Earlier in 2017, U.S. News & World Report named the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited the best new car for teens in the $25,000-$30,000 category because of the Limited trim’s availability of blind spot detection, lane keep assist, forward automatic braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera.
The IIHS named the Elantra a Top Safety Pick+ and J.D. Power ranked the Elantra at the top of the compact car category for tech experience. Even in a year when sedans are being outsold by crossovers and pickup trucks, the Elantra has plenty of reasons for its strong showing.
What’s new for 2018
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra carries over from the 2017 launch of the compact car’s sixth generation. Hyundai first started selling the Elantra in 1990. Except for a modelwide color change — last year’s Shale Gray Metallic is replaced with Machine Gray — all other changes are limited to specific trims.
There are six Elantra trims for the 2018 model year. The new SEL trim replaces the 2017 SE with the Popular Equipment Package. We’ll mention the other trim-specific changes below.
Engines and transmissions
Hyundai’s six trims are each equipped with one of three four-cylinder engines. There are no engine choices, the trim you choose determines the engine. The SE trim is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and the Sport trim with a six-speed manual shift or seven-speed dual clutch transmission. There’s no transmission choice with the other trims. The SEL, Value Edition, and Limited have the six-speed automatic, and the Eco uses the seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The six-speed automatics have three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission has two modes: Normal and Sport.
The SE, SEL, Value Edition and Limited trims all have a 2.0-liter dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine that makes 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The EPA mileage estimates vary by trim level, engine, and transmission, so we’ll mention each them below. All trims have a 14-gallon fuel tank.
The Elantra Eco trim has a smaller, turbocharged 1.4-liter DOHC engine that produces 128 hp at 5,500 rpm but more torque, 156 lb-ft at 1,400-3,700 rpm. As you would expect, this model has the best mileage ratings.
The Sport trim has the most powerful of the three engines. The Sport’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine cranks out 201 hp at 6,000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm, at a relatively wide range. The higher torque levels as a wider engine revolution range help the Sport accelerate with the maximum power within most normal operating speeds. As is almost always the case with internal combustion engines (ICEs), the sport has the lowest EPA mileage ratings.
All Elantra trims models have tire pressure monitoring, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, and remote keyless entry with alarms.
The base Elantra SE has a driver’s blind-spot mirror. The other five models all include blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist plus rearview cameras with dynamic guidelines. The SE, which has few options other than transmission choice and colors, does not include a rearview camera and none is optional.
Hyundai offers a wider suite of safety and driver assist features, but only with the Limited trim and only available in the $4,350 Ultimate Package for Limited. With that package, the Limited gains automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high-jhbeam assist. There is no front or rear parking assist or 360-degree view.
The Ultimate Package for Limited also bundles a navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen, Infinity Premium Audio with eight speakers and a subwoofer plus Harman’s Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology. Other goodies in the packed package include a 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster display, power sunroof, and heated rear seats.
Blue Link Telematics System complete the must-have package’s list with three years complimentary subscriptions to Blue Link Connected Care, Remote Package, and Guidance Package services. If you want the fullest available convenience, comfort, safety, and entertainment feature set, the Limited trim with the Ultimate Package is the only choice.
How to choose a 2018 Hyundai Elantra
The six 2018 Elantra trims range in starting prices from $16,950 for the Elantra SE with the manual shift to $22,100 for the Elantra Limited. If you’re buying the Limited you’ll probably opt for the $4,350 Ultimate Package for Limited, too, so figure the Elantra price range is really from just under $17,000 to about $26,500.
The SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Eco trims have increasingly loaded but still relatively basic features sets. If you want a degree of power and sportiness, check out the Sport trim. If you want to max out the Elantra’s luxury potential, the Limited with the Ultimate Package is for you.
Here’s how to differentiate the 2018 Hyundai Elantra trims:
2018 Hyundai Elantra SE
The Elantra SE trim is the lowest priced, starting at $16,950 with a six-speed manual transmission or $17,950 with a six-speed automatic transmission. The SE mileage estimate ratings are 26 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined with the manual shift and 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined with the automatic.
The SE has Bluetooth hands-free phone system support, cruise control, 15-inch steel wheels, driver’s blind spot mirror, power adjustable side mirrors, power windows, and power door locks. The AM/FM/MP3 audio system has six speakers and USB and aux audio input jacks. There are no option packages for the SE.
