By on July 12, 2016

2017 Elantra Sport

Hyundai set out to make its Elantra hotter, and it’s happy to report that the sedan’s output now tops 200 horsepower in newly unveiled Sport form.

The 2017 Elantra Sport brings a third engine choice to the model lineup — a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder making “more than” 200 horsepower and 190 pounds-feet of torque, according to the automaker.

2017 Elantra Sport

The same turbo engine makes 201 hp and 195 lb-ft in the Veloster Turbo, so don’t be surprised to see those numbers match when the full specifications list is released.

Hyundai touts the Sport model’s independent multi-link rear suspension, which is supposed to give the meaner Elantra better driving dynamics. All 2017 models benefit from newly stiffened architecture, but the Sport adds the power and driving engagement the SE, Limited and Eco lack.

Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters. The regular slushbox doesn’t make an appearance.

2017 Elantra Sport

Exterior design changes include a blacked-out grille and a redesigned front bumper with LED foglights now aligned horizontally. In the rear, the lower bumper is molded more aggressively and twin tailpipes make an appearance on the starboard side. Red stitching and a flat-bottomed steering wheel add sporty visual indicators to the interior.

Hyundai hasn’t released pricing, but it should undercut the upper trims of its competitors, assuming value is still a goal of the Korean automaker.

With the Sport, Hyundai sheds some of its “sensible compact car” image, though it will have competition when it goes on sale in the third quarter of this year. The 2017 Honda Civic Si is expected to pack a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that will surely beat the Elantra Sport’s power rating by a significant margin.

[Images: Hyundai Motor America]

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60 Comments on “2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport: More Dash, and a Small Spoonful of Flash...”


  • avatar
    MatadorX

    Hyundai is making some seriously nice cars these days. Old school 1990s Toyota esque interior quality is alive and well in the higher trim Korean models. Unlike Toyota they are still adding content to their cars, rather than making everything cheaper, eliminating as much trim as possible, no intermittent wipers on anything under 20k, etc.

    This coming from someone who just bought a new Toyota and is a lifetime Toyota fan.

    Example, I work for VW, and inspect everything from 17k Jettas to 500k Lambos, and I can honestly say I haven’t seen as nice a padded soft cloth sun-visor as the new Azera Limited has this side of a 1995 ES300.

    The only reason I buy Toyotas/recommend them still is that their suppliers are so good, but with Denso/Aisin going full Mexico for US “4” VINs and full China for “J” vins, why bother. The Koreans have them beat.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’ll be convinced when I drive a Korean car that has ride, handling, or steering as good as that 1995 ES300’s.

    • 0 avatar
      swester

      +1

      Even as recent as 10 or 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have even remotely considered a Hyundai.

      Then my mother picked up a Sonata (the first one with the “wow, that’s a hyundai?” styling) and I have to say: it was a well-equipped and impressive car all-around, especially compared to the utterly forgettable contemporary Camry and Accord. Build qualify after a few years seemed to be on par, too. You can tell Toyota and Honda really worked hard to try to catch up with the new Corolla, Accord, Civic, etc.

      If I were in the market for a utilitarian vehicle, Hyundai would be high on my list of dealer visits.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Let’s not get too strong on the hyperbole here. Hyundai and Kia build perfectly adequate cars to drive 8-10 years with virtually no problems, and then trade in before they start to disintegrate so it’s someone else’s problem. I know we want to be knowledgeable consumers who’re hip to the next great thing before everyone else, but the Koreans aren’t currently that, and may never be. There’s no incentive to get any better.

      They’re generally screwed together pretty well, but you can also pick out a lot of places where Hyundai deliberately cheaps out.

      • 0 avatar

        Please elaborate. The last reliability and projected reliability studies I’ve seen have given good marks to Kia and (to a slightly lesser extent) Hyundai.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          “Let’s not get too strong on the hyperbole here. Hyundai and Kia build perfectly adequate cars to drive 8-10 years with virtually no problems”

          Ummmmm how many decades do you expect to keep a car?

