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Hyundai previews spicy Elantra SR

Mean streak: Styling changes have given the Elantra SR a bolder, more aggressive look than the entry-level versions of the small sedan.

Sporty Hyundai Elantra SR revealed in South Korea ahead of third quarter Aus debut

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Hyundai logo29 Apr 2016

By ROBBIE WALLIS

HYUNDAI has revealed its 150kW sports-focused Elantra SR that will sit at the top of its small sedan range when it arrives in the third quarter of this year.

Previewed overnight in its native South Korea under the Avante Sport moniker, the SR features some exterior and interior styling tweaks over the regular Elantra for a more aggressive look, as well as a number of changes under the bonnet.

The most significant mechanical change is with the engine, where the SR will ditch the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in favour of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit – the same one used in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo and recently discontinued Kia Pro_cee'd GT.

Power output will be the same as the Veloster, with the GDi turbo engine producing 150kW/265Nm, a generous bump up from the 112kW/192Nm in the regular Elantra that launched in February.

The SR will be offered with both a manual gearbox and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia public relations general manager Bill Thomas said that the Elantra SR has been undergoing local testing to fine-tune its suspension for Australian roads.

“We've had a couple of the cars in the country for a couple of months doing suspension tuning,” he said.

“It's got independent rear suspension so technically I guess you could say it's superior to the other Elantra models.

“That independent rear (suspension) allowed the guys some more scope with tuning, so I think they've done a fairly good job on that.”

Mr Thomas also said that the steering has been tuned to suit the suspension changes.

Changes to the exterior include a dual exhaust system, a more aggressive grille, a revised rear bumper and an increase to 18-inch wheels, up from the 16s and 17s of the standard Elantra.

In the cabin, changes for the SR include red accents on the more thoroughly bolstered seats, a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel, carbon-fibre accents on the dash and red and black highlights throughout, including red stitching on the seats, steering wheel and gearshift gaiter.

Mr Thomas said that the interior styling upgrades were a welcome change, after Hyundai Australia had campaigned for more exciting interiors for its performance models for a while.

“All that stuff is really nice for us because we've been crying out for some cosmetic enhancements with cars like the i30 SR, but they weren't made available to us.

“So it's nice to have those extra bits of styling both inside and outside.”

Pricing is yet to be confirmed for Australia, however punters can expect the manual version to come from a shade under $30,000 before on-road costs, with the dual-clutch version fetching a slight premium.

Timing has not been locked in for the SR, but GoAuto understands it is likely to lob in September this year.

There are few direct rivals for the Elantra SR in Australia, but it could face competition from the Mazda3 SP25 GT sedan, priced at $29,790 BOCs for the manual version, the upcoming Honda Civic RS sedan from $31,790 or the 140kW Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan from $26,990 in manual guise.

To the end of March, Hyundai has sold 1759 Elantras in 2016 following the arrival of the sixth-generation model in February.

However its year-to-date figure is down 11.3 per cent on the same period in 2015 when Hyundai had sold 1983 new Elantras.

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