Hyundai has introduced the sixth-generation Elantra for the 2017 model year, bringing with it an all-new exterior design, and a driver-oriented cabin that is more in-line with the Sonata. On the outside, the car got a new hexagonal grille that takes up a majority of the front fascia. On the front corners, there are recesses in the bumper that house LED fog lamps. These recesses look similar to the fog lamp units on the previous generation. Overall, the exterior is more refined than before with less of that “fluidic” design. Even the taillights are less aggressive that the last-gen model. Inside, the instrument cluster gets a 4.2-inch color display between the two primary gauges, and upper trim levels come standard with leather upholstery. A seven-inch touch screen display is standard equipment, but an eight-inch screen is available on some models. Under the hood, Hyundai gave the Elantra two new engines – a 2.0-liter with 147 horsepower and a 1.4-liter with 128 horsepower.
The Elantra may seem like it is a little underpowered in a world where smaller vehicles often come with closer to 200 horsepower, but what it is lacking it power is made up with comfort, and economy. Competing against models like the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze, economy and comfort are huge selling points, so the lack of power isn’t all the big of a deal anyway. So, how does the new Elantra compete with the competition otherwise? Well, check out our detailed review below to find out for yourself.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
Where the Elantra has seen a major change is its design. The new Elantra looks stylish and appealing. It now looks a lot more mature and upmarket. The Fluidic Design 2.0 is what makes it look more premium. The dimensions of the Elantra haven’t changed much. The new front grille is larger and looks premium.
The side profile will remind you of the Elantra. Now it looks more sporty. The sloping roof melds well with the boot design. A nicely integrated spoiler forms the rear of the new Elantra. This seems to be more like a European sedan than a Hyundai design. The tail lamps are also stylish and trendy. It does look and feel like a premium sedan.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
Once you enter the cabin you get a feel of a German car the way the dashboard is designed. Just like the exteriors, the new Elantra now offers mature interior styling which looks uncluttered and user friendly than before. The cabin is all-black with brushed silver elements and the roof is finished in light grey which really makes you feel that you are in a proper D-segment sedan. The three-spoke steering feels great to hold and there are integrated buttons to control the infotainment system, cruise control and the big MID display in the instrument cluster as well. The instrument cluster is very informative and easy to read. Unlike many Hyundai cars, it shows distance to empty and average fuel consumption.
The 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen system is the party piece of the new Hyundai Elantra. It’s one of the biggest screens in the segment having a very user friendly interface with smooth performance. The touch quality is very good and you don’t see any lag while swiping between menus. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity which makes it more convenient to access your phone data and it even has voice recognition. Sound quality is excellent and even the navigation system looks modern having informative display. The big screen also doubles up as a rear parking camera display, which makes it a breeze to park this big sedan.
You get dual-zone automatic climate control system which has a strong and silent airflow all the way to the rear passengers with the help of rear aircons. The cooling is super effective and the front ventilated seats adds to the comfort in the scorching heat of summers in India. The centre console is very neat and tidy, there is no clutter of buttons and the dashboard looks pleasant. The fit and finish is excellent, it’s hard to find any rough edges or bad plastics in the car and quality is Hyundai’s forte, which you won’t complaint about.
There are a lot of storage places to keep your bottles and knick knacks. The dashboard has cooling function but no illumination. There is a neat tray ahead of the gear lever with a smooth sliding action that looks cool. Because of the all-black theme you might think that it doesn’t looks spacious but there is ample room for both front and rear passengers. The light coloured roof adds to some airiness along with the sunroof, which is a tad small in size. The rear seat cushioning is perfect with good support. Legroom is excellent but headroom for tall passengers is just average. Sadly there are no controls on the arm rest for the rear passengers and even no socket to charge your phone or laptop at the back. The boot is huge and you can fit in a lot of luggage. It has an interesting feature of hands-free smart trunk with which you can open the boot without putting any effort. Some of the key features include keyless entry and go, 10-way power adjustable seat, drive mode select, etc.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
Under the hood of the new Elantra will sit one of two engine options – the familiar 128hp, 1,582cc ‘D4FB U2’ diesel and a brand new 152hp, 1,999cc ‘Nu MPi’ naturally aspirated petrol engine; yes, while the rest of the world is downsizing and turbocharging, the new Elantra’s motor is larger than its predecessor’s. Whichever engine you choose, you then have the choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque-converter automatic, so really, all bases have been covered with this car.The familiar engine first. The 1.6-litre CRDi turbo-diesel has powered not only the previous Elantra, but also the Verna and the Creta in India. While in those other two cars, its 128hp and 260Nm of torque are class leading, in the Elantra, they fall behind the competition (apart from the Toyota Corolla Altis), as does the engine’s displacement – 2.0-litres is the norm here. In everyday driving, the lack of displacement and power isn’t too much of an issue, and the Elantra diesel is quite happy at city speeds, thanks to its smooth and linear nature. Even on the highway, sure, you’ll feel a bit of strain when you drop down from sixth to fifth in the manual car and go for an overtake, but it does still cruise quite comfortably otherwise.
