After a slight facelift for 2014, the 2015 Hyundai Elantra compact gets only a few tweaks this year, mostly rearranging option packages. But that's OK, as its style, fuel economy, interior space, features, and warranty continue to make it a tough act to follow. Both its quality ratings and resale values are as good as the leading compact cars, and the Elantra's full lineup of sedan, coupe and GT hatchback models is a real threat to compact cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. Your practical side will appreciate the 38 mpg on the highway, or you can tickle your inner enthusiast with a sporty 173-horsepower engine. Both camps will appreciate the Elantra's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
You'll Like This Car If...
The 2015 Hyundai Elantra offers up the style and sophistication of a more expensive car, while still remaining a bargain, proving that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg just to have stylish, feature-laden transportation.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While a game changer when it first came on the scene, many manufacturers have caught up to the Elantra's stuff-for-the-price ratio, while also offering a better overall driving experience. The Elantra's interior also has a few cheap feeling bits, and there's no premium audio option.
After a more thorough refresh last year, changes for the 2015 Hyundai Elantra mostly poke around the edges. There are three new option packages, plus a smattering of new colors. Otherwise, the Elantra is the same sharp-looking compact we've come to know and love.
Driving the Elantra
The 2015 Hyundai Elantra splits the difference between the sporty-driving Mazda3 and Ford Focus, and the more mainstream and comfortable Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan...
... Sentra. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, or you can opt for a 6-speed automatic. The transmissions do their best to make the most of the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder's 145 horsepower, but if that's not enough, the Elantra Sport sedan, the Elantra Coupe and the Elantra GT hatchback are all available with the 173-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. Elantra GT, SE and Limited models come with 3-mode, driver-selectable steering, designed to improve feedback in sporty driving. The GT and Elantra Coupe also get stiffer suspensions for more aggressive driving. Yet even in everyday traffic, all Elantras are comfortable and well insulated from road and wind noise, especially for a compact car.
DRIVER SELECTABLE STEERING MODE The 2015 Elantra's Driver Selectable Steering Mode allows the driver to choose from three settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport, and is available on the GT hatchback and the SE and Limited sedans.
HEATED REAR SEATS One of the more surprising standard features on the Elantra Limited sedan is the heated rear seats. Usually extra-cost even on luxury cars, it's almost unheard of in this segment, and just one more way Hyundai is turning up the heat on the competition.
2015 Hyundai Elantra Details
Although the 2015 Elantra competes as a compact car, the roomy interior gets it classified as a midsize car by the EPA. The comfortable interior features some higher-end soft-touch materials, but there's also some low-end feeling plastic on the doors and switches. The front seats are properly shaped for leisurely or aggressive driving, and while rear legroom is only adequate for the sedan and Coupe, it's downright generous in the GT. Fold-down seats augment the large trunk in the sedan and Coupe, and if you haul extra gear but don't want an SUV, the hatchback-only GT is a good pick.
Hyundai says the 2015 Elantra's "Fluidic Sculpture" design evokes water flowing around rocks. Whatever you call it, the curves and swoops combine elegantly with sweeping headlights and taillights, looking upscale without feeling gaudy or over the top. 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.
The base-level Elantra SE sedan comes standard with a manual transmission, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, and a telescoping steering wheel. Also standard are upscale features like keyless entry, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, aluminum-alloy wheels, 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.
The 2015 Hyundai Elantra sedan has two upgrade paths from the base SE model. There's the Sport, which gives you the more powerful 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, or the Limited, which adds more luxury, but keeps the less powerful engine. A new Style package for SE models adds a moonroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, projector headlights, and chrome and aluminum accents. The revised Tech package for Elantra Sport models adds navigation and an upgraded audio system, plus Hyundai BlueLink. The Limited gets a new Ultimate package, which adds navigation, a sunroof, upgraded audio, dual zone climate control, and push-button start.
Under the Hood
The Elantra SE and Limited sedans both get a 145-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, while Elantra Sport sedans, the Elantra Coupe, and Elantra GT all get a 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. We think the better bet is the 2.0-liter engine. It offers significantly better power, at the expense of only a moderate hit to fuel economy. Transmission choices are between a 6-speed manual available for the sedan and GT hatchback. A 6-speed automatic is available for the sedan and GT, and oddly is the only transmission available for the sporty looking coupe. The automatic comes with an Eco mode to further enhance fuel economy, and manual shifting mode for a bit of added sport.
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 2015 Hyundai Elantra SE sedan starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $18,000, Sport models cost about $22,500, and Limited models come in at about $22,460. Final prices for the flexible GT hatchback and sporty Elantra coupe should be about the same as last year, around $19,500 for the GT and $20,500 or so for the coupe. An automatic transmission adds an extra $1,000, and fully-optioned Elantra models cost around $27,000. That's 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 Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others are actually paying for the 2015 Hyundai Elantra in your area. The Hyundai's resale value is a strong point and we expect the 2015 Elantra to hold its value exceptionally well over a 5-year period.
Pros: "great price, amazing gas mileage, comfortable"
Cons: "could be more responsive drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We've been extremely pleased with our Elantra, especially when it comes to gas mileage. We've averaged 43 mpg on the highway which is higher than epa estimations. For us the sweet spot seems to be around 70mph. The interior is nice, not flashy but comfortable and well-designed. The car feels very solid."
Pros: "Handles fine, good gas mileage & relatively quiet."
Cons: "Wind is noisy on side windows, blind spots are big"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I'll admit, I've only had this car less than a month, but the quality far exceeds that of what I thought I was getting when I bought my first back in 2005 when it was brand new. This car is far more quiet and handles great for what the car is supposed to be. The mileage is better (so far) than my previous Elantra, which had a 27/34 rating. While the hwy was about right for my 2005, I only averaged about 20-21mpg in the city. I still live in the exact place I did when I bought my 2005 and I am averaging about 25-26 with my 2016, and my area has quite a few long hills I need to use as well. So for now, I am getting decent mileage for my area on this Elantra's 28/38 rating.
I read the rating from KBB and while that's their impression, I disagree somewhat, because it seems as if it is to be treated like a quasi-sports car, and this vehicle isn't. I bought it for what it states it is, an economy based car with lots of extras, though its size really come close to, or is a mid-size car. It handles fine, tight steering, has decent acceleration and the 6 speed transmission really helps and it is relatively quiet. My main complaint is that when I get up to speeds over 40 or 50mph, the air whooshing sound is a little noisy around the side windows, but it is more quiet over my previous car. It is fairly comfortable as well."
Pros: "Great price, fun to drive & efficient on gas"
Cons: "Vent locations and inferior fabric quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had my Hyundai Elantra since 12/2011 and love this car. It gets great gas mileage, performs and drives great. I've had no problems with it so far. It's the perfect size for me and moves very easily in traffic.
I wish the interior design was a little better with respect to where the a/c vents are located. Also the fabric used on the seats could be better quality. The quality isn't as nice as I had in my Toyota Camry which was "real cloth".
Other than this I have no complaints and would recommend the Elantra to anyone looking for a very reliable and gas efficient car under $20,000."