The 2018 Hyundai Elantra adds a versatile hatchback to the fold and makes a more compelling case as a compact contender in a value-packed segment.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is all elbows, as far as we’re concerned. Only a few years ago it was lost in the compact car melange, a medley of middling econobox mishaps.
Now, the Elantra is a fully fledged competitor with a recent history of delivering sharp style, a spacious cabin, and strong features at a reasonable price.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT joins the lineup as a hatchback model but its name is somewhat deceiving—it's not directly related to the Elantra sedan.
The Elantra gets a 6.8 out of 10 overall, but that rating is based on the sedan. While the four-door has good options, and is relatively fuel-efficient, it's the five-door that we think is the better pick. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
That’s because the Elantra GT has a full passport. The hatchback is built in South Korea with Europe in mind—it’s the Hyundai i30 with a new name for the States.
In many ways, the hatchback is superior to the sedan not only in interior space and finish but also in suspension setup. The hatchback is predictably bigger, and more versatile, but we’re not in love with its ergonomics.
Instead, we appreciate its premium suspension setup that only shows its budget roots when the road turns terrible. The Elantra GT’s steering is light, but precise, and the hatchback feels planted—albeit a little heavy—in cornering. These are mostly good things, and the comparison to a Volkswagen GTI is a fair one to make.
If you’re not swayed by the hatchback argument (you’d be in the majority, too) the sedan is competent all the same. Although its base engine isn’t as powerful, the Elantra Sport can be a fun, tossable compact that we wouldn’t fault any shopper for considering.
This year, Hyundai mildly shuffled some options and packages on the Elantra after a complete overhaul for the 2017 model year.
In the same way the Elantra jostled for position in 2011, we can see the same game afoot in 2018 when it comes to challenging staid European competitors.