Owner Review: The C-Segment Underdog - Hyundai Elantra

Owner Review · Aug 12, 2020 05:59 PM

** This article is the personal experience of a 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport 1.6T owner and does not necessarily reflect the views of WapCar.

Facebook: Joshi Immanuel


When C-Segment Sedans are mentioned the first thought that comes to people's mind is the Honda Civic FCToyota Corolla Altis E210 and Mazda 3 BP. The Hyundai Elantra AD will unlikely be meat and potatoes of the conversation. However, in this story, it will. I still remember vividly the first time I saw the spy shots of the Hyundai Elantra AD turbo version coming through Malaysia, the aesthetics of the rear caught my attention due the curves reminded of the Volvo S60 Mk2.

The rear lights at first glance look aftermarket, most stock cars especially at the price range of Rm100- Rm130k rear lights usually have an `L shape` or one continuous strip of light, like the Honda Civic FC. The Hyundai Elantra rear lights looked tastefully designed to complement the proportionality of the rear. Color blue was chosen due I like the pop of contrast between body paint and rear lights. 

The front lights are standard HID headlights, and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lights. The front facia and rear lights prompted me of Audi`s style cues in reference to the big cascading grille, the halo lens are aftermarket.

I was profoundly taken aback discovering that Hyundai hired Albert Biermann from BMW, A. Biermann is an engineer with over 30 years’ of experience and is responsible for the vehicle dynamics of the M division cars. Piquing my interest further was the engine specifications of the Hyundai Elantra, the performance numbers and transmission take the cake, 201 hp and 265nm paired with to a dual-clutch transmission. Well for me it does give that price point and mind you its stock. However, I was sceptical that the pricing was against the Honda Civic FC. In the United States, the Hyundai Elantra Sport's competitor is the Civic Si, a higher tier version of the Civic FC. So the presumptions of various goodies will be stripped away to match the consumer price point. It was supposed to come with 18inch set wheels(stock comes with 17inch set), Infinity premium sound system, panoramic sunroof, interior color options and a sport exhaust but it was stripped to its bare necessities.

However, Sime Darby could have packaged the Hyundai Elantra Sport's interior better, instances reducing the scarlet red interior scheme, online forums dictate that customer's red flag of not purchasing this vehicle was because there was too much red. There's an RM1500 option to remove the scarlet red interior, replacing it with a color scheme similar to the non - turbo Elantra interior, this black interior option should be free, if such if so there would be plenty more Hyundai Elantra Sports on the road. I didn’t opt for the black interior, the red didn’t bother me for I know I would spend more time focused on the road instead.

I really liked the flat-bottom steering wheel and the analogue-style cluster, it's a timeless look, like an analogue watch, my dad drives the Honda Civic FC TC variant and over the years since its debut, the meter cluster looks dated. I'm 6"3' and I have no problems getting in and out of the vehicle, the seats are comfortable as well given the fact it has sport seats, no complaints with regards of the 7inch TFT infotainment system except it should be bigger, it doesn't lag and is fairly easy to use with Apple Carplay or Android Auto. There's a lot of hard plastic around the Elantra Sport interior, unlike the Civic FC where it has soft touch plastic all around, over the span of 3years+ I've driven the C segment leader( Civic FC ) and the Elantra Sport back and forth for my daily commute and usability.

Ride comfort of the Hyundai Elantra was surprisingly good, I thought the ride quality was going to be horrid due the suspension is not tuned for comfort but for spirited driving instead. The suspension has higher spring rates, stiffer damping multilink rear suspension and added a rear stabilizer bar. In comparison, the segment leader has more driving comfort compared to the Elantra Sport but that's okay because comfort is not the main reason for purchasing the Elantra Sport, habit of spirited driving is. But its reassuring to know that I can have a comfortable ride whenever I am not throwing the car into corners.

There are three driving modes, Eco, Normal and Sport, I most often drive it in Normal mode, reason being the pathway of my commute to Penang daily have countless traffic stops, being in Normal mode is most appropriate given the stated circumstances, the turbo lag in Eco mode hazardous if immediate acceleration is needed due the lag in Eco mode is 1-2seconds. The Penang bridge is always congested so that's a buzz-kill to use all 201hp and 265nm of torque since I often travel there during weekdays but whenever there`s no congestion, open road ahead coupled with the horizon is all that I can see, Sport mode is it, savouring the 13.5-kilometre empty Penang bridge stretch. The acceleration smooth and the gear changes are like clockwork especially till 205km/h, it feels sluggish further on, electronically limited at 214km/h. But the same could not be said for the ones that are tuned. Wind noise during high speed isn't much of an issue on stock tyres ( Hankook Ventus Prime 2) but if swapped to performance-focused threads like Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2, the ride will be slightly stiffer.

My go-to place to take corners like a housefly is at the beginning of Batu Ferringhi till the end of Titi Kerawang which is on the northwest side of Penang island, respite from the traffics and congestion. The car comes alive especially when taking bends, body roll is present for its a sedan structure but its the fun kind of body roll, not the kind of body roll that churns your stomach highlighting the possibility of collision. The engine revs are always up where I want it to be whenever I'm not using the paddle shifters, coupled with heavy-sharp steering only activated in sports mode resulting me bursting out and diving into corners with confidence, a euphoric blissful drive.

Similar spirited driving ecstasy can't be said for the segment leader, compared to the Hyundai Elantra the Honda Civic's tail will step out a little and has a tad bit more body roll but this issue can be solved with a new set of performance tyres and anti-roll bars. However, the achilles heel of the segment leader is the CVT transmission in terms of performance, engine deceleration during the bends feels incoherent and the bursting out of corners will be slightly less potent than before as you continue to dive in and out of corners. The performance of the Honda Civic FC is no slouch don’t get me wrong but the Elantra Sport is just better, in every way performance-wise.

I joined the Elantra Sport Owners Group on 2017 and was bestowed the knowledge to appropriately modify the vehicle, in terms of which threads to use, brake brands, tunning and TT's(get-togethers), no ricer mods here. Most of the Hyundai Elantra Sports that thy eyes on the road aren't running on stock tunes and equipment, often having 240-270hp and 330nm-380nm. The illustration below is two of our member`s dyno figures, conservative tune on the left, aggressive tune on the right. Full tank of fuel gives 550-570kilometer travelling range, average consumption about 6.0-7.5km/100liters.


It has been 3 years since the purchase, millage 52,000km currently, no replacement except wear and tear items like brake pads and threads. I still feel elated whenever I`m behind the wheel, from driving like a housefly to helping a friend move his house belongings, the Hyundai Elantra is more accommodating compared to the segment leader`s boot, reason being there's a bar across it preventing me from carrying long board items. Both vehicles the seats can be folded down but that long bar across the Civic`s boot still remains, Don’t get the segment leader if you love furniture, especially Ikea furniture.

Honda Civic boot

Hyundai Elantra boot

Hyundai Elantra boot

Rating:

Overall: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Ride comfort: 3.5/5

Fuel economy:4/5

Interior: 2.5/5

Space: 4/5

Price & cost:3/5   

 

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