CHANGE is good and it seems that the Koroean automakers are enjoying the last laugh these days; having rocked the boat with an impressive new product offensive, dramatically transformed from models of old.
No longer do we associate offerings from Hyundai and Kia with adjectives like “boring” or “uninspiring” – now they manage to dazzle and entice us, with a range of striking, desirable cars.
The Hyundai Elantra is one of many testaments to how far the manufacturer has come. This Elantra has even managed to crack it as a finalist in the running for the respected Car of The Year competition
Hyundai’s new “Fluidic Sculpture” design philosophy has worked wonders; we’ve seen the fruits of this in products like the graceful Sonata sedan, and now this elegant Elantra model too.
According to the Hyundai press machine, the styling of the Elantra can be summed up by the phrase “wind craft” – with a natural flow dictating lines and a shape that is pleasing to the eye – making it look like it’s moving, even when standing still. The new Elantra would not look out of place in the corporate parking lot, it is eurocentric in appearance and it exudes a great deal of sophistication.
This “Fluidic Sculpture” approach also extends to the interior of the new Elantra. The shape of the dashboard, for example, has a design with a shape that creates a harmonious flow. Materials giving a quality, premium feel have been employed too – so you feel like you’re driving something a bit more special, than a sedan for everyday use. Refined surfaces and “soft-touch” materials give off an air of plush sophistication.
You can choose from two petrol engines, in the new Elantra. First is a 1.6-litre powerplant, and then there’s a more powerful 1.8-litre mill. They both come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, but you can have an automatic transmission with the 1.8-litre model. The 1.6-litre Gamma four-cylinder engine produces 96-kilowatts and 157 Newton metres of torque, while the 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine produces 110-kilowatts and 178 Newton metres of torque.
Features that surprise, include follow-me-home headlamps – which stay on for 30 seconds after the driver has left the car, an automatic defogging system, and rear parking assistance sensors – on the 1.8GLS model. The Elantra uses ultra-high tensile steel, to reinforce areas of its body that are critical to safety. You’ll find a six airbag system in the new Elantra, and on the 1.8GLS model, curtain airbags.
Overall, the new Elantra is a model that has changed the game for Hyundai. It’s got the quality and style to be taken seriously in the compact sedan market. It certainly seems to have the mettle to compete in this fierce segment – with rivals such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla and also the new 6 from rebirthed British automaker, MG.