2014 HYUNDAI ELANTRA REVIEW
What's hot: Suspension tune feels European, standard sat-nav on Elite and Premium
What's not: Engine is a bit old hat, 'Flex Steer' system is gimmicky
X-FACTOR: Bigger than an i30, smaller than the i40, Hyundai's Elantra is one for the 'in-between'
Vehicle Style: Small sedan
Price: $20,990 (Active manual) to $30,190 (Premium auto)
Engine/trans: 110kW/178Nm 4cyl petrol | 6spd manual or auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 6.6 l/100km (manual)
Hyundai’s Elantra has come in for a refresh: some minor styling changes, a revised interior, more standard equipment and re-engineered suspension and steering.
The price has risen slightly though, nudging the entry-level Elantra Active manual just under the $21k mark. It now tips the scales at $20,990.
Step up a model to the Elite, and the manual has been ditched; it's now $26,790 and an auto-only proposition.
At the top of the model range, the Elantra Premium moves up $1k to $30,190.
Meanwhile, across the range, there's a new locally-developed suspension tune. We travelled to the 2014 Elantra’s local launch to check it out.
Inside, the biggest changes have been reserved for the design and layout of the centre-stack.
It's been reorganised with the air-vents now better-placed for improved face-level air flow (and to stop giving the driver’s left hand frostbite), while there’s a bigger infotainment screen.
The trim and switchgear surrounding the ventilation controls has also had some plastic surgery, and there’s a few new features to cap things off.
From the base model up, there are now stainless steel door-sills up front, cloth door-trims and a chilled glovebox.
In-car infotainment gets a significant lift too. The base Elantra Active gets a 5-inch touchscreen audio-headunit with Bluetooth phone and audio integration, while the Elite and Premium grades gain a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system.
The inclusion of rear parking sensors as standard on the base Active grade is also very welcome.
Other than that though, this is pretty much the same interior as before.
And that means there’s still a shortage of headroom for taller rear passengers, no rear air-vents unless you opt for the range-topping Elantra Premium and some hard and scratchy cabin plastics.
Key interior features:
- Reconfigured centre-stack design
- All cars get rear parking-sensors, Blutooth audio/phone, touch-screen displays, cruise control as standard
- Satellite navigation standard for Elite and Premium.
- Rear air-vents on Premium model only.
- Boot capacity: 420 litres with rear seats up.
ON THE ROAD
The Elantra’s 1.8 litre petrol in-line four carries over, with unchanged outputs of 110kW and 178Nm. It's ok but no ball of fire.
Hyundai subsidiary Kia fits the excellent 2.0 litre direct-injected GDi engine to its Cerato range, the Elantra soldiers on with the port-injected “Nu” 1.8 for now.
It's a shame because it now feels dated and can sound a tad hoary when working hard.
It's adequately powered for most situations but needs a fair old shoeful if you've got to hustle into a line of fast-moving traffic or looking to overtake quickly.
Transmissions are unchanged: a six-speed manual available only in the base Elantra Active while other models come with a six-speed automatic as standard.
Hyundai however has tweaked the rest of the Elantra II’s mechanical package, with suspension and steering getting the bulk of attention.
The former has come in for a comprehensive re-work by Hyundai Australia’s local product development team. The latter is the same gimmicky three-mode Flex Steer system employed in the i30.
Of the three steering modes on offer - Comfort, Normal and Sport - only Comfort provides an agreeable amount of weight for a small sedan, while Sport is almost unreasonably heavy.
Keep it in Comfort and be done with it. If Sport mode added some feedback to the wheel rather than just increasing the resistance we’d be tempted to prod the Flex Steer button more often, but it doesn’t.
Thankfully, the suspension is markedly better.
Roadholding and body control are good, and though the ride on the Premium’s larger 17-inch alloys can be quite sharp on rougher roads, the suspension tune feels more European than Korean.
- 1.8 litre four cylinder “Nu” engine, 110kW/178Nm
- Six speed manual (Active grade only), six speed auto.
- Front wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear suspension
- All-disc brake package
- Three-mode electric power steering
- Fuel consumption claimed: 6.6 l/100km (manual), 7.1 l/100km (automatic)
ANCAP rating: 5/5 Stars - this model scored 33.21 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Standard safety features for the 2014 Hyundai Elantra II include stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and six airbags (dual front, front side and full-length curtain airbags).
The improvements made to the Elantra are welcome. Thanks to a fatter equipment list, it’s bound to find more interest among buyers shopping for a small sedan.
Each of these are more accomplished and more satisfying drives.
The more keenly-priced Kia Cerato sedan undercuts the Elantra II, but doesn’t offer standard sat-nav on the mid or up-spec models.
Those things considered, the well-equipped new Elantra is honest buying, has a robust reputation and certainly worth consideration.