Hyundai has hinted it’s preparing to add a Sport trim to its compact Elantra lineup later this year, and thanks to the car’s recent introduction in its home market in South Korea as the Avante Sport, we have a pretty good idea what upgrades the car will come with when it shows up here.
Key among them is a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine familiar to Hyundai’s own Veloster Turbo compact and Tucson crossover. Its 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque will be a big boost to the Elantra, whose sole current engine is a 2.0L making a rather sedate 147 hp and 132 lb-ft.
In its home market, it comes with a choice of dual-clutch seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions; needless to say, Hyundai would win a few enthusiast fans if it brought that stickshift version to North America.
Other nifty stuff found in the Avante Sport includes a flat-bottom steering wheel, aggressively-bolstered red-and-black leather seats, uprated suspension, a slick rear facsia, carbon fibre-look interior trim, Sport-specific gauge and 18-inch wheels. Other mechanical upgrades include a multi-link rear suspension that replaces the regular Elantra’s torsion beam setup.
We’d be thrilled to see this car come with a price tag below $30,000; Hyundai’s corporate cousins at Kia bolt the 1.6L turbo into their Forte5 hatchback for anywhere from $24,195 to $28,795. However it’s optioned or priced, we expect Elantra Sport to roll into dealers late this year either as a 2017.5 or 2018 model.
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