2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Review and Road Test
2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe brings sporty look and feel to Elantra model line
Scores High: Communicative steering, confident handling, roomy interior, excellent value
Scores Low: Wide ratio between second and third gears lets power fall off a bit on upshifts
Total Car Score Analysis
With over 250,000 Elantras sold in the past 18 months it’s clear Hyundai’s growing sales and rising market share are being driven, in part, by the company’s success in the compact car segment. An attractive exterior design and excellent value have driven those sales, while also inspiring Hyundai to expand the model line. The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe is part of that expansion, designed for the specific goal of bringing younger buyers to the brand. With exterior styling and driving enjoyment being a higher priority for two-door shoppers, the Elantra Coupe features unique body panels as well as a tighter suspension and more responsive steering. The Coupe’s overall dimensions nearly match the sedan, and it offers the same engine and transmission choices, but as a sportier alternative to the already successful Elantra sedan it’s likely Hyundai has another hit on its hands.
Distinctive design elements on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe include a prominent blacked-out grille, larger foglights, a new rear bumper with dual exhaust tips, a rear spoiler (on high-line SE models) and new 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels. Despite its nearly identical exterior size (the sedan is about a half inch shorter), these changes give the Elantra Coupe a substantially sportier appearance. We really like car’s lines, particularly with the optional 17-inch, 5-spoke wheels. However, given the Coupe’s goal of attracting younger buyers, we think Hyundai should offer an 18-inch wheel option, too. Maybe that’s being saved for a future R-version of the Elantra Coupe…
Until a dedicated performance model arrives the 2013 Elantra Coupe has to make do with the same 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine found in the sedan. With 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque this engine, featuring variable valve control and a variable intake, has what we would describe as “fully adequate” power. We’d like more mid-range torque, but we suspect the engine’s performance will satisfy most buyers, and we’re certain the Coupe’s fuel economy ratings will be appreciated. With the 6-speed automatic the Elantra Coupe earns 28 city mpg, 39 highway mpg and 32 mpg combined. The automatic includes a manual shift mode for driver-controlled up- and downshifts, plus an “Active ECO” setting to maximize fuel efficiency. With the available 6-speed manual transmission the Coupe gets 29 city mpg, 40 highway mpg and 33 mpg combined.
Speaking of the manual transmission, it features a well-designed shifter and proper pedal placement for heel-and-toe downshifts, further supporting the Elantra Coupe’s role as a more engaging model for younger buyers. However, the gear ratio jump from second to third occasionally had the engine falling out of its powerband when driven aggressively, suggesting Hyundai is getting those impressive fuel efficiency numbers by employing some wide gearing jumps. Not a big issue for most buyers most of the time, but something to be aware of if you plan on driving the manual in a spirited manner.
If the Elantra Coupe’s engine and transmission adequately support spirited driving, its suspension and steering response are more than adequate. A faster steering ratio and upgraded steering knuckles in the front suspension provide increased feedback and feel through the wheel, even with its electric steering system. The Coupe also gets upgraded shocks and a new, stronger V-beam rear suspension with an integrated stabilizer bar. These modifications give the Coupe a more controlled and confident ride in comparison to the sedan. It makes for a compelling dance partner on a twisty road.
Interior Design and Function
The Coupe’s sporty nature carries through to the interior, where aggressively bolstered front seats and large primary gauges (speedometer and tachometer) support the performance theme. Perhaps more impressive is the amount of functional interior space packed into this compact two-door. Passenger volume measures a roomy 95.4 cubic feet, and the rear seat is surprisingly functional for two full-sized adults. Cargo volume (with the rear seats up) is also among the highest in the segment at 14.8 cubic feet.
The Coupe’s practicality is also reflected in an abundance of interior storage locations. Beyond the center console and glove box are door pockets that offer bottle and map options, a covered bin below the climate controls (where the USB plug is located) and side tray pockets on either side of the center stack. The use of high-quality materials throughout the cabin also provides a premium look and feel not matched by many of the Elantra Coupe’s competitors.
Primary Features and Options
All 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe’s come standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, a remote keyless entry system, a CD/MP3/satellite audio system with iPod/USB input, Bluetooth phone connectivity and steering-wheel-mounted buttons for audio functions, cruise control and a voice recognition system. That’s an impressive array of equipment for a starting price of $18,220 (including destination charge) for an Elantra Coupe in base (GS) trim with a manual transmission. The 6-speed automatic adds $1,000 to that price.
Stepping up to the Elantra Coupe SE, which adds 17-inch wheels, a stiffer suspension, a sunroof, aluminum pedals, leather trim on the seats, steering wheel and shifter, plus a rear spoiler and integrated turn signals in the exterior mirrors, will cost you $20,520 for a manual version or $21,520 for an automatic (both prices include destination charge). The SE can also be ordered with a $2,350 Technology Package that includes push-button engine start, a navigation system, rearview camera, 360-watt audio system, automatic headlamps and dual-zone automatic climate control.
It’s Perfect For…
Compact car shoppers already drawn to the Hyundai Elantra’s attractive looks and value pricing, but who desire a sportier appearance backed up by improved driving dynamics, should put the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe on their test-drive list. While its engine isn’t the most powerful in the segment, a light curb weight and capable handling make it fun to drive while providing excellent fuel efficiency. Throw in a roomy and functional interior, with upscale materials, and the Elantra Coupe makes a strong case as a practical and stylish candidate in the compact segment.
Vehicle Tested: 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe SE with 6-speed automatic
Base MSRP of Test Vehicle: $20,745
Options on Test Vehicle: Technology Package (includes Navigation system with 7-inch screen, rearview camera, 360-watt audio system, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control -- $2,350), Carpeted Floor Mats ($95), Destination Charge ($775)
MSRP of Test Vehicle (including destination charge): $23,965
2013 Fiat 500
2013 Honda Civic
2013 Kia Forte Koup
2013 Scion tC
The manufacturer provided Total Car Score this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Photos Courtesy of the manufacturer.