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2018 Hyundai Elantra: Release dates, prices, specs, and features

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***Original post published on Digital Trends***

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra picked up from the nearly identical 2017 model year. Hyundai’s compact Elantra sedan joined the midsize Sonata as the company’s two best-selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2016. Hyundai’s standard five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty and 100,000-mile powertrain warranty helped distinguish the brand.

Earlier in 2017, U.S. News & World Report named the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited the best new car for teens in the $25,000-$30,000 category because of the Limited trim’s availability of blind spot detection, lane keep assist, forward automatic braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera.

The IIHS named the Elantra a Top Safety Pick+ and J.D. Power ranked the Elantra at the top of the compact car category for tech experience. Even in a year when sedans are being outsold by crossovers and pickup trucks, the Elantra has plenty of reasons for its strong showing.

What’s new for 2018

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra carries over from the 2017 launch of the compact car’s sixth generation. Hyundai first started selling the Elantra in 1990. Except for a modelwide color change — last year’s Shale Gray Metallic is replaced with Machine Gray — all other changes are limited to specific trims.

There are six Elantra trims for the 2018 model year. The new SEL trim replaces the 2017 SE with the Popular Equipment Package. We’ll mention the other trim-specific changes below.

Engines and transmissions

Hyundai’s six trims are each equipped with one of three four-cylinder engines. There are no engine choices, the trim you choose determines the engine. The SE trim is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission and the Sport trim with a six-speed manual shift or seven-speed dual clutch transmission. There’s no transmission choice with the other trims. The SEL, Value Edition, and Limited have the six-speed automatic, and the Eco uses the seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The six-speed automatics have three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission has two modes: Normal and Sport.

The SE, SEL, Value Edition and Limited trims all have a 2.0-liter dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine that makes 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The EPA mileage estimates vary by trim level, engine, and transmission, so we’ll mention each them below. All trims have a 14-gallon fuel tank.

The Elantra Eco trim has a smaller, turbocharged 1.4-liter DOHC engine that produces 128 hp at 5,500 rpm but more torque, 156 lb-ft at 1,400-3,700 rpm. As you would expect, this model has the best mileage ratings.

The Sport trim has the most powerful of the three engines. The Sport’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine cranks out 201 hp at 6,000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm, at a relatively wide range. The higher torque levels as a wider engine revolution range help the Sport accelerate with the maximum power within most normal operating speeds. As is almost always the case with internal combustion engines (ICEs), the sport has the lowest EPA mileage ratings.

Tech features

All Elantra trims models have tire pressure monitoring, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, and remote keyless entry with alarms.

The base Elantra SE has a driver’s blind-spot mirror. The other five models all include blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist plus rearview cameras with dynamic guidelines. The SE, which has few options other than transmission choice and colors, does not include a rearview camera and none is optional.

Hyundai offers a wider suite of safety and driver assist features, but only with the Limited trim and only available in the $4,350 Ultimate Package for Limited. With that package, the Limited gains automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high-jhbeam assist. There is no front or rear parking assist or 360-degree view.

The Ultimate Package for Limited also bundles a navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen, Infinity Premium Audio with eight speakers and a subwoofer plus Harman’s Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology. Other goodies in the packed package include a 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster display, power sunroof, and heated rear seats.

Blue Link Telematics System complete the must-have package’s list with three years complimentary subscriptions to Blue Link Connected Care, Remote Package, and Guidance Package services. If you want the fullest available convenience, comfort, safety, and entertainment feature set, the Limited trim with the Ultimate Package is the only choice.

How to choose a 2018 Hyundai Elantra

The six 2018 Elantra trims range in starting prices from $16,950 for the Elantra SE with the manual shift to $22,100 for the Elantra Limited. If you’re buying the Limited you’ll probably opt for the $4,350 Ultimate Package for Limited, too, so figure the Elantra price range is really from just under $17,000 to about $26,500.

The SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Eco trims have increasingly loaded but still relatively basic features sets. If you want a degree of power and sportiness, check out the Sport trim. If you want to max out the Elantra’s luxury potential, the Limited with the Ultimate Package is for you.