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Threeve,

          Those long-term problems don’t come from the vehicles themselves, but rather from the people that generally chose to by HyunKia in the past. When your buyer pool ranges from sub-prime to just wants a the cheapest car with X feature-set, you end up with people who tend to defer maintenance as mileage rises, leading an undeserved reputation for long term lack of reliability.

          Anecdotally, I know several people who’ve had Hyundais going back to the 03-05 timeframe that took the cars well into 6-digit mileage with minimal headache.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          It’s anecdotal, but my father in law had an ’11 Elantra that had the engine bearings die at just under 100k kms, requiring a rebuild. Even now, unless you buy the top trim, there’s still plenty of cheap plastic, just cheap plastic that’s been well assembled. These are not some special moonshot of quality we’ll look back on fondly in 20 years (like the old Toyotas MatadorX invoked), they’re just fine cars that are reasonably competitive with many other reasonably fine cars on the market.

          I don’t doubt a prudent owner could get 300k kms out of one, but that’s a low standard. Between my direct family and my in-laws, we’ve owned something like 14 Hyundai/Kias, going back 25 years. Furthermore, I used to deal with 150+ used cars per week in a former job. I have been exposed to plenty of Hyundais. There is nothing wrong with them, they have made huge progress, but they’re not even remotely special. They’re good to their first owner, they look decent, and they have reasonable feature content, but that’s not revolutionary.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      We have a 2014 Santa Fe Limited, so I can’t give you anything but a resounding agreement with that statement. The trim, technology, and fit&finish is top notch, and we have had multiple passengers exclaim “I can’t believe this is a Hyundai.”

      I will say though, they definitely do some trim removal for the lower segments that’s extremely apparent when you step into it from an upper level.

      We were recently in a rental Sonata while my wife’s car was in the shop, and the noticeably absent was anything resembling a good touch point. I don’t need to have a leather or even soft touch dash, but an unpadded door card or a basically plastic steering wheel are a bit to far in cost cutting IMO. I don’t generally care about most technology, but it also lacked a backup camera, which makes the car downright dangerous to reverse given the sight lines.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I normally don’t give two shakes about Hyundai (other than a V8 Genesis sedan) but for some reason the Elantra Sport and the Sonata Sport 2.0T intrigue me.

    Maybe its the people I see on their second or third Hyundais that seem pretty happy even though they have to go to 130 miles to find a dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      We’re on our 5th, in our family…

      01 Elantra (family) bought at 138k, traded at 201k miles
      09 Sedona (family, now me) bought at 18k miles, now at 91k miles
      11 Sonata (son 1) bought at 10k miles, now at 58k miles
      13 Optima Hybrid (wife) 40k miles since new
      07 Sonata (son 2) 80k miles, just purchased

      So I’m a fan. Since they don’t hold their value, they’re a good buy second-hand. The most I paid was $20k for the OH; it was heavily discounted. I couldn’t pay $25k+ for an Elantra in any trim.

      I don’t care much about steering or driving dynamics, so complaints by others about such things are lost on me.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    This is one of a few cars that I’d actually build and buy. The ’17 Elantra which I think is already a very good redesign, with a turbo DI motor option. The Civic turbo sedan is probably an all around better car but I can’t get past its hatchet face and shrapnel wound rear.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The new Civic seems to be selling well in my area but I still do a double take “WTF was that?” whenever I see the rear of one.

      Oh that’s the new Civic. Although to be fair, there are lots of current car designs where it looks like the rear end was phoned in by a different designer than the one that did things from the C-pillar forward.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Why so little torque relative to HP? I would expect more from a turbocharged engine.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      HP/torque ratio pretty much just tells you how high in the rev range the powerband is. This one spins a little faster than most turbos.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yup, and Americans drive torque, not horsepower. So you really have to whip this nervous Nellie hard to get the torque.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          That’s why you get the honest to god 6 speed manual, so you can flog the heck out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            Exactly that is what makes it fun for us sporty car type drivers. Now if this thing has decent tires, maybe it will be worth checking out.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Fred, the 2011 Elantra we bought for our grand daughter came with Kumho tires.

            Yeah, they sucked eggs. Sidewalls too soft IMO. Treadwear much to rapid for a car that was driven to/from college 4 days a week, on fourlane Hwy US-70, at 80-85mph cruising.

