New Hyundai Elantra Road Test
The Car that we are reviewing in this road test was on Indian roads till a few years back when it was discontinued. Hyundai is re-introducing the Executive Sedan the Elantra in the Indian market next month. We are the first few who have driven the Hyundai Elantra before the launch and here is a comprehensive road test of the India bound sedan.
The Hyundai Elantra currently in the fifth generation launched in the 1990 while India had the older third generation Elantra that was phased out and Hyundai did not have any model in the segment. The Hyundai Elantra is also known as the Hyundai Avante in a few markets including the home market in South Africa. As mentioned the older Elantra was pulled off the Indian market (6 years ago) suddenly without a replacement model but wait come August and the all New Hyundai Elantra would be back on the Indian roads.
Hyundai is riding high with its fluidic design concept currently; you can see the fluidic design flowing in the Verna, Sonata i20 and also on the i10 to an extent. The New Elantra too gets loads of fluidic design philosophy oozing on its exteriors. You see it some any angle and you will easily notice the smooth bends, the flowing bodyline and the very different stance that the Elantra has. Hyundai claims the fluidic scripture design language is inspired from the wind and the natural forms.
Dimension wise the New Hyundai Elantra has an overall length of 4530mm, a width of 1775mm and height of 1470mm. The New Hyundai Elantra has the widest wheelbase in the segment that of 2700mm. The front end of the Elantra reminds you of the big brother the Sonata and the younger brother the Verna and makes a happy family face.
The swept back head lamps look not only trendy but a lot sporty look. The centre grill has a single chrome strip running across horizontally with the Hyundai H logo looking smart in the middle. The bumper also gets a pair of trapezoidal fog lamps with the chrome lining around the wide air dam. The bonnet of the Elantra is small and at a stooping angle giving a unique design identity to the face. Smartly done soft body lines run on the bonnet to add to its character.
The front bumper is also not spared and gets the due fluidic treatment with soft bends and curves on it. The side profile consists of flat fenders and sharp fluidic waistline that run from the fender towards the tail lamps. The wheel arches too get the fluidic bulge making them appear in line with the overall design. The roofline is sharply inclined towards the C pillar giving the Elantra a sports coupe look when viewed from sideways.
The absence of the rear quarter glass means the rear window glass is cut off at a sharp angle mating with the C pillar. The window pillars get the blacked out treatment. The electrically adjustable wing mirrors gets the fluidic treatment as well along with the integrated turn lights on them. These mirrors can also be electrically heated when needed in rain, mist or fog driving conditions.
Chrome door handles are standard and look and feel rich to grip. The sun roof is sorely missed on the Elantra which would have added a bit more excitement to the already loaded package. The New Hyundai Elantra drives on 205/60 R16 spec tyres with five spoke alloys on them. These are special Sillica tyres made by a Korean tyre maker called Nexen. Advantages of the silica tyres include better grip, slower wear and tear and better rolling resistance over regular tyres.
The rear profile on the New Hyundai Elantra looks sporty and trendy. The longish wrap round tail lamps get the extended fluidic touch and are shaped according to the flowing lines on the body of the Elantra. The tailgate gets an inbuilt lip spoiler. The rear bumper is rounded and has a pair of stop reflectors mounted on them.
The New Hyundai Elantra is a complete head turner with its fluidic design and unique exterior styling. It has all the distinct family styling like the Verna but looks much bigger and bolder than the Verna. The build quality is upmarket with close shut lines and high quality of paint finish on the outside. The New Hyundai Elantra in short has a dynamic and futuristic design on the outside that should appeals to one and all.
Like the outside the interiors on the New Hyundai Elantra too stand out among the competitors. Step inside the New Elantra and the well-appointed interiors make you feel comfortable instantly. The Elantra comes loaded with features and equipment level that makes it the most features loaded Executive Sedan when currently. The dash is in two tone colour combinations with the upper half being made of neat soft rubbery material while the lower half in dark beige material.
The instrument cluster consists of two round dials the RPM meter on the left and the Speedo on the right. Hyundai has used the Supervision cluster back lighting that makes it easier to read the display. In between the two dials is the multi-function display and the digital fuel gauge. The leather wrapped steering is a four spoke design with inserts of fake aluminium on it. The multifunction control buttons for audio, cruise, Bluetooth telephone are neatly laid out on the steering. The steering is manually adjustable for height and reach.
The centre console is smartly and neatly done with the unique waterfall like designing. The center console has 3 levels of display all in blue back light. The top most level being the digital clock and outside temperature, the audio player display is placed below it and the lowest level being the cool blue climate control display. The audio system and the climate control come with aluminium finish around them giving the extra sporty look. The single CD MP3/FM player unit is rather easy to operate using the large control buttons.
The New Hyundai Elantra comes with a dual zone climate control unit where the occupants can set the needed temperature for the front two zones. Ac vents are also provided for the rear passengers placed between the front two seats. The rear AC vents are an India special feature developed by Hyundai India. The engine start/stop push button is placed to the right of the steering on the dash board.
The New Hyundai Elantra comes with leather upholstery in dark beige shade. The driver’s seat is 10 way electrically adjustable which included electrical lumbar support. The front passenger seat is manually adjustable which is a let-down while both the front seats should have been electrically adjustable. The other unique feature on the New Hyundai Elantras front seats is the seat cooling feature.
