Hold on there, Mr. C&D!
What is enthusiasm, really? Is it the claustrophobic backseat of a sports coupe, or the third-row lounge of a minivan? Is it muttering obscenities while fiddling with a manual transmission in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or is it enjoying the tranquility of a quiet automatic gearbox on cruise control? What sparks more joy: 40 mpg or 40 mph?
The 2015 Hyundai Elantra is a car for the new type of enthusiast. Tweaked ever so slightly for the 2015 model year, the Hyundai Elantra is a five-passenger compact sedan designed for the chronic commuter, for the person who thinks “dipstick” is a middle-school epithet.
Two trims, the SE and Limited, have a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 145 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque. The former trim has a standard manual gearbox; the latter, an automatic. Combined fuel economy is approximately 32 mpg.
The Elantra Sport comes with a 2.0-liter, 173-horsepower engine and a choice of either transmission. Combined fuel economy is approximately 28 mpg.
But in truth, no Elantra, no matter the moniker, is sporty. And it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to carry Chad, Mary and Chris and their overflowing backpacks to summer camp, and if the road and wind noise drowns out their extemporaneous cover song of “We Will Rock You,” then who’s to complain?
Let’s be honest. How often does the “auto enthusiast” use rpm launch control or perform a heel-toe downshift? The Elantra offers amenities you can use on a daily basis: a large 14.8-cubic-foot trunk with split-folding rear seat, on-board navigation system and 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity and more. Most of these features are grouped in packages and available on a per-trim basis. In fact the Elantra Limited, with its leather upholstery and voice controls and dual-zone automatic climate control, could serve as suitable transportation for a debutante.
Think of it this way, auto enthusiasts. The Elantra costs $20,000-$25,000. Its buyers do not likely have the cash to buy little Johnny his own vehicle come his Sweet 16 birthday. So when that day comes, and the keys to the Elantra pass from experienced to excited hands, would you rather hand over a family-friendly sedan with a five-star IIHS safety rating and an extended warranty, or a Chevy Camaro SS?