Here’s how to differentiate the 2018 Hyundai Elantra trims:

2018 Hyundai Elantra SE

The Elantra SE trim is the lowest priced, starting at $16,950 with a six-speed manual transmission or $17,950 with a six-speed automatic transmission. The SE mileage estimate ratings are 26 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined with the manual shift and 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined with the automatic.

The SE has Bluetooth hands-free phone system support, cruise control, 15-inch steel wheels, driver’s blind spot mirror, power adjustable side mirrors, power windows, and power door locks. The AM/FM/MP3 audio system has six speakers and USB and aux audio input jacks. There are no option packages for the SE.

2018 Hyundai Elantra SEL

Starting at $18,850, the SEL is new this year and is roughly the equivalent of last year’s SE with the popular option package, which is no longer available for the SE. The SEL adds — in addition to the features of the SE with automatic transmission —  rear disc brakes, a 7-inch display audio AM/FM/HD/Radio/SiriusXM with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Other SEL attributes are blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated power side mirrors, and automatic headlight control. The SEL has a new 3.5-inch TFT dashboard display.

Equipped with the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated (non-turbo) engine and six-speed automatic transmission — the only choice — the SEL’s EPA ratings are 28 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway, and 32 mpg combined.

2018 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition

For $1,000 more than the SEL, the Elantra Value Edition, starting price $19,850, gains a power sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, hands-free smart trunk, LED daytime running lights, and door handle approach lights.

The Value Edition also adds dual-zone automatic temperature control, one-touch auto-up driver’s window, heated front seats, illuminated visor mirrors with sun visor extensions, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, proximity key with push-button start, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink universal garage door opener.

That is a crazy load of value for one grand more. The Value Edition has the same 28/37/32 mpg EPA ratings as the SEL.

2018 Hyundai Elantra Eco

A seven-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission with ShifTronic and 15-inch alloy wheels, combined with the 1.4-liter turbo engine earn the Eco trim (starting $20,550) the highest Elantra EPA ratings, 32 mpg in city driving, 40 mpg on the highway, and 35 mpg combined.

The Eco trim has the most of the same features as the Value Edition except it has front disc brakes only, no sunroof, and it lacks the auto-dimming review mirror with HomeLink.

2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport

The Elantra Sport has a choice of transmission, $21,800 starting price with a six-speed manual transmission or $22,900 with a seven-seven dual clutch transmission. The Sport trim also has sport front seats with leather seating surfaces, 18-inch alloy wheels, a multilink independent rear suspension, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a thicker rear stabilizer bar than the other trims, and larger front brakes.

Additional Sport trim upgrades include side mirrors with turn signal indicators, a sport-styled grille, front and rear fascia, and side sill extensions, LED taillights, HID headlights, a power sunroof, manual air conditioning, a sport instrument gauge cluster, and dual USB charging ports.

The $2,250 Premium Package for Sport, available only for this trim, includes a navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen, Infinity Premium Audio with 8-speakers including center channel and subwoofer, Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology, dual automatic temperature control, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass. The Premium Package also includes the Blue Link Telematics System with three-year complimentary subscriptions to the Blue Link Connected Care, Remote Package, and Guidance Package.

2018 Hyundai Elantra Limited

The most expensive 2018 Hyundai Elantra trim, the Limited, $22,100 starting price, is much the same as the Value Edition plus HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Light, 17-inch alloy wheels, and leather seating surfaces with heated front seats.

As mentioned above, you will want to check out the optional $4,350 Ultimate Package for Limited. That package includes a navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen, Infinity Premium Audio with eight speakers including center channel and subwoofer, Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology, and a 4.2-inch color TFT instrument cluster display.

Other Ultimate Package upgrades include a power sunroof, heated rear seats,  automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high beam assist. The list goes on with driver’s seat and mirror position memory.

Finally, the Ultimate Package also includes the Blue Link Telematics System with three-year complimentary subscriptions to Blue Link’s Connected Care, Remote Package, and Guidance Package.

