2022 Hyundai Elantra

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
October 14, 2021

Buying tip

We’re not sure why, but wide-screen Elantras require a wired connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while smaller screens have wireless connections.

features & specs

Limited IVT
N Line DCT
N Line Manual
MPG
31 city / 41 hwy
MPG
28 city / 36 hwy
MPG
25 city / 34 hwy
MSRP
$25,600
MSRP
$25,350
MSRP
$24,250

The 2022 Hyundai Elantra excites us with its styling and gas mileage, but loses us with interior quality.

What kind of car is the 2022 Hyundai Elantra? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Hyundai Elantra compact four-door casts a long styling shadow over rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3. It’s brash on the outside, underbaked inside, but has a welter of powertrain choices that include a Hybrid with stellar EPA ratings. 

Is the 2022 Hyundai Elantra a good car?

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Performance gets a bye in base and Hybrid editions, but the 2022 Elantra’s warranty and features earn top scores—and safety’s not far behind. We give it a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new with the 2022 Hyundai Elantra?

It’s a carryover, save for the high-output Elantra N due out soon. The basic shape carries over its wicked origami look: it’s diamond-studded, cleaved, folded, then cleaved again for good measure. It all ties together in an unseamly way—but the interior lets it down with drab trim and a mysterious wall between passengers. 

Base cars carry a 147-hp inline-4 and a CVT for middling power and good fuel economy; the Elantra’s blessed with decent steering and ride quality, which doesn’t dissolve when the high-economy Hybrid powertrain slips in under the hood. The spice level goes up to at least two peppers with the 201-hp turbo-4 in the Elantra N Line—and the coming Elantra N tosses on more capsaicin to mix explosive acceleration in with confident grip. 

The Elantra nearly qualifies as a mid-size sedan now, but its low roofline cuts into head room. We’re less pleased by the seats, which need more padding and shaping to suit the long-distance crowd; the Elantra’s plasticky cabin misses the mark set by Honda and Mazda, too.

All Elantras have automatic emergency braking, and both the IIHS and the NHTSA give it their top nods, though its Top Safety Pick award applies only to Limited cars with fancy headlights.

How much does the 2022 Hyundai Elantra cost?

It costs at least $20,875 for the Elantra SE, but we’d spend up to the $22,125 Elantra SEL for its access to features like digital gauges and wireless smartphone charging. At the top of our budget, the $29,275 Limited Hybrid gets those features standard and adds leather upholstery and adaptive cruise control.

Where is the 2022 Hyundai Elantra made?

In Montgomery, Alabama.

7

2022 Hyundai Elantra

Styling

A shredded body hides a plain Elantra interior.

Is the Hyundai Elantra a good-looking car?

It’s exciting; whether it’s timeless remains to be seen. Hyundai’s pivoted sharply with the last three Elantras, from sizzle to snooze. This one’s a feast for the retinas, with its jet-fighter stance and heavily creased body panels. We give it a 7 here, with two points above average for the dazzling new shape.

The body of the Elantra has the carved and chamfered look of a styling mock-up, before it’s smoothed over for mass consumption. It’s technically difficult to manufacture, what with all the diamond-shaped folds around the waist. Its angled wasp waist fades into a fastback roofline that’s stubbed to the rear end with stick-pin taillights. It’s enough to make Honda’s recent Civic swoon with envy.

The cockpit’s enough to send it back for a rework. The steering wheel even looks like it’s sighing at the wave of black plastic that wraps around its controls. Duller and less avant garde, the Elantra sets its front seats in detached cells split by a divider, walled off for no apparent reason. Lots of thrifty trim flanks a big touchscreen, and the dash gets capped with thin bands of air vents.

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5

2022 Hyundai Elantra

Performance

Super-miser Hybrids suit us best, but the Elantra N outperforms.

Under its radical skin, the Elantra offers three distinct power choices, with a fourth on the way. The Hybrid’s our hypermiler favorite, and the Elantra N excites. Base cars do fine commuter detail—and the Elantra N promises ripe performance for a sliver of sedan buyers. We give the Elantra a 5 here for the Hybrid and base versions, but N versions might rate a 6 or more.

Is the Hyundai Elantra 4WD? 

It’s front-drive all around. 

How fast is the Hyundai Elantra?

Base cars and hybrid Elantras aren’t quick. In base spec, the Elantra’s 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 does its best to sip fuel while it sends power to the front wheels. It’s diligent, but there’s not much gusto here. The CVT that doles out power tries to muster gear changes like those on a typical automatic, but it lags even when it’s dialed into Sport mode, and responds slowly even when the gas pedal’s floored. Passing on the freeway takes some calculation.

On the upside, the Elantra can be entertaining to drive. This Elantra has notably better handling than prior versions, with crisp steering feel undercut by some wandering on the highway. It isn’t made of exotic stuff, with its front strut and rear torsion-beam suspension, but it’s damped well for that kind of low-key driving, and its brake pedal tuning adds to the dutiful air. 

Elantra Hybrid performance

We prefer the Elantra Hybrid’s better off-the-line performance. It pairs an electric motor and a 1.3-kwh lithium-ion battery pack to a 1.6-liter inline-4 and a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, for a net of 139 hp. It’s the better of the more frugal Elantras: the electric battery boost responds better at stoplight launches, and its transmission clips through real gears with more natural feel than the CVT. They combine for stellar EPA ratings of up to 54 mpg combined, too.

