Isaac Bober’s 2014 Hyundai Elantra review with pricing, specs, ride and handling,safety and verdict.

In a Nutshell The i30 hatchback and the Elantra sedan might be from the same family just with different names, but a slight styling tweak and improvements to ride and handling give it a character all of its own.

Practical Motoring Says Hyundai’s local engineering team has worked wonders with the suspension and steering, crafting champagne ride and handling for beer money. Headroom is a little tight for taller drivers and passengers, especially with the sunroof, but, all up, the Elantra Series II is a compelling offering in the mid-size market.

UNLESS YOU’RE CLUTCHING A LIST of the external changes to the 2014 Series II Hyundai Elantra you’d struggle to spot the differences between this car and its predecessor. Let us help. The mid-model-life facelift has seen Hyundai add a new front and rear bumper, including a chrome grille on the Elantra Premium we’re driving, some belt-line moulding, fog-lights across the range, and new-design alloy wheels.

On the inside, Hyundai has added satellite navigation and a reversing camera as standard on mid- and top-spec Elite and Premium models. But it’s what you can’t see, namely the suspension and steering, that have come in for the most extensive changes, transforming the car – but we’ll come back to that shortly.

A slight criticism of the Elantra since launch has been its low and sloping roofline, see, while it adds to the overall sporty look of the car it robs headroom from both front and rear seat passengers. Indeed, throw in the sunroof (which steals away a few more precious centimetres) fitted to the Elantra Premium we’re driving and my 187cm frame is quite close to the roof. That said, it’s something taller drivers will get used to after a few kilometres, and such is the vision all around that you’ll never feel closed in or squashed up against the roof.

Hyundai Elantra Interior

The rest of the interior is beautifully finished in a range of soft-touch plastics with a quality of fit that rivals Volkswagen (currently the industry benchmark), not even some scratchy plastic used on the door can knock the shine off this quality interior. All of the multi-media functions are easy to use on the fly.

Climb into the back seat and there’s plenty of shoulder and leg room for three adults, the headroom is acceptable for most, but six-footers will find they’re a little too close to the roof. We fitted two child seats across the back (one holding a two-year old and the other a five-year old) and both had plenty of room. However, fitting the seats was a little tricky, the rear window runs extremely close to the parcel shelf behind the headrests and, so, locating the top tether strap for the seats required some contortion, and getting the seats to sit tightly required extra concentration.

Hyundai Elantra Driving

There’s just one engine available across the range and it’s a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 110kW of power (at 6500rpm) and 178Nm of torque (at 4700rpm). It’s mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, and fuel consumption is between 5.6L/100km for the manual (combined) and 5.7L/100km for the auto (combined). Greenhouse gas emissions range from 158-169g/km CO2.

When the Hyundai Elantra was launched back in 2011, the ride was criticised for being a little too firm, particularly across broken surfaces. That’s all changed with this Series II variant. Hyundai’s local engineers have tested and refined both the suspension and (the three-mode Flex Steer) steering for Australian roads.

That means the Elantra still feels sportingly firm, but there’s a degree of suppleness that was missing before. So, hit a sharp-edged rut, one that would have previously seen the car send a jolt into the cabin, and this new version smothers the hit with the driver almost none the wiser. Find a series of corners and the Elantra feels composed and competent with minimal bodyroll.

The 2014 Hyundai Elantra gets revised suspension and steering for improved ride and handling

Adjustments to the electrically-controlled steering system (Flex Steer) have, if you select either Normal or Sport endowed the Elantra with greater steering feel both in corners and in the straightahead on the highway. We kept our steering in Sport for the week and would advise owners to do the same – ignore Comfort, it removes all the weight and feel from the steering, and it ends up feeling artificial and clumsy.

In terms of pricing, the Elantra Series II starts with the Elantra Active (manual) listing for $20,990 (+ORC) the auto lists for $23,190 (+ORC). The mid-spec Elite which is auto only, retails from $26,790 (+ORC) and the Premium, also auto only, list from $30,190 (+ORC). Metallic/Mica paint adds another $495 across the range.

Hyundai also offers three years capped-price servicing on the Elantra, as well as its five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Extras include, a three year NAVTEQ MapCare Plan, complimentary Roadside Assist for 12 months on new vehicles and 1500km complimentary first service.

Hyundai Elantra Premium

Already feature-packed, the Series II Elantra Active adds (and we’re only mentioning new features) stainless steel front door scuff plates; rear parking sensors; cloth door trim inserts; gloveboox cooling; and Flex Steer with steering-wheel mounted controls. The mid-spec Elite adds alloy-look interior door handles; electric folding side mirrors; seven-inch sat-nav with SUNA live traffic subscription and three-year MapCare; as well as a supervision instrument panel cluster. On top of this, the Premium adds HID Xenon headight with LED positioning lights; rear console air vents. It also has, as standard, a sunroof, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers, reversing camera, and heated front seats.

Safety. The Hyundai Elantra Series II has been awarded a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating. Standard safety features include: six airbags, Four-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).

Hyundai Elantra Premium Series II

PRICE from $30,190 (+ORC) WARRANTY five-years, unlimited kilometres SAFETY five-star ANCAP ENGINE 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol POWER/TORQUE 110kW/178Nm TRANSMISSION six-speed automatic only BODY 4550mm (L); 1775mm (W); 1435mm (H) WEIGHT 1231-1309kg (depending on model) THIRST 5.7L/100km (combined)


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