3 Reasons the 2024 Hyundai Elantra is Still the Best-Value Compact Car

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Folks looking to stretch their dollars will be hard-pressed to beat the Elantra.

I don’t have to remind you that car prices are only going up. Beyond exceptions here and there, stickers are thousands more than they were just four years ago. That’s a big reason the 2024 Hyundai Elantra SEL (Preferred in Canada) impressed us when we recently spent a week with it. The compact sedan is one of the more affordable options on the market, yet it features a whole lot of stuff buyers demand—and all for around half the price of the average new-car transaction price ($47,401 in January, according to Kelly Blue Book).

Is it the best small car out there? Maybe, maybe not. But here are three reasons the ’24 Elantra pegs the value-meter:

Tons of space

Hyundai stretched the Elantra out for this generation, and in the process stretched the definition of “small car” too. The Elantra isn’t just neck-and-neck with its big brother Sonata for headroom and legroom: with 38.0 inches (965 millimeters) of rear legroom, it beats the mid-sizer by over three inches (75 mm). It’s the most spacious backseat in the class.

The cabin feels it as well. The dashboard design emphasizes the width, and the window line starts nice and low. It’s an easy car to see out of and place on the road, so while it’s big inside, the Elantra doesn’t feel big to drive.

There’s just one problem with this one: in Canada, the Preferred skips the 60/40-folding rear bench.

Lots of tech

Quick, name a car that lists for under $30,000 with native navigation. There aren’t many, but the Elantra is one. Notably, Hyundai offers the navigation on this mid-level trim, instead of locking it away on the highest grade, or making it a subscription. Sure, you can use your phone anyway, but it’s good to know there’s a system baked in should you want to save data.

Depending on the country, buyers will get more tech with the optional mid-trim package, dubbed Convenience (USA) or Tech (Canada). The former adds a more robust automated emergency braking system, adaptive cruise control, and a wireless charger. The latter package introduces larger screens, a Bluelink subscription, Sirius XM radio, and dual-zone climate control.

Frugal and functional

The Elantra isn’t quite the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid model in its class: officially the Honda Civic holds that crown. Yet the Elantra isn’t that far off, posting a combined 34 mpg (6.8 L/100 km). We found that an accurate figure during our week with the car, too. Buyers who really value savings at the pump can skip the options package and keep the smaller wheels, which only improve the fuel economy score. Either way, the Elantra’s frugality ensures low running costs.

Mechanically, this is as straightforward as a modern car can be. A naturally aspirated engine, a torsion beam rear suspension: neither are high tech, and they get the job done with minimal fuss.

Add it all up, and the Elantra promises a long and painless ownership experience.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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