Entry Price: $19,600
Price as tested: $24,735
This week, we're driving the good looking 2014 Hyundai Elantra Coupe, a sporty version that comes with a new, more powerful 2.0-liter four cylinder engine. Don't fret however, as the "more power" doesn't hurt Elantra's outstanding fuel economy.
Founded in 1967 by brothers Chung Ju-yung and Se-yung, Hyundai's first ever car to arrive on USA soil was the 1975 Ford Cortina, which came about through a mutual corporate co-op. Here we are 40 years later, and Hyundai is a respected standalone manufacturer building some of the finest cars in the world. Consumer Reports 2013 car ratings named Elantra, in any dress, one of its top recommended compacts offering great value and performance for dollar spent.
Notable, too, is Hyundai's dedication to USA employment opportunities. Hyundai's America Technical Centers, located in California and Michigan, and its main assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, is where technicians, assembly workers and designers create the next generations of Hyundai vehicles.
Granted, the new Coupe we're driving this week is assembled in Korea, but numerous models assembled overseas are designed here in the states. Hyundai has assembly plants in US, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Brazil, and the Czech Republic.
Elantra Coupe for '14 now boasts a 183-horsepower 2.0-liter four cylinder as standard fare, with 154 lb. ft. of torque at your beckon. Connected to a fine shifting six-speed automatic transmission, this engine is far superior to the 1.8-liter, 148 horsepower engine that powered last year's Coupe. Most notable is fuel economy, as the performance oriented Elantra Coupe delivers a solid 24 city and 34 highway EPA numbers.
As for the exterior design, this Coupe attracts a lot of attention, with enough "aesthetic power" that found a young female stopping her 4x4 across the street from where our tester was parked, and immediately taking photos on her iPhone of the Elantra. Inquiring quickly, she immediately said "it's exactly the kind of car I'm looking for, a sporty two-door coupe." She already knew it was the new Hyundai Coupe, and I told her it started at just $19,600. Her response was, "I like the looks and the 10-year warranty. I'm going to go test drive one this weekend."
Since she mentioned the 10-year warranty, it's time Test Drive explains further. Specifically, Hyundai's 10-Year/100,000 mile warranty is still the best in the business, with the exception of corporate cousin Kia. Few if any competing manufacturers offer 10-year durations on 100,000-mile pledges, thus Hyundai is quick to stress that there's a reason why the company can back its vehicles with America's best warranty. According to its marketing proclamation, "every Hyundai is tested in the world's most extreme driving conditions. Before they go to the dealership, we make sure everything from the paint job to the powertrain will stand the test of time."
Hyundai's 10-year warranty duration continues to attract the segment that doesn't drive more than 10,000 miles a year. These customers come from all age groups (especially seniors) who realize the 10-year warranty is way better than any 5 year/100,000 mile clause.
Thanks to positive input from readers, who enjoy Test Drive "history lessons" in lieu of expanded suspension component info, we'll continue along this path.
The Elantra Coupe delivers in all areas, and then some. Our version came with a $4,200 Technology Package, adding a sunroof, leather seating, navigation with seven-inch screen, rearview camera, 360-watt premium stereo system, push button start and much more.
Elantra's standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, sport tuned suspension, all of the modern safety features, four-wheel ABS disc brakes, all the traction and brake assist controls, cruise and some 35 other features from heated front seats to a blind spot rear view mirror.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, 2,861 lb. curb weight, 14.8 cu. ft. of cargo space and a 13.2 gallon fuel tank.
In ending, front-drive Elantra continues to be a huge part Hyundai's success story, and also happens to be the same name of the company's first ever, all-Hyundai import, namely the 1988 Sonata. (The Excel came over in 1986, but still shared technology with other manufacturers).
The 2014 Sonata remains a Test Drive top recommendation. It rides great and handles well, all in one very sporty compact package.
Likes: Performance, great looks, nice interior, 10-year powertrain warranty, MPG.
Dislikes: Some road and engine noise, rear view safety features should all be standard.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist).