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MSRP: $16,950 - 24,350

8.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.6
Safety: 8.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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2018 Hyundai Elantra Review

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra sits midpack in our compact car rankings. It has a high-quality interior and a great predicted reliability score, but it lags behind many class rivals in terms of performance and safety. 

Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage
  • Lots of available features
  • Larger-than-average cargo space
  • Great predicted reliability
  • Unimpressive engines
  • Lower safety scores than many rivals

Is the Hyundai Elantra a Good Car?

Yes, the Hyundai Elantra is a good car in a highly competitive class. Its comfortable cabin and practicality make it a good value. In fact, it's combination of overall quality and value is one of the best in the class and makes it a finalist in our Best Compact Car for the Money award. It has a spacious, well-built interior with comfortable seats and plenty of available tech features and active safety equipment. Additionally, it has more trunk space than many rivals, and its low liftover height makes it easy to load cargo.

The Elantra GT hatchback has a stronger base engine and more room for cargo than the sedan version. Sport models increase engine power and add a sport-tuned rear suspension system. Still, in any form, the Elantra isn’t as quick or lithe as many other vehicles in the class.

Should I Buy the Hyundai Elantra?

The Hyundai Elantra is a good compact car and one of the more affordable options in the class. Nonetheless, some of the Elantra’s rivals are worth your consideration. A well-equipped Honda Civic has a slightly lower sticker price than a similarly outfitted Elantra, and the Civic is one of our highest-rated cars. The similarly ranked Mazda3 has stellar performance compared to its competition. The Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable and practical cars you can buy, and it ranks close to the Elantra.

Compare the Elantra, Civic, and Corolla »

Should I Buy a New or Used Hyundai Elantra?

Hyundai redesigned the Elantra for 2017. It gained a new base engine with similar horsepower and fuel economy to the older model, as well as many additional available tech and safety features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

2018 sees a redesign of the Elantra GT hatchback. Compared to the outgoing Elantra GT, it has about 4 extra feet of cargo space and an engine that produces 12 fewer horsepower (though it's still the second most powerful engine offered in any Elantra). Fuel economy remains the same.

You can potentially save thousands by shopping for a used Elantra, though you'll miss out on many features if you opt for a model from before the 2017 redesign. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra and 2017 Hyundai Elantra. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Elantra »

We Did the Research for You: 34 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews are based on a combination of professional test driver opinions and hard data. For our analysis of the 2018 Hyundai Elantra, we studied 34 professional reviews.

This review uses applicable research and data from all the model years of the current generation, which spans the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To ensure that our reviews are unbiased, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Hyundai Elantra Cost?

The base Elantra SE sedan has a starting price of $16,950. That’s one of the lowest starting prices in the class. It's worth noting, however, that the base Elantra comes with few features, so you probably won’t buy the base trim unless your main goal is to spend as little as possible.

There are several higher trims. The highest sedan trim is the Elantra Limited, which starts at $22,100. The Elantra GT hatchback has a starting price of $19,350.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Elantra Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Hyundai Elantra or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic sets the standard for what a compact car should be. It boasts athletic handling, excellent interior quality, good fuel efficiency, and a peppy engine. The Elantra comes close, but it doesn't quite match these standards.  Both cars provide advanced safety and driver assistance technology, like forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. However, those features are available in more Honda trims and at a lower price. With a great price, good gas mileage, and plenty of safety features, the Civic is the better vehicle.

Which Is Better: Hyundai Elantra or Toyota Corolla?

Both the Elantra and Toyota Corolla  provide a comfortable and accommodating interior and can hit 40 mpg on the highway in their Eco models. However, the Elantra has a lower starting price and better handling. Additionally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available in the Elantra but not in the Corolla. The Corolla does have one major advantage, though: standard Toyota Safety Sense in every model. This package includes lane departure alert, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning. That’s not common for the compact car class, which makes it an excellent value for the money. Both of these cars boast above-average predicted reliability and rank similarly.   

Which Is Better: Hyundai Elantra or Mazda3?

There's no comparison between the Mazda3 and Elantra when it comes to performance. While the Elantra has average power and handling, the Mazda3 is one of the most fun-to-drive compact cars. The Mazda has great driving dynamics, well-balanced handling, and superb fuel economy (though the Elantra Eco’s fuel economy estimates are better). The Mazda3 also has a higher-quality interior than the Elantra, but if you’re looking for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, you won’t find it in the Mazda. However, it is available in the Hyundai. 

Compare the Elantra, Civic, and Corolla »

Elantra Interior

How Many People Does the Elantra Seat?

Both Elantra body styles (sedan and hatchback) seat five people. The front seats are a great place to spend time; they’re comfortable and supportive. The rear seats could use more legroom, but they have enough space for adults to be comfortable.

Elantra and Car Seats

The Elantra has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The tether anchors are easy to find and won’t be confused for other hardware. The lower anchors are also pretty easy to use, though they're set deep in the seat.

Elantra Interior Quality

This Hyundai may not have the nicest cabin in the class, but there’s no reason to complain about it. The Elantra interior features high-end materials, and it's spacious and quiet, even at highway speeds.

Elantra Cargo Space

Sedan models have 14.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is an above-average total for the class. That’s enough room for about 11 shopping bags or multiple carry-on luggage items. A hands-free trunk release is available, though it just releases the latch instead of fully opening the trunk.

Elantra GT hatchback models are redesigned for 2018 and have nearly 25 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up. Fold them down, and that total more than doubles to just over 55 cubic feet, which is enough space for furniture like a dresser or a desk.

