In the highly competitive sedan class, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra SEL is a very good choice. It’s affordable, practical, gets good gas mileage, and has an extremely comfortable cabin.
Its spacious, well-built interior offers comfortable seats and plenty of available tech features and active safety equipment. Additionally, it has more trunk space than many rivals.
Big redesign changes to the Hyundai actually came with last year’s models, including a new base engine with similar horsepower and fuel economy to the older model, as well as the addition of available Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.
So this year, although all we see is a redesign of the Elantra GT hatchback for 2018, I totally enjoyed riving the SEL. Trim levels include the base Elantra SE sedan at $16,950 and then several higher trims leading up to the Elantra Limited, which starts at $22,100. My model came in at $18,850, with a base engine with a 147-horsepower four-cylinder.
The Elantra interior features high-end materials, and is spacious and quiet, even at highway speeds. Both Elantra body styles (sedan and hatchback) seat five people. The front seats are a great place to spend time with great comfort and support. The rear seats could use more legroom, but they have enough space for adults to be comfortable.
Sedan models have 14.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is an above-average total for the class. A hands-free trunk release is available, though it just releases the latch instead of fully opening the trunk.
Standard features in the Elantra include a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, and Bluetooth. In addition to what I mentioned above, optional features include a sunroof, two additional USB ports, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, satellite radio, and either a seven-inch touch screen or an eight-inch touch screen with navigation.
With fuel economy ratings at 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, the Elantra provides solid handling ability on winding roads — though it is not the most athletic car in the class.
Certainly reassuring is the Elantra’s class-leading safety scores. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2018 Hyundai Elantra the highest rating and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards it a four-star overall rating (out of five).
While there are no standard active safety features in the Elantra, available driver assistance features include blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane change assist, and adaptive cruise control.
My Elantra SEL came with standard with an automatic transmission and a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and an infotainment system with a seven-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
In the final analysis, while the 2018 Elantra won’t blow you away, it is no slowpoke. It is particularly worth checking out if you are looking for a comfortable sedan with a lot of features at an agreeable price.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.