It wasn't too long ago that Hyundai was related to as a value priced brand, offering mediocre products that were usually overlooked by other mainstream brands such as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. But, now more than ever, Hyundai has gained market share, significantly increased positive brand identity, and is dominating various segments with record setting sales numbers. Not only do the Japanese have something to worry about, so does the rest of the world, because Hyundai isn't just dominating the small car market, it's after a number of different classes and segments.
One of Hyundai's newest segments launches into the sport coupe market with the all-new 2013 Elantra SE coupe. Directly aimed at the always successful Honda Civic coupe and edgy Scion TC, the new Elantra offers a more comprehensive package. The tester was completely loaded with every option, and significantly stands apart from the rest with luxurious features not typically found in this segment and price range. Upon entry, passengers are greeted with front heated leather seats, a leather shift knob, leather wrapped steering wheel, dual front climate controls, and a power tilt moonroof. The interior volume not only revivals its direct competition, but also beats most midsize coupes, while offering plenty of space to seat four adults comfortably. The dashboard continues on the theme of swoopy styling from the exterior.
At first glance, the wedge-like exterior styling cues suggests the coupe may be a high priced entry from another manufacturer. The familiar aggressive lines and unsurpassed styling elements are borrowed from Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design found on the closely related Elantra sedan, and other siblings in the product portfolio. Throughout the week long test drive, the bold styling traits captured a few glances while cruising down the Fort Lauderdale beach strip, and other stops in the area. Polished 17" five spoke wheels finish off the bulged side profile tied into a small lip spoiler at the rear. The test car was painted in Blue Sky Metallic, and was complimented on the inside with silver trim and black leather seats.
Power delivery comes from the sedan's naturally aspirated 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine, with 148 horsepower with all the latest engine technology including: direct injection, dual continuously variable valve timing, and even a maintenance-free timing chain. The engine offers a smooth power delivery through a 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual shift. Although the drive orientation isn't track ready, the fuel economy positively offers a competitive advantage with a manufacturer estimated 29 city and 39 highway MPG. The tester returned a consistent 28 MPG during mixed city and highway driving, which doesn't exactly match the manufacturer estimate, but still is acceptable. The new coupe tips the scales at just over 2,800 lbs, and can get to 60 MPH in just over 7.5 seconds.
At $2,350, the Technology Package was the only option added from the order list, which adds an intuitive 7-inch navigation system, a rear view camera, automatic headlights, proximity key, and a crisp sounding 360-watt sound system, bringing the total MSRP to just over $24,000. Even though the price is a bit high for an entry coupe, it still offers an impressive amount of value for the equipment, and makes the Elantra a strong contender on the purchase subset for buyers. For the economically minded individual who has a taste for style, the Elantra coupe offers buyers a great looking coupe that also limits visits to the pump.
For more information on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe, please visit hyundaiusa.com.