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Review: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport driven

2018-02-14 08:15

Janine Van der Post

Images: Wheels24 / Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - For two weeks, Hyundai has been responsible for a bit of traffic in my residential area and I had feared there would be a crash or fender-bender right in front of my home.

The reasons? The Korean automaker's latest offerings had been parked in my driveway back to back - first it was the Tucson Sport followed by the very stylish Elantra Sport.

Wait, that's a Hyundai!?

The Elantra has gone from a plain, quiet teenager to a striking, confident diva. Gone are the shapeless curves and boring body styling. I recall the first generation Elantra/Sonata being more straight-laced than the second which was more curvy and had more lines. It's design did nothing to make the family car stand out, well at least I thought so.

Yet, it was still a decent, proud-to-own family sedan. Now, it's a car with so much pizzazz, I would easily consider purchasing a vehicle like this over more popular (read: expensive) alternatives.  

The Sport model completely looks and acts the part of a more brazen Elantra. Convenience goodies include a power tailgate, operated via the key fob (Elite models only). The Sport version has LED rear combination rear lights, sporty twin exhausts and a silver skid plate. Not to mention the lavish red leather seats. 

Other niceties in the Elite Sport model includes climate control, push Start button, rear armrest with dual cup holders and rear air vents, as well as rain sensors. There's also a sliding centre console, electro-chromatic mirrors and rear park assist.

                                                     Image: Wheels24 / Janine Van der Post

The model range starts at a competitive R299 000, though the model I sampled on test was the 1.6-litre TGDI Elite Sport which is available at R399 000. It's mated to a seven-speed DCT gearbox and is good for 150kW/265Nm from the 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC unit.

It comes with all the bells and whistles you might need including air con, cruise control, sat navigation and a Sport driving mode. Safety features include rear park assist, six airbags, and when the vehicle is involved in a collision, the car doors will unlock automatically. 

At the time of its launch earlier in June 2017, and with open-roads where one could really put the Elantra through its paces, I said there was hardly any turbo lag. However, in real-world driving in city traffic and congested roads, there's the slightest bit of lag disturbing driving pleasure. But, it's easily forgiven with its luxurious red interior, spacious cabin and other niceties.

Gear-shifting is smooth and generally the vehicle provides a solid drive on the road, whether you're cruising or making it work under more strenious conditions such as transporting the family on holiday or sprinting to the office. Either way, the drive remains comfortable and Hyundai claims a 7.9-litre combined fuel consumption.

Luggage space always plays a very big role in my checklist and the Elantra's boot is humangous, big enough for three golf bags to be exact.

A few years ago, a friend of mine used to drive a purple second-generation Hyundai Elantra, well beyond its 'expiry date'. The car itself was pretty mundane and the only thing I remembered from its shapeless, character was its colour. It just lacked personality. 

The thing I remember most about it was the fact that it just didn't suit my friend at all. He was athletic, used to cycle all the time and loved motorcycles. He looked quirky behind the steering wheel and his Kawasaki Ninja bike suited his personality so much more.

Why does that matter? Because this version of Hyundai's sporty Elantra would be the type of car that would be a perfect fit now, assuming he could be pursuaded to purchase another Elantra. He's a dad of three, still cycles, still loves motorcycles, but a good-looking sedan is much more of interest.

Hyundai has in the past been seen as the underdog in the local industry, but sales have been growing every month. According to the latest Naamsa sales figures, Hyundai showed more than a 1000 Grand i10 units sold, 1134 to be exact, over 300 each for the i20, Creta and Tucson. Elantra sales were at 109 for the month of January.

But looks are not its only strongpoint. The Elantra Turbo version makes for a pretty good rival as a family vehicle option between the Mazda3, Volkswagen Jetta, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and dare I even say the more premium offering of the Audi A3.

Read more on:    hyundai  |  janine van der post  |  review  |  sedan

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