Trim2018 Elantra SE2018 Elantra SEL2018 Elantra Value Edition2018 Elantra Eco2018 Elantra Sport2018 Elantra Limited
Base price$16,950$18,850$19,850$17,050$21,800$22,100
Drive wheelsFrontFrontFrontFrontFrontFront
Base engine2.0L 4-cylinder2.0L 4-cylinder2.0L 4-cylinder1.4L Turbo 4-cylinder1.6L Turbo 4-cylinder 2.0L 4-cylinder
Base horsepower147 hp @ 6,200 rpm147 hp @ 6,200 rpm147 hp @ 6,200 rpm128 hp @ 5,500 rpm201 hp @ 6,000 rpm   147 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Base torque 132 @ 4,500 rpm132 @ 4,500 rpm132 @ 4,500 rpm156 @ 1,400-3,700 rpm 195 @ 1,500-4,500 rpm 132 @ 4,500 rpm
TransmissionManual transmissionAutomatic transmission Automatic transmission7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission with ShifTronicManual transmissionAutomatic transmission
FuelRegular gasRegular gasRegular gasRegular gasRegular gasRegular gas
Fuel capacity (gallons)14.014.014.014.014.014.0
Fuel economy (mpg)26 city/36 highway/ 29 combined28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined32 city/40 highway/ 35 combined22 city/30 highway/ 25 combined28 city/37 highway/ 32 combined
Base wheels15-inch steel16-inch alloy16-inch alloy15-inch alloy18-inch alloy17-inch alloy
Body style4-door sedan4-door sedan4-door sedan4-door sedan4-door sedan4-door sedan
Seat upholsteryClothClothClothClothClothCloth

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***This post originally published on Digital Trends***

Digital Trends is a leading consumer technology publisher helping people navigate an increasingly digital world. With easy-to-understand product reviews, entertaining news and videos, Digital Trends serves more than 30 million unique visitors each month. Digital Trends reaches 90 million tech influencers through their own media network, and its syndicate partners include Yahoo!, FOX News and more than 200 broadcast news stations. Digital Trends is headquartered in Portland, OR with offices in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago.

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For American astronauts, the moon beckons once again

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On the 45th anniversary of American astronauts’ last visit to the moon, President Trump signed a new directive to launch a plan to once again set foot on the lunar surface.

The signing of Space Policy Directive-1 at the White House on Monday, December 11 authorizes NASA to focus efforts on a moon landing, reinforcing a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, in October 2017.

You may be asking, “So what happened to Mars?” after so much bold talk in recent years of manned missions to the red planet. Well, plans to embark on that ambitious journey certainly haven’t been abandoned, with the moon trip expected to lay the foundations for a future mission to the faraway planet.

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” President Trump said on Monday. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use.”

Trump added, “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”

Vice President Pence insisted America will “lead in space once again on all fronts,” adding, “Space is the ‘next great American frontier’ and it is our duty — and our destiny — to settle that frontier with American leadership, courage, and values.”

Despite the ambitious proclamations, details for the moon mission — or missions — are currently thin on the ground. It’s not yet clear what kind of funding NASA will receive, or whether it will partner with private outfits like SpaceX to expedite the plan. And there was no mention of a timeline for a manned mission to the moon, or indeed to Mars.

NASA nevertheless said it was looking forward to “supporting the president’s directive, strategically aligning our work to return humans to the moon, travel to Mars, and opening the deeper solar system beyond.”

Trump signed the directive in front of a small group of dignitaries, among them NASA astronauts Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who landed on the moon 45 years to the minute that the policy directive was signed, Buzz Aldrin — the second human to set foot on the moon back in 1969, Peggy Whitson, the current holder of the record for the longest time (665 days) spent in space by a U.S. astronaut, and Christina Koch, a member of NASA’s astronaut class of 2013.

The White House directive intensifies a new space race between the U.S., China, and Japan to return humans to the moon. Both Asian countries in 2017 outlined separate plans for moon missions. Japan appears to be looking at 2030 for a trip to the lunar surface, while China has outlined plans for a mission soon after that. We’ll have to wait for more details from the U.S. government to find out if it has any hope of getting there sooner.

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How to change the background on a Mac

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***Original post published on Digital Trends***

You’ve got a brand new MacBook or iMac, so it’s time to spruce up that desktop background with something other than the stock Apple photos.

The good news is that it’s not hard to change the background on your Mac computer. Whether you want to switch to a favorite new photo, put up a dazzling image you found online, or rotate between a collection of your favorite backgrounds, we can show you how to change the background on a Mac the easy way.

