Taking this into consideration, I attended the recent launch of the Tucson Sport and updated Elantra Sport at the Red Star Raceway outside Delmas with an open mind.
The Elantra was due for an update with the outgoing model having been available since 2011. The pre-facelift version was also the Wesbank SAGMJ Car of the Year in 2012, meaning the brand had a solid base to work with when modernising its Corolla rival.
The regular Elantra model benefits from a revised front and rear end which suits the current Hyundai corporate identity with front projector headlamps, daytime running lights, new fog lamps and a high-mount rear brake lamp along with new alloy wheel designs.
The new Sport model gets a more aggressive front bumper and grille as well as automatic projection headlamps, LED rear combination taillights and dual exhausts. The updated Elantra really looks great, which is not always the case with sedans these days. Most of my colleagues and the general public seemed to appreciate its new found sense of style when we shared its images over social media pages during the product launch.
In the powertrain department, the Elantra is available with a 94kW/154Nm 1.6-litre naturally aspirated motor linked to either a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic gearbox.
Moving up the range, we find a 115kW/195Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated model that is only available with the aforementioned self-shifter. The Sport model gets the brand’s impressive 1.6-litre turbo petrol motor with 150kW/265Nm, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch (DCT) gearbox.
The latter powertrain combination was the only Elantra available for us to drive at launch, and from my experience both on the road and track, I can say that the gearbox and engine combination brings the Elantra more up to date with current automotive trends.
While the gearbox isn’t super quick, it makes for effortless progress in combination with the torquey turbo mill. We’ll delve deeper in to the specification of the Elantra models in our upcoming road test.
The Tucson Sport was a bit of a surprise for me when I arrived at the national media launch, as I was under the impression that we were there for the Elantra. That being said, I do like what the brand has done with this model.
In very basic terms, it’s a sporty-looking front-wheel drive turbo Tucson with 150kW/295Nm, but if you look a bit closer you’ll note the new bodykit, bespoke alloy wheels and a quad-pipe exhaust system. The Tucson Sport is a local Hyundai development with the bodykit coming from South Korea and the wheels and exhaust being supplied locally.
I drove the Sport around the track and tackled a 100km route on the road, and was impressed not only by its handing, for an SUV, but also by its sporty exhaust note and the way it attracts attention. It’s like a mini-Range Rover Sport in the aesthetics department.
Warranty and service
The Elantra and Tucson models are backed by a five-year/90 000km service plan as well as a five-year/150 000km warranty, which includes an extra two-year/ 50 000km mechanical warranty meaning seven years or 200 000km of worry-free motoring powertrain wise.
1.6 Executive - R299 900
1.6 Executive AT - R314 900
2.0 Elite AT - R349 900
1.6 T-GDI Elite DCT - R399 900
1.6 T-GDI Sport - R499 900