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First some background, a few years ago I picked up an AWD SFS 2.0T. I was in the market for a crossover at the time but still wanted something at least a little bit sporty. The 2.4L SFS didn't cut it but I immediately fell in love with the 2.0T. Very peppy for a bigger vehicle with smooth torque and comfortable ride. It's a great vehicle and obviously practical for the Nova Scotian winters I deal with.

This time of year though I always long for a sportier car. I had my wife's Accent in for a service appointment today and the dealer had an Elantra Sport (DCT) on the lot so I asked for the keys and took it for a half hour spin. A mix of highway and town driving. A few quick impressions:

- LOVE the exhaust note.

- Not as peppy as I expected it to be, but still very fun to drive and blows the doors off the regular Elantra (which I owned prior to the SFS). I was expecting it to feel much quicker than my SFS but actually found them to feel about the same speed wise considering the considerable size difference. I do give the edge to the ES though. I know the 2.0T is a much more powerful engine (265HP / 269ft-lb was the spec my model year) but I guess I expected the 200HP of the 1.6T to feel faster in a lighter sedan. Or maybe I'm just so used to my 2.0T that it's actually more powerful than I'm realizing.

- Feels rough at times, but understandable given the low profile tires and stiffer suspension. And I am used to the smooth ride of the SFS so that was an adjustment in itself.

- Speaking of suspension I pushed the ES a little hard around a curving highway off-ramp and wow, that independent rear suspension really makes a difference. Felt it immediately and loved it. Great move by Hyundai there.

- Interior is nice enough, still prefer my SFS though I think. The infotainment system seems pretty solid at least for my usage, and Apple CarPlay would be a massive feature to have for sure. Didn't get a chance to play with the sunroof as it was rainy here today.

- The transmission... Not sure how I feel about it. Something seemed off about first gear and it passes way too fast. Also didn't seem to get much oomph out of it when accelerating. Once up into 2nd and 3rd the car pulled quite nicely, but it's almost like 1st is just in the way even on a normal takeoff. I also had high hopes for the paddle shifters but I didn't find myself using them very much during the half hour I had the car out. Definitely a fun feature to have though to make the DCT a little more interesting.

Overall I do really like the Elantra Sport and it's now on my radar for the future. It's definitely quick, looks great, sounds awesome, and has excellent features for the money. If this car had the 2.0T I probably would have traded in the SFS on the spot. I'm excited to see where Hyundai goes from here with the ES and I wouldn't be surprised if I got into one before the 2019 model year.

Any other SFS owners out there who test drove the ES? Would be curious to know what you thought about it!
 
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