By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
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.
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.
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.
KBB Expert Ratings
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.
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.
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.Exterior
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.
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.
1.8-liter inline-4 (SE, Limited sedan)
145 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 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.