The Elantra coupe starts at $18,220 including a $775 destination charge, but our uplevel SE test car's price came to $23,870 with optional features. Competitors in this price range include the Honda Civic coupe, Scion tC and Kia Forte Koup; click herefor a comparison.
Hyundai rocked the compact-car segment a few years ago with its redesigned Elantra sedan, which brought a big dose of style to the market. Hyundai calls the design language "Fluidic Sculpture," and it translates well to the coupe, which has a gracefully arcing roofline that trails off to a short deck lid. Hyundai took additional steps to make the coupe look different from the sedan, with angular fog lights and a piano-black bumper finish that gives an Audi-like impression.
The coupe accelerates well, readily keeping pace with fast-moving urban traffic. Power is similar to the Honda Civic. The gas pedal is sensitive, though, and it's harder than normal to hold it steady, though I adjusted to it over time. The refined four-cylinder engine is an Elantra coupe highlight.
The optional six-speed automatic (a six-speed manual is standard) shifts smoothly and is always willing to downshift when you need more power. Whether you press the gas pedal partway down or all the way to the floor, the transmission quickly drops a gear or more. A lot of modern automatics make you wait a moment before heeding your call, so it's nice to experience one like this.
With an EPA-estimated 28/39 mpg city/highway, the automatic-equipped Elantra coupe is nearly as efficient as its sedan counterpart, which is rated 29/40 mpg. Some non-hybrid compact cars, like the Honda Civic HF and the Chevrolet Cruze Eco sedans, are rated a few mpg higher, but these special efficiency-focused trim levels cost more than their less-efficient base models. Hyundai takes a different approach, as the gas mileage estimates for the base Elantra coupe are the same as those for the top trim.
The automatic transmission includes an ActiveECO feature. The system is designed to smooth spikes in throttle application to improve real-world efficiency, Hyundai says. When ActiveECO is on, gas pedal sensitivity decreases, requiring you to press the pedal down farther when accelerating, but the drop-off in response doesn't significantly degrade the driving experience.
Ride & Handling
The SE trim level comes with a sport suspension that Hyundai says has been tuned to the car's 17-inch low-profile tires. You feel bumps and ruts, but true harshness is damped before it reaches the cabin. The coupe stays flat in corners, but the ride is comfortable.