The SR sits at the apex of the three model, sixth generation Elantra range.
Built on a new, European-designed platform that will underpin the next generation i30 (local release due second quarter 2017), the new Elantra SR sedan features a unique-to-the-model multi-link independent rear suspension, a turbo-petrol engine as used in the Veloster SR turbo and optimisation of the chassis and suspension, tuned for local conditions by Hyundai Australia’s in-house tuning team.
Other features of the SR – not found on its lesser siblings – include larger front brakes, HID bi-xenon headlights, sports pedals, twin exhaust tips, sports body kit, twin-spoke design 17” alloys, revised interior trims, blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and front parking assist. Unfortunately, there’s a space saver spare tyre instead of the full-size unit provided in other versions.
As befits the performance-oriented model, there’s a fair chunk of extra grunt being churned out by the turbo engine, compared to the 2.0-litre MPi powerplant found in the Active and Elite. At 150kW @ 6000rpm and 265Nm @ 1500-4500rpm, identical numbers to the donor Veloster, maximum power and torque are up by 34 and 38 percent respectively.
Open the throttle to get off the line and there’s some initial lag and doughiness before the engine heeds the call to action. Once under way though, performance feels responsive, flexible and satisfyingly potent, but falls short of exhilarating.
Most buyers are likely to opt for the seven-speed dual-clutch auto, though our test car was sporting the slick-shifting, six-speed manual box.
Hyundai’s local chassis tuners have nailed that frequently-elusive balance between sporty dynamics and composed comfortable ride characteristics. The SR’s ride is taut, but never feels flustered or uncomfortable, regardless of road surface conditions. The steering has less power assistance and a slightly faster rack ratio than standard. It’s nicely weighted and responsive. Take to the twisties and the SR proves surprisingly capable and fun to drive, cornering with an engaging confidence and fluidity.
The cabin is a pleasant place to be, with comfortable seating and controls that are easy to interact with. The lack of a position memory function on the power driver’s seat appears a notable equipment omission, though. The low sweep of the rear roofline impacts rear access and rear head room, while old fashioned gooseneck boot hinges intrude into an otherwise usefully proportioned boot space.