What Is It?

The 2014 Hyundai Elantra encompasses a number of revisions and upgrades for the Korean company's popular compact sedan, seen for the first time here at the 2013 LA Auto Show.

In time-honored fashion, almost every car gets a mid-generation tweak. For the Elantra, we're looking at a new nose and tail, as well as changes in the cabin's layout.

What was once the entry-level GLS trim has become SE. A rearview camera is now available for this base model.

The chassis of the new-to-the-range Sport model has been tuned to provide a more athletic ride than the other versions. This complements a new engine: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 173 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque. It also has its own design of alloy wheels, along with aluminum pedals.

Joining the SE, Limited and Sport trims is the GT model, also featuring revisions for 2014 while bringing hatchback practicality -- 51 cu ft of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.

The GT receives the same 2.0-liter engine as the Sport to complement its sport-tuned suspension. Transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. All Elantra models are front-wheel drive.

A generous level of standard equipment is another reason to consider the GT: cooled glove box, heated front seats, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, Bluetooth, iPod integration and satellite radio/CD/AM/FM/MP3 player.

Throughout the lineup, sound deadening has been increased, ergonomics improved and the heating/air-conditioning system upgraded.

How Much?

No official word as yet, but the 2013 Elantra lineup starts at $16,965. Expect a modest hike from there.

When Can You Get It?

Early 2014

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

It's a great car for the price. Standard equipment levels are competitive, and interior space is generous enough for the Environmental Protection Agency to classify it as a midsize car.

The 2013 model is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus, and scored a maximum of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's crash-test program. The new model adds a hill-start-assist feature and a blind spot mitigation driver's mirror as standard.

The 2014 Hyundai Elantra should perform just as well as its previous model years in strong resale value, aided by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Ford Focus -- There are many wise choices in this field, but the Focus is on the upper level. It provides a comfortable yet controlled ride -- plus good tech features -- in sedan and hatchback form.

2014 Honda Civic -- A perennial favorite for a reason. Good build quality, superb reliability.

2014 Kia Forte -- Sharing the same underpinnings as an Elantra, this may appeal to someone who prefers the Forte's styling over the Hyundai version.

2014 Mazda3 -- Great to drive, cheap to run, should hold its value well. An all-new generation kicks in for the 2014 model year, offering sedan and hatchback body styles.

2014 Toyota Corolla -- Another mainstay of the compact sedan class and the best-selling car nameplate in the world. An all-new generation debuts for the 2014 model year.

Used Toyota Prius -- Assuming a compact size is required and fuel consumption is a major factor, an average of 50 miles per gallon in a used Prius could be just the ticket. It's also a handy hatch.

Used Honda Accord -- If a larger sedan is preferable, a top midsize sedan such as an Accord is an easy choice. A 2010 well-equipped LX example in excellent condition would come in under the Elantra's starting price.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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