2018 Hyundai Elantra SEL
Starting at $18,850, the SEL is new this year and is roughly the equivalent of last year’s SE with the popular option package, which is no longer available for the SE. The SEL adds — in addition to the features of the SE with automatic transmission — rear disc brakes, a 7-inch display audio AM/FM/HD/Radio/SiriusXM with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Other SEL attributes are blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated power side mirrors, and automatic headlight control. The SEL has a new 3.5-inch TFT dashboard display.
Equipped with the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated (non-turbo) engine and six-speed automatic transmission — the only choice — the SEL’s EPA ratings are 28 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway, and 32 mpg combined.
2018 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition
For $1,000 more than the SEL, the Elantra Value Edition, starting price $19,850, gains a power sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, hands-free smart trunk, LED daytime running lights, and door handle approach lights.
The Value Edition also adds dual-zone automatic temperature control, one-touch auto-up driver’s window, heated front seats, illuminated visor mirrors with sun visor extensions, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, proximity key with push-button start, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink universal garage door opener.
That is a crazy load of value for one grand more. The Value Edition has the same 28/37/32 mpg EPA ratings as the SEL.
2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco
A seven-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission with ShifTronic and 15-inch alloy wheels, combined with the 1.4-liter turbo engine earn the Eco trim (starting $20,550) the highest Elantra EPA ratings, 32 mpg in city driving, 40 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined.
The Eco trim has the most of the same features as the Value Edition except it has front disc brakes only, no sunroof, and it lacks the auto-dimming review mirror with HomeLink.
2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport
The Elantra Sport has a choice of transmission, $21,800 starting price with a six-speed manual transmission or $22,900 with a seven-seven dual clutch transmission. The Sport trim also has sport front seats with leather seating surfaces, 18-inch alloy wheels, a multilink independent rear suspension, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a thicker rear stabilizer bar than the other trims, and larger front brakes.
Additional Sport trim upgrades include side mirrors with turn signal indicators, a sport-styled grille, front and rear fascia, and side sill extensions, LED taillights, HID headlights, a power sunroof, manual air conditioning, a sport instrument gauge cluster, and dual USB charging ports.
The $2,250 Premium Package for Sport, available only for this trim, includes a navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen, Infinity Premium Audio with 8-speakers including center channel and subwoofer, Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology, dual automatic temperature control, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass. The Premium Package also includes the Blue Link Telematics System with three-year complimentary subscriptions to the Blue Link Connected Care, Remote Package, and Guidance Package.
2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited
The most expensive 2018 Hyundai Elantra trim, the Limited, $22,100 starting price, is much the same as the Value Edition plus HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light, 17-inch alloy wheels, and leather seating surfaces with heated front seats.
As mentioned above, you will want to check out the optional $4,350 Ultimate Package for Limited. That package includes a navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen, Infinity Premium Audio with eight speakers including center channel and subwoofer, Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology, and a 4.2-inch color TFT instrument cluster display.
Other Ultimate Package upgrades include a power sunroof, heated rear seats, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high beam assist. The list goes on with driver’s seat and mirror position memory.
Finally, the Ultimate Package also includes the Blue Link Telematics System with three-year complimentary subscriptions to Blue Link’s Connected Care, Remote Package, and Guidance Package.
|Trim||2018 Elantra SE||2018 Elantra SEL||2018 Elantra Value Edition||2018 Elantra Eco||2018 Elantra Sport||2018 Elantra Limited|
|Base engine||2.0L 4-cylinder||2.0L 4-cylinder||2.0L 4-cylinder||1.4L Turbo 4-cylinder||1.6L Turbo 4-cylinder||2.0L 4-cylinder|
|Base horsepower||147 hp @ 6,200 rpm||147 hp @ 6,200 rpm||147 hp @ 6,200 rpm||128 hp @ 5,500 rpm||201 hp @ 6,000 rpm||147 hp @ 6,200 rpm|
|Base torque||132 @ 4,500 rpm||132 @ 4,500 rpm||132 @ 4,500 rpm||156 @ 1,400-3,700 rpm||195 @ 1,500-4,500 rpm||132 @ 4,500 rpm|
|Transmission||Manual transmission||Automatic transmission||Automatic transmission||7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission with ShifTronic||Manual transmission||Automatic transmission|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||14.0||14.0||14.0||14.0||14.0||14.0|
|Fuel economy (mpg)||26 city/36 highway/ 29 combined||28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined||28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined||32 city/40 highway/ 35 combined||22 city/30 highway/ 25 combined||28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined|
|Base wheels||15-inch steel||16-inch alloy||16-inch alloy||15-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||17-inch alloy|
|Body style||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan|