$13,610 - $17,835

2018 Hyundai Elantra Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Hyundai Elantra was new.


Performance: 7.8

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra has a few engines to choose from, but none of them are overly impressive. The Elantra does get good gas mileage, however. And while it’s not as agile as some class rivals, the Elantra is composed around turns and delivers a firm – but not uncomfortable – ride.

  • "We found the Elantra to be competent and capable, if never truly outright fun to drive." -- Left Lane News (2017)
  • "But how's it drive? Very good. In fact, better than you'd expect given the Elantra's not exactly mind-blowing power output." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The old 1.8-liter four-cylinder didn't seem particularly loud or coarse until we drove the new Elantra. The new 2.0-liter is not only quieter but sounds sweeter. Plus, it generates peak power and torque lower in the rev range than the old engine, so this larger 2.0-liter is never working quite as hard to move the Elantra. Still, with roughly the same power ratings, transmission gears and similar weight to shuttle around, the 2017 Elantra seems no quicker then (sic) the old model." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Elantra features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 147 horsepower in sedan models and 161 horsepower in GT hatchback models. Elantra Sport models feature a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 201 horsepower. Elantra Eco models feature a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 128 horsepower.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is available. The GT Sport is available with a seven-speed automatic.

The base sedan has adequate power but lacks the energy to provide any driver engagement. The GT moves with more purpose, but it still leaves this Hyundai a notch below the most athletic compact cars.

The Elantra gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, which are among the best ratings in the class for a nonhybrid car. The Elantra GT gets lower ratings (24/32 mpg city/highway), but the Elantra Eco gets the best fuel economy in the lineup (32/40 mpg).

  • "The GT's 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts out 162 horsepower and 150 pounds-feet of torque, both down slightly from 2017 (173 hp, 154 pounds-feet). … This base engine was adequate in most situations and will suit many buyers, though you'll want to plan well ahead to pass that semi." -- Cars.com
  • "If the Elantra has a downside, it's performance. The 2.0-liter engine that most Elantras come with isn't as powerful as those in some other top small sedans. Hyundai does offer two optional turbocharged engines, which might have added appeal, but the dual-clutch automatic transmission that they come with doesn't have the smoothest-shifting characteristics." -- Edmunds
  • "You have to poke the 2.0 deeply to get any real thrust, but the torque band is acceptably broad and it serves its duties with a muted and dispassionate growl. Three driving modes—Eco, Sport, and Normal—fiddle with the shift timing, throttle response, and steering effort, with the mild Sport mode being none too sporty (this is not a criticism; it matches the car's personality)." -- Car and Driver (2017)

Handling and Braking

Like most compact cars, the Elantra is a front-wheel-drive vehicle. All-wheel drive is not available. The steering may feel a little vague, but this car is poised through corners and has little body roll. The Elantra has a good ride quality, but road imperfections are sometimes noticeable when you drive over them, especially in the sportier trims.

  • "The Elantra is quiet, with comfortable front seats and an above-average ride quality. The Sport model will likely be a little less forgiving, but overall this is a pretty cushy compact sedan." -- Edmunds
  • "The new car's controls are well weighted and responsive, and the Elantra can hustle when it needs to, the suspension digesting the road and not easily thrown off its path by rough pavement. It's no Mazda 3, but at least it's a stiff platform on which to base sportier models such as the aforementioned Elantra Sport, as well as maybe a coupe and a small crossover. Every step Hyundai takes toward dynamic refinement is to be cheered, as this one should be." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "The steering in particular is vastly improved. While feedback is still lacking, the wheel is far more trustworthy than it was previously. It was easy to catch the car washing out when being hustled up tighter uphill sections, the understeer coming on predictably and reliably. Lift would prompt the appropriate correction, inspiring confidence and encouraging us to push the Elantra harder than we've felt comfortable in the past." -- Left Lane News (2017)

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