2018 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2017 Volkswagen Golf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Automatic Emergency Braking optional in the Elantra Sedan as “Superior.” The Golf scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Golf doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Golf have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Elantra Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 60 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2017.

Warranty

The Elantra Sedan comes with a full 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Golf’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Elantra Sedan 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Golf. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Golf ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 28 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Elantra Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 19th in reliability. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 15 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 31 more horsepower (201 vs. 170) than the Golf’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Elantra Sedan Eco gets better fuel mileage than the Golf Auto (32 city/40 hwy vs. 25 city/35 hwy).

Transmission

A six-speed manual is available on the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the Golf.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is available on the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Golf.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Golf doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Elantra Sedan Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf:

 

Elantra Sedan Sport

Golf

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.3 inches

The Elantra Sedan stops shorter than the Golf:

 

Elantra Sedan

Golf

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf (225/45R17 vs. 205/55R16).

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf Wolfsburg’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra Sedan Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. The Golf’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Elantra Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Golf’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Elantra Sedan’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Golf (106.3 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra Sedan is .1 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Golf.

For better maneuverability, the Elantra Sedan’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Golf’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Elantra Sedan has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Golf uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Elantra Sedan Limited is quieter than the Golf S (35 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Elantra Sedan is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the Golf is rated a Compact.

The Elantra Sedan has 2.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf (95.8 vs. 93.5).

The Elantra Sedan has .4 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Golf doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is optional on the Elantra Sedan to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volkswagen doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Golf.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Elantra Sedan Limited, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Golf doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional Seat Easy Access glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Golf doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Elantra Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Golf’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Elantra Sedan Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Golf doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited has standard extendable sun visors. The Golf doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Elantra Sedan Limited with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Golf’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Elantra Sedan’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Golf offer available heated front seats. The Elantra Sedan Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Golf.

The Elantra Sedan (except SE/SEL)’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Golf doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Elantra Sedan (except SE/SEL)’s optional automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Golf doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Elantra Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the Golf is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Golf because it costs $108 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the Golf, including $193 less for a water pump, $90 less for an alternator, $31 less for front brake pads, $327 less for a starter, $33 less for fuel injection, $79 less for a fuel pump, $208 less for front struts and $129 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Elantra Sedan will be $1436 to $2702 less than for the Volkswagen Golf.

Recommendations

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Volkswagen Golf/GTI by almost three to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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