There is nothing wrong with contesting on the same battlefield where sporty sedans play, and the new Hyundai Elantra Turbo Sport is no exception.
When you think of sporty compact cars, Hyundai might not be the first automaker that comes to mind. Honda, Volkswagen, Mazda, Toyota and Ford have sport compacts that are well regarded among enthusiasts for their blend of practicality and fun.
The Elantra Sport aims to put Hyundai in the sporty compact car conversation with a dose of turbocharged power and a totally refitted suspension.
For some people, the Elantra might not be good-looking and some might think the opposite.
You can distinguish an Elantra Sport from a standard Elantra with its 18-inch alloy wheels shod in Hankook Ventus Prime 2 tyres, lower side skirts, horizontal LED daytime running lights, dual exhaust tips and a more aggressive front fascia.
For the R399 900 price tag, you get standard features such as an eight-inch infotainment system, rear park assist, six airbags cruise control and sporty alloys – things that competitors provide at an extra fee.
Inside it differs from the rest of the range, with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, red sport seats and red contrast stitching.
I don’t want to lie to you, Hyundai did a decent job on the DCT gearbox – it is way better than what other competitors offer. It is also more comfortable to daily drive than a Toyota Corolla. Drivers can choose between Normal, Eco or Sport driving mode with the press of a button next to the gear lever.
With most of my driving done in Eco mode, the Elantra returned a useful 8.6 litres per 100km, which is a bit higher than what the Toyota 1.8 Exclusive (6.9 litres per 100km) returned when I tested it but I tell you what, I would still recommend the Elantra to my mother despite its thirst.
Under the lid lies a 1.6-litre turbo four engine that churns out 150kW and 265Nm. The engine offers plenty of low- and mid-range torque and it has a deep, raspy exhaust note.
Like most modern, small turbo-charged engines, such as the one found in the Honda Civic sedan, this engine pulls strongly with minimal turbo lag and has ample usable power.
There’s not much oomph in the upper part of the rev range. As you can see from the road test data, the Elantra beats its closest competitor, the Toyota Corolla 1.8 Exclusive (0-100km/h in 11.26 seconds) by a sprint of 7.2 seconds to 100km/h and finished the quarter mile in 15.7 seconds at 151.72km/h.
It is quick, we managed to get a true top speed that is electronically limited to 209.51km/h. It isn’t fully fledged to challenge the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Jetta, all of which hit 100km/h in under 7.0 seconds but it can be a pick from the bunch.
Safety is assured; the Elantra comes standard with ABS, EBDand ESP. If you’re unwilling to spend the extra scratch required for the Golf GTI or Jetta, the Elantra Sport should suit you just fine.
At the end of the day, it’s your money that does the talking, and at that price, you can’t go wrong with the Elantra Sport.