Hyundai’s sporty small-car addition
Few cars can be found basking in the glow of the halo tag but the Elantra SR earns its place in the sun at the head of the sixth generation of the Hyundai line.
The company’s “little big car”, the Elantra, has been given a leg up in the performance stakes with the addition of a 1.6 turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine.
With links to the next-generation Hyundai i30 that’s due out soon, Elantra SR Turbo engine provides sporty capability to match its good looks, plus high levels of comfort and refinement.
Elantra SR Turbo’s suspension has been adapted for Australian conditions by Hyundai’s well-respected local chassis and suspension tuning team.
The model comes in two variants, with the potent engine matched with either a six-speed manual transmission or optional seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with steering-wheel mounted paddles. The former was the test vehicle.
In keeping with its sporty character the Elantra SR Turbo enhances Elantra’s Fluidic Sculpture styling with a pumped up body kit, which includes a deep front sports bumper and a grille with piano-black surrounds.
A red Turbo badge, plus revised dusk-sensing bi-xenon headlights with red inserts make a powerful up-front statement.
The LED daytime running lights have been lifted above the large air intakes which direct airflow and reduce turbulence around the front wheel housings.
Aerodynamics are further improved by sculpted deep side skirts, while signature slimline tail-lights and sports rear bumper with diffuser and SR badge leave no doubt as to the car’s character.
The SR Turbo earns Elantra flagship status with high standards of materials, fit and finish, augmented by a comprehensive cast of comfort, convenience and connectivity features.
This includes exclusive deep front bucket sports seats with generous side bolsters and embroidered Sport logo.
Black perforated leatherappointed upholstery with contrasting red stitching is standard.
Red contrast stitching can also be found on the sculpted split rear bench seat, flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel and gearshift gaiter.
The driver’s seat is 10-way electrically adjustable and includes lumbar support, the front passenger seat is height adjustable and, for the first time in Elantra, both front seats offer three-stage heating.
The cabin also incorporates alloy pedals and a power-operated sunroof with manually retractable sliding privacy and sun protection screen.
A sports instrument cluster incorporates newly repositioned fuel and engine temperature gauges. A large 3.5-inch TFT LCD display in the instrument binnacle features a digital speedometer and trip computer.
In addition to the 7.0-inch touchscreen audio system with MP3, digital iPod, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity it shares with Elantra Active and Elite variants; SR Turbo features steering-wheel mounted phone controls.
The 1.6-litre T-GDi turbocharged engine records maximum power and torque figures of 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm between 1500 and 4500rpm, which is 34 per cent and 38 per cent up respectively on those delivered by Elantra Active and Elite’s 2-litre MPi petrol engine.
Transmission is either a sixspeed manual or seven-speed dual clutch type, the latter with paddleshifters on the new flat-bottomed multifunction sports steering wheel.
Also exclusive to DCT-equipped Elantra SR Turbo is Hyundai’s driver-actuated Drive Mode Select system with Normal, Eco and Sport modes, optimised for responsive steering and slick gear shifts.
Standard are Hyundai’s passive and active safety features, including six airbags and electronic stability control, which have helped the sixth-generation Elantra achieve a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
New and exclusive to Elantra SR Turbo are blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.
With a peak power of 150kW available at a high 6000rpm the engine showed a good flexibility, which was emphasised by generous maximum torque of 265Nm being on hand between 1500 and 4500 revs.
Both offered comfort and convenience in town traffic and a pleasing amount of free rein on the open road.
However, mindful of the need to maintain revs in all gears, lazy changes were punished by the odd sad stalling episode.
The new platform, designed and developed in Europe and refined at both the iconic Nurburgring Nordschleife in Germany and at Hyundai Motor’s Namyang Research and Development Centre in Korea, was further honed over thousands of kilometres on Australian road surfaces.
Circuit high-speed handling tests also were performed locally.
So it was not surprising that the SR Turbo ride and handling was a match for the versatile powerplant.
Expect combined urban / highway fuel economy with the sixspeed manual transmission to be 7.7 litres per 100km and 7.2 litres per 100km with the six-speed manual. Classed as a small car in the scheme of things in modernday motoring, the cabin is neither cramped nor claustrophobic, offering occupants a major share of the spirited driving experience in comfort.
The Hyundai Elantra is given a lift in looks and performance by the SR Turbo.