Hyundai Elantra a sharp and talented small car offering
Hyundai has upped the ante with its new Elantra small sedan in terms of style, quality and functionality. Hyundai’s marketing team has even come up with the slogan “our beautiful obsession” to reflect the level of attention to detail Hyundai has invested whilst developing the new Elantra.
At present, the Australian Hyundai Elantra range consists of two models: the entry level Active priced from $21,490 for the six-speed manual or $23,790 for a six-speed automatic The more expensive and better equipped Elite is priced from $26,490 plus government charges. All models in the range share the same 2 litre petrol engines and automatic gearboxes where applicable.
We tested the Elantra Active and Elite back to back to work out which version is the best bang for your buck.
Both the Active and Elite benefit from high quality plastics and build quality, and a reassuring feeling of chunkiness and solidity to all the controls, levers and switchgear. and we also found that the cabin has ample for four adults, so the new Elantra could be a serious consideration for those in the market for a well-priced family car.
Now, for the differences – for the extra three or so grand, the Elite adds leather covered seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel, dual zone climate control, a proximity key with push button start and an automatic boot, automatic windscreen defog system and satellite navigation.
These luxuries are added on top of the the automatic wipers a 7inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay that are standard on the Active. Where the Elite gets leather, the Active gets cloth and misses out on the leather on the steering wheel.
Interestingly, while the Active isn’t fitted with Hyundai’s satellite navigation system, drivers with compatible smartphones are able to use Apple Maps – complete with voice guidance – on the infotainment screen. The only drawbacks are that you need to have a suitable compatible phone and if you do use Apple Maps, it’ll chew your data, whereas satellite navigation will not.
We found that using the Apple CarPlay in both test cars was easy, intuitive and even enjoyable. However, we struggle to fathom why Hyundai fails to fit voice control and telephone buttons to the steering wheel – yes, you can write texts and and make and receive calls without taking your eyes off the road, but you do have to momentarily take a hand off the wheel.
Although on paper the extras fitted to the Elite model seem like tinsel – along with the nicer wheels – but in reality they lift the ambience of the cabin and make the Elantra Elite feel more premium and even semi luxurious. Buyers should also bear in mind that the price hike may also be worthwhile come resale time.
Under the Bonnet
The 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine that powers the Elantra range develops 112kW @ 6200rpm and 192Nm @ 4000rpm. We found the engine to be a little coarse and a little to underpowered for our liking. This especially became apparent with four adults on board when powering up hilly roads.
That said, the six-speed auto is always on point with its shifts and does its best to extract the best from the power plant.
During the test weeks for both cars, we averaged 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle.
On the Road
The Hyundai Elantra delivers great steering feel through its chunky three-spoke steering wheel and for a small sedan, the handling is pointed and almost agile. Ride quality leaves a little to be desired though, with the suspension losing composition on rough roads.
All models are fitted with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors as standard.
The Hyundai Elantra range is covered by Hyundai’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Hyundai Elantra Specs
Name: Hyundai Elantra
Engine: 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 112kW @ 6200rpm and 192Nm @ 4000rpm
Price: Prices start at $21,490 to $26,490.
Country of Origin: Korea