- Spacious interior with many standard features.
- Economical powertrains backed by a long warranty.
- Upscale options like front and rear heated seats.
- Some rivals provide a sportier driving experience.
- Cabin comfort is impacted by a noisy base engine.
- Mixed crash-test and predicted reliability scores.
Vehicle Type: Four-door, five-passenger compact sedan.
Price Range: $17,835-$23,785, including destination but prior to options.
Powertrain: A 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, paired to a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive.
A 6-speed automatic transmission is available. A 128-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo is optional, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
A 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo is also available.
The Hyundai Elantra sedan is a compact car that provides owners with great fuel economy, a comfortable cabin, and many standard features. All of those benefits are enhanced by a starting price that's lower than chief rivals, as well as one of the lengthiest warranties in the business. Overall, it is a practical and enjoyable daily driver, packed with value for commuters and families alike.
Popular competitors include the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru Impreza, Kia Forte, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Cruze.
The Elantra comes in six different trim levels, with choices that lean towards value, fuel economy, comfort, and sportiness. The Elantra has better-than-average fuel economy, many standard and available features, user-friendly controls, and a spacious interior. Some rivals offer better handling and driving performance, a quieter ride, and superior crash-safety test scores.
There are many changes for the 2018 model year. A new Hyundai Elantra SEL joins the lineup, slotting between the SE and Limited models with standard features like blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, rear cup holders, alloy wheels, and a 7-inch infotainment display. The Limited trim gets gloss-black interior accents and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Sport model now has a power sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. All Elantra trims get a new Machine Grey exterior paint color.
Options for the 2018 Hyundai Elantra include upmarket features like front and rear heated seats, a segment-exclusive hands-free smart trunk release, an Infinity premium audio system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available driver safety aids include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.
Safety-wise, the Elantra is a good choice. It scored well in crash-tests, making it a fairly safe option, though some rivals fared even better in testing. Predicted reliability is average for the class, as is acceleration and ride comfort. The Hyundai Elantra is a small car with some faults, but its roomy interior, straightforward technology features, and practical nature make for one of the strongest compact sedan values on the market.
Overall Score: 7.6/10
Safety Features: 8/10
The Hyundai Elantra has received fairly positive safety ratings from testing organizations. It offers available driver safety aids that help drivers to avoid potential accidents. These include automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. The safety features are easy to use, but they are part of an expensive optional package that's only available on the top-of-the-line Elantra Limited trim.
However, the SEL trim and above come standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, two features that help drivers have better awareness of cars to their side as they are driving on the highway and to the rear as the Elantra is reversing.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra gets an overall four out of five stars safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Elantra did particularly well in the area of side pole crashes. It received a four-star in most subcategories, including rollover. For comparison, the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, and Toyota Corolla, three of the Elantra's most formidable competitors, all scored a perfect five-out-of-five stars overall. The 2018 Honda Civic received five stars in all twelve categories.
The 2018 Elantra received the coveted 'Top Safety Pick Plus' designation from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, which means that the car excelled in all areas. This award was given to the Elantra with optional headlights and advanced safety aids and does not apply to all trim levels with standard equipment.
Overall, the Elantra performs well in crash tests, though some competitors like the Civic do better across the board. The available safety tech inside the 2018 Elantra is intuitive and straightforward, helping drivers without being overly intrusive.
Hyundai and its partner brand Kia are well-known for having some of the best warranties in the business. The 2018 Hyundai Elantra comes with superb warranty coverage for a new car, with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty, a seven-year warranty on rust, and five years of complimentary roadside assistance. The amount of value included there is incredible, and it has provided enough of a reason in and of itself for many shoppers to go out and buy a Hyundai.
Another aspect of car ownership is reliability, and it has been predicted to be about average for the Elantra. Price is also a factor for many people when buying a new car, and Hyundai prices all of their cars very competitively, often beating rivals by sizeable margins. And lastly, fuel economy factors into value, and there, the Elantra excels.
Overall, the Hyundai Elantra is a very good value. It has one of the longest and most comprehensive warranties in the industry, and its low starting price and decent predicted reliability make it a good buy.
Tech Features: 8/10
Hyundai does tech quite well. While the technology is not quite the flashiest in the segment, the standard and optional features are all exceedingly easy to use. All trims get a Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition technology. Also standard is smartphone-compatible USB ports, auxiliary inputs, a 3.5-inch TFT cluster display, and a trip computer.
Besides a four-speaker audio system and the features mentioned above, the base SE trim does not come with much else in the way of tech. The high-tech features start being added with the introduction of the Elantra SEL trim. It has SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, six speakers, a 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start.
The Elantra SEL and above get dual-zone automatic climate control. The climate system includes a CleanAir Ionizer that helps to remove particles from the cabin, as well as an automatic defogging system that again helps keep things as clean as possible.Also standard on the SEL trim and up is Hyundai's hands-free smart trunk, which is the only one like it in the category.
The top-tier Limited trim comes with all of the fanciest standard and optional technology features. Heated front seats are standard on both the Hyundai Elantra Value Edition and the Limited, and heated rear seats are available on the Limited. They are part of the Limited Ultimate Package; a $4,350 options pack that includes all of the advanced safety aids, a power sunroof, and an integrated memory system for the driver's seat. It also comes with an 8-inch touchscreen and an Infinity premium audio system that has eight speakers, including a subwoofer.
