2024 Hyundai Elantra: Covering All the Bases

Published on April 12, 2024 in Test Drives by Vincent Aubé

Compact cars are not as popular as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to disappear anytime soon, either. Hyundai’s Elantra is a sensible choice for drivers who don’t want a smaller car or a used vehicle. It also offers a hybrid option, a sporty N Line model and even a high-performance Elantra N.

Refreshed for 2024, the competitively priced Korean sedan starts at $21,999 (MSRP) in base Essential trim, increases to $23,799 in mid-grade Preferred trim, and tops at $27,999 in Luxury trim. The first two models are quite attractive for budget-conscious buyers.

We tested an Elantra Preferred with the optional Tech package around late winter in almost spring-like conditions, with the effects of global warming seen in the sheer lack of snow. 

Photo: Vincent Aubé

Positioned in the middle of the 2024 Elantra lineup, this particular model features 17-inch wheels (otherwise reserved for the Luxury) as well as a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, similarly sized touchscreen and dual-zone climate control replacing the analog gauges, smaller touchscreen and conventional HVAC buttons. 

Other extras from the Tech package include a windshield defogger, Bluelink connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio and 64-colour ambient lighting, not to mention a power sunroof. At $1,950, it’s hard to pass up.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

The Elantra Preferred can’t be specified with a hybrid powertrain. On the bright side, it boasts excellent value for less than $25,000. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel come standard, with the latter offering a comfortable, four-spoke design. We bet you’ll spend a lot of time with your hands resting on the lower spokes rather than grabbing the wheel at the usual 9 and 3 o’clock positions.

A few driver assistance features are also part of the mix, such as a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assist, blind spot assist and rear cross traffic alert. More advanced safety tech is exclusive to the top-line Elantra Luxury.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

The Bad

The good thing with a weeklong test drive is that you can identify flaws and irritants that otherwise might have gone unnoticed at first. Some of my older passengers complained to me about the Elantra being low, especially when compared with modern crossovers. Touché.

Furthermore, the car’s driving position and cargo space are not as convenient as those of, say, a Hyundai Kona or Tucson. The rear seats are more reclined, too, which could displease taller passengers. The black fabric on them is not as attractive as the leatherette in more upscale models, but with small children on board it certainly proves easier to clean. Comfort, meanwhile, is decent at best.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

The Good

While it probably won’t win any award for design or material selection, the 2024 Hyundai Elantra is more enjoyable up front thanks to increased space and the fact that most controls are intuitively laid out. It definitely looks like Hyundai aimed to keep things straightforward. The infotainment display packs a whole bunch of apps and menus, but the large icons and highly responsive system make navigation simple.  

Photo: Vincent Aubé

High-riding vehicles are all the rage, and we understand why, but it’s always refreshing to take a seat in a traditional passenger car. Sure, most crossovers these days offer a similar driving experience to the car they share their platform with. However, having a lower centre of gravity, a more ground-hugging stance, a firm suspension (blame the torsion-beam rear suspension, here) and higher fuel economy is why people keep buying compact sedans.

Regardless of the drive mode you select (Normal, Smart, Sport), the Elantra has no trouble achieving 7 L/100 km or better. In fact, it’ll maintain an average under 6 L/100 km when cruising at a reasonable speed on long highway trips.

Photo: Vincent Aubé

While the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is noisy, especially during hard acceleration, it proves to be a good match for the Elantra. The continuously variable transmission is certainly less dynamic than a proper autobox, though. The only reason it’s there is to help the engine burn less gas.

You can manually simulate gear changes using the shifter if you want to feel like you’re driving a sporty car—sort of. The unit works pretty well when downshifting, but it’s best to let it do all the work in order to spend less time at gas stations.

Our Verdict

At just over $30,000 (freight, PDI, dealer fees and tax included), the 2024 Hyundai Elantra Preferred is a compelling option for car shoppers. There are sportier rivals out there (Mazda3, Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Civic), but also pretty similar alternatives (Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla). As mentioned up top, with the available N Line and N models, not to mention the Hybrid, there’s an Elantra for everyone.

In the end, whether you opt for a more laid-back sedan or go with a more fun ride, the most important thing is to feel good behind the wheel.

Test drive report
Test model 2024 Hyundai Elantra
Trim level Preferred avec Ensemble Tech
Price range $21,999 – $39,299
Price as tested 25 999 $
Warranty (basic) 5 years/100,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) N/A
Options N/A
Competitive models Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Mazda Mazda3, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Subaru WRX, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Jetta
Strong points
  • Good fuel economy
  • Rigid chassis
  • Ergonomic layout
Weak points
  • Needs to be quieter
  • Cheap plastics inside
  • Engine is noisy at times
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 4.0/5 Achieving 7 L/100 km or better with a non-hybrid car is good news for drivers on a tighter budget.
Comfort 3.0/5 The firm seats and stiff suspension are not ideal on most Canadian roads.
Performance 3.0/5 With 147 hp and a paltry 132 lb-ft of torque, the base Elantra is a far cry from the Elantra N.
Infotainment 4.0/5 The infotainment display packs a whole bunch of apps and menus, but the large icons and highly responsive system make navigation simple.
Driving 3.0/5 With a low centre of gravity, firm ride and pleasant steering, driving the Elantra is not too bad.
Overall 4.0/5 The feature-rich Elantra Preferred model with Tech package offers excellent value.
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