2020 Hyundai Elantra

Performance


#7 out of 13 in Compact Cars

MSRP
$18,950
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2020 Hyundai Elantra Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.2

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra provides a capable, if dull, driving experience. Its engines don’t feel as peppy as those in some rivals, and its handling, though composed, is not as athletic as competitors. The Elantra does offer a comfortable ride.

  • The base 147-horsepower engine at least has some zest, while the brakes feel confident." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • It's difficult to truly exploit this car's handling capabilities mainly due to its powertrain shortcomings and low-grip tires. The Elantra feels composed in most cases, with the potential to be playful if it had the proper tires for it." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • We found the Elantra to be competent and capable, if never truly outright fun to drive." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

Hyundai offers the Elantra with several powertrain options. The base sedan has a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 147 horsepower. The GT hatchback is a little stronger, using the same engine to produce 161 horsepower, though it comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Eco model opts for efficiency over power. It has a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 128 horsepower, and it’s paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Sport model has a turbocharged 1.6-liter that produces 201 horsepower. The N-Line hatchback features this engine too, and it can be had with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine provides ample power for daily driving, though it’s not particularly exciting. Even the turbocharged engines, while livelier, lack the overall enthusiasm of those found in rivals.

In its standard setup, the Elantra sedan earns fuel economy estimates of 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. That makes it more efficient than many competitors. The Eco is the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup, getting 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The Sport trim trails at 26/33 mpg.

  • 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 (2018)
  • "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 (2018)
  • 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." -- Car and Driver (2017)

Handling and Braking

Although it’s not the most athletic car in its class, the Elantra’s buttoned-down handling gives it a mild sportiness. This vehicle rides smoothly over most pavement and has three modes for adjusting driving dynamics. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • Overall, the Hyundai Elantra sedan leans more toward comfortable and controlled than involving and lively. The electrically assisted steering does its job efficiently, but not with any particular feel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Elantra has a pretty nice ride for a compact car. Sharp impacts are softened to a pleasant degree without the suspension feeling overly mushy. It remains composed over bumpy sections of road. It's one of the most appealing aspects of the car." -- 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." -- Car and Driver (2017)
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