The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport First Drive: It Only Gets Better

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

Hyundai surpassed my expectations with the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport. I was expecting something else, something simple. The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is a comprehensive, complex upgrade in nearly every measurable way. Lots of automakers have C-segment vehicles that get the “Sport” treatment. Usually, they get nice wheels, some graphics and badges… sometimes an upgraded suspension and interior – but little else.

Starting with the engine, the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport has a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm) and 195 lb-ft of torque (at 1,500 rpm). This power is channeled to the front wheels via a smooth 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Combined EPA figures for the 6-speed equipped 2017 Hyundai Elantra is 25 mpg and 29 mpg with the dual-clutch transmission.

While there are quite a few exterior upgrades, (nose, LED headlights, exhaust and LED taillights to mention a few) it’s the rear suspension that is one of the most noteworthy upgrades on this vehicle. Removing the torsion rear beam suspension, the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport has a multi-link, independent rear suspension. Not only that, it’s a beautifully tuned rear suspension too. It completely changes the character of the car, giving it an almost European feel to it.

The interior has standard leather and raised red stitching. While the dashboard is nice, the hard plastics used in the door panels was a bit of a letdown. Fortunately, the flat-bottom, sporty steering wheel is an outstanding design that could easily find its way into a German car. The seats are comfy and, as long as you like black, you’ll find that black is the only color the interior and headliner come in.

While not quite as sporty as the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI, the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport competes directly with vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

Driving the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is a hoot. Acceleration is excellent as is passing power. The torque seems to be ever-present when you downshift and punch it. The engine revs nicely, although, not quite as rev-happy as a 1.8 VW turbo. Hyundai actually worked on the air intake and exhaust to get a more spirited growl. The engine does sound a bit beefier than a regular Elantra, but it’s no bulldog. Flying through corners and powering out of the bend is what this vehicle loves. With the larger brakes and excellent balance, control was easily managed. This baby likes to hunker down and get to business.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

Were the issues? My only real issue was the sound deadening material (or lack thereof) as road noise was fairly noticeable. It could have used cooled seats as an option too. Otherwise, there is very little to dislike with this car.

The prices are good too: a base model with the 6-speed manual starts at $21,650 with the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport with the 7-speed DCT starting at $22,750. Both excellent prices considering what you get for the money.

I can’t wait to get this sporty sedan up to Colorado where its turbocharged engine will shine!

Speaking of the Hyundai Elantra – here is the regular one.