THE 2017 Hyundai Elantra SR is shall we say, a very good looking car. On the outside, it reflects a more sporty version of the normal Elantra, while inside, there’s stunning leather and SR symbols everywhere.
It doesn’t just look the goods. It is the goods, and it’s great fun to drive too. Whether you choose the extra sporty 6-speed manual, or the 7-speed dual clutch auto, the Elantra SR certainly goes harder than its lesser models.
That increased turn of speed is thanks to a fantastic combination of engineering and the sporty 1.6L turbo 4-cylinder petrol engine (not unlike the one in Hyundai’s turbo boosted Veloster), which runs at a tidy 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque, with 7.2L/100km combined fuel economy.
We took not one, but two Elantra SR’s for a spin, with the Polar White manual and Phoenix Orange auto both getting their time to shine on the roads of Sydney and the NSW Central Coast, and for us, the manual, with its red leather interior (it’s a might sexy), was the star. Manual transmissions are always more fun right (well actually both gearboxes are awesome).
Hyundai has worked hard to give the SR Turbo the right mix of sporty performance and luxury, with a sports body kit, 17-inch alloys, xenon headlights, heated leather seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (there’s no SatNav by the way (Hyundai what were you thinking) but the phone connectivity allows maps on screen, so there’s that).
A sports exhaust and lowered sports suspension add to the driving experience, and there’s an electric sunroof, paddle shifters, a flat bottom sports steering wheel, and in the manual, you get a sports gear knob (yep the old school ball gear knob is right there for when you want to push from second to third as you wind out the turbo).
So what’s it like then, well the Elantra SR has all the usual goodies that you would expect in a top of the range vehicle. Good cruise control, touch screen infotainment, Bluetooth, and excellent sound system. It’s got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (as we said), which is a pretty good system considering most of your phones’ operating system can then be accessed via the touch screen.
There’s a host of safety tech that comes standard as well, including traction control, ABS, hill start assist, blind spot detection, lane change assist, and a reversing camera with audible sensors (as well as front audible parking sensors so you won’t scratch your shiny new toy).
The dash is well set out and everything is easy to reach or can be controlled from the steering wheel, so you don’t have to reach across to adjust things. It’s a pretty well thought out layout and it’s easy to get used to.
Still inside, you’ll find SR mats front and back, with great dual zone air conditioning on hand to keep you and your passengers comfortable (with vents in the rear as well). The seats are very comfortable, heated (where’s the cooling/venting Hyundai?). The driver’s seat is all-electric too.
There is heaps of head and leg room in the front, but sadly the rear seats, while they have great leg room, are lacking head room for anyone over 175cm tall – a result of the coupe styling that the Elantra offers (it looks great, but it also means a tapered rear roof line).
The generous 458-litre boot offers plenty of storage space for shopping or going away for the weekend, with 60/40 split fold rear seats to help when you need a bit of extra room. The 5-star ANCAP safety rating will give you piece of mind too that your family and friends are safe in the 2017 Hyundai Elantra SR.
All-in-all it’s a stylish car, with good road presence that is actually pretty comfortable, and lots of fun, to drive as well. The manual gearbox is solid, with hill-hold there to assist you out of first when you take off up a hill. We did manage to freak it out in reverse, trying to climb backwards up a very steep incline (it drove us mad), but it was an odd situation that the car electronics probably didn’t really understand.
The 7-speed dual clutch auto was smooth and responsive, and both Eco and Sports mode offered enjoyable driving experiences (sitting on either side of ‘normal’ drive settings). There was noticeable lag on take off in Eco mode (but not to the detriment of the driving experience – you just knew it was there).
Sports mode offers a totally different animal, delivering quick and responsive performance, with great pick up (it was easy to go fast, let’s put it that way). Going paddle shift in the auto is good too (although we still wonder why paddle shift is in most cars, other than to enhance play time or go motor racing).
The ride quality is very good, the engine noise barely noticeable, and the chassis response is definitely stiffer than the standard Elantra, as you would expect. All this leads to excellent cornering and responsive steering, with good feedback through the steering wheel. With the rubber shoes provided on the four wheels, we did notice it was a little noisy on rugged road surfaces (but only on those surfaces).
It’s well worth a steer if you’re looking for a smaller sedan with a sporting heart, and comes in Fiery Red, Phoenix Orange and Polar White (as tested), Blazing Yellow, Marina Blue, Phantom Black and Sparkling Metal.
The auto version hits the road at $35,609 drive-away, while a manual can escape into your drive way for $33,032 in red leather (or $32,730 if you’re happy to have black leather).
Our 2017 Hyundai Elantra SR was supplied by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about this vehicle, contact your local Hyundai Dealer.