Hybrids also don a more complex rear multi-link suspension that drives with a stronger sense of stability. It’s planted, and that shows up in the way it corners. The powertrain can stutter as the gas engine clutches in and out, but that’s a minor trade-off for the soaring fuel economy ratings.

Elantra N performance

Minus the Hybrid’s gas-sipping add-ons, plus a turbocharger, the 201-hp Elantra N Line charges up drivers in a different way. Quick enough to scoot to 60 mph in about seven seconds, it also offers a 6-speed manual as standard gear, with a $1,000 7-speed dual-clutch option. It’s vibrant and quick, with a light-touch clutch and a long throw that seems even more satisfying than it is rare.

The Elantra N Line handles well, too. On 235/40 R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires in manual-transmission spec, the Elantra N Line outcorners and outgrips all other versions of the car, and it isn’t just the tires talking. It has an independent rear suspension, stiffer springs, and a rear stabilizer bar paired with bigger front brake rotors. It’s taut without upsetting the ride too much—and at about 3,000 lb, it strikes the right balance between everyday comfort and responsive tuning, while also leaving lots of upward potential for the upcoming Elantra N.

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5

2022 Hyundai Elantra

Comfort & Quality

Thinly padded seats cost the Elantra in comfort.

Hyundai stretched the latest Elantra by a couple of inches in length and by about an inch in width, then lowered its seating position. It sounds great—and interior space is swell. It’s the seats that need work. It’s a 5 here.

The Elantra’s interior space rivals Hyundai’s own mid-size Sonata. Our 6-foot staffers fit easily in its low-set front seats, which still offer good head room though it’s about an inch closer to the ground than before. 

It’s the chintzy fabrics and thin padding on low-spec Elantras that strike us as too thrifty. Last-generation Elantras had more support and plusher padding—and their lumbar support didn’t have a well-defined outline, as it does on the 2022 edition.

In back, with about 38 inches of leg room, the Elantra can house long-legged passengers well enough, but head room suffers due to the low and sloping roof. With the rear seatbacks folded down, the Elantra extends its 14.2 cubic feet of trunk space.

The seats aren’t the only quality issue in this Elantra. Hard black plastic rises higher on the doors and dash, and a sense of low-cost execution pervades the cabin. Gloss plastic on touchscreens and grab handles could open a dozen FBI cold cases, with all the fingerprints they capture. The back seat doesn’t have air vents or USB ports. Call it a setback, of a minor kind.

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7

2022 Hyundai Elantra

Safety

The Elantra acquits itself well in crashes.

How safe is the Hyundai Elantra?

It’s safe, but there’s room for improvement. With good test scores and standard active safety equipment, it’s a 7 here.

All Elantras have automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and active lane control. Adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitors can be fitted to most models. 

The NHTSA gives the Elantra five stars overall, with a four-star rating for front-impact protection and five stars for rollover resistance. The IIHS awards it a Top Safety Pick, but only on the Limited version, which gets “Good” headlights; others with “Poor” headlights don’t earn the nod.

The Elantra’s low-mounted front seat and thick roof pillars create blind spots to the rear quarters. We’d spend for a surround-view camera system, but Hyundai doesn’t offer one.

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10

2022 Hyundai Elantra

Features

The Elantra goes overboard on value.

With its excellent warranty, value, infotainment, and standard and optional features, the Elantra’s a perfect 10 here.

Which Hyundai Elantra should I buy?

There’s little reason to spend more for any version above the $20,875 Elantra SE. It sports cloth upholstery, 15-inch wheels, power windows and locks, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Still, it’s not much more for the $22,125 Elantra SEL, which adds 16-inch wheels, satellite radio, and automatic climate control, and grants buy-in access to Premium and Convenience packages—which include stuff like heated front seats, digital gauges, and wireless smartphone charging.

We also recommend the $24,775 Elantra Hybrid Blue, which gets the equipment of the gas-only SEL. 

How much is a fully loaded Hyundai Elantra?

The $26,625 Elantra Limited and $29,275 Limited Hybrid stock those add-ons, plus leather upholstery, a 10.3-inch touchscreen, non-wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and adaptive cruise control. Its options range from Bose audio to 17-inch wheels, a power driver seat, a sunroof, and an Android smartphone-based key that can unlock and start the car without a physical key. 

Performance fans, it’ll cost you just $25,275 for the sporty Elantra N Line.

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7

2022 Hyundai Elantra

Fuel Economy

Even non-hybrid Elantras post great gas mileage.

Is the Hyundai Elantra good on gas?

It is, even with only gas powering its front wheels. With EPA ratings of 33 mpg city, 43 highway, 37 combined, that version earns our score of 7 here. In SEL and Limited trim it dips to 31/41/35 mpg, with its heavier features and larger tires. 

Of course, the Elantra Hybrid fares even better, with EPA ratings of 49/52/50 mpg in Limited trim and 53/56/54 mpg in Blue spec.

The Elantra N Line settles in at 28/36/31 mpg with the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or 25/31/28 mpg with the 6-speed stick shift.

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$19,850
MSRP based on SE IVT
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6.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety 7
Features 10
Fuel Economy 7
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2022 Hyundai Elantra Pricing Insights

  • 2021 Hyundai Elantras available; 2022s arriving
  • Lease: From $159 for 36 months
  • Rebates: Up to $1,000
  • Finance: From 0.0% APR + Deferral
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