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2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport A New Pocket Rocket - Review By Larry Nutson

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
A New Pocket Rocket

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Car sales are soft, as more and more buyers opt for an SUV. Half way through 2017 Hyundai retail sales totals are up a bit year-over-year. And, the Elantra carline sales are also up a bit too.

The Elantra is all-new for 2017. Last fall I drove and evaluated the Hyundai Elantra Eco. Now I’m going from being green to being mean and driving the Sport model. In addition to the Eco and Sport, the Elantra sedan comes in SE and Limited trims with base prices starting at $17,150.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Elantra Sport is more than an appearance package. It is mean(er). On the outside the Sport is distinctly different with unique front and rear fascias, a blacked out grille with a subtle Turbo badge, side sill extensions, unique headlight and taillight treatment, and chrome dual exhaust outlets. Unique 18-inch wheels mounted with 225/40 high performance all-season tires ground the Sport.

Under the hood is where things happen. The Sport uses Hyundai’s Gamma 1.6L Turbo four cylinder engine that produces 201-HP.This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Overall driving dynamics are enhanced through the extensive use of high-strength steel as well as structural adhesive. Exclusive to the Sport is a new rear multi-link independent suspension. Technical changes include larger front and rear stabilizer bars, higher spring and damper rates, upsized 12” front brake rotors, retuned steering and retuned final drive ratios.

The cockpit features leather sport front seats with higher bolstering, a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, red contrast stitching, and a black headliner.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Worthy of note is that the 2017 Hyundai Elantra was named to the inaugural Wards 10 Best User Experiences (UX) list being recognized as a value leader for the user-friendliness and sophistication of its driver-interface systems.

The Elantra offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems that project phone apps on the IP touch-screen.

The Elantra Sport has a base price of $21,650 with the standard 6-speed manual transmission. The Elantra Sport with the 7-speed DCT is $22,750. The destination charge is $835 for both.

EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings for the DCT model are 29 mpg combined with 26 city mpg and 33 highway mpg. With its 14 gallon fuel tank, highway runs of 450 miles should be possible before refueling.

The media-loan Sport I drove had the dual-clutch transmission and was also equipped with the $2,400 Premium Package. This added an 8” navigation system, 8-speaker Infinity audio system, a power sunroof, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert & Lane Change Assist, along with some additional features.

Dynamically the Elantra Sport is fun to drive. The Turbo comes on nicely and the 201 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque pushes you down the road quickly. Zero to 60 mph is right around the 7-second range, by my rough stopwatch estimate. I thought the suspension tuning crisp and firm enough with good compliance and roll control. The tires grip well, although with their low profile I needed to be careful with the summer road resurfacing projects that often leaves sharp transitions at shaved-off surface junctures.

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My medium build worked well with the high bolstered sport seats. Access to controls and the touch screen is all easy and convenient. You can adjust throttle response and steering using the Drive Mode Select control.

The trunk holds 14.4 cuft and the rear seat folds for added capacity.

For 2018 the Elantra sedan line-up is pretty much carry-over with minimal changes. However there is an all-new 2018 Elantra GT the made its debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. The GT is lower, wider, and longer, and features a hatchback bodystyle. There’ll be two models, a GT and a more powerful GT Sport that uses the same 201-HP engine as the Elantra Sport.

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This GT Sport could prove to be slightly more interesting. It should have the same performance as the Sport. However, its shorter overall length (by about 10 inches) combined with the versatility of a big rear hatch certainly makes it interesting for a young urban dweller. Actually, you don’t need to be young to drive a hot-hatch.. They help keep you young.

More information and specs on the entire 2017 Hyundai Elantra lineup can be found at You can look at other compact sedans and compare to the Elantra right here at The Auto Channel.

On a final note, Hyundai has a really good warranty that covers the whole car for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Something to think about!

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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