Is Elantra a Good Car Choice? Here’s Our Hyundai Elantra Review
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Hyundai is a South Korean automaker determined to make a statement on the domestic car market with its increasingly bold, fuel-efficient designs. One of the most recent models to receive this bold upgrade is the Hyundai Elantra: a compact sedan with impressive gas mileage well-suited for city driving.
Among Hyundai's competitors is the ever-reliable Toyota Corolla and the speedy, performance-driven Honda Civic. But is the Hyundai Elantra a good car choice in comparison to these models? Should you favor it over other brands?
We'll dive into the specifics with our Hyundai Elantra review.
Updates: hatchback discontinued, Hyundai Elantra hybrid added
Before we get into the Elantra’s features, it’s important to divide this car into two categories: the 2021 model and those that came before.
This car received a complete redesign in 2021. Among those changes, the Hyundai discontinued the Elantra hatchback, and the sedan body of the vehicle changed to sit wider, longer, and lower to the ground.
Features that became standard in 2021 are an 8-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, HD radio, and interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The mechanical heart of this car comes in two primary varieties: a 147-horsepower, two-liter, four-cylinder gas engine or the hybrid. In particular, fans of hybrid and electric vehicles may want to read up on this list of the best electric cars to buy, just to compare the stats.
Before 2021, there were some changes in the Elantra, albeit smaller. In 2020, Hyundai discontinued the manual transmission in sedan models and replaced it with continuously variable automatic transmission, or CVT. Dual-zone automatic climate control also became standard, as did certain safety features like forward-collision warning.
From 2019-2018, there were also few changes, although the interior styling received significant upgrades. The 2017 edition was the last major upgrade for the Elantra pre-2021, with the car receiving a boost in the tech and safety departments.
Hyundai Elantra gas mileage
Building upon its predecessors, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra's fuel economy stats are impressive. With its 147-horsepower engine, this compact car is not the fastest at getting up to speed. However, it is suitable for day travel, and its impressive EPA score more than makes up for the rest.
The base model of this compact car currently clocks in at 33 mpg in the town and 43 mpg on the highway, which makes it incredibly competitive against other vehicles. The 2020 Hyundai Elantra's horsepower and mileage are no slouch either, with a matching 147 horsepower, two-liter, four-cylinder engine that reaches a remarkable 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. That puts it a hair's breadth below the current model.
Earlier years were also gentle on the gas, with the 2019 and 2018 base models both receiving 28/37 mpg. If you want to see how this gas mileage compares with other cars in Elantra's class, here is a list of the best gas mileage cars.
2017 Hyundai Elantra SE (from $12,750)
Seating, tech, and interior storage options
Because the Elantra went through a complete redesign, you can expect to see some changes to its interior and tech options.
Roomy, comfortable, and able to seat up to five, the 2021 model is well-suited for commuter drives, and the back seats are large enough to comfortably seat adults, too. Available upgrades to the 2021 model include ambient lighting on the inside of the cabin and a sunroof. Trunk capacity sits at 14.2 cubic feet.
For 2020 models, you can once again expect a roomy cabin that seats five. Fabric seats are standard, but available upgrades include leather and heated front seats. Its trunk capacity is 14.4 cubic feet, which is slightly larger than the 2021 models. If you find one of the discontinued hatchbacks for sale, trunk space grows to 24.9 cubic feet.
In models pre-2020, the same five-seater setup is standard.
When it comes to tech:
All 2021 models have standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with the aforementioned 8.0-inch touchscreen. The 2020 models feature a standard 5-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth capabilities, and a six-speaker sound system.
All 2019-2017 standard models include USB ports, too.
Hyundai Elantra reliability and safety
One of the most important questions you can ask yourself when buying a new vehicle is, “How safe is it to drive?” The second most important question you can ask is, “How well does it handle on the road?”
With the 2021 Elantra, expect a smooth, soft ride that handles road bumps with ease. Front-wheel drive is standard, which means that this car is not ideally suited for rural roads. On suburban streets, however, it should take the curves just fine.
For 2020, expect much of the same, with a smooth, comfortable ride and front-wheel drive as standard. Before 2020, especially for 2019-2017, you’ll see these features repeat.
When it comes to safety ratings:
The current model of the Elantra scored phenomenally well, receiving an overall five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It was also a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard safety features include rearview cameras, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, among others.
In 2020, there were also equally high safety scores. Standard safety features include a rearview camera and forward collision warning with brake assist.
For earlier models, standout years were 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2015, according to the IIHS.
Finally, when it comes to child car seats:
The 2021 model received the second-highest IIHS rating available because of its two sets of LATCH connectors. The 2020 model also ranked well.
2018 Hyundai Elantra SEL (from $15,650)
Hyundai Elantra price vs. its competitors
Now that we've run through the Elantra's details, let's compare how this compact car sizes up to its competitors in terms of features and price.
The Honda Civic is another compact car, one with performance-driven handling and equally high safety ratings. The Toyota Corolla is a competitor whose reliability and vehicle longevity is well-known. The Kia Forte is a third choice, with its affordable pricing and comparable interior specs.
That said, the Hyundai Elantra offers a ton of features in its standard model. While its competitors may come out on top in specific categories, it isn't by a lot.
If you're shopping for an earlier model online, the price drops even further. Shift can help you find a deal, and with Shift, certified mechanics perform 150-point inspections on every car. They have complete vehicle history reports on hand, too, so you know that your used car feels as good as new.
Hyundai Elantra review: our final verdict
The Hyundai Elantra is an excellent vehicle, packed with many tech features and gas mileage that will get you to where you want to go in a comfortable, affordable way. If you want a daily commuter car, you can’t go wrong with this choice.
However, if you aren’t convinced and still want to research additional options, check out our list of the cheapest cars to buy in 2021.
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 15, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.