Wheels (Australia) - - Head To Head -

We’ve cho­sen the top-level Elantra ($26,490) be­cause peo­ple down­siz­ing into a small sedan will still want some

com­forts. Elite spec rules out a man­ual, but you get leather, dual-zone cli­mate, 7.0-inch info screen, Blue­tooth phone and au­dio, voice con­trol, auto lights and wipers, six

airbags, park­ing sen­sors and a rear-view cam­era. 17/20

Fit, fin­ish, com­fort, er­gonomics and space make the Hyundai’s cabin a nice (if plain) place to be. A gen­er­ous

glasshouse gives it an airy feel, and the back seat is roomier in most di­rec­tions. Mean­while, the Elantra gets a big­ger 458-litre boot (up 50L) that’s more eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble than the Mazda’s thanks to a de­cent-size open­ing. 16/20

On pa­per, there’s lit­tle in it. Elantra has a 2.0-litre petrol four, as does the Mazda. The Hyundai is neg­li­gi­bly down

on power and torque and weighs about 55kg more (at 1355kg). They’re both six-speed au­tos, but only the Mazda pro­vides pad­dle shifters. On the other hand, the Hyundai

is more alert and re­spon­sive in auto mode. 17/20 Elantra is softer than the 3, which gives it a more set­tled ride, de­spite inch-big­ger wheels and shal­lower side­walls. It has the au­ral edge, too – it’s a bit qui­eter in terms of tyre and sus­pen­sion noise in par­tic­u­lar, and also wind noise – seem­ingly due to bet­ter iso­la­tion of the work­ings from the

body and su­pe­rior cabin in­su­la­tion. 16/20 The Hyundai turns in keenly and the body rolls more than

the Mazda’s, which at least tele­graphs what the rea­son­ably well-sorted chassis is do­ing. You can en­joy hus­tling the Elantra due to its agility and re­spon­sive­ness;

the let­down when get­ting into it is the lack of shift pad­dles, not a lack of chassis en­thu­si­asm or grip. 15/20

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