Hyundai Elantra information and reviews
All Elantra Trim Levels
Consumer Reports (subscription required) recommends the Hyundai Elantra and rank it ahead of segment stalwarts like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, and VW Jetta. Highlighted are things like east-to-use controls, great fuel economy from both the regular engine and the hybrid, solid braking performance, and a CVT transmission that actually feels like a regular geared transmission.
Edmunds.com likes the Elantra quite a bit! They point out that the base engine models are more about efficiency than sporty driving, but that is why they have two spicier engine and suspension set-ups (for those that value sportiness over efficiency and a softer ride). There is also a Hybrid model for those that put a premium on efficiency. What did they like? Ride comfort, spaciousness, a wide array of technology that is also easy to use.
And if you would rather just watch the video review, here it is.
This article from MotorTrend draws a few comparisons to the Civic, Corolla, and Mazda3 to let you know how the Elantra compares on paper. 195 lb-ft of torque is crazy get-it-moving power for this size/weight of a car for the hybrid version. The hybrid version may actually be the sporty one to have with its 4-wheel-independent suspension. This article also includes the official video release of the 2021 Elantra.
Car and Driver calls the Elantra "more compelling than ever". It is no wonder given the longer wheelbase and longer length help to improve interior room, especially back seat leg room. It offers several different powertrains, each of which offers solid handling characteristics and good steering feel. They point out that the design takes a bold step forward, and there is a host of standard and optional features (including wireless Android Auto / Apple CarPlay on even the base model).
Savage Geese tends to do a deeper dive into the vehicle in their reviews. In addition to offering opinion on the interior and exterior styling, technology, and drivability, they put the car on a lift and explain the engine, transmission, and suspension that the car has. I thought this video deep dive into the Elantra Limited offered interesting insights about the way that Hyundai set up the powertrain and suspension. It isn't as quiet and refined as some other brands' compact cars even though they showed in the previous Elantra that they can do refined. Savage Geese says they chose to make it a little less quiet and buttoned-down in favor of adding personality to the driving experience. In their comments on the transmission, they comment that Hyundai's IVT transmission in this car is better than the competition's CVTs, including Honda, Subaru, and Toyota, calling Hyundai's "way better".
In this review of the Elantra Limited, AutoGuide says that the car is nearly perfect for its class. They argue that the quality of the interior is deserving of the next class up, citing leather interior, soft touch plastics, knurled knobs, and dual 10.25" screens - one for the instument panel and one for the infotainment. The engine is lively and the handling maneuverable, but it is more about fuel economy and comfort; there are other trim levels that offer more power and sportier handling. The writer admittedly had a hard time coming up with anything to criticize - I found it funny that in the typical "3 positives and 3 negatives" section, that he admittedly gave up after 2 negatives that he said were really just nit picking.
Here is the Elantra N reveal video from Hyundai. There is quite a bit of information here
Road and Track named the Veloster N their 2020 Performance Car of the Year, beating out competitors like McLaren, Porsche, and the C8 Corvette. The Elantra N is based on that award winner. But Road and Track says it is even better. Huh?! They point out that it rides on a newer platform that allows for wider tires, the DCT gear ratios are tighter (giving better acceleration), and the engine in this 2.0L turbo provides an additional 5 HP and 29 lb-ft of torque (that they mention you can really feel), oh, and there is a button allowing for 20 seconds of overboost that provides 10 more HP. Other comments include their love of both transmissions, calling them similar to transmissions in cars six figures expensive, as well as excellent cornering and braking, saying that the braking doesn't fade when hammered on the track.
In this 3-lap video review on Road and Track's website, they call the Elantra N pure driving enjoyment. Oh, and "the best small sports sedan you can buy." They say it is the car BMW wishes it still made.
Savage Geese feels like the suspension on the Elantra N is maybe a bit too firm for a daily driver (not sure if they knew about the various suspension settings as they only referenced the "N Mode", which has a separate button on the steering wheel). They also said that there are some hard plastics on the interior. But watch the grins and exclamations like "I can't believe how good this car is... It's amazing!" once he gets it on the track. I think they treat it pretty fairly, though, pointing out the plusses and minuses.