The front seats can be electrically cooled through the ventilation pores on them and this should be a big plus when driving in summers as the AC flow cools only the part facing the blower while with these cooled type seats your back can also be cooled during those uneasy times. The front seats are cozy and offer good lower back and under thigh support. There also is a pair of can holders behind the gear shifter knob and just behind the can holder is the center arm rest with storage space under it. The New Hyundai Elantra comes with 6 speed manual and 6 speed automatic transmissions.
The automatic version has an trendy looking rounded shifter while the manual Elantra comes with a slightly simpler looking shifter. The rear seats are perfectly comfortable for 2 passengers while a 3rd one can squeeze in thanks to the near flat floor on the rear centre foot area where the transmission tunnel hump is usually there in other cars.
The rear centre folding arm rest has a neat audio remote control in it that works rather well when you are being chauffeured around. You get Bluetooth connectivity for telephone and music, AUX and USB ports on the New Hyundai Elantra. Other features on the New Hyundai Elantras cabin include a smart reverse camera that shows up on the centre rear view mirror, heated wing mirrors etc.
The build quality and fit-finish on the interiors of the New Hyundai Elantra is good. The quality of seat upholstery and other switches etc. are upmarket and the cabin feels super silent and well appointed. The cabin space on the New Hyundai Elantra is the largest among its competitors. The New Hyundai Elantra has a boot capacity of 485 liters which is more than enough to carry 4 large suitcases easily.
The New Hyundai Elantra comes powered with two engine options. The Petrol Elantra is powered by a 1.8liter (1797cc) 4 cylinder 16valves engine. This DOHC engine comes with the Hyundai VTVT technology. The Petrol Elantra makes 149.5PS @ 6500rpm while it has 181 NM of peak torque @ 4700 RPM. This engine is mated to a 6 speed manual and a 6 speed automatic transmission.
The Diesel Elantra that would be the most demanded comes powered by an 1.6liter (1582cc) CRDI engine with VGT technology on it. This is the same Diesel engine that also powers the Hyundai Verna in a slightly different state of tune. This engine makes 128PS of power @ 4000rpm and 265NM of healthy torque between the 1900 to 2750RPM. The CRDI Diesel engine is also available with an 6 speed manual and automatic gearbox options.
We test drove the CRDI Diesel version of the New Hyundai Elantra so would focus mainly on the oil burner. The 1.6liter CRDI engine is super silent and refined to core at idle. The sound damping in the cabin helps in making the engine one of the more silent engines in the segment. Hyundai says the main reason to use the 1.6liter CRDI Diesel engine as opposed to the rivals who have their engines of 2.0liter capacity is to get higher fuel efficiency on the New Elantra. India becomes the first country where the Elantra comes with a CRDI Diesel engine.
The VGT (Variable Geometry Turbocharger) engine on the Elantra moves which is about 50kgs heavier than the Verna is a very smooth and linear fashion. The six speed automatic transmission comes with a manual overdrive, we would have further loved it if paddle shifter would have also been available on the Elantras equipment list. Never the less the gear ratios on the auto transmission are cleverly laid out with the shifting going un-noticed. There is some amount of turbo lag initially but that can be overlooked thanks to the clever gear ratios. The organ type accelerator and brake pedals add to the ease of driving the Elantra. The steering is light while feedback is on the lower side with some amount of feedback felt as speed builds up.
The ride quality on the New Hyundai Elantra is very different to other Hyundais. Hyundai has reworked the suspension set up drastically and this is one of the best Hyundai cars to drive around with high comfort level and perfect handling. We drove the Elantra on the enchanting Udaipur highways at speeds of 185kmph and the car was fully planted and went rock steady. The cornering on the Elantra is good while the all wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD do a mighty good job in bringing the Elantra to a halt in a sane manner. ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) is also standard on the New Hyundai Elantra making things still secure.
Hyundai has added all new safety feature known as Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) on the Elantra. Now what this feature does is it combines the intelligence os the ESP with the power steering in tricky conditions and improves braking and acceleration stability by adjusting the steering system.
The VSM feature comes into action during hard braking or accelerating on wet/slippery road conditions and also during sudden lane change situations.
The New Hyundai Elantra comes loaded with safety features that include Six Airbags (Dual front, Front side and Curtain) and as mentioned the ABS, EBD, ESP and the all new VMS features. Rear park sensors with camera are also standard safety equipment on the New Hyundai Elantra.
The New Hyundai Elantra is a stunner in terms of exterior design. On the inside it comes loaded with features and gadgets much more than the competition. The 1.6 CRDI Diesel engine is super refined and has enough power to chug the Elantra in good power and grace. The ride quality is unlike any Hyundai that we have seen. Loaded to the brim with safety equipment and a very good highway and city performer the New Hyundai Elantra will sure be a winner from Hyundai when launched in August and that’s when the competition will feel the pinch.
We expect Hyundai to price the New Elantra starting at Rs. 12.50 lakhs for the base petrol and stretching to 15.50lakhs for the top end fully loaded Diesel Automatic that we drove.
The New Hyundai Elantra will compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Civic, Toyota Altis, Skoda Laura and the Renault Fluence once launched.
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