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Car Review: 2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited

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How many times have you confused the Elantra with other cars on the road? Probably seldom, as the 2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited is a standout that is smooth as silk and incredibly affordable. The award-winning Hyundai Elantra has been refreshed for 2014 with extensive design upgrades and new powertrain options. We tested the new 2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited in black diamond pearl and came away very impressed! A host of new features have also been added, while still maintaining the roominess, warranty and safety that has made Elantra a recipient of numerous awards.

EXTERIOR

The design flow of the new 2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited is unique and eye-catching, as this sedan just keeps getting better! For 2014, the Elantra has received a host of exterior design changes. The front and rear styling of the 2014 Hyundai Elantra have been altered for a more stable, balanced look. Up front, a new open-mouth lower bumper, grille, more technical foglights and projector headlamps with LED accents add a dynamic, precise feel to the car. The whole L-shaped foglight graphic stabilizes the front end and gives it a more grounded look, all while maintaining a greater sense of width that forces the eye to the corners. The headlamp and taillamp LED accents were also given a more technical appearance to give the Elantra a stronger attitude. From the profile, a chrome beltline molding and new sets of 17-inch alloy wheels on the Elantra Limited as tested and Sport accentuate the Elantra’s premium image. A new black, two-tone rear diffuser also sharpens the look of the 2014 Elantra.

INTERIOR

As good as the exterior appears on the 2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited, we were just as impressed with the cabin space. Inside, refinements in design give the entire 2014 Hyundai Elantra a more premium feel, with an all-new third-generation navigation and audio technology, available aluminum accents and new HVAC controls. Subtle changes to the placement of HVAC vents, controls and the height of the front center armrest lend a higher-quality, simplified look. Providing a more upscale environment is accomplished with a slightly darker, more neutral beige interior color choice, aluminum pedals on the Sport and aluminum door sill plates on the Sport and Limited we had the pleasure to drive.

The Elantra Limited offers a new, optional multifunction seven-inch touch-screen display with navigation. This third-generation display features a simpler user interface, enhanced voice recognition commands and improved navigation screens. The system is more intuitive for commonly used tasks. Simple pop-up messages now appear to help pair a cell phone and the voice recognition software understands street addresses and cities all in one sentence. The route screens display speed limits and details the next three maneuvers. One or two button pushes now complete most functions. The systems memory also allows for viewing and storing of jpeg images and mpeg music files from a USB stick. Pandora internet radio is integrated into the Elantra Limited’s optional multifunction seven-inch touch-screen display with navigation. The display screen has a Pandora icon for internet radio from an iPhone. Pandora can also be viewed on the display screen and songs can be given the familiar Pandora thumbs up or thumbs down. Pandora can be connected to the head unit via a USB cable and integrates album cover art.

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PERFORMANCE

Under the hood of the Elantra SE and Limited sedans is a 1.8-liter Nu four-cylinder engine with 145 horsepower and 130 lb.-ft. of torque, which delivers 27mpg in the city and 37mpg in highway driving. Nu engines feature an aluminum block with a cast iron cylinder liner and aluminum cylinder head. They also offer Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT) camshafts and hydraulic engine mounts for optimum power, efficiency and refinement. Using CVVT on both camshafts has several advantages when compared with using it just on the intake camshaft, including a two percent improvement in performance (increased volumetric efficiency), two percent improvement in fuel economy (reduced pumping loss) and a 30 percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. In the valvetrain, roller swing arms and hydraulic lash adjusters reduce valve driven friction to improve fuel economy one percent compared with direct valve driving. The Nu engine family also features a maintenance-free silent timing chain system to enhance durability and improve Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH).

The application of a plastic, two-stage Variable Intake System (VIS) versus aluminum enables switching between long and short intake manifolds, resulting in a four percent improvement in performance. The electronic throttle control replaces the conventional cable and mechanical linkage with fast responding electronics. This system accurately controls air intake and engine torque, improving drivability, response and fuel economy. The Nu four-cylinder engine also has an offset crankshaft design that reduces friction between the piston and cylinder wall for a one percent improvement in fuel economy.

Behind the wheel of the entry level Elantra SE and top-of-the-line Elantra Limited, drivers benefit from Hyundai’s Driver Selectable Steering Mode, with three operating modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport. This innovative system allows drivers to adapt the Elantra’s steering characteristics to varying driving preferences and road conditions. Comfort mode is ideal for city and parking environments, offering the greatest ease of steering with a decrease in steering effort. Normal mode is ideal for a mix of driving conditions. Meanwhile, Sport Mode is optimized for higher-speed freeways or winding roads and decreases power steering assistance. The Driver Selectable Steering Mode not only adjusts power assistance levels in each mode, but also adjusts on-center build-up feel and steering build-up curves throughout the steering range for a very natural and progressive feel. Steering dampening characteristics, active return and friction levels have also been optimized in Elantra. On the highway, we used Eco mod,e which provided plenty of power coupled with stellar fuel efficiency.

OVERVIEW

You can choose from a list of reasons why the 2014 Hyundai Elantra Limited is a car to remember. Elantra is still a class above some competitors when it comes to interior room. In fact, the Elantra is so roomy that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies it as a mid-size car, rather than a compact car. With the modern design and loaded interior, we were surprised to see a sticker price of $25,335 as tested. The 2014 Elantra clearly hit the mark with all-new front and rear exterior designs, along with interior styling upgrades. Sport-tuned steering and suspension calibrations sharpen the new Elantra Sport’s handling, while extensive technology upgrades improve ergonomics, which didn’t go unnoticed. The 2014 Elantra might have received a refresh, but this mid-cycle update rivals totally new cars from some competitors.

  

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