2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport First Drive Review: Is ‘Sport’ Losing its Luster?

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Compared to the alternatives like the Japanese Nissan Sentra SR and German VW Jetta GLi, does Korea’s budget-conscious 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport add up?

Hyundai’s Elantra model has long been a favourite with consumers, as the tidy little compact offers plenty of comfort, competitive levels of equipment, and good ride quality, as well as a reasonable reputation for reliability. However, as attractive as the Elantra package is, younger buyers, as well as those individuals seeking a more visceral driving experience, were looking elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

For 2017 the product planning team at Hyundai is introducing a new Sport model of the Elantra which will feature a variety of important powertrain, chassis and styling upgrades designed to give the car a broader appeal, as well as improved handling, agility, and performance. 

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Under the hood: 201-hp 1.6 Turbo engine

Under its hood will reside the most powerful engine to ever be offered in an Elantra model, that being Hyundai’s  1.6 Turbo GDI four-cylinder which produces a healthy 201 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can order the car with either a short-throw, six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed, dual clutch unit with paddle shifters.

Also read: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport Hatchback Review

After exercising this potent new player around a tight autocross course it quickly became evident that the folks at Hyundai have developed a package that will stir the senses and help initiate smiles in all who get behind the wheel.

Handling and Driving Dynamics

Acceleration is brisk and linear, and the engine produces a delightful exhaust note that is raspy enough to tickle the ears, but not become bothersome or intrusive when cruising. The car’s independent multi-link suspension responds well to road irregularities, dips and bumps, and helped keep the car tracking straight and true.

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The Elantra Sport’s handling is also aided by the fact that its chassis has been manufactured using what Hyundai calls Advanced High Strength Steel.  The resulting “SUPERSTRUCTURE” significantly increases the car’s torsional rigidity, and by using advanced adhesives and sound deadening technologies in its construction, the engineering team has made the car both safer and quieter than many of its competitors. 

Elantra Sport models fitted with the automatic gearbox also benefit from the addition of Drive Mode Select, a system which allows the driver to adjust both power train performance and steering calibration to best suit conditions. Three modes are available- Eco, Normal, and Sport – and can be selected at the mere touch of a button.

Video: 2017 Elantra Sport

Here’s a video review by our friends at Everyday Reviews:

Styling and Interior Impressions

Exclusive Sport styling cues include unique bodywork with revised front and rear fascias (the latter with an integrated diffuser), a bold black grille, signature LED tail lamps, HID head lamps, and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lights. Other special equipment includes lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped with sticky Hankook high-performance tires, twin chrome exhaust tips, subtle side sill extensions, and a rear spoiler.

On the inside the Elantra Sport benefits from firm and supportive leather sports seats featuring bold red stitching, a unique Sport gauge cluster, blacked out trim, power sunroof, alloy pedals, and a flat-bottomed, wide-rimmed heated steering wheel.

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The Elantra Sport is outfitted with a whole host of premium comfort and technology features that will no doubt appeal to the tech savvy buyer. These include a clever automatically opening trunk, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and an advanced multimedia system equipped with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.  The available navigation system is impressive, as is the thundering premium audio system.

Passenger safety is always a priority so the car is equipped with a full complement of seven airbags (including a new driver’s knee airbag), Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, and ABS.

Optional advanced safety technologies include Autonomous Emergency Braking with class-exclusive Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), and a rearview camera.

A little cross-shopping will quickly reveal that the 2017 Elantra Sport delivers a reasonable mix of performance, handling, technology, and style at a very competitive price.

Learn more – 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Review


  • This car is a steal of a deal given its equipment and performance levels
  • Attractive styling
  • Availability of a manual gearbox


  • Rear seating area can feel cramped when occupied by three adults

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Technical Specifications:

Base price range (MSRP):  $ 24,999 – $28,999 CAN MSRP

Type: Five passenger, front-wheel-drive compact sedan. 

Engine: 2.0-litre, turbocharged

Horsepower:  201 @ 6,000 rpm

Torque (lb.-ft):  195 @ 1,500-4,500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual or optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic (with paddle shifters)

Brakes (front /rear):  Disc / disc

Fuel economy (L/100 km): city -TBD; highway -TBD

Russell Purcellhttps://www.flickr.com/people/autoexposurecanada/
Russell Purcell is an award-winning automotive journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. His passion for automobiles was sparked at the tender age of six, when a family friend gave the wide-eyed first grader a ride to school in a track prepared Porsche 911 RSR. He continues to fan the flames by building an impressive library of automotive related books as well as a vast collection of interesting automobilia and motoring artefacts. Russell is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and is active on Twitter as RoadTestRuss.