Hyundai Elantra Sport 1.6T-GDI
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.