Review: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport | 200ps 1.6L Turbo 7 Speed DCT

Tom

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Tom

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Hyundai's latest sedan now packs hot hatch turbo power and dual clutch box. It sounds like a recipe for a Korean Clio RS with a boot. But has it got the legs and soul to deserve over 200hp? Short answer, Yes.

Making my way to Hyundai, what I had in mind at first was an Elantra that would drive like a mash up between the clinical Ioniq and gimmicky Veloster. Both of which are Hyundai's first attempts at making their first hybrid and a hot hatch.



The Ioniq was a ground breaking hybrid contender overflowing with cutting-edge autonomous driving tech, made accessible. It offered superb hybrid driving experience, and one that is noticeably more pronounced than its competitors. Also making a debut at the time was their dual clutch box, which actually felt decent for a virgin try.



The Veloster on the other hand is undoubtedly a Megane knock off that offered a whole lot of flair but is far from hot. Despite the show over go attitude of the Veloster, it still is a good candidate for a daily, fast hatchback with innovative 3-door configuration, moonroof and all that.

So, based on my impressions on Hyundai's recent offerings, I wasn't expecting the Elantra Sport to blow my mind at all, but I was still eager to try their new 200hp DCT combo. That was all before I drove it. So here goes.



The Drive


It is noticeably firm, the kind where you can immediately tell is off to a sporty start. Rest assured it'll soak in road acnes and conquer undulations like a champ, all while serving a confidence inspiring drive. There's hardly any roll and it negotiate bends with notable poise.




Power

Power is good and has the pull of a 200hp engine although it does get a little noisy approaching the higher revs. Not a big bother because it does make up with smooth surge of acceleration. Rest assured the Elantra Sport will out gun just about anything in its class.


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2017 HYUNDAI ELANTRA SPORT

Engine: Gamma Turbo 1.6L 4 Cylinder, Direct Injection
Power: 203.6ps @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 264nm @ 1,500-4,500rpm
Zerotohundred: 7.7 seconds
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Price *RM131,488.00
Website: https://www.hyundai.com.my/





Can it Turn?

The Elantra Sport is undoubtedly the best handling Korean produce I've ever driven. It feels as if they've specced some heavy duty underpinnings to deliver a taut ride. That firmness isn't there to feign sportiness either. It is more than capable at entertaining corners. Yes, better than the already good Civic Turbo it competes with, by more than a mile.

Don't expect Civic Type R ability here though. It isn't, not even close. Then again, unlike serious hot hatches that are built to run and expected to perform, the Elantra Sport on the other hand is a simpleton, more of a mid size sedan with decent amenities, but is one that performs unexpectedly well. To a certain extent, even encouraging when at play, and possesses the spirit of a hot hatch. Just don't go too far as its talent graph does decline rather steeply.



Inside


It is a case of mixed feelings. Interior, ergonomics and such sees improvements but has a long way to go before reaching that of a new Civic. It is where plastics are used that remain plasticky in feel. As for the upholstery, they've generously laid patches of red and embroidered "sport" on each of front the seats.



To be honest, these effort would have been better put at keeping the Elantra more sedate and let the great engine and tranny do the talking. But as for buttons and functions, the Elantra packs just about every feature drivers demand these days. Yes and wow, It's even got Apple Carplay support.



DCT


Shifts are precise anywhere, be it at the urban commute or the highway cruise. Dual clutch being dual clutch, there is zero slip and every input feels direct. It is also evident that power isn't lost in transition. You can bet it's better than any automatics or CVT cars in its class.

However, unlike the hot GTIs we are all used to, the DCT in the Elantra is a lot more timid. So no pops and bangs here. Steering paddle shifters work and clicks just as well as any proper car these days so no qualms there.



In default the car feels over governed. Whether it is for eco or mechanical sympathy. Surprisingly, At full throttle in default driving mode, the shifts felt more like an automatic. Lacking the sensation of clutch release and re-engagement.

