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2018 Hyundai Elantra

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2018 Hyundai Elantra Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 9.0

Hyundai’s 6th-generation Elantra compact sedan and hatchback add more available safety and technology features for 2018, continuing its move to conquest best-selling rivals like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra. The Elantra boasts stylish looks, premium amenities and a class-leading warranty that includes 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain. The standard 2018 Hyundai Elantra continues with a blend of refinement, eager driving manners, and efficiency. The Eco sedan achieves noticeable fuel economy of EPA ratings of 35 mpg combined, outfitted with a compact 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the Elantra Sport model, outfitted with a 201 horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, puts a bit more zip into driving, as does the new Elantra GT which adds the driving dynamics and features of a compact hatchback.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a stylish, value-oriented compact car with an excellent warranty, you'll find it in the Elantra. The 2018 Elantra covers buyer’s needs from value sedan to luxury features and sporty attributes to hatchback versatility.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Elantra can't match the roominess or resale value of a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, nor can it match the pure, fun-to-drive feel of a Mazda3.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.0
  • 8.7
  • 8.5
  • 8.5
  • 9.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks
2018 Hyundai Elantra Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The Hyundai Elantra saw a redesign for 2017, yet sees added features to keep it contemporary for 2018. The SEL Elantra receives popular equipment which includes Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, a 7-inch in-dash display, and heated outside mirrors. The Eco model concentrates on value and efficiency, while the Sport and GT hatchback models aim at active and enthusiast drivers.

Driving the Elantra
2018 Hyundai Elantra Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The 2018 Elantra impresses, blending comfort, efficiency and even some sportiness. The standard Elantra's new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine feels peppier than its 147 horsepower indicates, and its available 6-speed...

... automatic transmission with Drive Mode Select is a willing partner. Whether romping around mountain 2-lanes enjoying the Sport mode's responsive steering and sportier shift patterns, or darting through city avenues where Normal mode provides smooth shifts and throttle response, we were impressed with Elantra. For Green Party members, the Elantra Eco's gas-sipping 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder achieves a combined city/highway EPA figure of 35 mpg. And for party animals, the Elantra Sport rocks a 1.6-liter turbo delivering 201 horsepower and mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. While the Elantra sedan and GT hatchback continue to use a torsion beam rear suspension the Elantra Sport and GT Sport models raise the sport coefficient thanks in part to a multi-link rear suspension.

POWER TRUNK, WITH A TRICK
The 2018 Elantra offers a power-operated trunk, a feature made even more convenient thanks to its hands-free operation. With the key fob in your pocket or purse, all you have to do is walk behind the car, wait a few seconds, and the trunk will open.

DUAL-CLUTCH TRANSMISSION
With the Elantra Sport offering a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, it injects a whole new driving dynamic to the Elantra lineup. And on the gas-saving side of the ledger, the Elantra Eco model uses that dual-clutch transmission for improved fuel economy.

2018 Hyundai Elantra Details
2018 Hyundai Elantra Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Hyundai is proud to point out that the Elantra's interior is a size higher than its class. So while this is a compact car, its 110.2 cubic feet of interior room qualifies it as a midsize vehicle, according to the EPA. It may not be quite as roomy as the Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra, but it's still a testament to modern engineering that no longer means a small car has to be a "penalty box." We especially appreciate the driver-centric dash layout, and the fact that controls for audio, climate and the like are actually buttons and knobs vs. multi-step touch-based systems.

Exterior
2018 Hyundai Elantra photo

Hyundai's emphasis on design is just as important as its fantastic warranty. The Elantra looks more sophisticated than its price tag suggests. It's not gaudy, either, though we admit the large hexagonal grille is borderline gaping. The Elantra further stands out with an athletic stance, front-wheel air curtains, and an integrated rear spoiler built into the trunk lid. The Elantra feels larger from the passenger compartment, yet is easy to navigate in tight spaces at just 179.9 inches long and 70.9 inches wide.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the most basic 2018 Elantra includes air conditioning, power windows and door locks, a 6-way driver's seat with height adjustment, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and AM/FM/CD audio with USB and auxiliary jacks. For 2018, the Elantra SE with the Popular Equipment package is replaced by the SEL model, which includes a 7-inch touch-screen display, backup camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, hood insulation for a quieter ride, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. All new Elantras come with a generous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty for the powertrain and five years of roadside assistance.

Optional Equipment

Aside from the automatic transmission ($1,000), most major options for the 2018 Elantra are bundled into packages. When you select the high-line Limited trim, your Elantra includes a leather interior, power driver's seat with lumbar support, hands-free power trunk, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, heated front seats, and push-button start. Adding the Tech package to that trim includes navigation with an 8-inch screen, Infinity audio, heated rear seats, and a power sunroof. The 2018 Elantra Value Edition adds plenty of up-level features for about 21 grand. The list includes hands-free trunk release, heated front seats, outside door handle approach lights, and dual-zone automatic temperature control. Go for the Ultimate package, and you'll get automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, the driver's seat memory system and high-intensity headlights that turn in the direction of the steering.

Under the Hood
2018 Hyundai Elantra Engine photo

The 2018 Elantra offers a choice of 4-cylinder engines. The standard powerplant is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. In the Elantra SE, that engine is mated to a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, while the SEL, Limited and Value Edition models all come exclusively with the automatic. The 2018 Elantra Sport is equipped with a more powerful 1.6-liter turbo engine and the choice of a standard 6-speed manual or optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The frugal might look toward the Eco model offering a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with a 7-speed automatic transmission, and achieves an estimated 40 mpg.

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 (2018 Elantra Eco)
128 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
156 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-3,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/40 mpg

2.0-liter inline-4 (2018 Elantra SE, SEL, Limited and Value Edition)
147 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
132 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Elantra SE -- 26/36 mpg (manual), 29/38 mpg (automatic)
Elantra SEL, Limited and Value Edition -- 28/37 mpg

2.0-liter inline-4 (2018 Elantra GT)
162 horsepower @ 6,200
150 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 (2018 Elantra Sport and GT Sport)
201 horsepower @ 6,000
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500
EPA city/highway fuel economy:
Elantra Sport -- 22/30 mpg (manual), 26/33 mpg (automatic)
Elantra GT Sport -- 22/29 mpg (manual), 26/32 mpg (automatic)

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra base sedan with manual transmission has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $18,000. Move up to the nicely equipped Elantra SEL, and you're still looking at a price below $20,000. The Value Edition starts just under $21,000, while the Elantra Eco model will cost about $21,500. If you check all the boxes and go with a leather-lined Elantra Limited ($22,985) with the Ultimate package ($4,350), and you'll still be paying just $27,335 -- not bad for a mainstream car with more equipment than many entry-level luxury cars. The Elantra's price is close to that of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Ford Focus. A Nissan Sentra starts a below the Elantra, as does its own cousin, the Kia Forte. The Elantra's resale value had traditionally trailed that of the market-leading Subaru Impreza and Honda Civic.

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