Elantra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Elantra include a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, and Bluetooth. Optional features include a sunroof, two additional USB ports, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, satellite radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and either a 7-inch touch screen or an 8-inch touch screen with navigation.

The Elantra’s features list is among the longest in the class, and it includes items – such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – not found in every competitor. The infotainment system is intuitive and responsive, and the dash controls are easy to reach from the driver’s seat.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Elantra Performance

Elantra Engine: 4 Choices

The Elantra sedan’s base engine is a 147-horsepower four-cylinder. Elantra Eco models have a turbo-four that puts out 128 horsepower. Elantra GT models have a 161-horsepower four-cylinder. Sport models have turbo-four engines that put out 201 horsepower.

Sport models have a little more juice than other Elantras, but no engine in the lineup really makes this car feel sporty. The Elantra doesn’t feel overly weak when you’re driving around town, though.

Elantra Gas Mileage: Less Frequent Fill-Ups

The Elantra gets good fuel economy ratings, earning 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The Elantra Eco is even more efficient: 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Each year, you’ll spend about as much at the pump driving the Elantra as you would driving a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

Elantra Ride and Handling: No Athlete, but No Slouch

The Elantra provides solid handling ability on winding roads, though it’s not the most athletic car in the class, and the steering lacks feel. The Elantra’s ride is firm but not unpleasant; you may notice road imperfections, but they won’t jostle you around.

Read more about performance »

Elantra Reliability

Is the Hyundai Elantra Reliable?

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra has a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. The average rating for all vehicles is three, but many cars in this class receive scores of four or higher.

Hyundai Elantra Warranty

Like most Hyundai vehicles, the Elantra has a better warranty than most of its competitors. Hyundai backs the Elantra with a five-year/60,000-mile warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Elantra Safety

Elantra Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Hyundai Elantra the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and named it a 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ (the organization's highest award). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it four out of five stars overall. The Elantra has lower composite safety scores than the rest of the class.

Elantra Safety Features

There are no standard active safety features in the Elantra. Available driver assistance features include blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane change assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Read more about safety »

Which Hyundai Elantra Model Is Right for Me?

There are certainly no shortage of trims to choose from if you’re buying a Hyundai Elantra. The sedan model comes in six trims, and the hatchback Elantra GT comes in two trims. Choosing the right one boils down to what you want out of your car.

The Elantra Eco is the clear choice to get the best possible fuel economy. Likewise, to get the most features, the Elantra Limited is the only real option. The Elantra GT makes a great choice for drivers who want a little more horsepower (though don’t expect it to feel fast) and also need more cargo space.

Hyundai Elantra SE

The Elantra SE has a starting price of $16,950. This is the base trim, featuring a 147-horsepower engine and a six-speed manual transmission. You can get a six-speed automatic for an additional $1,000. Beyond the standard features, the Elantra SE doesn’t offer anything of note.

Hyundai Elantra SEL

The Elantra SEL starts at $18,850. The SEL comes standard with an automatic transmission and adds a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. As with the SE, the Elantra SEL has no notable option packages or available features.

Hyundai Elantra Eco

The Elantra Eco has a starting price of $20,500. The Eco comes with a turbocharged 128-horsepower engine that’s the most fuel-efficient in the lineup. In addition to the lower-trim features, the Eco comes with a hands-free trunk release, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Yet again, there are no option packages offered in this trim.

Hyundai Elantra Limited

The Elantra Limited starts at $22,100. Standard features in the Elantra Limited include leather upholstery, two additional USB ports, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Unlike lower trims, there’s an option package available for the Elantra Limited. Called the Ultimate package, it costs $4,350 and adds an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a sunroof, heated rear seats, an Infinity audio system, Clari-fi music restoration, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and pedestrian detection.

Hyundai Elantra GT

The Elantra GT has a starting price of $19,350. The GT Sport’s starting price ($23,250) is nearly $4,000 higher. The Elantra GT comes standard with a 161-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and the GT Sport comes with a 201-horsepower turbo-four. The GT Sport also offers a seven-speed automatic transmission. Features-wise, these two are similar to the higher trims of the Elantra sedan.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

See 2018 Hyundai Elantra specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is a good car that’s available in sedan and hatchback body styles. While its performance won’t blow you away, it’s no slowpoke, and it has a great interior with lots of available technology. However, there are many fine choices in the compact car class, so it may be worth it to shop around.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "During your search, there are some other top sedans to take a look at. The Honda Civic is unquestionably the benchmark for the class given its mix of power, features and wide range of available trim levels. We also like the Mazda 3 and the Volkswagen Golf hatchback for their engaging driving experiences and upscale interiors. Overall, though, the Elantra has a lot to offer, and it is particularly worth checking out if you're looking for a comfortable sedan that has a lot of features for an agreeable price." -- Edmunds
  • "A sure thing, however, is that the GT and rival hatchbacks offer value against comparably equipped small SUVs that cost more to buy and drive. They can satisfy a lot of buyers' actual needs, while adding a healthy dollop of extra driving fun." -- Cars.com
  • "This refreshed compact, this mini-Sonata, isn't going to generate a lot of headlines, but it's a major improvement to a key player in Hyundai's lineup. … So here's our conclusion on the new Elantra: More like this one, please." -- Car and Driver (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: November 16, 2018

Strong Sales: Hyundai Elantra sales are in fourth place in the compact car class rankings. Although the Elantra’s sales are respectable, class leaders like the popular Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are taking the Elantra’s lunch – both are outselling the Elantra by more than 50 percent. Demand for the Elantra this year has grown about 6 percent relative to the same period in 2017.

Research more buying advice »
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