The 2014 Hyundai Elantra is one of the best-selling cars in the country, and for good reason. It offers an excellent warranty, a roomy and comfortable interior, and sleek styling all for an affordable price. Plus, Hyundai has updated the 2014 Elantra significantly. You could, however, get a leftover 2013 model or even a certified pre-owned version for much less than you might pay for the updated 2014 Elantra.

Are the differences between the 2014 Hyundai Elantra and the 2013 model significant enough to justify the added cost? Let's take a look.

    

Exterior

The 2014 Elantra lineup has changed. The car continues as a coupe, a sedan and a GT hatchback model, but Hyundai has eliminated trim levels for the coupe, while the sedan lineup shifts to value-laden SE, sporty Sport and luxury-themed Limited models.

To the untrained eye, the 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedan looks just like the 2013 model. However, the new Elantra Sedan features subtle styling changes as well as LED front accent lights and taillights for the Sport and Limited trim levels. All models have redesigned aluminum wheels, ranging from 15 inches in diameter for the Elantra SE to 17 inches for the Sport and Limited models. Sport models include an exposed exhaust tip and a rear spoiler for 2014.

If you're shopping the 2014 Elantra Coupe, it now comes standard with a black grille surrounded by a chrome strip, turn signal repeaters on the side mirror housings, a standard rear spoiler and new 17-in aluminum wheel design wrapped in 215/45 tires. The LED front accent lights and LED taillights are optional.

That brings us to the Elantra GT, which sees no exterior modifications except optional LED taillights.

      

Interior

For 2014, both the Elantra Coupe and the Elantra Sedan have a revised center control panel with relocated center vents and dual climate-control dials, as well as a new shifter for the automatic transmission. Several steps are taken to reduce noise, vibration and harshness for both body styles. Also, the Elantra Sedan receives a taller center console armrest design, and is offered with a new Beige interior color. The Elantra Sport gets aluminum pedals, and both the Sport and the Limited have aluminum doorsill trim.

Hyundai makes no changes to the Elantra GT model's interior for 2014.

    

Mechanicals

Perhaps the most significant change to the 2014 Hyundai Elantra lineup is the new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 173 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 154 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. In the Elantra Coupe and the Elantra GT, this new engine replaces the previous 1.8-liter engine, which delivered less power but also provided greater fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the new 2.0-liter gets 28 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving with an automatic transmission, while the old 1.8-liter returns 32 mpg combined.

In addition to the more powerful standard engine, the Elantra Coupe gains standard sport-tuned steering and suspension calibration for 2014. These components are shared with the new 2014 Elantra Sport Sedan, along with the bigger motor. The Elantra SE and Limited Sedan models continue to employ the weaker 148-hp 1.8-liter engine, but they do get a new Driver Selectable Steering Mode that allows the driver to choose among Comfort, Normal and Sport effort-level settings.

    

Features

For 2014, the Elantra Coupe adds a standard cooled glove box, automatic operation for the driver's window and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, while the Elantra GT sees no changes. Hyundai makes numerous upgrades to the Elantra Sedan, highlighted in the Technology and Safety sections below.

    

Technology

All 2014 Hyundai Elantra Sedans except for the base SE without the Preferred Equipment Package have a new audio system with a 4.3-in color touchscreen. Limited models come standard with Blue Link connectivity and Assurance Connected Care services, and the Elantra Limited can be optioned with a next-generation 7-in touchscreen navigation and infotainment system that includes Pandora Internet radio.

If you're choosing the 2014 Elantra Coupe, a new Technology Package adds Blue Link, Hyundai Assurance Connected Care, LED front accent lights and LED taillights, and the navigation and infotainment system with Pandora Internet radio. As is proving a recurring theme for the 2014 Elantra GT, there are no tech-related changes to report.

    

Safety

All three versions of the 2014 Hyundai Elantra get a new driver's side blind spot rearview mirror as standard. A reversing camera is standard for the Elantra Coupe this year and is included for all versions of the Elantra Sedan except for the base SE model without the Preferred Equipment Package.

Note that the Elantra Sedan and Elantra GT retain their 5-star crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while the Elantra Coupe remains untested. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calls the Elantra Sedan a Top Safety Pick for 2014, and the new car gets the same ratings it has had since its last redesign for the 2011 model year.

Conclusions

Unless you really want the more powerful but less fuel-efficient 2.0-liter engine that debuts for the 2014 Elantra GT, you should save yourself a little cash and get the previous model.

That advice doesn't hold true for the 2014 Elantra Coupe, because if you choose to purchase an older model you will miss out on a number of upgrades and refinements, not the least of which is the available Blue Link connectivity and services system, the next-generation navigation and infotainment system, added safety features and what promises to be improved responsiveness and handling due to the more powerful engine and revised steering and suspension. Clearly, there is greater incentive to buy the new Elantra Coupe over an older one, unless you value fuel economy over a sporting nature and technology.

Similarly, with the Elantra Sedan, the decision depends on what you value. People who like to drive will definitely want to check out the new Elantra Sport model. Trouble is, you can't get Blue Link on the Sport model, keyless passive entry with push-button starting, a premium sound system, a navigation system or dual-zone automatic climate control. Those things are offered only for the less powerful but more fuel-efficient Elantra Limited.

Finally, if you're on a budget and looking at the 2014 Elantra SE, you should consider a leftover 2013 Elantra or a certified-used version to save thousands of dollars while getting a car that is nearly as good.

author photo

Christian Wardlaw is passionate about the cars, trucks, and SUVs people actually buy, not the models about which they fantasize. An industry veteran and former editor-in-chief of Edmunds.com, this father of 4 loves to inform and entertain everyday car buyers.

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