The Elantra's roomy interior offers plenty of space for people or cargo. The trunk has 14.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which is quite large for a vehicle this size.Inside, there are front and rear cupholders, a glove box, a covered console storage bin, and a mini overhead console with storage. There are plenty of places for passengers to put their stuff. The center console bin is shallow, but it's large enough to hold some snacks or a phone. It has its own power outlet as well. The rear dual cup holders are located in the center armrest, which can be retracted into the seatback.
Some rivals like the Subaru Impreza have more durable interiors that feel like they can handle more impact. Overall, the Elantra is above-average in practicality, though not top-of-class.
Styling & Design: 8/10
The Elantra has subtle, sporty styling inside and out. The exterior has an angular front end with sleek headlights, a large grille, and fog light housings shaped like air intakes. The body style has an almost coupe-like silhouette, with a door line that curves up at the back of the car to meet the roof. It is all well-proportioned.
The interior is also well-designed, with a driver layout that is, at once, no-nonsense and stylish. The large, well-padded steering wheel is a Hyundai trademark, and it looks upscale. The controls and center stack switches are backlit in a soft blue glow, giving the cabin more ambiance. The driver gauges are simple and straightforward, and a colorized display sits between the two large dials. It keeps track of things like fuel economy, temperature, driver notifications, and advanced safety features, many of which can be toggled on or off using the steering wheel controls.
The center stack is modern, with the available touchscreen set between two air vents. The audio and HVAC controls sit below it. The buttons and volume wheel for the music system are relatively small, causing drivers to hunt for what they are looking for occasionally.
Build quality feels solid, with only a few rivals like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla feeling superior in this regard. As mentioned earlier, the Subaru Impreza employs rigid plastics in its interior, making it an excellent choice for active people. The Mazda 3 has a sportier interior that also feels more luxurious than the Elantra's interior.
Driving Experience: 7/10
The Elantra is pleasant to drive on the road. Its large steering wheel and well-placed driver controls help make driving a low-stress and straightforward experience. Likewise, outward visibility is quite good, allowing the driver to have a better awareness of the surroundings. Safety tech like blind-spot detection can further enhance this sense of control.
The Elantra drives well, with a well-tuned suspension and agile handling. Its ride is smooth and quiet, though the base 2.0-liter engine can be noisy. Meanwhile, both turbocharged engine options are smaller and quieter.
With its 1.6-liter turbo and firmer suspension, the available Hyundai Elantra Sport trim is the most fun Elantra to drive. It has good throttle response and rapid power delivery, giving it great acceleration. The large wheels do impact ride quality somewhat, but it isn't much of a concern over smooth roads. Handling is also improved, with tighter steering feel that is helped no doubt by the larger tires.
A 6-speed manual transmission is available on most trim levels, including the Sport model. It does the job fairly well, though it's not as slick in its gear shifts as transmissions from Mazda or Honda. Likewise, while the Hyundai Elantra handles securely, it doesn't have the fun-to-drive factor of a Mazda 3, onda Civic, or Volkswagen Jetta. Unlike those cars, which can be a lot of fun, the Elantra can never quite shake its economy-car foundation.
Fuel Efficiency: 8/10
Hyundai is one of the best brands for squeezing maximum fuel efficiency out of their cars, and the 2018 Hyundai Elantra is an excellent example of this. Fuel economy ranges greatly between trims, based on engine type, transmission, and how Hyundai equipped the car.
For instance, a Sport model with the six-speed manual gets an estimated 25 mpg combined from the EPA. That's a meager number for this segment, even considering the Sport's performance potential. On the other end of the spectrum is the Elantra ECO trim, which was built as the name suggests to be as economical as possible. With its little 1.4-liter turbo engine, smaller wheels, and automatic-only powertrain, the ECO can get up to 40 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg in mixed driving. That beats efficient rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3.
What’s it Going to Cost Me?
Pricing for the 2018 Hyundai Elantra starts at $17,835 including an $885 destination charge. For that, shoppers get a manual transmission, the base 2.0-liter engine, 15-inch steel wheels, projector-beam headlights, daytime running lights, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, cruise control, and a four-speaker audio system with CD player. An automatic transmission adds $1,000 to the MSRP.
The SEL costs $19,735, and it adds a standard automatic transmission, rear disc brakes (replacing drums), 16-inch alloy wheels, a backup camera, heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a hands-free smart trunk, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.
For $20,735, the Value Edition has notable features like LED daytime running lights, door handle approach lights, a power sunroof, heated front seats.
The ECO trim retails for $21,435. It has similar features to the SEL along with a more economical engine and other powertrain adjustments to maximize fuel efficiency.
The Sport model adds many features for $22,685. It gets the powerful 1.6-liter turbo engine, a firmer suspension, and larger wheels. It also offers unique interior and exterior details.
The most luxurious Elantra, the Limited trim, starts out at $22,985. It has 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, LED taillights, a power driver's seat, leather upholstery, leatherette door trim, illuminated ignition, three years of Blue Link concierge and remote-start services, and other items. The Limited also opens up the possibility for the Limited Ultimate Package, which includes all of the optional driver safety aids, the Infinity sound system, navigation, and heated rear seats.
If we were shopping for an Elantra, we'd get the Value Edition. With all of the features the SEL adds as well as heated seats and a sunroof, the Value is the best balance between comfort features and price.