2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited

2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited

One of the best values in the compact car segment.

By Cherise Threewitt, Contributor, Car-ED.com | June 2018

What is this vehicle?

The Hyundai Elantra is a well-equipped compact car that is available as a sedan and a hatchback. The Elantra is one of the least expensive vehicles in the segment, starting at just several hundred dollars more than the segment’s cheapest car, but bucks expectations by providing good value. According to J.D. Power and Associates, which tracks vehicle reliability, the Elantra is one of the most dependable models in this segment. Furthermore, Hyundai backs the Elantra with a class-leading warranty. These two factors should help you feel confident that the Elantra is a smart and responsible way to spend your money.

Who is this vehicle for?

The Hyundai Elantra is a good choice for savvy shoppers who like to get a lot for their money, especially those who are satisfied with a comfortable, but not especially sporty driving experience. The Elantra might not be as stylish or as fun to drive as some of its competitors in the compact car class, though it is generally pleasant to drive. Even then, there are few competitors that can provide a significantly more enjoyable driving experience while coming close to matching the Elantra’s reliability, practicality, efficiency, and long list of standard features.

Why is this vehicle important to you, the buyer?

The decked-out Hyundai Elantra Limited tested for this review is probably out of reach for a lot of shoppers who are drawn in by the Elantra’s low base price. One of the best things about the Elantra, though, is that you don’t have to spend a lot to take advantage of this model’s best attributes. You only need to spend an extra $1,900 above the starting price to get amenities like a rearview camera, an infotainment system with a touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist.

Interesting facts about this vehicle!

The Elantra lineup was fully redesigned for 2017, so this year’s model still has a fresh, modern look and feel.

The base engine in the Elantra lineup is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This engine powers the Elantra Limited tested for this review. Six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are available.

If you are interested in optimizing fuel economy, check out the Elantra Eco model, which features a super efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

To optimize performance, take a look at the Elantra GT (161 horsepower) and GT Sport (201 horsepower), which come only as a hatchback. These models are quite fun to drive, particularly when equipped with a manual transmission.

What Impressed Us / Top Likes:

The Hyundai Elantra Limited has fuel economy ratings of 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, which is pretty good for a compact car. During our week with the Elantra, which included two long highway trips and a bunch of city driving, we achieved average fuel consumption of 37.3 mpg. 

The Elantra Limited we tested featured leather upholstery and heated front and rear seats. Heated front seats are becoming an increasingly common option even on entry-level cars, but heated rear seats are less common in this segment. These features give the Elantra an upscale feel and help make the cabin quite comfortable.

When you put the Elantra Limited in reverse, the side mirrors automatically adjust to give you a better view. This is another great feature that boosts the Elantra Limited’s value.

Items to Make Better (Least Favorite Things):

The Elantra’s exterior styling seems like it’s designed specifically to go unnoticed. This really isn’t a bad-looking car at all, it’s just a little bland. There are some good-looking cars in this segment and the Elantra deserves to compete on that front, too.

The seats, which initially seemed really comfortable, got a little less so after a few hours of driving. They aren’t especially fancy, but they look and feel nice and it’s easy to find a good position. These seats probably would not be comfortable on a trip of more than a few hours, or longer.

Segment and Competitors:

There are a lot of good vehicles in the affordable compact car segment right now, especially at this price point. Notable competitors to the Hyundai Elantra include:

  • Kia Soul
  • Honda Civic
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Ford Focus
  • Mazda Mazda3
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Corolla

Unique Specifications:

The Hyundai Elantra is a great choice if you want a lot of features on a tight budget. While the Elantra Limited tested for this review came fully loaded, every Elantra above the base SE trim level has a long list of standard features. Amenities like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are more affordable in the Elantra than in many competing models.

Pricing and Availability:

MSRP starts at $16,950 for the Hyundai Elantra sedan in base trim. The Hyundai Elantra Limited hatchback tested for this review has a sticker price of $27,460. The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is available now.