Hyundai Elantra SR a swift, agile and well-rounded small sedan
What is it?
The Hyundai Elantra SR is the newest, sportiest and most expensive edition to Hyundai’s freshly renewed Elantra small car range.
What’s it cost?
Entry to the Hyundai Elantra SR club starts at $28,990 for the Elantra SR with the six-speed manual and $31,290 for an Elantra SR fitted with Hyundai seven-speed dual clutch transmission as tested here. All prices are exclusive of on road costs and options. The only engine available is a good one – Hyundai’s 1.6 litre turbo engine which is also found in the Veloster Turbo and the Tucson SUV.
The Elantra SR is value for money package. You get leather seats with heating for those up front and electric adjustment for the driver, a racy flat bottom steering wheel with a red position marker at the base, dual zone climate control, blind spot monitoring, automatic xenon headlamps, a reversing camera, rear cross traffic alert, push button/keyless start and of course parking sensors.
A touchscreen that controls all car’s infotainment features and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
The interior is garnished with faux-carbon fibre trim, sports pedals and red highlights to make sure you don’t forget you’re in the sporting model, which you certainly won’t.
In typical Hyundai fashion everything is well screwed together, and although there were some hard and scratchy plastics is some places, all the main contact surfaces such as the door handles and gear lever, felt great to the touch. That sports steering wheel deserves a special mention, with a high quality feeling and satisfying tactility.
What’s it go like?
Well, very well. The Elantra SR’s 1.6 litre turbo engine chucks out 150kW @ 6000rpm and 265Nm from between 1500rpm to 4500rpm. A healthy serving of power and a broad spread of torque means that the engine is always hungry to please, happily spinning its way through the rev range.
Claimed average fuel economy is 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. We managed around 8.1 litres.
Power delivery is tractable and satisfying, and it always seems like the engine is egging you on to go just that little bit more quickly, when, before you know it, you’re rocketing along at a speed that government deems unsafe.
Hyundai’s seven-speed dual clutch transmission has always been one of the best in the business and is a good match for the turbo engine, making sure that it delivers its best at all times. Should you wish, you can always swap cogs yourself (recommended) by way of the steering wheel mounted shift paddles.
On initial take off the box’s shifts can have the traditional dual-clutch feel, slightly lacking the smoothness of a conventional automatic. Once on the move though, the Elantra SR races through its cogs quickly and seamlessly.
Handling is sharp and precise, and Hyundai has achieved a brilliant balance between cornering grip and poise, steering feel and ride comfort.
Driver involvement has been a key focus for Hyundai when developing the Elantra SR, and this is demonstrated with the fitment of multi-link rear suspension instead of the standard Elantra’s torsion beam set up. Not that the cooking versions of the Elantra handle like small boats, but it shows that Hyundai was serious about making the Elantra SR a true sports model rather than a marketing exercise.
What we like:
Quite a lot, actually. However, our favourite thing about the Elantra SR is its sense of cohesiveness. From the moment you approach the car from a distance, when you slip behind the flat bottom steering wheel and then take to your favourite twisty bit of black top, everything feels just right.
But it works just as well on the dreary daily commute and thanks to that smart suspension setup, it won’t rattle your fillings over crap city streets.
In sum, not only is the Elantra SR an accomplished car within itself, but it gives us a preview to future high-powered Hyundai “N” models.
Equipment levels are generous for the price too, and there’s not really anything that makes you want for more. Except for one thing…
What we don’t:
Why no sat nav? It just seems strange that Hyundai has packed the Elantra SR to the hilt with equipment and left out navigation, although you can use Apple Maps if you have a compatible smartphone and enjoy the sweet tones of Siri’s voice.
And the rest? Well, if we have to nit-pick, the Elantra’s exhaust doesn’t have the same burble and growl as the Veloster SR and the engine can sound a little coarse when revved hard.
Other than that, not a lot else, really.
Hyundai Elantra SR
Price: from $28,990 ($31,290 for the dual-clutch auto)
Warranty: 5 years/unlimited kilometres
Capped priced servicing: $777 for three years
Service interval: 12 months/10,000km
Safety: 5 stars, 8 airbags
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo petrol, 150kW/265Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
Fuel consumption: 7.1L/100km
Dimensions: 4570mm (L), 1800mm (W), 1440mm (H), 2700mm (WB)
Spare: Space saver
Country of Origin: Korea