With Q1 behind us we probably shouldn’t forecast 2017 as the year of the car’s return, as SUV growth is still at unprecedented rates, but some models give the future of ground-hugging models hope.…

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
This good looking compact Hyundai sedan is one of the best performing cars in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With Q1 behind us we probably shouldn’t forecast 2017 as the year of the car’s return, as SUV growth is still at unprecedented rates, but some models give the future of ground-hugging models hope.

After hovering around the 65k mark for the past half decade Honda’s Civic once again shows that the market for cars is ripe if you build something people want to buy (consider that thought for a moment Dodge), the ever-growing compact finding 7,251 buyers so far this year and 64,552 during calendar year 2016, while Toyota’s new Corolla family (it now includes the orphaned Scion iM in its ranks) was good for 5,996 deliveries over the first three months of 2017 and 48,195 last year.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Hyundai backs up the racy looking Elantra Sport with a 201-hp turbo four and superb handling. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

How about Hyundai and its Elantra? Thought you’d never ask. It’s running in third so far this year at 4,334 units despite being second in 2016 with 48,875, but 2017 is still young so we’ll just have to wait and see how things come out in the wash (we should really include Veloster sales in with the Elantra as it’s a sporty compact that effectively does battle with the Civic Coupe, although its miniscule 229 deliveries over Q1 2017 and 1,831 last year won’t help it measure up to the Corolla family second-place sales lead).

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
A well laid out and refined cabin makes the Elantra Sport easy to live with. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Just the same the Elantra has a lot going for it, including the five-door Elantra GT. We drove that car way back in September of 2015 as its ushered in a new grille design for the 2016 model year, and then in March of 2016 we reviewed the completely redesigned 2017 Elantra Sedan in Limited guise as well, but since then Hyundai released new Sport trim for the four-door model and it’s been a breath of fresh air.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Leather seats, a superb infotainment system, and yes, that’s right, you’re looking at a 6-speed manual in an upscale Elantra. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I won’t go into detail about its driving dynamics as that would give away the real meat of our upcoming road test review, but let’s just say the brand’s new engineering team is doing as much for chassis development as its design team has improved styling. In fact, I might go as far to say the new Elantra Sport, which is the only Elantra above the base LE to incorporate a manual transmission, is the spiritual successor to previous Civic Si models (not the outrageously quick Nürburgring trouncing 2018 five-door) due to its 201 horsepower 1.6-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder and wonderful balance, or maybe more accurately it’s the spiritual successor to Nissan’s long missing-in-action Sentra SE-R (I’ll probably get hate mail if I push the Si issue). Either way it’s a superb driving car that I’ll dissect in an upcoming review.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Leather upholstered sport seats offer up plenty of side bolstering for excellent support. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Much of its newfound goodness is the result of a new suspension appropriately named “Superstructure” by its creators. It utilizes more than 50-percent ultra-high tensile steels bonded together by aerospace-sourced adhesives (yes, we’re talking Hyundai here, not Audi), resulting in a much stiffer, lighter weight, and safer body structure that’s also a whole lot more exciting to drive. Hyundai has revised the suspension geometry too, while also isolating the body shell with a new subframe design, and made it quieter via increased sound deadening methods and materials including thicker glass all-round, making this the quietest and most refined Elantra yet.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Rear seat roominess and comfort is just as good as the regular Elantra sedan. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The entire interior was improved with the 2017 update too, thanks to a new design and better materials including more soft-touch surfaces. What’s more, mid-range models equipped with backup cameras get a large 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen while top-line models receive an even grander 8.0-inch display with navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also part of the package, giving this fun-loving Hyundai more connectivity options than any new Porsche.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
All that performance and it’s practical too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

At $24,999 the Sport is priced just higher than the mid-range Elantra SE and just below Limited trim, so it’s not top of the line (that position reserved for the $28,799 Limited Ultimate), but rather sits in its own performance category we hope Hyundai builds upon with yet more features and accessories.

