Function
Surprisingly Sporty
Richard Augustin 
The sleek exterior is a major selling point for the Elantra Sport
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The Honda Civic has dominated the C-segment market for a number of years now. There were some contenders, but eventually, most were left eating dust by the might of the Honda brand and popular Civic nameplate. However, Civic may need to pay more attention to its rearview mirror – one particular competitor is giving it serious chase. 

Much like the Civic, the Korean model is also offered in the standard 2.0 Executive. However, it is the sport variant that proves to be a solid option, providing ample power and driveability, which is certainly giving its more illustrious Japanese competitor well in check.

 

An Elantra, really?

Before you scoff, yes, we admit that the Elantra nameplate hasn’t been on the radar of most consumers despite it being around for nearly three decades. It actually took Hyundai five generations to make drivers sit up and take notice of the model. The previous generation bucked the trend somewhat for the Korean car brand but the current sixth generation, which you see here, is proof that the Elantra has finally arrived as a certifiable contender.

 

An effective exterior

It is a handsome sedan with subtle accents that lend it a touch of sportiness to the overall package. It is unlikely to turn many heads on the open road but the practical styling cues ensure that it will age well. The Sport model has some notable differences over the regular Elantra such as fewer chrome bits at the front and a restyled bumper with larger side intakes and LED light strips as well as HID headlamps. Both models sit on 17-inch alloy wheels with the Sport model getting a more performance-looking twin five-spoke design. 

Price: RM131,488 (OTR without insurance)


As for the interior

If there was an Achilles heel to the Elantra, it would have to be its cabin. Although it comes with decent space, the dashboard layout isn’t much to shout about with the designers opting for form over function. It has all the bells and whistles drivers have come to expect in most top-of-the-range C-segment models such as keyless entry, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning and a touchscreen LCD that is Android Auto and Apple Car compatible but in terms of cabin look and feel, the Elantra is pretty much vanilla. Oddly enough, what is loud about the cabin is that red-and-black leather interior, which, frankly, is rather off-putting. 

 

Performance where it counts

What does set it apart is its driveability and handling. Equipped with a 1.6 T-GDI engine and a 7-Speed Double Clutch Transmission, the Elantra Sport is a joy to drive. Producing 201 horses and 265 Nm of torque, the model has enough fire for a fun and spirited drive, and it is also pretty agile when taking to corners. Three drive modes – Eco, Normal, and Sport – offer further custom options for drivers, which can be accessed with a push of a button on the centre console.

To give credit where its due, Hyundai has delivered a pretty solid C-segment contender. The Elantra Sport is fun to drive, it looks good and comes with a number of features such as front and rear Parking Assist, Auto Cruise Control, Hill Start Assist and a Smart Trunk System that are bound to please many potential buyers.

Its safety features are equally impressive with six airbags, Electronic Stability Control and Blind Spot Detection as standard.

However, at a price point that is within the range of many of its top-of-the-range rivals, the Elantra Sport has its work cut out. Nevertheless, it may sway some drivers looking for something a bit more unique and fun as it does offer a viable alternative in this popular segment.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 16-valve DOHC, turbocharged with direct injection
Capacity: 1591cc
Transmission: 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
Power: 201 hp at 6000 rpm
Torque: 265 Nm at 1500 rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7.9L/100km
0-100 km/h: 7.7 seconds
Top Speed: 210kmh



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 266.