By on May 3, 2016

Hyundai-Elantra-Sport

Hyundai just revealed its Korean-market Avante Sport, but it’s also a preview of what North American customers can expect in their Elantra lineup.

The Avante is what people in Seoul call an Elantra, and the new performance model puts the automaker in a better position to fend off competition from the likes of Honda, Volkswagen and Mazda.

The redesigned 2017 Elantra Limited we tested had improved styling and a better ride, but was lacking in power. The Sport model’s Korean specifications shows 204 horsepower from a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder, as well as a multi-link rear suspension.

Hyundai Elantra Sport interior

Transmission choices for the Avante Sport are a six-speed manual and seven-speed dual clutch automatic.

Basically, it looks like the upcoming Sport model will be an Elantra that ditched its torsion beam rear suspension and adopted the powertrain of the Veloster Turbo, give or take a few horses (the Veloster has 201 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque).

The model’s Korean counterpart has a flat-bottomed steering wheel, paddle shifters for the DCT and a dual-tone leather interior. 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/40 R18 tires come standard, with quad exhaust pipes and a more aggressive front fascia (with horizontal LED running lights) giving the model some standalone recognition.

The base Elantra’s 147 hp 2.0-liter has less power than a 2.0-liter Civic and would run and hide from its competitor’s 174 hp Si version, so a muscle injection for the popular compact is a business necessity for Hyundai.

[Images: Hyundai Motor Company]

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38 Comments on “A Hotter Hyundai: Turbocharged Elantra Sport Will Deliver Much-Needed Muscle...”


  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Is it just me or has Hyundai adapted a sort of Audi Bass look combined with a Ford front?

    This car looks good, but it looks like a Ford from the side. Sames lines and fade to rear.

    • 0 avatar
      fwdoversteer

      It looks like a Dodge Dart had a love affair with a Ford Fusion.

      Thankfully those are both good looking cars in my opinion, so I have no problem with this mashup.

      Now if Hyundai can make this car handle as well as it looks, we’ll be in business.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Some Mazda in the front as well, especially from the 3.

  • avatar
    tedward

    This will be worth watching. For all the hype surrounding the Koreans their c segment cars are definitely not playing with the big boys yet. They met and exceeded them at the last elantra launch for features, but the rest badly lagged unless all you compared against was the sentra, civic and corolla. I think this is the new family car segment for non cuv buyers going forward.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The Hyundaispeed Elantra! Tired of rice? Try some kimchee!

    • 0 avatar
      fwdoversteer

      Elantraspeed Sport Plus: now with even more chilis per liter.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Well considering how little “Mazdaspeed” there is available new I’d give it a shot. Especially that compact cars are now nearly midsize inside.

        And GM isn’t really a player (Verano turbo too expensive) the Cruze would need more power!

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Principal…

          it has to have a hatch for me to really get excited about.
          I hope to see this in a hatch and think it would good…but even more like Ford.

          Not sure I would ever buy a small, non-convertible if it wasn’t a hatch any more.
          Unless it was a wagon.
          But that would for sure force my wife, the Never A Wagon woman she is, to file for divorce.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            If they have a lick of sense they’ll put the same powertrain and drivetrain in an Elantra hatch! With the GTI, Focus ST, and Honda FINALLY bringing the Civic hatch to this country, the hot hatch segment is about to explode.

  • avatar
    John

    The new Prius has a “more aggressive front fascia”. Minivans now have “more aggressive front fascias”. Where will this “more aggressive front fascia” fad end? Will we see a phony grill intake so large and aggressive that it will act like a black hole, and swallow any matter than comes near it?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      hasn’t Lexus already reached that point?

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      It’s all part of what one might call the Weaponization of Car Styling.

      A new “ti” badge designation for many of these vehicles could be appropriate–it would stand for “testosterone injection.”

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The problem is that any front end design that doesn’t look like either a nightmare monster or a cutesy Pokémon is characterised as “boring”.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        then there s the new Tesla 3…
        A sorta design that would fit in the science fiction movie The Day The Earth Stood Still.
        Same material and design of the robot.

        But I wouldn’t say this front is anywhere near as hateful as the Alien looks. Even the Toyota Avalon seems to have gotten into the bottom feeder look.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As with so many Hyundai/Kia products, the specs sound great… AWESOME, even; but I know in my heart of hearts the whole will be less than the sum of the parts. This suspension is new, but this powertrain is already available across various H/K products, and its performance varies wildly. Put it like this- the manual Forte5 Turbo is almost 1 second slower through the quarter than the auto (???). And that DCT has had some teething pains- Google Hyundai DCT problems. It’s a real bummer because this sounds just about right, and I really like what H/K are trying to do, but they keep seeming to fall short on execution. Better to do technically boring very well than shoot for the moon and fall on your face IMO. A “boring” 9th gen Civic Si sounds like a better proposition.

    • 0 avatar

      Part of doing better IS shooting for the moon. But I agree with you–they’ve gotta execute. Hyundai has to get its handling issues “sorted”, as our friends across the pond might say.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Hyundai’s suspension tuning capability is the strangest thing ever – my 2008 Elantra crashed over potholes and couldn’t hold a line well at all, but it had a really progressive understeer and it wouldn’t get out of sorts if you applied or removed power mid-corner.