Come back soon to read our detailed review of the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport…

Does the Prius finally have some serious competition? The new Hyundai Ioniq will soon deliver a three-punch blow to Toyota’s iconic super hybrid, thanks to three powertrains in the form of the Ioniq…

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Road Test

High technology is rapidly shaping the automobile industry's present and future. Where there were powerful V8 engines, some have been replaced with turbocharged six- and even four-cylinder powerplants. The result has been V8 horsepower numbers with smaller, fuel-saving engines. One automaker's bet that hydrogen will power future vehicles is hedged by another manufacturer's commitment to electric power. Be it smaller displacement engines or alternative propulsion, the Earth will run dry of fossil fuels someday, so manufacturers are prepping for the future.

For 2017, through the all-new Ioniq (rhymes with 'bionic'), Hyundai launches the world's first dedicated vehicle platform with three electrified low- and zero-emission powertrain choices.

"Ioniq will attract an entirely new group of eco- and efficiency-oriented buyers in the U.S. market," said Mike O'Brien, vice president of Corporate and Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "With outstanding powertrain flexibility, Read Full Story
Hyundai has refreshed its bestselling Santa Fe for 2017, so we tested the long-wheelbase XL in Luxury trim to find out if it’s still up to snuff. First off it drives great value at just over $32k thanks…

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe XL AWD Road Test Review

The Santa Fe is far and away the bestselling mid-size SUV in Canada, which is a sizeable feat considering it sells into one of the most profitable segments in the mainstream volume-branded auto sector. The only other model Hyundai achieves number one status with is the lowly subcompact Accent that totally blows its competitors off the sales chart by selling more than twice as many units as its next closest rival, but this is a category that most would normally expect the value-oriented brand to do well in.

Like the Accent, Hyundai makes the Santa Fe in two unique body styles. The most popular is the smaller five-passenger version that goes by the name of Santa Fe Sport, its sales reaching 22,967 units over the first 11 months of 2016, and 26,685 for the previous full year. That's pretty impressive considering it's continued forward more or less unchanged since its last complete redesign in 2012 for the 2013 model year. Its sales have actually been remarkably steady with 27,580 Read Full Story
Want to have your cake and get to eat it too? The new Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid delivers 202-hp of go-fast fun, Ultimate luxury, and amazing fuel economy rated at the metric equivalent of 2.2 L/100km…

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Ultimate Road Test Review

Guess how many automotive brands offer a plug-in hybrid or PHEV in Canada? If you came up with 10, you're right. Of these, only five are mainstream volume brands, the others pricier premium marques. Now, of the five more affordable brands remaining, take a stab at how many offer two or more PHEVs? The number is just one, but later this year that number will double when Hyundai's new Ioniq arrives, in regular hybrid, pure electric and plug-in hybrid configurations. Until then, Hyundai will be glad to show you its Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

Yes, it's hard to believe, but hybrid-forerunner Honda isn't on that PHEV list above, the five including Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Toyota, and of course Hyundai, whereas the only mainstream brand currently offering more than one PHEV is Ford. The premium brands that purvey at least one PHEV include Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, and yes it's also amazing that luxury hybrid initiator Lexus isn't on that list. Astute readers will also Read Full Story
Is this the Elantra that will finally bump Toyota’s Corolla from 2nd place in compact sales? The old model came within 200 units last year, so this much more attractive all-new 2017 model could be the…

2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited Road Test Review

If Honda's latest Civic is a bit too radical and the Corolla a smidge on the conservative side, this all-new 2017 Elantra should fit you to a tee. Hyundai has completely redesigned it from the ground up, with styling that immediately makes it more appealing and simultaneously more upscale.

You'd think that this was the upcoming BMW 3 Series D-segment competing Genesis G70 model, but it's still a lowly Elantra fighting it out with the two aforementioned models as well as the Mazda3s and Chevy Cruzes of the world. Up front there's a stylishly large horizontally ribbed hexagonal grille that's nicely trimmed in chrome thanks to my tester's upmarket Limited trim. The $26,249 Limited also gets chrome trim across its side window ledges, chromed door handles and attractively styled LED tail lamps at back, while its eye-catching vertically stacked chrome trimmed LED driving lights and LED-enhanced side mirror caps get pulled up from lesser GL trim.

I should probably interject Read Full Story