            Earliest opportunity (25K IIRC) I put four Pirelli 9000 T-rated on the corners. Got them at Discount Tire for <$300 out the door.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          Uh no you don’t. The engine produces 190+ lbs of torque at 1500 to 4500 RPM.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            And I bet the real power comes on above 4500rpm.

            Reminds me of a TR7 I drove while in Europe.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I have only have a great ownership experience with the 2011 Elantra we bought new for my grand daughter. Never any problems. Only regular maintenance like oil and filter changes. Never any visits to the dealer. Used daily for a 150-mile roundtrip to/from college.

    Still being used daily by the girl my grand daughter sold it to after my grand daughter graduated, who only had to put a new set of tires on so far.

    Last I heard, 157K on the odo, and other than scheduled maintenance performed by the new owner at the dealer in Las Cruces, NM, no problems.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Independent rear suspension was critical if Hyundai wants to be taken seriously in the sporty class.

    What remains to be seen is how well it actually performs compared to the GTI and Mazda3. Ditto the turbo/dual-clutch powertrain, which has been somewhat underwhelming in previous applications.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      +1
      Looks good, but the devil is in the details. It has to stack up well against the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I’m not an expert on suspension, but I think you mean multi-link rear suspension, not IRS. This is a FWD car, so by definition it lacks a live axle in the rear.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        IRS is IRS and whether the wheels attached to it are driven is irrelevant. There have been lots of FWD vehicles with a “stick” axle some even on buggy springs.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Thanks, Scoutdude!
          I just haven’t heard of a FWD car with a rear (‘dead’) axle for a while, and assumed they were all IRS.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Nope they are alive and well at Hyundai. They try and make it seem fancy calling it a “coupled torsion beam suspension”.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Didn’t Chrysler have a similar setup for their minivans?

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Well, my Golf SportWagen TDI has a torsion-beam rear suspension, because of the space taken up by the AdBlue tank. Gasoline-powered TSI units, however, have the IRS.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            These days, they’re generally called “torsion beams” and many FWD cars have them as they take up less space than an independent suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @HDC, the Chrysler minivans had leaf springs and a solid axle holding up the rear.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Scoutdude, was it the same setup on the AWD versions of the Chrysler/Dodge minivans?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @HDC the AWD vans were interesting in that they had a similar axle on leaf springs, the diff attached to the body and driving the wheels through half shafts like would be found in many driving rear axles.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Scoutdude, thanks. I was trying to remember back to 1995 when we encountered an overloaded and badly listing AWD Caravan stranded between Ouray and Silverton, CO, way up there in the mountains.

            Long story short, we got it jacked up and two of my sons, with me helping to push down the breaker bar for leverage, were able to get those skiers going again by putting in a temporary fix with parts from our Formula V race car supply kit and torque-ing the hell out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Many compacts sold in the US still go with the torsion beam at the rear (Corolla, Sentra, etc.).

            Interestingly enough, the Elantra GT, which is the i30 in Europe, doesn’t get the IRS that is on the i30.

            Let’s hope Biermann uses the talents of Hyundai’s Australian tuners in tuning the Sport (or the upcoming N-performance variant of the new i30).

            The Elantra, even with a rear beam, has beaten the venerable Mazda3 in Australian comparisons due to its better ride and improved steering (compared to Elantras in other markets).

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        Our 2011 Elantra, which my daughter now owns, has a torsion beam rear suspension which is a dead axle. Easily the single worst feature of the car, for the way it skips and hops and slams its way over bumps.

        • 0 avatar
          cdotson

          I could forgive the skip/hop issue with my ’14 Elantra GT, knowing as I do it’s a torsion beam and being well acquainted with worse behavior from my Ram 1500’s leaf-sprung axle. What I can’t get over is the bump steer introduced by the rear end whenever I have a rear seat passenger or a load in the back and hit a manhole cover or other asymmetric bump. It’s enough to require steering correction on a straight road. Easily my biggest gripe with the car, which all considered is a pretty mild criticism.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The 7 speed is a new unit, so not sure how “underwhelming” it was when it wasn’t even available.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is really intriguing, at least on paper. I know both transmissions have issues- the DCT has some serious bugs and out of the box the manual has an annoying but fixable clutch switch problem. Hyundai/Kia steering feel is also abysmal. Still though I like the interior/exterior and the IRS and guestimated curb weight (~3,000lbs) work for me. I may still just turbocharge my 08 Civic but this looks like a good direct replacement.

