What are the Differences Between the Hyundai Elantra GLS & the SE?by Michael G. Sanchez
Although officially classified as a midsize due to its higher-than-average interior volume, the Elantra competes primarily with compact-class heavy-hitters like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus and Mazda 3. A mid-cycle refresh for the 2014 model year helped keep the Elantra thoroughly up to date. The car received a restyled exterior, reworked interior layout and a new infotainment system. While it remained largely the same in terms of equipment, the 2013 Elantra sedan's base GLS trim level was renamed SE for 2014.
Exterior & Interior Dimensions
The 2013 GLS and 2014 SE Elantra models shared identical dimensions, inside and out. Both sedans measured 179.1 inches in length, 69.9 inches in width and 56.3 in height, with a 106.3-inch wheelbase. Trunk capacity was 14.8 cubic feet. The driver and front passenger got 40.0 inches of headroom, 55.9 inches of shoulder room, 53.5 inches of hip room and 43.6 inches of legroom. The backseat provided 37.1 inches of headroom, 54.8 inches of shoulder room, 52.7 inches of hip room and 33.1 inches of legroom.
The 2013 GLS and 2014 SE were motivated by the same 1.8-liter inline-four, although power output varied slightly. In the GLS, the engine produced 148 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 131 foot-pounds of torque at 4,700 rpm. In the SE, it generated three fewer horsepower and one less foot-pound of torque. From behind he wheel, though, even the most sensitive drive would be hard-pressed to notice any difference. Both the GLS and SE sent power to the front wheels via a standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission.
Features & Options
The standard equipment list on the 2013 GLS included 16-inch steel wheels, power locks, windows and mirrors, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, cruise control, a 60-40-split folding rear seat and a six speaker stereo with CD-player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod-USB interface. The Preferred Package was a popular option on GLS models. It added 16-inch alloy wheels in place of the standard steel ones, upgraded interior trim, foglamps, a sliding front center armrest, heated front seats, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, illuminated vanity mirrors and Bluetooth connectivity. Finally, an auto-dimming rearview mirror was the sole stand-alone option. The 2014 SE's standard equipment list was mostly identical to that of the previous year's GLS model. A hill-start assist feature and a blind spot detection system, though, were new for the SE. The SE's Preferred Package also brought several new additions. These included automatic headlights, a 4.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display with voice controls, and a rearview camera. Together, these high-tech additions helped to keep the Elantra competitive with other models in its class. While not an option or feature, Hyundai stated that the 2014 Elantra was revised to reduce levels of noise, vibration and harshness for a smoother, more quiet ride.
Excepting the previously mentioned rear-view camera and hill-start and blind-spot assists, both the GLS and SE offered the same suite of safety features. Both cars came with four-wheel ABS, traction control, stability control, active front head restraints, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
When it came to fuel economy, the Elantra was a strong performer. The 2013 Elantra GLS received an EPA-rating of 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, with the both the manual and automatic transmissions. The 2014 SE was rated one mpg lower, at 27-37. When new, the 2013 GLS started at $16,695, while the 2014 SE had a base price of $17,200. According to Kelley Blue Book, as of 2014, a used GLS is worth approximately $13,550. A newer, briefly used 2014 SE is currently valued at around $15,435.
Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.