By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
Given a slight facelift this year, the 2014 Hyundai Elantra continues to wow consumers and critics alike, providing a nearly unbeatable combination of power, fuel economy, interior room, features, and warranty. Long gone are the days when Hyundai cars were seen as cheap, disposable transportation. With quality ratings and resale values good enough to rival the best competitors, the Elantra is a real threat to compacts like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. Although Hyundai did have to walk back its 40-mpg claim from last year, 38 mpg is still nothing to sneeze at, and none of the Elantra's rivals can match its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
If you're looking for a compact car with character and comfort, but you don't want to pay an arm and a leg, check out the 2014 Hyundai Elantra. An extensive standard features list and interior volume on par with some midsize sedans make the Elantra a great bargain.
As good as the Elantra is, it still doesn't have the same sporty feel as the Mazda Mazda3, and some of its interior bits and pieces still feel inexpensive. Those seeking a premium name brand audio system from manufacturers such as Sony or Bose won't find it offered in the Elantra.
KBB Expert Ratings
The Elantra sedan gets a slight exterior makeover and a new Sport trim. A new 2.0-liter engine replaces the 1.8-liter in the GT, Elantra Coupe and Sport sedan. Other changes include revised wheels, updated navigation radio with Pandora app, Hill Start Assist and Driver Selectable Steering made standard on some trims. The GLS sedan trim is renamed SE, while the Coupe is reduced to a single trim.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Hyundai Elantra comfortably resides in a territory between the performance-oriented Mazda3 and Ford Focus, and the softer-sprung Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Sentra. A standard 6-speed...... manual and available 6-speed automatic do their best to make the most of the 1.8-liter's 148 horsepower, but with a new 173-horsepower 2.0-liter now offered in some trims, the Elantra doesn't have to remain at the back of the performance pack any longer. The 3-mode driver-selectable steering, standard in the GT, SE and Limited, greatly improves feedback, while the GT and Elantra Coupe benefit from tighter suspension settings that allow the car to move aggressively over twisting roads. In everyday driving, the cabin is well-insulated from wind and road noise, and the front seats are comfortable for this class of car.
DRIVER SELECTABLE STEERING MODE
Hyundai's first application of a variable steering setup, the Driver Selectable Steering Mode (DSSM) allows the driver to choose from three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport. DSSM is available on the GT hatchback and the SE and Limited sedans, but, oddly, not the Sport.
HEATED REAR SEATS
Standard on the Limited sedan, the Elantra's rear-seat heating is the kind of creature comfort that would cost extra even in a luxury car. It is almost unheard of in this segment, and just one more way Hyundai is turning up the heat on the competition.
Technically, the 2014 Hyundai Elantra's interior is roomy enough to be classified as a midsize car by the EPA. The cabin is comfortable and features some soft-touch materials, but also uses some rather low-end plastics on the doors and switches. The front seats are well-bolstered. Rear legroom is adequate in the sedan and Coupe, and generous in the GT. Trunk space is laudable, and the folding rear seats in the sedan and Coupe are convenient when hauling bigger items. The GT, meanwhile, features rear seats that fold flat and is a smart pick for those who regularly haul extra gear but don't want an SUV.Exterior
Hyundai calls it "Fluidic Sculpture." We just call it good-looking. The Elantra continues to evolve Hyundai's design theme that is meant to evoke "fluid in motion." For the sheet metal that means lots of curves, a prominent beltline along the sides and headlights that appear as if they are being drawn back into the hood. It all works without feeling gaudy. Aside from having only two doors, Coupe versions are distinguished by a large, trapezoidal mouth and twin tailpipes in the rear. The GT hatchback receives a similar treatment up front and a sloping roof that looks rather fashionable.
Even the base, manual-transmission-equipped SE trim features air conditioning, 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, cruise control and telescoping steering wheel. Elantras also come with remote keyless entry, 4-wheel disc brakes, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a 172-watt 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/satellite radio with USB/iPod inputs. Coupe and GT models feature heated front seats and GT models come standard with a glove compartment that can be chilled. Coupe and sedan models have six airbags, while Elantra GT versions add a seventh for the driver's knees.
Upgrading an Elantra sedan to the Limited trim model adds a power sunroof, leather seating and heated front and rear seats. In Coupe form, the Elantra adds a sport-tuned suspension plus an automatic transmission and can be outfitted with a power sunroof and leather seating. A Tech Package includes a 7-inch screen, rear backup camera, navigation and 360-watt audio system as well as Hyundai's Blue Link telematics. To get the Tech Package on the GT requires the Style Package that includes a panoramic sunroof and leather seating.
The 2014 Hyundai Elantra SE and Limited are powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque. The engine gives the Elantra average acceleration and decent passing power. Transmission choices are a good-feeling 6-speed manual (sedan and GT only) or a very smooth 6-speed automatic that is eager to shift and feels well-matched to the engine. Automatic-transmission versions of the 2014 Elantra come with Hyundai's manual-shifting mode, called Shiftronic, which lets drivers toggle through the gears if desired. More desirable is the new 2.0-liter GDI 4-cylinder that bumps horsepower to 173 and torque to 154 lb-ft. Standard on the Sport, Coupe and GT, this engine offers more robust performance without sacrificing much in the way of fuel economy.
1.8-liter inline-4 (SE, Limited sedan)
148 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
130 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/37 mpg (manual), 28/38 mpg (automatic), 27/37 mpg (automatic, Limited)
2.0-liter inline-4 (Coupe, Sport sedan and GT)
173 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg (manual, Sedan & GT), 24/35 mpg (automatic, Sedan), 24/34 mpg (automatic, Coupe) 24/33 mpg (automatic, GT)
The 2014 Hyundai Elantra SE sedan has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $18,000, while the GT hatchback starts just over $19,500. The Elantra Coupe, available in just one well-equipped trim that includes an automatic transmission as standard, starts just over $20,400. Adding an automatic transmission to any other version costs an extra $1,000, and fully-optioned models of the Elantra can reach around $27,000. At these prices, the Elantra is comparable to other notable compact sedans in this segment, such as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others are actually paying for the 2014 Hyundai Elantra in your area. The Hyundai's resale value is a strong point and we expect the 2014 Elantra to hold its value exceptionally well over a 5-year period.