Hyundai’s global Elantra sedan brought fresh style and tech details for the 2019 model-year and this Elantra Sport trim is at the top of the range. Pricing for the Sport comes in at about a $24k base that is well above the $18k stickers for some of the cheapest Elantras out there.
For that extra cash you get a big upgrade in power, style and equipment, as you might expect. Swapping from the default four to the turbo 1.6T with 201HP brings along an extra 52 ponies and standard 7-speed double-clutch automatic. A stick was briefly offered but the Elantra Sports are all automatic for end of the model year and into 2020. On-paper performance is pretty decent with a 6.9-second sprint to 60-mph that is only slightly behind the stick-only Civic Si and about a full two seconds faster than other Elantras.
The style takes a big leap upmarket with standard LEDs front and rear, along with contrast-black details for the trunk spoiler and a few other bits. Awesomely technical five-spoke alloys have a double design that has one set of spokes machine polished and the other a more subtle dark grey to fade into the background. Very VW-like to these eyes.
On paper, then, and even in the flesh, the Elantra Sport seems like a good rival to the Jetta GLI. Even though the GLI stickers from $27k and to get the DSG it costs about $30k, they still seem like possible rivals for your dollars.
We hit the twisty road course to find out if the Elantra Sport has the chops to take on the GLI and came away pretty unimpressed. Elantra Sport’s chassis discourages the enthusiastic driving the looks and tech specs imply. And despite being respectably quick in the 60-mph sprint, the Elantra Sport is nowhere near as rapid as a GLI. Among sporty drivers, the Elantra fails hard versus the Volkswagen. But again, that GLI is a tick upward in size, power and price.
Elantra’s cabin is a let-down in many ways for its ancient feel, cheap plastics and tiny seats. The tech is respectable with auto highbeams, CarPlay and active safety tech, but there’s just too many demerits like the depressing fuel-door pull beside the seat and back windows that aren’t auto-down, let alone auto-up. Gauges are boring and there is both engine drone and road noise galore at all times.
Versus the shrinking crop of four-door sedan competitors the Elantra Sport is much more of a class-leader. It easily thumps the Sentra and base Civic Sports to the wayside with its smooth DCT and peppy turbo engine. On paper it even demolishes the new and great-driving Mazda3 sedan, too.
But as we discover in the video below, perhaps speed isn’t everything when it comes to a rewarding compact sport sedan. Elantra Sport is a fine entry for shoppers looking for a loaded economy car. But for those wanting a smile with their curvy roads, go for the newer Kona crossover from Hyundai or save a few extra bucks and go for the vastly more capable and confident GLI. Or, of course, the heavenly Veloster N is also available from just $27k too.
Elantra Sport as tested is $27,000 but there are aggressive deals out there to shave a few grand off. You can even get a $50 gift card just for test driving one. So if you totally disagree with everything I’ve said here…. go drive one for yourself! Reviews are always based on opinions and no two are ever exactly the same.
2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport – Drive Review Video
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.