USED: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Review: Not Just A Pretty Face; Maybe the Best Value Sport Sedan, Too

Sport Sedan

You Don’t Have to Tell Anyone How Much Fun You’re Having. It’ll Be Our Secret.

The Hyundai Elantra has—for good reason—become quite popular. Affordable, reliable and defined by elegant, classic good looks, Hyundai has figured out how to give drivers the key ingredients in a well-priced four-door sedan and now, a sportier, more responsive drive experience, too. Meet the Hyundai Elantra Sport, which may be the best value sport sedan on the market.

Budget Sports Sedan

Lots of glass, including the sun roof, makes the cabin feel airy and comfortable. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Who This Sporty Four-Door Car is For

  • Singles, couples or small families
  • Drivers who also want a sporty drive option
  • Drivers who want a choice of manual or automatic transmission
  • Drivers who occasionally have rear seat passengers
  • Buyers who need flexible cargo space
  • Buyers who want a good value in a sports sedan
  • Buyers who value a long warranty
Budget Sports Sedan

The view of the driver’s seat and front cabin in the Hyundai Elantra Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What It Costs

  • Base price: $22,750
  • Premium package (including navigation, Harman Clarify sound system, BlueLink, sunroof, blind spot monitors) $2400
  • Price of the model we drove: about $26,000 (including delivery charge)
Budget Sports Sedan

The nicely organized center console features a touch screen, climate control and below, a storage space that fit my iPhone 6Plus and had a USB and two 12V power ports. Next to the gear shift are heated seat buttons and that all important sport/normal drive mode selector. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Sporty Four-Door Car Experience: Why This Elantra is Different

Hyundai has tried (and done a nice job) to deliver the whole sport package. There’s  a ‘sport’ trim that includes special seats (leather with red stitching and a ‘Sport’ logo imprint) and some premium features (keep reading for more). But it’s backed up with a more anxious engine, paddle shifters, sport suspension and more responsive steering.

The mechanical features add up to a drive experience that, when in sport mode, feels solid, fun and a little bit fast.

If you’re considering the Elantra Sport, take a look at the 2017 NISSAN SENTRA SR TURBO, A THRILL-FILLED CUTIE PIE

The comfortable leather seating means little or that ‘jostle factor’ performance cars can have, leaving your passengers happy rather than nauseous.

Budget Sports Sedan

The keyless starter and key fob for the Hyundai Elantra Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Turbo: The Heart of ‘Sport’

You might have seen the word ‘turbo’ tossed around a lot and there are good reasons why. In the Elantra Sport, the turbo engine helps to boost the car’s power and pep from good to great. While the turbo doesn’t give it a track-quality performance, it does add enough oomph to make the drive experience feel a little ‘oh, yeahhhhh.’

When you decide you want sport mode, just push a button and the Elantra handles better, growls a little louder and the engine is a little more anxious.

You don’t have to drive in sport mode. You can drive in regular mode and save fuel (perfect for slow speed zones, crawling traffic or a Sunday cruise.)

Budget Sports Sedan

The Elantra Sport’s touch screen information center is neatly arranged and easy to see and use. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This Car’s Best Value: Hyundai’s Great Technology

This can be said for pretty much any Hyundai model: The technology is solid. The touch screen is easy to use, it was simple to flip through radio and satellite channels and choose navigation. When I plugged in my phone, I got Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is also available). This can negate the need to connect your phone to Bluetooth, which also worked perfectly.

Budget Sports Sedan

The Hyundai Elantra Sport’s steering wheel has a sporty feel–that is the idea behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Steering Wheel: A Bit of Badass (and Driver Feedback at Your Fingertips)

Notice the flat-bottomed steering wheel? That is automotive designer-speak for ‘performance;’ the “D” shaped steering wheel says ‘this car was built to race.” It also looks nice in your hand, is easy and comfortable to grip and if you’re wearing nice jewelry, you’ll see more of that, too.

See our full walkthrough of the Hyundai Elantra Sport value sports sedan here.