Changing your background to another image

Mac Background Finder

This option is for those of you who recently downloaded an image online or from a similar source and want to make it your background. It’s quick and simple, here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Exit out or downsize any windows on your screen so your Mac is focused on the desktop. In the upper left corner you will see the option to choose and open the Finder window. If you don’t already have a Finder window open, start one by choosing this option or using a keyboard shortcut.

Step 2: In the Finder window, search for the image that you want to use for your background. Make special note of what the image was called when you downloaded it, or just search your most recently downloaded images to find it. Make sure that it is the correct image. If you have saved the image to your desktop, the file icon should be visible out there as well, if you want to save a little time.

Step 3: Right click on the image to show the dropdown menu of everything you can do with it. Toward the bottom of this menu, you should see an option to Set Desktop Picture. Choose this, and this image should automatically be moved to your background. This gives you an opportunity to immediately see how it looks and if the resolution is acceptable.

Changing your background to a specific photo

Mac Background PhotoSuppose you have a specific photo that you or a friend took, that you want to use for your Mac background. Here’s how to do it quickly!

Step 1: Make sure the photo is imported into your Mac Photos app. This may have happened automatically, depending on how your devices are set up. Open your Photos app (you can find it in Applications in the menu bar) and find the photo that you want to use as a background.

Step 2: Right click the photo that you want to use, and select Share. This will create a secondary menu of the places you can share the photo, and at the bottom you will find an option to Set Desktop Picture. Choose this.

Note: Photos also makes it easy to assign photos to specific screens if you have multiple monitors. Just drag the Photos app window to the monitor that you want equip with that background as you are working.

Advanced option: Set your background to rotate images

Can you just not make up your mind about the best image to use? Do you have a lot of favorites and like to switch a lot? It’s easy to set your Mac up to automatically switch between images, although it takes a bit more work. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Using the Finder, create a new folder and call it something easy like “Background Images.” Copy all the images that you really want to use as backgrounds, and paste them into this folder. Add any new images or photos that you also want to use as backgrounds. Anything you want for your background needs to be in this folder.

Mac Background Rotate

Step 2: Head to the menu bar and open up System Preferences, which you can find under the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen. Once there, look for the icon for Desktop & Screen Saver and open it up. Make sure you are on the desktop tab and not the screensaver tab.

Step 3: In the select-an-image menu on the left, you should see a small plus and minus sign at the bottom. Select the plus sign, which will allow you upload a folder from your Mac. Choose the folder where your images have been collected, and add it.

Step 4: At the bottom of the window you will see an option to Change picture. Make sure this option is checked and that your folder is the source selected. You can then choose how often you want the desktop background to change. Choose something that works for you – we like changing the image once a day so every morning is something different, but if you want more of a slideshow feel, you can cut that down by a lot. You can also choose whether pictures are chosen randomly from the folder, or if they change in order.

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Outfit the athlete in your life with one of the best gifts for runners

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Tis the season for hanging mistletoe, listening to holiday carols, and shopping ’til you drop. If you still have a runner on your list to find a gift for, you may be scrambling to try to track something down they’ll actually like. If you don’t run yourself, this daunting task is even harder — how are you supposed to know exactly what a runner wants for the holidays? You’re still trying to get your head around the fact people find it fun to jog in circles until they collapse.

Fear not, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the latest gadgets, coolest gear, and sleekest apparel in the running world to give you a hand with your shopping woes. Below, you’ll find the products we thought were the best gifts for runners this season. Whether they’re into trail running, road races, marathons, triathlons, or just jogging around the block, we found something for everyone.

best gifts for runners fuelbelt ultralight belt lifestyle

This amazing little hydration gadget has the ability to revolutionize anyone’s running game. The extremely lightweight belt features two ergonomically shaped plastic bottles which sit smoothly against the fabric and fit perfectly into the curve of their hand when they go to have a drink. With Helium Hex airflow, the water is easy to drink and its clip-lock security bottle holster keeps the dishwasher-safe bottles free from bouncing around during a run. Featuring a unisex design, its fits runners of any size.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners night trek shoe lights lifestyle

If the person you’re shopping for is someone who likes to run at night, these LED shoe lights will help keep them visible while also allowing them to avoid rocks, ruts, and sidewalk cracks. The water-resistant contraptions blast 150 lumens up to 30 or more feet ahead of the runner, offering light to illuminate whatever surface they’re jogging on. Rear-facing red tail lights also let drivers know where they’re at and the whole unit offers 270 degrees of visibility. The devices clip on securely, delivering three to five hours of light in one stretch of battery life.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners arc teryx norvan sl jacket lifestyle 1

This lightweight trail running jacket is constructed with ShakeDry, a type of Gore-Tex technology that doesn’t have face fabric, allowing it to weigh less than similar Gore-Tex shells. The breathable, packable jacket clocks in at just 4.2 ounces and can be compressed into a tiny ball. Lastly, the waterproof hood rolls back and snaps together so it doesn’t flap around when not in use.

