2023 Hyundai Elantra Limited Review

Affordable, attractive, and easy to live with

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Edgy styling, ample room for adults, stuffed with great standard features and safety tech, one of the better CVTs, an easy-driving sedan.
Negatives: Polarizing front end, plethora of interior hard plastics, base engine has to be wrung out to extract any semblance of power.
Bottom Line: The Elantra is one of the better small sedans out there in terms of style, space, and tech. It could certainly use more power, but it's very livable and has more standard features than much of the competition.
The Elantra is one of the better small sedans out there in terms of an overall package. There are gas, hybrid, and performance models available, and each one of them is appealing in its own right. None of them scrimps on standard features, and you can get into a base model for a little over $21k. Even a fully loaded Limited gas model is less than $30k. You can go all the way up to the performance-minded N model with 276 horses for about $34k, but keep in mind that this is the last year for the manual transmission version. Our tester was the Limited gas model that was pretty much loaded to the gills with standard features. Read our full review below.

Driving Experience



The Elantra's base gas engine isn't going to set your hair on fire, but it is still an enjoyable car to drive because it feels more put together and better built than the old Elantra. While it's not quick, the CVT is one of the better ones out there.

Ride Quality: Our tester had the optional 17" wheels with wider rubber, so the ride was likely firmer than the base vehicle. It's still compliant and comfortable without being too cushy over road surfaces. There's some mild wheel hop over gaps while taking curves, but it settles down nicely and feels competent most of the time.

Acceleration: Although throttle response is good, the Elantra, with its 2.0-liter four (non-turbo) isn't especially quick. At least the CVT manages torque well, and the Elantra feels livelier than its humble output would indicate.

Braking: The brakes felt good with no mushiness or dead spots, and we had no problem bringing the Elantra to a stop.

Steering: Steering is very good. There's mild effort, and the turn-in is quick. It also has good precision, and we had no trouble pointing it where we needed the Elantra to go.

Handling: The chassis feels composed, and body roll is managed very well. It feels agile and doesn't fall prey to its mild understeer.




The large 10.25" instrument cluster is standard on the Limited, along with the same-sized fully-digital instrument cluster. It's a great setup, and it looks very impressive for an affordable sedan.

Infotainment System: Both big screens for the digital display setups look great, but they could use better responsiveness. The infotainment menus are well laid-out and provide easy legibility. We love the way the instruments change looks based on drive modes.

Controls: There are well-sized buttons for virtually all controls, including climate, infotainment, and drive modes. We're grateful for the conventional shift knob that looks like it belongs in an Audi, as well as the large climate control knobs.




The Elantra carves its own design path with some of the most radical styling we've seen on an affordable sedan (and on pricier vehicles, too). The front end is a bit busy, but the 2024 refresh should make the grille and lights look much better, along the lines of the 2024 Kona and the upcoming Sonata refresh.

Front: Not everyone will like the enormous grille that takes up what seems to be about 90% of the front fascia, but no one can deny its boldness. It's a good thing there's not much other complexity going on in the rest of the front end. The headlights integrate nicely, as well as the thin foglights.

Rear: The edgy back end looks great with its big ducktail-style spoiler, the angular wraparound taillights, and wide E-L-A-N-T-R-A lettering.

Profile: There isn't another car that looks like this from the side with its strong cut-lines, and its deep sculpting that looks a bit like origami. The dart-like ends of the head and taillights that creep into the body help cement the look.

Cabin: The cabin looks sporty and refined with the sweeping dash, the unique steering wheel spokes, and the large grab handle on the center console. There's a bit too much hard plastic, but the leather and metallic surfaces are excellent.




We give the Elantra high marks for interior space and ergonomics, but it could've attained a higher score if it had better seat cushioning. The result is harder-than-necessary surfaces that could prove uncomfortable on longer drives.

Front Seats: The seatback and cushion width are good, as is the bolstering. They could use a bit more padding.

Rear Seats: There's a lot of space in the back with 38.0 inches of legroom. Three adults can sit back here nicely.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Elantra is well built and quiet, even at highway speeds. Wind noise is also kept at bay, and the build quality is very good.

Visibility: The seating position is aided by the sloping front nose. Ony the rear sides are compromised by the raked C-pillars.

Climate: The climate control system works well, but the lack of second-row vents means rear occupants have to wait a little bit to get to temp.




The Elantra does very well in crash testing and also provides a big set of standard safety tech, in addition to airbags, traction control, stability control, and anti-lock brakes.

IIHS Rating: The Elantra earned the Top Safety Pick award, just below the top rating. It scored "good" in every crash test but got dinged for "poor" headlights in some trims and "acceptable" for LATCH ease of use.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The Elantra gets a bigger set of safety tech including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Parking Distance Warning - Reverse, Parking Collision Avoidance Assist - Reverse, Parking Collision Avoidance Assist - Reverse, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go, Lane Keeping Assist & Lane Following Assist, Highway Drive Assist, and automatic high-beams.

Optional Tech: None.




The Elantra has some convenient cabin storage areas, and its trunk space is on par for the segment. It also has the benefit of a split folding back seat, providing versatile cargo and seating options.

Storage Space: There's a large charging pad tray in front of the shifter, easily-accessible center console cup holders and a deep, medium-sized center armrest. Door pockets are moderately sized but not huge.

Cargo Room: Trunk space is flat and wide, while overall capacity is good. The 14.2 cubes are larger than the Toyota Corolla but slightly smaller than the Honda Civic sedan.

Fuel Economy



The Elantra is tremendously efficient with a combined EPA of 35 mpg. We drove the Elantra pretty hard to extract as much as we could out of the small displacement naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. We also drove it in Sport mode most of the time, so our numbers weren't nearly as good as they could've been. it's an efficient gas car that should be good for most drivers.

Observed: 31.2 mpg.

Distance Driven: 142 miles.




Our tester came with the $2,100 Premium Package that includes the excellent Bose premium sound system. It provides clear, full sound that's a pleasure to listen to. We like the fact that you can get a mid-pack trim level and upgrade. The package also provides far more than just the premium stereo, which is a great deal.

Final Thoughts

The Elantra is aging well with some nice standard tech additions to the already robust feature set. It's a car that looks more expensive than it is, as well. Too bad it has a CVT, but it's actually not bad when compared to versions from other automakers. It's not as good to drive as the new Honda Civic or anywhere close to the Mazda3, but it's competent on road and very livable every day. We're excited about the refreshed front end, and it might be a good idea to wait for that one.

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