Car Reviews

2017 Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo Review

Alex Rae’s 2017 Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo Review with pricing, spec, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: Hyundai shows off its local tuning ability in this fun warm small sedan.

2017 Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo

PRICE From $28,990+ORC

WARRANTY 5 years/unlimited km

ENGINE 1.6L turbocharged petrol four-cylinder

POWER/TORQUE 150kW/265Nm

TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic

DRIVE  front-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS 4570 (L), 1800mm (W EXC MIRRORS), 1440mm (H)

SPARE space saver

KERB WEIGHT 1385kg

SEATS 5

FUEL TANK 50 litres

THIRST 7.7 L/100km combined cycle

FUEL petrol

WHILE WERE WAITING for Hyundai’s first real hot hatch the i30 N to arrive, the South Korean company has already been offering a steady lineup of warm offerings for the last few years to tinker its local tuning on; think cars like the Veloster Turbo and i30 SR.

Hyundai’s latest attempt at gaining ground in the small car segment is the Elantra SR Turbo and of course rather than simply whack in a turbocharged engine and call it a day, Hyundai Australia has put in a lot of time and effort in to making the thing handling better.

What’s is the Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo?

Based on the Elantra sedan, the SR Turbo gains a higher output engine, independent rear-suspension over the torsion-beam setup, a choice of auto or manual transmission and locally tuned suspension and steering. There’s also a $1890 cost option of adding Pirelli tyres over the standard Hankook Ventus Prime 2 set.

The SR Turbo is priced from $28,990 (+ORCs) for the six-speed manual (tested) and $31,290 for the seven-speed dual clutch automatic. It’s fitted with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine which produces 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque, and good enough for a claimed 7.7L/100km combined cycle.

Standard inclusions include 17-inch alloys (or 18-inch with optional Pirelli tyres), SR body kit with twin exhaust tips and LED headlights and taillights. It’s enough to help the SR Turbo stand out from its siblings and rivals like the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla, although not as dynamic looking as the Honda Civic RS.

What’s the interior of the Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo like?

Cabin space isn’t easy to maximise in the small car segment but the Elantra makes as much use of it tight dimensions as possible. Upfront there’s good room for both passengers but the rear suffers a little and feels too tight for an adult to sit comfortably.

Red stitched leather adorns the seats and $295 cost option red leather is available, although probably a bit bright for some. The seats provide firm but ergonomic support up front and the adjustable lumbar support is good – over country kilometres the seats never felt tiring and the cabin space is well setup for getting comfortable. The rear seats don’t provide the level of support that the front do, but are adequate for commuting and rear air vents provide a little extra comfort.

The back row offers ISOfix points on the outer seats and three top tether anchors. We were able to fit a rear-facing baby seat to the outer seats although it required the front seats to be moved forward a fair amount.

Adjusting the 10-way electric driver’s seat (passenger remains manual, although both are heated) is easy and provides a good range of movement. The D-shaped (flat bottomed) steering wheel has a good amount of tilt-and-reach adjustment, looks the business and adds to the sporty feel inside. The automatic model gets paddle shifters but we only had the manual equipped variant on test.

The manual gearshift sits nicely in the centre console and is a good distance from the arm rest for tireless shifting. Among the console are two USB ports for connecting devices to the 7-inch infotainment screen.

The infotainment in the SR Turbo is familiar in most new Hyundais and features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB+ and Bluetooth. So some good connectivity options, which is just as well as you’ll have to use either CarPlay or Auto for navigation as there’s no sat nav in the system. The touch input is quick to respond and the  screen is on par with rivals in its segment, but it doesn’t have the resolution and vibrancy of most European displays.

Around the back the boot offers a large 458 litres. That’s plenty of space for most of what you’ll throw at it and on test we were able to fit in a large pram easily.

What’s the Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo like on the road?

Living up to its warm sedan status the 1.6-litre turbo engine, which is almost identical to the Veloster Turbo, is lively and eager to rev. The turbocharger is a slightly larger single scroll unit which doesn’t feel laggy and the 150kw at 6000rpm and 265Nm from 1500-4500rpm is readily available. There’s not much excitement from the exhaust, however, and a little more power up top would be a bonus.

Matched with a six-speed manual the SR Turbo is fun and engaging drive, even if it falls short of worrying hotter hatches and sedans. The manual has a slightly long throw but it’s easy to shift and well gated. It’s not too tiresome a manual to drive in traffic, either, and would be a fine daily commuting vehicle.

However it’s the ride, which has been locally tuned, that excites the most. The Turbo SR balances just enough body roll and road feel with good composure that it settles quickly and can be flicked about with confidence. The addition of independent rear-suspensions over the torsion-beam setup helps and in the small sedan segment under $25,000, the SR Turbo is perhaps one of the sharpest to drive.

The steering has also undergone adjustment here and provides a better steer. Indeed the steering in the Turbo SR is sharp with quick turn-in and response from the front end.

Over a mixture of surfaces the Turbo SR provided good bump absorption and comfort. On unsealed roads the ride remained composed and confident. NVH is also good, although we only tested the 17-inch Hankook tyres – the optional 18-inch Pirelli tyres may transmit a little more tyre roar in sacrifice for grip, not that the Hankooks were not good enough for a quick squirt.

What about the Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo’s safety features?

The Hyundai Elantra has been awarded a 5-star ANCAP rating (rated 2016) and comes with standard safety features such as reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring with lane change assist.

However the Turbo SR is not available with automatic emergency braking or adaptive cruise control. We found the standard cruise control worked well with minimal creep over the set speed (+/- 3km/h in testing).

For fitting baby seats the Elantra is equipped with ISOfix anchors on the two outer rear seats, and three top tether anchors across all back seats. A rear-facing baby seat will fit in the back but requires the front seat to move forward more than halfway – a front facing seat fits fine.

So, what do we think about the Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo?

The Elantra SR is one of Hyundai’s most dynamically well tuned vehicles yet and we can’t wait for a hotter version to arrive. Practical small sedan dimensions and good interior space make it a more versatile car than some hatchbacks, and if a hatchback isn’t an option, the SR Turbo is a good pick.

Editor's Rating

What's the infotainment system like?
What's it like on the road?
What about safety features?
Practical Motoring Says: There are hotter cars out there for the money but not in a sedan body style. The option of a manual transmission is a boon - and something rivals such as the Civic RS miss out on - and help the modest engine feel lively. It lacks some safety options and interior refinement to get top marks.


Alex Rae

Alex Rae

Alex Rae grew up among some of the great stages of Targa Tasmania, an event that sparked his passion for all things mechanical. Currently living across Bass Strait in Melbourne, Alex has worked for the last decade in the automotive world as both a photographer and journalist, and is now a freelancer for various publications. When not driving for work Alex can be found tinkering in the shed on of one his project Zeds or planning his next gravel rally car.