What It Is
A handsome coupe that's affordable and fuel-efficient.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe looks good inside and out
Looks sporty, but doesn't drive that way
Like the sedan, the coupe offers buyers a strong value proposition
It wasn't long ago that Hyundai sought to stir the compact sedan pot with the introduction of the dramatically styled Elantra, and after much success, it's only logical the automaker would look to expand the range with the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe. The coupe is the iPad to the sedan's MacBook; it does a lot of the same things, but it's sleeker. And while the Coupe is basically the same size--it's actually a half-inch longer--the exclusion of what may be an excessive amount doors for some people only looks to further the appeal of the Elantra nameplate, as does the European inspired Elantra GT hatchback.
In addition to giving the 2013 Hyundai Elantra another aesthetic, it offers the surging Korean automaker a counter to the Honda Civic Coupe, and to a lesser extent, the Scion tC. Like the sedan version of the Elantra, the 2013 Elantra Coupe is powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine capable of producing 148 horsepower. And while that bests the Civic Coupe's 140-hp, the sporty styling of the Elantra Coupe builds an expectation of even greater performance; you expect more oomph. But the tradeoff in underwhelming performance is fuel economy: an EPA estimated 27 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway for the automatic model we drove; the standard six-speed manual transmission even offers a 1mpg bump in both driving environments.
There are other changes too: Hyundai tweaked the suspension and steering for a sportier ride, but the Coupe still feels like an econo-cruiser that will float you along in fine fashion. That's a good thing, because we did a lot of Southern California floating--riding on unique 17-inch alloy wheels made just for the two-door version--we spent a few days covering all manner of roads to find out just what Hyundai's coupe was made of.
What We DroveWhile you can get in to an entry-level 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe for just over $18,000 after delivery, our model came fitted with all the bells and whistles. The six-speed automatic transmission SE model we drove starts at $21,520 after delivery, and our model added the Technology Package, which tacks on an extra $2,350, bringing our model up to $23,965. What exactly do you get for all that money? In typical Hyundai fashion, a whole lot of content: keyless entry with alarm; turn signals mounted in the heated outside mirrors; Bluetooth; iPod and USB inputs; alloy pedals; sliding center armrest; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; rear-center armrest with cupholders, and more. The Technology Package adds navigation with a 7-inch screen; backup camera; 360 watt premium audio system; proximity key with push-button start; and dual climate-control.
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe is nearly identical to the sedan and offers similar safety systems, but has yet to be crash-tested as it is a new model. LATCH points are accessible but if a child safety seat is a mainstay in your car, or you'll need to frequently put insert and remove one, you're better off opting for the sedan.
The CommuteThe Elantra Coupe is made for--if nothing else--a lot of commuting miles. The SE model we drove boasts 31 mpg combined driving, and falls shy of the magical 40 number on the highway. We averaged economy in the mid- to upper-20s, depending on whether or not we were in Eco mode, which seemed to give us a little less than 2 mpg more. Over the lifetime of a car, with a long commute, that can really add up. But despite the Elantra Coupe's overall aggressive styling and swoopy curves, blacked-out grille up front and dual exhaust pipes in the rear, a sports car this is not. In fact, there's really no semblance of sportiness beyond the looks; you get around town OK, but if you mash the throttle, don't expect much of a response. Then again, if you're looking for performance, there's always the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and the similarly-priced Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
In addition to its sporty looks, and a merit badge for fuel-efficiency, the Elantra Coupe--despite being a coupe--is very comfortable. The seats offer ample support and bolstering, and there's room for four. One issue we did have with the seats was the relatively low seating position that can't be adjusted. This won't be an issue for most drivers, but those on the shorter side may have difficulty seeing, and will notice the coupe's sporty styling means you'll need to rely on the mirrors for better visibility. Once on the road, the premium radio worked well, enhanced by the relatively quiet ride. The dash and controls all look and feel modern, there's no shortage of style in this cabin. While at first it can seem like sensory overload, the controls are well laid-out and functional. Even topped out at $24,000, this cabin looks premium. Fit and finish are as good as anything found at this price.
The Grocery RunHere's the deal: the Elantra Coupe (and Elantra for that matter) come with an exceptional amount of cargo room; if pack-rats and hoarders had an official vehicle in the compact class, this would be it. You really shouldn't need more cargo space, but if you find yourself with a few longboards or Ikea shelf-dresser-whatever-elongated boxes, you can fold the rear seats down. A more relevant concern will be your ten grocery bags flying all over the place as you wind your way home. And while getting stuff in to the trunk isn't an issue, getting yourself out of the car could be--the coupe's exclusion of the two traditional rear doors means the ones up front are longer. It looks nice, but in cramped quarters it doesn't make it any easier to get out. As for kid friendliness, we'll just say it again: If you have children, just get the sedan and save yourself the headaches.
The Weekend FunThe 2013 Elantra Coupe won't exactly leave you pining for open road, but once on the road the two-door fares nicely. There's some body lean, and you'll feel road imperfections in the cabin, but the Elantra Coupe also feels rigid, sturdy, and even floaty at times. But if you've got four occupants or fewer, all can be carted around in relative comfort. The cupholders in the rear-seat armrest will come in handy on road trips, as will the dual-climate control; the heated seat function works well and fast for those up front. And with good fuel economy and a 13.2 gallon tank, the Elantra was seemingly built for long-haul highway drives.
SummaryThe 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe offers Elantra shoppers an attractive, two-door alternative for those not quite ready to commit to a sedan. Like the four door version, the coupe is powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out a competitive 148-hp, and gets good fuel economy to boot. The sporty styling leads in to a modern and premium cabin that will have both the driver and passengers riding in relative style and comfort. If you're angling for performance and a true sports coupe, Hyundai's Genesis Coupe and Veloster Turbo can aid in that department. For shoppers looking for a stylish coupe that's modern, affordable, and fuel efficient, the Elantra Coupe is a good place to start. Those looking to save a little money can opt for the six-speed manual-transmission, which returns slightly better fuel economy than the six-speed automatic transmission, but the automatic seems to match the Elantra Coupe's attractive city-cruiser persona. The Technology package with navigation is also only offered on automatic models.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $23,965
EPA City: 28 mpg
EPA Highway: 39 mpg
EPA Combined: 32 mpg
Estimated Combined Range: 422.4 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Not yet rated
Notebook Quotes"Has all the strengths and weaknesses of the Elantra sedan, especially in (lack of) acceleration. Same with the strengths/weaknesses for being a coupe: large blindspot, difficulty in entering/exiting, etc." -Joel Arellano, Assistant Editor
"This is my favorite Hyundai product that we've sampled so far this year by a wide margin. I like everything about this car, both inside and out." -Trevor Dorchies, Associate Editor
"The Elantra Coupe matches the Civic Coupe blow for blow, and it's certainly got its attributes down on paper, if not in character." -Blake Z. Rong, Associate Editor