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Elantra Sport provides athletic feel in sedan package

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The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is not just another check-a-box appearance package. This is a distinct and striking sedan design that makes Elantra Sport a stand-out among the crowded field of competitors.

The Elantra Sport is powered by Hyundai’s 1.6-liter Turbo-GDI four-cylinder engine, delivering an increase of 54 horsepower and 63 lb.-ft., over the standard Elantra. Opt for either a 6-speed manual or the 7-speed auto and you have a fun driving experience in the value package Hyundai delivers on all its vehicles.

HYUNDAI PERSONALITY

The five-passenger compact sedan is affordable (starts at $21,650) and the Sport offers model-specific chassis and equipment upgrades, as well as an improved powertrain paired with performance-oriented handling dynamics. With the Sport model’s arrival, Hyundai now offers an Elantra for every type of driving personality.

Providing its enthusiastic power is Hyundai’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct-injected and turbocharged engine, which produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is paired with a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Fuel economy is rated at 22 city, 30 highway, and 25 combined when shifted through the manual transmission and 26/33/29 with the automatic.

MANUAL & AUTOMATIC

Having tested both manual and automatic options, they both provide ease of use and their own benefits. While the manual gearbox is easy to shift, I liked the quick and mannered response from the paddles on the automatic transmission. My favorite feature was the aggressive muffler-tuned note that comes when pushing the throttle.

To enhance to its spirited performance, the Elantra Sport gets very cool 18-inch alloy wheels, a model-exclusive multi-link rear suspension, higher spring and damper rates, and enhanced steering tuning; upgraded 12.0-in. ventilated front disc brakes and 10.3-in. solid rear discs bring it all to a stop.

The Sport model gets a boost from Hyundai’s new Drive Mode Select feature that adjusts both powertrain performance and steering effort, allowing the driver to customize the driving character between Normal or Sport simply by touching a button on the center console.

VISUAL DISTINCTION

From every angle, the Elantra manages to impress with a selection of sporty visual cues that include standard HID headlights and LED daytime running lights, a unique grille and bumper fascia up front; door-handle approach lights, sport side sill extensions, and side mirrors with turn-signal indicators; and chrome twin-tip exhaust outlets, sport rear fascia with diffuser, and LED taillights out back.

Inside the well-designed cockpit are a 3.5-inch TFT cluster display, carbon-fiber-looking trim and alloy pedals, leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel and shift knob, unique heated leather front seats with more aggressive bolstering, red contrast stitching, and a black headliner.

IMPRESSIVE EQUIPMENT

Additional convenience is provided by proximity key and push-button start, as well as a standard hands-free Smart trunk and rearview camera with dynamic guidelines; infotainment technology includes AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM via 7-inch-display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

An available Premium Package adds an 8-inch navigation system, eight-speaker Infinity premium audio, Blue Link connectivity, power sunroof, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist, dual automatic temperature control with auto defogger, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass.

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport with the six-speed manual transmission starts at $21,650; automatic transmission versions start at $22,750. The Premium Package ($2,400) adds amenities and more driver aids.

Hyundai offers a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; Hyundai has also been rated number one in customer loyalty for the last seven years.