Value Oriented – Feature Rich
Now in its sixth generation, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra continues the Hyundai philosophy that offering sedans is an important part of the company’s future. Built in Montgomery, Alabama, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited offers a stylish design, impressive fuel economy and, of course, Hyundai’s class-leading warranty. But it only gets better from there.
Hyundai’s gasoline-powered sedans are the Accent, Elantra, Sonata and Ioniq with the latter two coming in PHEV and hybrid versions. The Ioniq adds a pure EV. Then, for fun, Hyundai has one coupe, the Veloster. So at a time when other manufacturers are abandoning the sedan segment in favor of crossovers and SUVs, Hyundai is making a statement that you are short-changing yourself by not considering owning a sedan.
No Turbo Required
Clean Fleet Report put the 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited through its paces over a week’s period in Southern California. The six-speed automatic transmission, with Shiftronic to manually go through the gears, drives the front wheels with the naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, putting out 147 horsepower and 132 pounds-feet of torque. This combination has an EPA fuel economy rating of 28 city/37 highway/32 combined. Clean Fleet Report saw that 37 mpg number as a challenge to see if we could top 40 mpg. In 308 miles of 75-percent highway/25-percent city driving, we averaged 33.9 mpg. However, in a 232-mile highway run, with the smart cruise control set at 65 mph, we achieved 41.3 mpg. So, with the magic 40 mpg exceeded, how does the Elantra Limited perform?
Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains, spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, then your numbers may differ.
Our 0-to-60 times were right around 8.5 seconds with the engine performing best when in Sport mode and high in the rev range. The transmission was smooth through the gears and never went hunting when climbing a grade.
The Elantra Limited may be in the compact class, but its solid feel belies any thoughts that its 2,976 pounds delivered anything but a confident ride. The electronic stability and traction control were part of the suspension system of MacPherson struts up front with a stabilizer bar, while the rear had a torsion beam axle. Both ends had coil springs and gas-filled shock absorbers. Clean Fleet Report’s Limited had 17-inch alloy wheels and Nexen NPriz 225/45/17 all-season tires. The tires gripped well with little road noise. The car was nimble and had little body roll except on the tightest corners. Overall the ride was composed with no unexpected jolts or buffeting by passing 18-wheelers.
Driving Experience: Exterior
Redesigned for 2017, Hyundai says the 2018 Elantra has a “design that’s clean, modern and feature-rich.” Going too far? During our week with the Elantra Limited we took the time to look at it from every angle and under different light. Conclusion: there isn’t a bad viewing angle.
The snub-nose features a hexagonal front grill with six chrome horizontal bars. The grill is framed by HID headlights with dynamic bending (very helpful), functioning air inlets and wide-set LED daytime running lights on the outer edges of the fascia. The line from the hood, over the windshield onto the roof, is smooth and uninterrupted by creases or bumps, except for a tastefully small shark fin antenna. The rear end is clean, with narrow LED taillights and a small deck spoiler.
Driving Experience: Interior
The dash is logically laid-out with controls and knobs (volume and channel knob for the radio, and one each for the fan speed and temperature control). Simple and easy to understand. Soft touch materials are not as prevalent as hard plastic, but the subtle use of chrome accents give the dash, door panels and center console a feeling of quality. The large, round speed and tach gauges, with black backgrounds and white numbers, are extremely easy to read.
Clean Fleet Report’s 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited came with leather seating surfaces (heated front and rear). The driver seat was six-way adjustable, thankfully including lumbar and height adjustments. Padding and thigh bolstering was ample so as not to induce fatigue on long drives. The center sliding armrest is positioned nicely and the 12V, USB and Aux ports are conveniently located at the base of the center stack.
Hyundai says the Elantra seats five passengers, as in three out back. This is doable, but keeping it to two adults in the rear will keep them happy. The flat-folding 60/40 split rear seat also had a fold down armrest, with cup holders. Storage with the seats folded flat was the key to getting the most utility out of the Elantra Limited.
The eight-speaker Infinity Premium audio system was part of the infotainment (information and entertainment) package. The 8.0-inch high-resolution color touchscreen houses the navigation and the AM/FM/CD/MP3/AUX radio. Features include SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has mounted controls for Bluetooth that offers hands-free telephone, voice and radio controls.
Our Elantra Limited came equipped with a power tilt and sliding sunroof, driver seat and mirrors memory, power windows and door locks, proximity key entry with push button stop/start, Homelink rear view mirror, power and heated side mirrors with turn signals, dual automatic climate control with rear vents, carpeted floor mats, and a tilt and telescopic steering column.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra has seven airbags, a four-wheel power disc ABS braking system with automatic emergency braking, a tire pressure monitoring system and a temporary spare tire. For security there was a remote panic alarm. The Elantra came standard or optional with blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert with lane change assist, rear view camera, forward collision warning, stability and traction control systems, and brake and lane change assist.
In testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the 2018 Elantra received four stars (five stars is their highest rating), while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Elantra its top safety pick for overall crash protection.
Pricing and Warranties
Clean Fleet Report’s 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited with the optional Ultimate Package ($4,350) and carpeted floor mats ($125) had a MSRP of $26,575. This price excludes the $885 freight and handling charge.
The 2018 Elantra comes with these warranties:
Powertrain 10 years/100,000 miles
New Car Five years/60,000 miles
Anti-perforation Seven years/Unlimited miles
Roadside Assistance Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited
Overall, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited is a very impressive compact sedan that punches above its weight. This value-oriented car is filled with features, plus has styling, handling, fuel economy, an attractive price, and an outstanding warranty, making it Hyundai’s best-selling model in the United States. It should and is getting the attention of buyers.
Visit your Hyundai dealer and insist on taking a test drive where the sales associate will let you get to know this very capable car. You shouldn’t be surprised with what you find, as Hyundai has been making good cars for many years.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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