Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedan car test drives hyundai
Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedan car test drives hyundai
Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedan car test drives hyundai
2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited Technology Sedan. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Just over three years ago, Hyundai designers created what is probably the most eye-catching four-door sedan in the compact segment, the 2011 Elantra. Its sweeping curves and sculpted body panels (known internally as ‘fluidic sculpture’) contrasted sharply with more conservatively designed competitors like the Nissan Sentra, VW Jetta, and Toyota Corolla sedans. The Elantra’s styling drew mixed reactions, but it impressed Canadian auto writers enough to win AJAC’s prestigious 2012 Canadian Car of the Year. And the fact that the Elantra is now one of the top three bestselling cars in Canada proves that there are many buyers out there who want a compact family sedan that stands out from the crowd.

For 2014, there are some subtle styling revisions to the Elantra, but you’ll have to look hard to notice them: the front fog lights have a new L-shape design, the lower air intake is slightly larger, and the bumper is slightly longer. At the rear, the diffuser is now a contrasting black plastic insert rather than a body-coloured one; and the alloy wheels are a new design. Top trim Elantra models receive new projector beam headlights with LED ‘eyebrows’ and ‘underbrows’, and new LED taillights. Limited models also get new chrome door handles and trim.

The Elantra’s interior continues the curvy exterior theme with upgraded audio and navigation systems and a revised centre stack with a new 4.3-inch touchscreen that displays audio functions and doubles as a rear-view monitor. The new 4.3-inch screen is standard in GLS and Limited trims while a seven-inch touchscreen with Navigation returns in the top Limited Technology trim level.

The big news for 2014 is a new 173-hp 2.0L DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. This engine is already available in the Elantra Coupe and GT (hatchback) models, and is now standard in the Elantra Sedan Limited and Limited Technology trims, while base L, GL and GLS trims retain last year’s 148-hp 1.8L DOHC 16-valve four cylinder with multi-port fuel injection. The 1.8L comes with a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic, but in the sedan, the 2.0L engine is available only with a six-speed automatic transmission.

As we noted in our test drive of the 2014 Elantra GT (hatchback) with the 2.0L engine, there is a noticeable improvement in performance over the 1.8L engine. Not only does the 2.0L engine have more zip, it’s smoother and quieter, too. That’s partly due to extensive new sound deadening and anti-vibration materials in the Elantra sedan; these include thicker anti-vibration materials in the firewall, cowl, instrument panel and floor, a full under-body cover, higher density carpets, more foam in the A and B pillars, new sound absorption material in the heating ducts, and a slightly higher cowl to reduce wind noise. Whereas the 1.8L engine was rather coarse-sounding, the new 2.0L engine is more even-sounding with fewer vibrations making their way into the cabin.

Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedan car test drives hyundai Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedan car test drives hyundai
2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited Technology Sedan. Click image to enlarge

With 17 percent more horsepower and 18 percent more torque, the 2.0L engine pulls more strongly particularly in low and mid-range acceleration. AJAC acceleration tests showed the 2012 Elantra 1.8 sedan with automatic transmission accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.6 seconds, and though AJAC hasn’t tested the 2014 Elantra 2.0 sedan yet, we expect it to match the 2014 Kia Forte 2.0 sedan’s time of 9.0 seconds – the 2014 Forte has the same platform, the same 173-hp 2.0L engine and automatic transmission, and weighs about the same. That would make the Elantra 2.0’s performance on par with the 2014 Mazda3 sedan and quicker than the Honda Civic 1.8, Toyota Corolla 1.8, Nissan Sentra 1.8, VW Jetta 2.0, Dodge Dart 2.0, and Chevrolet Cruze 1.4T, according to AJAC’s test data.




About Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and contributor to Autos.ca. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).