheel audio controls
- Chilled glovebox
- Boot capacity: 420 litres with rear seats up.
It's the revised centre-stack that is the most noticeable revision to the Elantra's interior.
The central air-vents are now higher than before to improve air-flow, and though the Active’s five-inch colour touchscreen carries over, the surrounding trim has been darkened for a more premium look.
Glovebox cooling has also been added to the standard equipment list, and the doors now feature cloth trim panels to break up the big expanses of hard black plastic.
Rear parking sensors are also now standard, which is welcome given the Elantra’s high rump.
Cabin comfort hasn’t changed, and though the front seats are reasonably comfortable, they’re not the last word in under-thigh support.
The back seat has plenty of legroom and enough width to seat two adults in good comfort (or three kids with a bit of a squeeze), but headroom is marginal thanks to the Elantra’s swooping roofline.
Annoyingly, rear face-level air vents are only offered on the top-spec Premium model.
ON THE ROAD
- 110kW/178Nm 1.8 petrol 4cyl
- Six speed automatic with sequential manual mode
- MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear suspension, revised suspension tune for 2014
- three-mode electronic power steering, revised tune for 2014
- Disc brakes
In terms of powertrain and drivetrain, the 2014 Elantra is much the same as the 2013 model.
The Elantra’s 110kW/178Nm 1.8 litre petrol four-pot carries over unchanged, and transmission choices comprise the familiar six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic (tested here).
When paired with the automatic, the Elantra’s 1.8 is perfectly adequate for the daily grind. It won’t knock your socks off with its speed, but it will get you from A to B in good time.
The auto is particularly easy to live with. It prefers high gears to help lower fuel consumption and this can cause some hesitation when selecting the right ratio for a steep hill, but otherwise the six-speed auto has few vices.
The improvements to the suspension however are the headline change for the 2014 model.
Hyundai’s local engineering team revised spring, damper and steering tunes to sharpen the ride quality and handling, and the payoff is a Hyundai that handles much better than before.
The suspension is firmer than before, but better controlled. The previous model was easily unsettled by both big and small bumps alike, but the 2014 Elantra is far more composed.
It can feel Euro-firm over things like manholes and expansion gaps though; a little surprising given the Elantra Active rolls on tall-sidewalled 65-section tyres mounted to 15-inch steel wheels.
Grip is also sub-par, thanks to the Active’s low rolling resistance Hankook rubber.
ANCAP rating: 5/5 Stars - this model scored 33.21 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Dual front, front side and full-length curtain airbags are standard across the range, as is stability control, traction control, ABS, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
All seats have three-point seatbelts and adjustable headrests, with pretensioning and height-adjustable front belts. Two ISOFIX achorages are provided in the rear seat.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The 2014 Hyundai Elantra Active is a good car when judged in isolation, but when lined up against its competition it doesn’t seem quite so lustrous.
The Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla sedan are both all-new for 2014, yet also cost less than the Elantra spec-for-spec. The Elantra’s Korean cousin the Kia Cerato sedan, meanwhile, is the cheapest of the lot.
Hyundai’s five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and capped price servicing scheme sweeten the deal, but Kia offers a similar scheme and both Toyota and Mazda have capped-price maintenance programs of their own.
Is the Hyundai worth getting? Well, it’s certainly not a bad car, it’s just that there are better choices out there right now for those looking at the bottom end of the small car segment.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- Elantra Series II Active manual: $20,990
- Elantra Series II Active automatic: $23,190
- Elantra Series II Elite automatic: $26,790
- Elantra Series II Premium automatic: $30,190