        At the time, I’d say it was under-sprung and had mismatched rebound / dampening.

        The 2011-2015 Sonata seemed fine but the impact absorption still was underwhelming (which is weird since their chassis are so stiff).

        The Genesis and Genesis coupe seem fine but I haven’t pushed them hard enough to know. And the inline 4 was better than the v6, probably has something to do with weight.

        We’ll see if their BMW conquest hire does anything for them but in the mean time I wonder. It seems like they have good materials and good geometry but their final calibration leaves a lot to be desired.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Execution has always been Hyundai’s shortcoming. That is really where they need to button things up. If Ford can make a torsion beam Fiesta be one of the most fun to drive cars on the road, I don’t think Hyundai needs to do anything fancy. If anything it looks like they are throwing all this tech around to overcompensate for poor execution.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          For me, the interior had still better be in good shape for a few years after the payments are through — from what I understand, that still needs work at HyundKia.

    • 0 avatar
      fwdoversteer

      You are correct in this opinion. I’m still not sold on Hyundais because they still haven’t convinced me they can make a sporty economical car that handles as well as Honda’s offerings. Driving an RSX-S for the last 4 years makes me notice all the shortcomings that Hyundais have on all four corners.

      I’ve never driven a Genesis coupe, though…

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s always good news when another performance variant enters the market. However, this is a limited market niche that already has a number of established players such as the Focus ST, Golf GTI and new Civic Si competing for limited customers. Not having any performance product history will also not make things any easier

    Given that a base Focus ST sells for around $23-$24K I can’t see them significantly undercutting it on price. As for beating the GTI and new Civic on merit, I hope Hyundai has learned a lot since they designed the Veloster Turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I agree. They may have been better off just putting the 177hp 1.6T with DCT from the Sonata Eco in this as more of a direct competitor to the new Civc 1.5T than try to make it a Sport model. Considering the pricing of the new Elantra and the pricing of the Veloster Turbo, I don’t see how this matches up well to the ST, GTI or Si.

      I’d point to the Kia Forte5 and Koup with the 1.6T as current examples of this not working out for Hyundai/Kia.

  • avatar

    Finally. See, Hyundai? HP increases are OK. The world doesn’t end.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “so a muscle injection for the popular compact is a business necessity for Hyundai.”

    Was it really a necessity? Unless Hyundai pulls some magic out of its butt I bet this will be beaten into a fine paste by the offerings from Ford, Honda, and VW. Last place comparison test finishes aren’t great for a sport compact.

    I’m cool with the Elantra offering a high-spec engine, but I hope it is offered on the “normal” version as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah. Unless they can do hi-po right, and so far they have not (hello Veloster!), this is pretty pointless. I’m not saying it’s doomed to fail, but there’s a lot of good competition in this segment, if Hyundai’s offering is half-assed it will do more harm than good.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        True. This is a segment where genuine enthusiasts buy the cars, and they care about those subtle things that make the car truly good, instead of just mediocre. If it’s not right, it will completely miss its target market.

  • avatar
    badreligion702

    The 174hp Civic 1.5T is not the Civic Si.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Doesn’t matter- I have little doubt the Civic 1.5T will beat this thing in performance, dynamics, detail/execution and of course reliability. Hyundai has shown they can deliver a lot of tech for the $$$ but they haven’t necessarily shown they can actually make it work well.

      • 0 avatar
        badreligion702

        I agree that is possible. I was just pointing out an error in the article. I also assume the new Si will have a detuned version or the Civic R engine, probably 220hp-250hp.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          It would help if the headline writer would specify which exact Civic trim level was being asked to step outside.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Any turbocharged M/T Civic will give this thing a rough time without some serious execution improvement on Hyundai’s part. 1.5T will give it the business and the 2.0T Si will most likely leave it for dead.

            Full disclosure, I am a Honda fanboi and I drive an older Civic. But I will call a dud a dud no matter who it’s from (i.e. previous Civic & the god awful CR-Z).

            Bottom line all history points to this thing being a disappointment.

          • 0 avatar
            badreligion702

            The new Civic really is a great little car. I huge step up from the previous model. Toyota would do good for themselves if they took the same risks as Honda. Imagine how nice a modern drivetrain would be in a Corolla.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            This Honda fanboi is still not convinced about turbo reliability. Five years will tell — if they can do well at that mark, and when that engine can hit 200k with normal maintenance, I’ll call it a success.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The factor that removed Hyundai from my consideration this last go-round was seeing so many one- and two-year-old used Hyundais on the used-car aggregator websites.

    I figure if people are so willing to dump them at the peak of depreciation, they must not be that good to live with, despite being so good “on paper”.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    So it is the Forte SX, only about 3 or 4 years later. About time.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I saw a 2017 ‘hot orange’ Elantra in upper trim last weekend parked in a lot and I thought it looked quite good.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Hey Hyundai, Mazda says you’re being childish. Try being more boring.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    Jeez, took them long enough – but better late than never. That little turbo should work a treat in this car.


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