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Moosejaw

best gifts for runners balega silver ion socks lifestyle

They will never experience softer, more securely fitting training socks than Balega’s Silver Ion line. Unlike many runner’s socks which constantly slide down and bunch up around the heel, these offer compressive arch support bands that keep them fitting snugly — there’s even a high heel tab that hugs the inside of shoes and an extra deep heel pocket to prevent sliding. The design also encourages a more natural foot movement and improved circulation. This line of Balega socks uses technology that encapsulates the sock fibers in silver ions to create enhanced antibacterial properties which, paired with the fabric’s Drynamix moisture management, keeps the runner’s feet dry and odor-free.

Buy it now:

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best gifts for runners yaxtrax run traction device lifestyle

There are fair-weather runners and then there are die-hards who get outside to train in the rain, sleet, snow, and hail. If you’re shopping for the latter runner, YaxTrax’s device is a game changer for them. The anatomically designed product fits snugly on their shoe and is built with strong rubber, 1.4-millimeter steel coils, and carbide steel spikes, allowing them to winterize their running shoes and train more safely on snow and ice. It offers traction for temperatures as low as ‑41 degrees Fahrenheit and, as a bonus, has a reflective heel tab for night training.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners katadyn befree collapsible flask lifestyle

This lightweight, award-winning water flask has a built-in filter, allowing runners to “be free” of the hunt for hydration, filling up their bottles virtually anywhere and letting the flask’s EZ-Clean Membrane clean it up for them. It features a gentle-squeeze top and a removable filter that easily pops out for a quick rinse. The collapsible design even allows it to fit into small backpacks and some pockets.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners scarpa spin lifestyle2 1

The Spin is a sleek trail running shoe that offers high-level performance without the cumbersome bells and whistles. The shoe performs fabulously on technical terrain, allowing runners to tackle hills faster and enjoy precise foot control. It features a Vibram outsole with Megagrip technology, a high-density rock plate, and a mesh upper with welded PU overlay. All told, it’s a great running shoe that offers superior stability in a simple, minimalist package.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners aftershokx trekx titanium lifestyle

When they’re out jogging around, they need music to get in the zone and this gadget from AfterShokz is essentially the Cadillac of running headphones. The wireless, open ear design showcases bone conduction technology, a method which delivers music through someone’s cheekbones, allowing their ears to stay open to their surroundings. This maintains their situational awareness, keeping them safer while also allowing them the ability to listen to their favorite tunes. The Bluetooth 4.1 offers perfect syncing to a smartphone, the sound quality is stellar, and the titanium wraparound headband keeps the device securely in place.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners garmin forerunner 935

Garmin’s Forerunner 935 is one of the best sport watches available for runners, particularly those who regularly participate in races, marathons, and triathlons. The device tracks heart rate, sleep, calories burned, personal records, steps, and other fitness metrics while they run. The lightweight watch also delivers smart notifications, allow for automatic workout uploads and syncs with Strava Live Segments to let them compete with their friends. With interchangeable bands, they can swap out a variety of options for a different style, making it a versatile, top-of-the-line running accessory.

Buy it now:

Amazon

best gifts for runners spy hunt sunglasses lifestyle

Happy runners are fast, effective runners. This cool pair of shades from SPY boasts Happy Lens technology that filters out bad short-wave blue light, allowing more long-wave blue light to penetrate the lens. The idea is that with more of this type of ray — which has been connected to improvements in mood — it will theoretically boost their happiness and make for a more enjoyable run or outdoor activity. The lens technology also offers stellar visual clarity, enhancing colors and contrast to make training safer and more effective. These “trail to tavern” sunglasses even have a stylish, casual frame with sturdy Grilamid material which allows them to look as good as they function.

Buy it now:

Amazon

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