2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe SE review: Handsome Hyundai soured by sport suspension

We had a hard time replicating the 2011 model's EPA fuel economy estimates -- and as it turns out, we weren't the only ones -- averaging about 25 mpg with mixed driving. 2013 Elantra models with the automatic transmission are now equipped with an Active Eco mode that attempts to boost driver fuel economy by slightly remapping the input of the accelerator pedal to tune out lead-footedness for smooth, even acceleration. This comes at the expense of a bit of accelerator pedal tip-in responsiveness -- not so much that the car becomes annoyingly slow, but it definitely takes some getting used to.

Elantra buttons
Tapping the Active Eco button slightly boosts the Elantra's economy, but still wasn't enough to match the EPA's estimates. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Our 2013 model's economy estimates have also been slightly revised by the EPA to 27 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. Unfortunately, we had even worse luck trying to match those numbers, ending up at about 22.1 mpg over a combined cycle that included quite a bit of freeway cruising in the Active Eco mode.

New-old cabin tech
The Elantra Coupe also features the same cabin tech package that is available in the sedan. This includes the same 7-inch touch-screen navigation system that debuted in 2011. The system is flash-memory-based and is quite responsive to touch input and search queries. The maps are 2D only, with no angled bird's-eye view, but are easy enough to read and feature a split-screen detail view and graphical lane guidance when approaching turns or highway exits.

Hyundai navigation
Hyundai uses its older navigation system in the Elantra Coupe. It's simple, yet still effective. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Spec the navigation system and you also get a simple rearview camera that makes use of the screen when reversing, a decent premium audio system, keyless entry and start, and dual-zone climate controls.

Should you skip the tech package altogether, the Elantra Coupe will still be reasonably equipped. Bluetooth hands-free calling with voice command is standard, as is Bluetooth audio streaming. The Hyundai USB port and auxiliary input combo is standard, as well, and can be bridged with a $35, 30-pin dock connector cable to allow full-speed control and browsing of an iPod or iPhone. The use of the dock connector cable pretty much precludes iPhone 5 compatibility without the additional purchase of a Lightning-to-30-pin Adapter.

Interestingly, the 2013 Elantra Coupe is not available with Hyundai's new Blue Link telematics suite, which debuted in the 2012 Hyundai Veloster .

In sum
The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe starts at $17,445 for the base GS model with the automatic transmission. At that level, it's fairly well equipped with the vehicle's full array of available digital audio sources, but our tester was an SE model that adds 17-inch wheels, the sport-tuned suspension, a power sunroof, and leather trim in the interior -- along with a few other styling tweaks -- for $19,745. We've also got the six-speed automatic transmission, a $1,000 option, which unlocks the way to the Technology package for another $2,350. Add $95 for floormats and $775 to get it to the dealership, and you'll reach our as-tested price of $23,965. That's not a bad price; Hyundai's strongest selling point is its value.

The Elantra Coupe is a good value, but I liked the sedan's handling and four-door flexibility better. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

However, I'm not sold on the SE Coupe's "sport-tuned" suspension, and I'd rather do without its fickleness, particularly since the Elantra isn't fast or sporty by any stretch of those words. For my approximately $24,000, I'd grab a fully loaded Elantra Limited Sedan. It has the same tech, is just as attractive (if you like Hyundai's swoopy, coupe-y styling), has a more accessible rear seat, and is more compliant and stable over rough roads. If you're going to drive slowly, you may as well be comfortable.

Tech specs
Model 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
Trim SE
Power train 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine with direct injection, 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic, FWD
EPA fuel economy 27 city, 37 highway, 31 combined mpg
Observed fuel economy 22.1mpg
Navigation Optional solid-state system
Bluetooth phone support Standard with voice command
Disc player Single-slot CD
MP3 player support Standard analog 3.5mm auxiliary input, USB connection, Bluetooth audio streaming, optional iPod connection
Other digital audio SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Audio system Optional 360W premium audio with digital external amp
Driver aids Optional rearview camera
Base price $19,745
Price as tested $23,965

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe SE

Part Number: 200425340

MSRP: $20,745.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Body style Coupe
  • Available Engine Gas