The least costly Elantra, the Active, comes with cloth covered seats, manually controlled air-conditioning, 16-inch wheels, the 2.0-litre engine, and a manual gearbox. An auto gearbox is optional – and adds more than $2000 to the price.
Spend more for an Elantra Elite and auto transmission is standard. You also get dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning (which will maintain different temperatures for the driver and front passenger), and seats trimmed in a mix of real and fake leather. Windscreen wipers work automatically when it rains, and there are air-conditioning vents for people riding in the back.
The Elite also gets keyless entry, which lets you unlock the car (and drive away) while the key remains in your pocket or bag. Leave the key there and stand near the boot for three seconds, and the boot lid will open – a helpful feature if you have your arms full of shopping or luggage.
The Elite can also be chosen with a two-tone interior, rather than the dark grey that is standard on the Active. It is distinguished outside by more chrome. And it has 17-inch wheels and lower-profile tyres, which improve steering response marginally and bring a sportier look.
Spending more again for an Elantra SR Turbo brings you not only a lot more grunt from the turbocharged 1.6 engine, but also a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension design that improves handling. Both front seats are heated and have deeper bolsters on each side to hold you in place, and the driver’s seat is power-adjustable. Headlamps are extremely bright bi-xenon units. And a range of aesthetic touches inside and out supply a sportier look and feel.
The SR Turbo also adds three rear-focused active safety aids: Blind-spot detection, Lane-change assist, and Rear cross-traffic alert.