2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T: Act Quickly? by Cliff Leppke Sometimes sport in auto marking parlance designates racier trim but not much more. Hyundai’s Elantra Sport is a different sort. It apes Honda’s Civic SI or VW’s Jetta GLI. Hyundai starts with a sensible compact sedan and adds truly racier machinery including an independent rear suspension. Act fast, Hyundai says the M/T didn’t make the cut for 2020. The now-discontinued six-speed manual Elantra Sport corrals 201 turbocharged stallions. This front-drive 1.6-liter mill doesn’t have the torque-induced punch of VW’s GLI. But it’s a gas compared with the base Elantra’s engine, which has the charm of a Fordson tractor. Hyundai short gears this car—compared with, say, VW’s GTI. Engine rpm at 60 mph is about 2250 or higher. The sport-tuned suspension with nicely weighted steering reins it. You dial a flat bottom steering wheel with more feedback than most Hyundais. Meaty rubber—225/40R18-inch Hankook Ventus on Dutch windmill-motif wheels—is track approved. Grip is good. Ride quality is rough. You’ll feel road relationships you never knew existed, as if Henry Louis Gates Jr. were finding your roots. The manual transmission and engine combo seem like they were assembled at Lowe’s. There’s elasticity to the relationship of clutch engagement, engine rpm and vehicle motion. Firmer clutch engagement might help. The shift lever action guides you to the right gear, but it’s not fun to stir. Pedal placement is fine, although the driver’s seat seems skewed. Despite the vague clutch and clunky shifter, I neither stalled the car nor snatched the wrong cog. Elantra’s front brakes are bigger says Hyundai. Pedal effort and feedback are reasonable. The parking brake’s stubby lever is awkward to use. Its shape, size and release button seem better tuned for a riding John Deere lawnmower than a sports sedan. The Elantra’s interior is a festival of hard plastics with cardboard like headliner, visible plugs and screws. Sun visors don’t extend when swiveled sideways. A soft dash pad and armrest offer the only respite from what’s obviously a low-rent district. Front legroom is generous. The rear seat space under the fastback roofline is fairly good. Hyundai eked enough headroom for a six-footer. Those up front get several power options and a very effective air conditioner. When you press the start button, Playskool graphics nag you to pair your phone. Otherwise, the seven-inch infotainment screen’s interface is refreshingly uncomplicated. Hyundai includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Price as tested: $23,665. For a better trimmed Elantra, check out the GT N Line. According to Hyundai’s rep, it’s got nicer duds and similar chassis. Nonetheless, Sport has several conveniences: lighted exterior door handles, keyless entry and pushbutton start. The manual driver’s rudimentary seat doesn't tilt or have adjustable lumbar. Driver assist items include forward collision warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot warning, rear camera with guide lines and rear cross traffic alert. EPA numbers suggest this Sport isn’t very thrifty. I observed a reasonable 30 mpg using regular-grade gas. The EPA says 22 mpg city, 30 highway and 25 combined. It’s been said that you cannot always get what you want. That lament has a verity on wheels— the Elantra Sport. Hyundai, though, offers go for not much dough. Perhaps, that’s all you need. You’ve got to be a good sport, however, to endure the stiff ride and unfriendly interior.