2014 Hyundai Elantra 1.8 Coupe
– Fancy exterior styling
– Cabin space front and rear
– Fairly comfortable ride
– Not particularly quick
– More commuter than racer
– Some hard cabin plastics
The current-generation Hyundai Elantra made waves when it first hit the market a couple of years ago, with styling so evocative that the Korean carmaker left their rivals scrambling to redesign their wares. It helped that the car was as practical as any other compact sedan too, with a price that undercut all the top-rung players. That car is now available in coupe form as well.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe looks a lot like the sedan, except for four doors replaced with two large ones. Despite the aggressive detailing, it does not look like a sports car due to a bulky profile, but then again, Hyundai isn’t aiming for the sporting market with this one, leaving that bit to the Veloster and the Genesis Coupe.
Inside, the dashboard continues the swoopy-sharp styling theme, and it all looks very unique and contemporary. The dash itself is made up of sot-touch materials, but the door sills and all lower parts of the cabin revert to hard plastics. The door inserts and front armrests provide some welcome padding though. And the leatherette upholstery in our test car looked great.
Since the coupe shares its wheelbase with the sedan, interior space is great for such a car. Front and rear legroom both are excellent, while there’s just enough rear headroom for average-sized people to hang back there comfortably, once they squeeze in behind the moderately-bolstered front seats. Storage spaces are abundant around the car, with four proper cup-holders and a good-sized boot, the latter made more useful with split-folding rear seats and a cargo net.
Features are fair enough for a car of this class, with things like a good dual-zone auto a/c, smart keyless entry and start, adequate CD/MP3 stereo with USB/AUX and Bluetooth support, cruise control, sunroof, rear parking sensors, fog lamps, front airbags and common power accessories. About the only complaint we have are the weird a/c vent placements, too low to be effective.
Our test car came with a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine, as seen on the sedan. It makes a class-competitive 143 hp at 6500 rpm and 186 Nm of torque at 4700 rpm, with power sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic. However, it isn’t the most sprightly of performers, with a 0-100 kph time of 11.4 seconds on a May afternoon, while burning 10.5 litres/100 km, both fairly average figures. The gearbox is smooth and smart, while its manual-shifting feature works fine, if a little delayed in responding to inputs.
The Elantra Coupe rides fairly well on the highway. That general smoothness is surprising, given the torsion-beam rear suspension. Wind and road noise are kept at moderate levels, as long as speeds aren’t above 120 kph. In the city, it is manageable in parking, even with the limited rear visibility, thanks to rear sensors.
To describe the handling in one word, we’d call it “safe” more than anything else. Body roll is nicely limited, with no funky rebounds when straightening out after sharp turns, but the suspension is tuned for early understeer. So it is generally impossible to slide the tail out, either intentionally or unintentionally, at legal speeds. The steering is artificially weighted and offers no feedback, so we never felt overconfident while taking hairpins fast anyway. Grip from the 215/45 tyres, wrapped on 17-inch alloys, is adequate for daily driving, as are the ABS-assisted four-wheel-disc brakes. The brake pedal offers linear pedal feel, and hard stops are fairly uneventful, if a little long in distance.
The Elantra Coupe is basically for those who want eke out a bit more style out of their limited budget, but also prefer to somewhat retain the practicality of a sedan. Driving to work and back, a typical buyer would want fuel efficiency instead of raw power; cup-holders instead of a manual gearbox; and seating for five instead of a folding soft-top. That’s the market this car is aiming for.
Current Model Introduced in:
Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
Observed Test Fuel Economy: