Hyundai Elantra Sport 1.6T-GDI

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Face-off -

THE Hyundai Elantra Sport, with its tur­bocharged Gamma 1.6T-GDi en­gine, is the car to helm for those who are young and young at heart and can ob­vi­ously af­ford the RM131,488 ask­ing price.

While rolling on 17-inch wheels with 225/45 se­ries tyres, the Elantra Sport’s di­men­sions ex­ude a touch of sporti­ness about it due to the more ag­gres­sive front bumper, the in­clu­sion of a rear dif­fuser and a set of twin ex­haust tips.

Also, it’s rear tor­sion-beam sus­pen­sion sys­tem has been switched out for a more ca­pa­ble multi-link set and the brakes make use of larger 16-inch (front) and 14-inch (rear) disc brakes.

In­side, the cabin seems rather over­ex­posed by the bright red leather up­hol­stery, but what eggs the driver on to en­ter is the fact that un­der the hood lies a 1,591cc, 204PS/265Nm tur­bocharged en­gine that’s man­aged by a seven-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion for some quick-shift­ing fun.

In short, it’s a car that’s al­most cer­tain to make own­ers smile.

Get­ting seated, a flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel han­dles the greet­ings be­fore the con­ven­tional dash­board, cen­tre con­sole and “ana­logue” hand­brake says hello.

En­gag­ing the push-start but­ton con­jures up the usual sound of a four-pot­ter.

Noth­ing spe­cial in this depart­ment, nor upon blip­ping the throt­tle and there’s noth­ing sporty about its ex­haust note through­out the rev-range.

The fa­mil­iari­sa­tion spin in the Elantra Sport ac­tu­ally had us ini­tially think­ing it was not go­ing to be much of a per­former and could po­ten­tially leave us want­ing.

Boy, were we wrong!

With the low-profile tyres, the sus­pen­sion felt com­mu­nica­tive, yet rather com­pli­ant over un­even sur­faces and thank­fully not as stiff as some had pre­vi­ously claimed.

The ride, how­ever, is still a bit stiffer than the Civic’s and re­wards with less body roll in fast corners.

Shift­ing down a few gears via the pad­dle-shifters in Sport mode, the en­gine re­sponds quickly and the turbo’s boost helped to pro­pel the car for­ward.

The re­sponse is al­most im­me­di­ate and cou­pled with a good all-round view of what’s out­side, it made it all the more eas­ier to bob and weave through sparse traf­fic.

Body roll re­mained rel­a­tively muted and driv­ers will feel the tyres work­ing for them as the sus­pen­sion takes care of most un­set­tling sit­u­a­tions.

The larger 16-inch (front) and stan­dard 14-inch (rear) brake discs do well to slow things down with a firm bite, re­sult­ing in a con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing drive that can be ad­dic­tive.

The gear changes are smooth and fast, and the mo­tor-driven power steer­ing felt more di­rect and re­spon­sive com­pared with the Civic’s.

Push­ing the Elantra Sport just be­yond its grip ca­pa­bil­i­ties and its elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­gramme and ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity man­age­ment sys­tems will kick in with a no­tice­able power cut.

Switch­ing back to Nor­mal mode and the throt­tle feels dull, Eco mode only dulls it even fur­ther, while the steer­ing feels pro­gres­sively lighter.

Un­doubt­edly, the Elantra Sport is ca­pa­ble of be­ing an ag­gres­sive drive, yet able to han­dle rea­son­ably well.

None­the­less, it is able to adapt to most road-go­ing sit­u­a­tions and power is de­liv­ered on de­mand, re­gard­less of driv­ing mode.

But do be wary be­cause a heavy foot on the ac­cel­er­a­tor will mean more trips to the petrol sta­tions.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Elantra Sport is hardly taken se­ri­ously as a con­tender among its other tur­bocharged peers within its seg­ment just be­cause it wears a Hyundai badge and comes from South Korea.

For what it’s worth, this tur­bocharged Elantra Sport is well specced with items such as a smart trunk sys­tem, cruise con­trol, re­verse cam­era, key­less-en­try with start-stop but­ton, 7.0-inch colour touch­screen with An­droid Auto, Ap­ple CarPlay and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, leather up­hol­stery and blindspot de­tec­tion to name a few.

Also stan­dard are six airbags, anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, and ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity man­age­ment.

The Elantra Sport (right) boasts a more po­tent 204PS en­gine com­pared to the Civic’s 173PS mill.

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