    Hyundai/Kia is like VW in that they come up with and deliver great ideas that often fall short in the real world. With VW it’s usually reliability (though Dieselgate is a new frontier). With Hyundai/Kia it’s the details of the driving experience. The steering feel in the Kia Soul I drove was downright infuriating and unacceptable. The transmission/rev hang issues with current 1.6T cars is wonky. For some reason the current Sonata/Optima 2.0T are slower than the Accord Sport. Etc. We will see if they get it together with this car.

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      Actually, the older and cheaper Hyundais and Kias seemed to steer better. Try a 2005-2008(?) Kia Rio sometime. Not bad for a bargain basement car from 10 years ago. Manual steering on some models. I actually laughed out loud while driving it. In a good way … mostly. It’s kind of hard to explain.

      When Kia “upgraded” to the Forte, I lost interest in their offerings in that segment. The Forte was a really dull drive compared to the Rio it was apparently replacing. (But the Rio is still around, so I guess I misunderstood their product planning…)

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I have a 1.6T Tucson—I do not have any issues with the DCT or rev hang issues that you speak of. 17,000 miles in 7 months and the only issue I had was with a suspension component that was supplied by ZF (as the component had ZF stamped in it)—the dealer replaced both since they gave me a car.

      The ride with 19’s isn’t bad at all, and it handles pretty well for a CUV—you never mistake it for a car but the limit is fairly high. I liked the driving experience better than the Escape. Maybe Hyundai should continue to bring the European models over here instead of trying to develop in the states. The Elantra I had for a loaner was an SE model and the suspension was stupid floaty…the last time I drove a car like that was when my Dad had his Town Car.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Hyundai’s Australian tuners are better than the European ones which is why for certain Hyundai models in the UK, they get the Aussie tuning.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I have seen several videos and threads about DCT failures… people’s transmissions going into neutral on the highway. No thanks. Another win for the Sportage IMO. The rev hang issue is on the manual transmissions… less of a problem, common with a lot of modern cars (Honda is notorious), easily fixed.

        I’m sure this Elantra will have firmer suspension tuning, though I’m not sure it will be good. Hyundai still needs a little help there, though they are improving.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Love the power train. Give it AWD and a hatch and I’m sold.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    With the same engine as the Veloster Turbo, what now is the point of the Veloster Turbo? Besides looking kinda cool/funky/unique, I mean.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You make a good point. There really is none. Veloster is pretty bad as is.

      Hopefully they put this powertrain in the Elantra GT hatchback… and improve the looks of said hatchback too.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I would prefer an Elantra Cush instead of an Elantra Sport.

    But I’ve had enough mental aneurysms wondering why why why why ordinary, plebeian cars-of-necessity are STILL marketed to whatever DSM 5 category covers aggressive young male drivers when the marketplace has decidedly moved north to 60-somethings who, if constrained to shop cheap little crampy cars, are unlikely to feel very sporty about *anything*.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Because we have money.

    • 0 avatar
      mdao

      Platform amortization. There’s plenty of twenty-somethings with a decent middle class jobs, the ability to swing payments on a ~ $25k car, and a need for speed. Gotta sell them something, and “big” engine in a B/C-segment car is an inexpensive recipe for speed.

      They fill a pretty large niche as dedicated platforms in that price range are slower (Miata, FRS) or impractical (Mustang, Camaro).

  • avatar

    I can’t stop seeing catfish everywhere. I’ve always liked the Elantra–we’ve owned two, both really reliably–but has something changed with the crash standards that’s turning cars into catfish in the front? The new Malibu has the same issue.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Hoping this powertrain appears next in the Soul.

  • avatar
    formula m

    Reminds me of an Infiniti G20 with decent power. This engine wasn’t very special in the track setup veloster turbo I’ve driven


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