Hyundai has gone and messed with its popular Elantra for 2018, or at least tweaked one of the available option packages. That could be trouble – monkeying with the Elantra, pretty much Hyundai’s bread and butter car, might spell disaster – but have no fear, Hyundai is on top of the situation.
Hyundai’s Elantra, now in its sixth generation, has racked up more than 2.9 million sales since its launch in America, and is aimed squarely at its midsize sedan competitors, the Chevrolet Cruise and Ford Focus.
The short version here is that Hyundai’s new trim level for the Elantra (SEL) will replace the soon-to-be-outgoing SE trim. The SEL will add more tech goodies without raising the price. Thus, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra SEL will come with blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist. Infotainment is centered around a seven-inch display audio system with AM/FM/HD/Sirius radio pumping out the sounds via six speakers. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are in there too, of course.
There is a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines to help you back up and park and such.
The SEL trim also features 16-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, heated outside mirrors, and auto headlamp control. Oh, and since this is America, you also get better rear cup holders that are mounted just aft of the center console, so Junior doesn’t spill that Big Gulp Mountain Dew all over the place. The Elantra Limited and Sport trims get some new features as well.
Trim Level Treatments
The Limited trim now includes gloss black interior accents and an auto-dimming rearview mirror (which is just lazy) with Blue Link and HomeLink now standard. Hyundai also points out that all available Blue Link features come standard for three years. The Sport Elantras now come with a power sunroof, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert, and Lane Change Assist standard to help you not do things like pull into oncoming traffic or run over cyclists while changing lanes. All trim levels, SEL, Limited, and Sport get a new machine gray exterior color, if you’re more into the subtle pallet.
The Value and Eco trim levels are still available. Value, is, well, the value-oriented model that comes well-equipped with popular options at “attractive” (read: inexpensive) price points. The Eco trim gets you an EPA estimated 35 miles per gallon combined thanks to a 1.4 turbo GDI four-cylinder engine and seven-speed DCT gearbox.
Blue Link Connectivity
Now, about that Hyundai Blue Link. It’s sort of like smart home technology grafted onto your car. It apparently requires some sort of subscription – which Hyundai does not go into details on, but they do mention you get three years of it for free – and it allows you to either automate a range of stuff you can have your car do, or allows you to do it remotely.
For example, one of the Blue Link features is the Connected Care Package which takes care of stuff like Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, a Monthly Vehicle Health Report (sort of a poor person’s telemetry data storage deal), Automatic Diagnostic Trouble Code Notification (i.e. it tells you more than just “check engine”), a Service Link Maintenance Reminder (a digital version of that oil change sticker normally on your windshield), something called Driving Information (your guess is as good as mine), and On-Demand Diagnostics (again, much more than just “check engine”).
Besides being there to get you out of a jam, there are other Blue Link features in the Remote Package that can be activated via things like Amazon Alexa. There is also a remote start, which must really be nice in a place like Chicago in January.
There is also Car Finder? Not sure what that does exactly, but I’m guessing some sort of parking lot/garage assistance thing-o for the memory impaired. Blue Link also gets you Stolen Vehicle Recovery, Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, and Stolen Vehicle Immobilization, which is handy, yes, but also probably fun when it comes to messing with perps. You just never know when your Elantra is going to get targeted by Memphis Raines.
So, yet again, Hyundai steps into the breach for those that want lots of up-to-date tech goodies but are on, shall we say, a more limited budget than your typical Mercedes-Benz buyer.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.