Sport mode is where this DCT really shine. The shifts are actually fast, inspiring when in operation. If they had only tuned the default mode to be somewhere in between sport and default, that'll be perfect.



Verdict

For the first time, Hyundai's Sport badges and embroidery aren't just for show. The Elantra has definitely arrived at a new milestone with its Sport variant. It feels very capable and confidence inspiring at speed. Its talent show at the corners, where it is flat in demeanour and planted at the sweepers.

7-speed DCT is pretty super compared to infuriating CVT in the Civic. With it bolted to Hyundai's 1.6L Turbo 4 just translates that 200hp far better than they've ever achieved with the Veloster. It doesn't just feel like a simple improvement in power either, this one's like a different engine, almost.



It's quite unbelievable how the Elantra has suddenly become a worthy contender in the world of fast saloons, even if it's not anywhere near perfect. We're in the early days of performance Hyundais for sure, and the Elantra Sport is a sign of good things to come.*Just like early Samsung Galaxy "iPhone alternatives", very powerful although unrefined. But look where they are now, all ultra sleek and even more desirable than the latest iPhone X

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<script async="" defer="" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>
This or CIVIC?

At the end of the day it's what tempts you. In short, Elantra Sport for performance or Civic Turbo for practicality.

In the Elantra Sport you get a lot more power, pace and smiles per mile trashing every Civic out there. It offers good handling characteristics, quick and direct DCT transmission and hot-hatch like attitude, but very little of anything else. It looks presentable but is in fact decades behind the Civic's mega-modern everything.



Now why did I term the Civic Turbo practical? Simply because it's the safer bet being a Honda obviously, where just about every aspect has been refined to perfection, having evolved from when it first began in 1972 into the 10th generation Civic that it is now.



Although it will never be as athletic as the Elantra Sport, the Civic Turbo is far more superior in terms of build and ride quality, and yes, even social standing. So, the choice is yours.
 

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s.marz

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s.marz

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Well done Hyundai (and Tom for the review), can't wait for the Stinger to arrive here. It's very impressive how they went from some boring econobox to a fun daily that you can take it to some twisties after work.

I have trauma owning Hyundai but happy they're not what they used to.
 

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Izso

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Well done Hyundai (and Tom for the review), can't wait for the Stinger to arrive here. It's very impressive how they went from some boring econobox to a fun daily that you can take it to some twisties after work.

I have trauma owning Hyundai but happy they're not what they used to.
The Stinger will never come to our shores. It'll kill their Sonata sales
 
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vr2turbo

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vr2turbo

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Hyundai top car in Korea, then KIA, Samsung, Daewoo and Ssangyong. Many Hyundai Genesis also with look alike Bentley badge.....lol
 

s.marz

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Hyundai top car in Korea, then KIA, Samsung, Daewoo and Ssangyong. Many Hyundai Genesis also with look alike Bentley badge.....lol
Been hearing good things bout Genesis, shame that I barely see any here. S class spec with decent pricing (at least in US market.)

The only time I saw a Genesis was once at KLCC back in February.
 

s.marz

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The Stinger will never come to our shores. It'll kill their Sonata sales
You're right but the test mule was spotted in Malaysia back in April and Paultan even stated, as quoted from Naza Kia, they might bring it if demand is convincing.

The Stinger has the powertrain that the Sonata/Optima doesn't which is another factor. Who knows, they might just introduce the trim with the 3.3 twinturbo powertrain.

But then again, the Stinger is a completely different car. It's rwd with all performance goodies which the Sonata/Optima won't offer.
 

Tom

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Tom

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Well done Hyundai (and Tom for the review), can't wait for the Stinger to arrive here. It's very impressive how they went from some boring econobox to a fun daily that you can take it to some twisties after work.

I have trauma owning Hyundai but happy they're not what they used to.
Thanks s.marz

it's true, they're definitely not like what they are used to. Some rethinking needs to be done in the interior department for future releases though

Been hearing good things bout Genesis, shame that I barely see any here. S class spec with decent pricing (at least in US market.)