AutoGuide spent track time in the Elantra N. They had lots of fun tossing it around the track. But, "Despite all this fun, the Elantra's ride never feels too stiff. Firm, sure, but more in control than anything." Much like the Veloster N, it is not relegated to track duty only, and can be driven as an everyday car, just one that goes fast and tears through corners. They liked both the 6-speed manual and the 8-speed automated DCT transmissions, the latter they claimed always found the right gear. The electronic limited slip differential provided security when the corners were taken hard. See all their praises here.
"Fiery" and exploding with enthusiasm, AutoGuide calls the Elantra N a "proper sport compact". See all their comments here about why they named it their 2022 Performance Car of the Year.
Car and Driver is also impressed by the Elantra N. Their comments echo the same praises offered by Road and Track and AutoGuide, but this article also mentions a change Hyundai made to the Elantra N with a race-car-inspired integrated front-axle/wheel-hub-and-bearings design that provides more rigidity.
In this article Car and Driver doesn't add much to the article above, but does show that the Elantra N received an Editor's Choice award.
MotorTrend chimes in that the Elantra N is "damn good". They echo most of the commentas from Car and Driver, AutoGuide, and Road and Track, but add that if you are really after driving fun and are considering a BMW to get it, save tens of thousands of dollars and go with the Elantra N. While it isn't as luxurious, they say it really isn't giving up anything in the performance department.
In this First Test article from MotorTrend, they do a lot of comparing to the Honda Civic Type R. They complement the Elantra N for having a refined and comfortable ride, especially considering that it is built as a car you can take to the track from the factory. In summation, they say "Its excellent engineering delivers something the best enthusiast cars share: It makes you want to drive it, to dream of it, and to be distracted by thoughts of it when you're not driving. Hyundai has a real performance beast on its hands..."
Elantra vs the Competition
MotorTrend in this article compares some cars that are in the same size class, but due to inventory constraints from the manufacturers, they couldn't get an exact trim-to-trim comparison. Even so, they made some very good points about how they compare. The Elantra Limited finished second, but their comments do a great job of explaining what distinguished the first place Honda Civic from the second place Hyundai Elantra. Hyundai has a go-fast and carve corners version of the Elantra that is available with an automatic transmission whereas Honda does not with the Civic (as I write this). So first and second come down to what you value more - the Elantra provides better technology and a more comfortable ride while saving you $3300 compared to the first place Civic. The Civic provides nicer interior materials and more agility around corners. Give this article a read if you are considering a Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3, Honda Civic, VW Jetta, Nissan Sentra, or Kia Forte.
Edmunds.com compared the Elantra N to the Subaru WRX and the VW GTI. Spoiler alert! The reviewer did NOT pick the Elantra N. The Hyundai was the quickest car they tested and had the nicest interior. See the video and decide for yourself if you agree with their conclusion. (I don't)
In this comparison, AutoGuide compares the Elantra N against the new GTI and Civic Si. Much like Edmunds.com video comparison with the Elantra N, they come away thinking that the GTI is the nicer daily driver, but still picked the Hyundai as their winner. In this case it was about the better value of the Elantra in the US market. But, they admit, it also has to do with their older age and valuing comfort. The Elantra N is the car for younger bodies who want a more engaging driving experience. It handles incredibly well and is very fast. So they imply that the Elantra N may be the pick for the younger enthusiast driver.
So this video I think is very interesting in getting a few points of view on the 4 cars Savage Geese compared: the VW GTI, Subaru WRX, Honda Civic Si, and the Hyundai Elantra N. They are taking into account things like the interior, comfort, fun-to-drive factor, power, etc. There were 3 guys of varying ages, 2 of which spoke on camera. I think this video will help someone decide which of these 4 are right for them.
Car and Driver compared the Civic Si, the VW Jetta GLI, and the Elanta N. Yep, the Elantra N won easily. It may seem like it isn't a trim-for-trim comparison, and it kind-of isn't, but Hyundai no longer offers the Elantra N Line so this is the closest comparison. Even factoring in the price penalty for the Elantra N, it was so much better than the others that they said the Elantra is the one they would want to own ("order"). The performance of the Elantra N was just appreciably better than the others.