Another great feature:  the easy to use steering wheel buttons. You can adjust the radio (select station and volume) and set cruise control. But using the ‘page’ button you can flip though screens of settings and feedbacks so you have the information you want right in front of you: current fuel economy, range left on the tank, settings, diagnostic information and more.

Budget Sports Sedan

Despite being a small sedan, the rear seat had plenty of leg room. Notice one of the ‘Sport’ details: the red stitching on the center arm rest. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Thoughtful Touches for Others in the Car, Too

You’re not always by yourself, right? So, some things I liked that your passengers will also like include:

  • Heated front passenger seat
  • Two USB ports (one in the center arm rest, one under the center console)
  • Pockets for water bottles in the doors
  • Cup holders
  • Dual climate control in the front
  • Two 12V charge ports (cigarette style charge ports)
  • Plenty of rear seat leg room
  • A pull-down arm rest in the back seat

However, your back seat passengers may not love that they have to ask front seat passengers to adjust the climate settings or plug in their phone chargers; those features are not installed in the back.

Budget Sports Sedan

I don’t usually like silver paint, but when seeing how nicely it reflects the sky, I’ve changed my mind. The Hyundai Elantra Sport’s front view shows off the LED running lights and aggressive headlights. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Surprisingly Nice Array of Luxe Features (And a Few Left Out to Save $$$)

It’s all about the edit, right? Putting in the right things and leaving out others that matter less to control the price. So, Hyundai included:

  • Heated front seats
  • Leather seats
  • Carbon-fiber-like door and dash trim
  • Remote keyless starter
  • Blue backlit controls and buttons
  • Power sunroof
  • Electronic stability and traction control
  • Brake assist

There are only a few things not included that I would have added but Hyundai left out to keep the price down): Electric seats (the manual seats are intuitive and easy to use), adaptive cruise control and rear seat climate and charging (however the car is small enough that it’s not really necessary).

Where I Put My Handbag

The Elantra isn’t a huge car, so I could reach my handbag pretty much everywhere. But it’s also a sporty car, so I wanted it to be someplace it wouldn’t turn over while driving. Mostly I had it on the front seat next to me or on the rear seat behind the passenger. That way I could reach it easily and if it turned over, the seat contained my belongings.

Budget Sports Sedan

Rear seats fold nearly flat for extra cargo space in the Hyundai Elantra Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Where I Put My Skis and Surfboard

OK, not really, but I could have. The Elantra’s fold down rear seats create a nice continuous space perfect for hauling oversized objects. Curtain rods. Fishing rods. Skis. Rolled up area rugs. I LOVE saving on shipping and love impulsive purchases, so a car with flexible cargo space is a must.

Other Cars You Should Consider

If you’re considering the Elantra Sport, you should also test drive the Hyundai Veloster, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra Turbo, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Passat and Ford Focus. 

Budget Sports Sedan

I had to show you this: The Elantra’s elegant profile has the air of a far more expensive car. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Loved

  • Sporty design and drive experience
  • Beautiful Hyundai design
  • Sport or normal drive modes
  • Leather heated front seats
  • Harman sound system
  • Fold down rear seats for more cargo space
  • Roomy trunk
  • USB ports are rimmed in blue, making them easy to see
  • Convenient space for stuff (phones, change, etc)
  • The price: All this for $26,000

What You Need to Know

  • Base price: $22,750
  • Price of the model we drove: About $26,000
  • Some features are part of the Premium package
  • Seats 5, most comfortable for 4
  • Uses regular gas (yay!)
  • Fuel economy: 25 MPG average (22 city/30 highway)
  • 5 year/60,000 mile warranty
  • 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty
  • 5 year/unlimited mile roadside assistance

What we listened to in the Hyundai Elantra Sport

Because every great sporty drive demands a soundtrack to match! Here’s our Spotify playlist.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Used: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Review: Not Just A Pretty Face; Maybe The Best Value Sport Sedan, Too - 2Disclosure: Hyundai provided the Elantra Sport for my test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss