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Driven: Aussie-tuned Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo arrives

Warmed up: Hyundai’s Elantra SR Turbo will be the spiciest small car in its line-up until the arrival of the i30 N hot hatch.

Tweaked Elantra marks debut of new i30 platform for Hyundai’s ‘warmest’ hatch yet

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Hyundai logo11 Oct 2016

By TIM ROBSON

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has high hopes for its warmed-over Elantra SR Turbo small sedan – a model it is describing as the most dynamic car it has ever produced.

Sporting an uprated version of the same 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that is used in the Veloster Turbo, the force-fed SR T slots in at the top of the Elantra line-up, priced from $28,990 plus on-road costs for the six-speed manual-equipped variant and $31,290 when equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission.

HMCA director of marketing Oliver Mann was effusive in his praise for the car, which has had its chassis extensively tuned by local engineers.

“It’s a high watermark for Hyundai for dynamic capability and point-to-point speed,” Mr Mann told journalists at the car’s launch in Albury, New South Wales, last week.

“It’s the warmest one we’ve ever done.”

The company has previously released dynamically retuned versions of its i30 and Veloster, utilising the services of UK-based suspension expert David Potter and using chassis parts trialled and developed in Australia.

Mr Mann said he also believed the SR range would continue to have a place in a Hyundai line-up that is set to include bona fide high-performance N models, starting with the circa-192kW i30N due later next year.

“I think we’re gently expanding our footprint into warm versions of our range,” he said. “While this is the warmest yet, we wouldn’t describe it as a hot sedan, and the i30N will be a step on.

“We shouldn’t confuse the two they stand distinct from each other.”

Mr Mann added that the company had yet to decide the make-up of the new i30 range, including whether the SR moniker would be used underneath the sporting N line.

“We’ll have to wait and see on that,” he said.

Mr Mann estimated that the SR Turbo would account for 30 per cent of all Elantra sales, which stand at 3698 for the year to the end of September, which is 41.5 per cent down on the same period last year. Manual versions are forecast to account for 20 per cent of SR Turbo sales.

Based on the range-topping Elite, the Elantra SR Turbo comes with a unique bodykit comprising front and rear bumper and side skirts, blackened grille and sports exhaust tips.

It makes 150kW of power at 6000rpm and 265Nm of torque from 1500-4500rpm. It offers the same output as the Veloster Turbo, despite mechanical changes to the intercooler, turbocharger and turbo wastegate on the Elantra.

It will go up against the $26,990 Nissan Pulsar SSS, which is powered by a 140kW/240Nm 1.6-litre four, the outgoing $27,140 Holden Cruze SRi-Z with its 132kW/230Nm 1.6-litre engine and the just-launched auto-only Honda Civic RS at $31,790, which develops 127kW/220Nm from a 1.5-litre VTEC four-cylinder.

Its fuel economy is rated at 6.1 litres per 100km for the manual, and 5.8L/100km for the auto. It uses a 50-litre fuel tank.

The Elantra SR Turbo also debuts the multi-link rear suspension system that will be seen in the new i30. The larger structural elements of the system have not impacted the boot volume of 458 litres, but it does mean the SR Turbo can only be offered with a space-saver spare wheel.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are fitted at each corner.

The suspension system itself has slightly stiffer front springs, a 1mm thicker front anti-roll bar and a lower-geared rack for the electrically assisted steering system. The front suspension system is based around a traditional MacPherson strut arrangement.

The brakes have also been slightly upgraded, with larger 305mm rotors up front – an increase of 25mm in diameter and 2mm in thickness over the standard Elantra. The rear discs are unchanged.

Inside, the SR Turbo scores sports bucket seats with red-stitched black fabric, black headlining, alloy pedals and wheel-mounted shift paddles for the dual-clutch version.

Other standard features include a revised instrument cluster design, 10-way powered and heated driver’s seat, automatic headlights/wipers, LED daytime running lamps, bi-Xenon headlights, LED tail-lights, keyless entry with alarm, push-button start, 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an electric sunroof.

An optional red leather interior treatment is available for an extra $295, metallic paint costs the same, while a set of Pirelli-equipped 18-inch rims will also be available as an option.

Only the dual-clutch-equipped SR Turbo is fitted with a three-way drive mode selector switch, which modifies the behaviour of the throttle map, gearshift speed and steering weight between Eco, Normal and Sport modes. The manual version has a Sports steering setting and a normal throttle map.

The SR Turbo’s safety package includes blind-spot detection with lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera, Isofix child seat mounts, front parking sensors and six airbags.

It does miss out on a driver’s knee airbag and autonomous emergency braking, which feature on other Hyundai models. Despite the omissions, it holds a maximum five-star crash-test rating from ANCAP.

2016 Hyundai Elantra pricing*
Active$21,490
Active (a)$23,790
Elite (a)$26,490
SR Turbo$28,990
SR Turbo (a)$31,290
*Excludes on-road costs

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