2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Road Test Review
by Tim Healey
One way to make a sporty-looking car look even sportier is to lop off two doors, and that's what Hyundai has done with its new-for-2013 Elantra coupe.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra has garnered positive press for its good looks, and a coupe version can't hurt that rep. Meet the next competitor to Kia's Forte Koup and Honda's two-door Civic.
Besides being short two doors, the Elantra Coupe doesn't differ all that much from the sedan. That means it has the same 1.8-liter engine, the same 40-mpg promise (with the manual transmission), and the same "fluidic design" styling theme. It comes in two trims: SE (sporty) and GS (well-equipped), and offers two six-speed transmissions, one manual and one automatic. It’s also longer and wider than the Civic coupe.
Features & Prices
Bluetooth is standard on the Elantra Coupe, and available features include a USB port, an auxiliary port, 17-inch wheels (16s are standard), push-button start, a navigation system with a 7-inch touch screen and rearview camera, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, fog lamps, and satellite radio.
A GS with the manual transmission starts at $17,445, while a top-line SE with the automatic will start at $20,745. Neither price includes the $775 destination fee.
On the Road
Perhaps the biggest difference between the coupe and the last sedan we drove is the steering. We've been hard on Hyundai in the past for the brand's lack of steering feel, and this time around, the company seems to have addressed that concern. Steering feel still isn't what it should be, but at least there is some now. A little more tightness and a little more sporting flair would be nice, but we can appreciate the improvement.
Acceleration is brisk if not extraordinarily swift, certainly more than adequate for around town and passable in the mountains. We spent our time in a manual-transmission tester, and found that it had enough guts in the lower gears, but we'd still love to see a more powerful R-Spec version. For now, 148 horses and 131 lb-ft of torque will have to suffice.
When it comes to ride and handling, the car is composed, just like its sedan brother. It's also fairly quiet, minus some wind noise from the A-pillar at certain speeds, and some tire noise on coarser pavement. It's competent in the twisties, but it feels like it needs a pinch more sport.
We liked the clutch and shifter action for the most part, but we do wish the shifter felt tighter between gates. It's fine for cruising, but not satisfying from an enthusiast's perspective.
We like the familiar flowing lines of the Elantra's cabin, but we continue to be annoyed by Hyundai's dedicated USB/iPod cable. We found plenty of head and legroom up front, but the story is different in the rear. There's enough legroom for taller drivers, but the sloping rear windshield makes headroom tight, especially for those on the tall side.
The look echoes that of the sedan, but taking two doors off the Elantra makes it look that much sportier. It's a bit of a head turner up close--once again proving that small cars need not look cheap. We don't like the "fluidic sculpture" naming silliness, but we can't quibble with the results.
Fuel Economy and Safety
On the new coupe, Hyundai offers the usual safety goodies--ABS, a stability-control system, an anti-skid system, traction control, and six airbags. Fuel economy is rated at 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway in the manual and 28/40 on the automatic.
The Elantra Coupe will be perfect for Elantra buyers who don’t need or want four doors. Who it won't be perfect for is those who want an answer to the Civic Si.
That's not to say the Elantra Coupe isn't at all sporty. It is. But it's still a bit short of what it needs to be in order to take on the Si and succeed. It'll need more power, a firmer shifter, and a tighter suspension to meet that goal.
Perhaps that doesn't matter, though. For the non-enthusiast, there's a lot to like about this car. That's not surprising, given that Hyundai had a good foundation to work with. Really, all the company had to do here was not screw up.
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