Interestingly, it’s the old-school six-speed auto that highlights the engine’s lack of oomph, as the shift points are out of your control. Whereas in the manual, you would probably shift up a little before the redline, say at 3,500rpm, to keep progress smooth, in the automatic, if you bury your foot, it will run all the way to the redline and that brings with it a lot of strain (until this point, the engine is impressively refined). What’s more, there are no paddles for you to select gears manually with, but you can use the gear lever itself. The other issue we had with the auto was that it was a little over-enthusiastic to shift gears. Very often, even the slightest drop in revs or smallest twitch of the accelerator pedal would cause an unpredictable upshift or a downshift, adding unnecessary interruptions to progress.
It’s a similar experience with the six-speed automatic on the petrol car – although it is smooth, there are no shift paddles and it can be a bit hyperactive with its shifts at low speeds. However, the new 2.0-litre petrol motor is a very different animal from the diesel. While the unnecessary upshifts are somewhat blunted by the diesel engine’s relaxed nature, the petrol engine is super responsive at low revs. This means, in the petrol automatic, you have to be judicious with your throttle inputs at lower speeds to make jerk-free progress, but once you’re used to it, it’s quite enjoyable. Paired with the added control of a manual shifter and a clutch pedal, the petrol motor is even more enjoyable; it’s one of the most responsive at low revs that we’ve ever tested. This makes it very well suited to stop-and-go traffic, letting you jump off the line briskly and cut into gaps with minimal effort. There is a small flat spot in the power delivery, just below 2,000rpm, after which the mid-range builds up in earnest. It revs out very smoothly and quickly, making you want to push it harder, but it never quite delivers that same punch you’d get from, say, an equivalent Honda engine. Refinement is good, and it’s not until 3,000rpm that you start to hear the motor in the car. But, while both motors are impressively quiet, you do hear quite a bit of wind and tyre noise inside the Elantra.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
This brings us to one of the biggest improvements we experienced in the new Elantra – its ride. I spent a good hour on the back seat, most of it in amazement as my colleague driving the car did everything possible to make me come back to the empty front seat.At low speeds the car gracefully absorbs bad roads and speed breakers unlike any of its predecessors. And as you go faster and faster over road undulations the new suspension setup and damping system ensures that the car car quickly settles back and doesn’t bob around like before. The newly introduced Vehicle Stability Management system further aids this cause. This is a big transformation and a step in the right direct by Hyundai India.
The steering is still light and helps while manoeuvring in the city or parking this 4.5-metre car. It does weigh up a bit as the car gathers speed but, being electrically assisted, it isn’t as communicative as some hydraulic steering setup. Apart from this we would have also liked some more bite and better feel from the brakes.
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
Front and rear axles get disc brakes, which work mutually with evidently robust braking equipments, such as anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution. Brake assist is missing from the adept braking system. From the safety brigade, Elantra gets dual front airbags equipped in all variants, while side and curtain airbags are confined to the SX and SX AT trims.
Some of the other safety features present in the SX and SX AT variants include electronic stability control, speed sensing auto door lock, vehicle stability management and automatic headlight control. The only feature available exquisitely in the SX AT trims is hill start control. Preeminent safety equipments proffered as standard among all variants are rear parking sensors, impact sensing door unlock, clutch lock, rear defogger with timer, front height adjustable seatbelts with seatbelt pretensioners and ignition key reminder. The diesel base variant comes bereft of electro chromic mirror bestowed on the rest of the trims.
The Elantra is an insanely important model in Hyundai’s lineup. Since 2012, the Elantra has sold more than 200,000 units each year in the U.S. alone. That beats both the Accent by nearly 150,000 annually and Sonata by roughly 30,000 units annually. Needless to say, the Korean automaker has a lot riding on the Elantra’s redesign.It seems Hyundai has done its homework though, as the completely revised car seems far more refined, modern, larger, and more technology-laden. Its smart new looks and updated engine options should attract buyers looking for something that isn’t a crossover, but who still want all the bells and whistles automakers are loading in those high-riding station wagons.