The only time I saw a Genesis was once at KLCC back in February.
you can find one parked in Hyundai Malaysia, Glenmarie
 

ixeo

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ixeo

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Practical Civic? Let’s quantify that. I assume legroom civic wins? Boot space? How else is it more practical.

But seriously what’s with the gaudy red seats, it really does not go well with the exterior design language. I think just black with red piping would have been sufficient. Was it a Hyundai decision or a Sime Darby decision.
 

s.marz

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Practical Civic? Let’s quantify that. I assume legroom civic wins? Boot space? How else is it more practical.

But seriously what’s with the gaudy red seats, it really does not go well with the exterior design language. I think just black with red piping would have been sufficient. Was it a Hyundai decision or a Sime Darby decision.
I'm guessing it's sime darby cuz if you actually Google it, most are black interior with red accent/stitching.
 

ixeo

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ixeo

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I'm guessing it's sime darby cuz if you actually Google it, most are black interior with red accent/stitching.
The decision maker should be fired. He may think it is cool, but seriously he don’t understand his target market. Someone paying 130k for this over a Civic or Mazda 3 or even the Jetta wants class. They are not your typical ah beng. Since ah beng would buy the Civic for the VTEC power.

Actually they should specifically target Jetta buyers. People who seek value, but at the same time wants refinement. Jetta buyers know they can forget about resale value, thus Hyundai’s key disadvantage is negated. This Elantra can offer that coupled with a warranty and solid support. VW Malaysia is rather weak and vulnerable right now, and it’s best to capitalize on that — emphasizing on Hyundai’s new platform led by none other than Peter Schreyer, and their R&D center out of Germany.

Peter sucks at giving presentations, but it’s definitely his baby
https://youtu.be/cV2V4I27VXE

I think this car looks great, better so than the Ketam. But I dread the same look trickling to the entire Hyundai range like how every Audi looks the same. I feel that’s lazy.
 

vr2turbo

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vr2turbo

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Well, Korean are catching up. Electrical and Electronic sales better than the Japs dy....
 

Tom

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Practical Civic? Let’s quantify that. I assume legroom civic wins? Boot space? How else is it more practical.

But seriously what’s with the gaudy red seats, it really does not go well with the exterior design language. I think just black with red piping would have been sufficient. Was it a Hyundai decision or a Sime Darby decision.
Practically everything except the engine and tranny imo, I'm talking looks, size, space, ergonomics, interior, maybe even resale. The Elantra is good, maybe even very good but the trade offs are obvious, plus it being a late release here, means its like a generation behind the Civic. which makes it a difficult choice for the discerning.

I have no idea who signed off the red patches to be honest, It may just be an APAC thing though. Will ask Hyundai if it can be opt-off the checklist when I see them next
 

ixeo

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ixeo

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I’m curious if anybody bought one. Haven’t seen any on the road in Klang Valley. I think it needs a 10 year power train warranty like what they did in the United States.

And a 7 years unlimited like Nissan. And they need a sincere marketing team. Not like Kia with their stupid bots. Frankly this car is very competitive. It’s like the Honda of the 90s, powerful, punchy DCT.
 

vr2turbo

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Most Malaysian usually think of second hand value first when purchasing a new car. Hyundai have not been great in second hand value, that is why H and T still controls the market here...
 

ixeo

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ixeo

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Most Malaysian usually think of second hand value first when purchasing a new car. Hyundai have not been great in second hand value, that is why H and T still controls the market here...
T is slowly becoming irrelevant with H's aggressive products, pricing and positioning.

I think Hyundai, done properly can really do well, as their product is good. It's a question of reliability, quality and support.

I think resale value not that critical, considering there are still people buying VW, lol. People care more about the product.
 

vr2turbo

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They are number one in Korea, in fact top 5 are all Korean makes. Really get home support......lol