Hyundai, the makers of really nice-looking vehicles like the i30N, the Santa Fe and the Kona has reminded us that their cars can also look completely out of the galaxy. Proof of their occasional insanity is manifested in the new-generation Hyundai Elantra.
Recently launched where stars are made — The Lot Studios in West Hollywood — the Elantra marks the seventh time the Korean carmaker dives into the crowded compact sedan segment. If the aim was to stand out from the rest of the field, then mission accomplished.
The new catchphrase is ‘parametric dynamics’, which is what Hyundai’s designers call the look of the 2021 Elantra. The idea, according to Hyundai Motor Group’s design chief, was to have the Elantra look pleasing ‘through unconventional lines and a face that broke a taboo in automotive design’.
He continues to say that the Elantra’s stance makes the car look like geometric crystals, and its divided body surface should extract ‘strong emotional response from the customers’. The three lines that converge at the front door is the main ingredient of the Elantra’s parametric dynamics.
The Elantra’s four-door coupe shape is unmistakable and sleek when you’re able to look past the creases. Compared to the sixth-generation Elantra, the new one is longer, wider and lower. Even its wheelbase has been elongated for more interior space.
Despite the front, the rear of the Elantra actually looks well-thought and contemporary. As with most car designs these days, a horizontal line runs across the boot to link up with the tail lights to form a giant ‘H’. The tapered rear glass is finished with a black deck to make the car appear more coupe-like.
The interior is very much biased to the driver. Everything on the dashboard, including the 10.25-inch screen, faces the driver. As if to emphasise the role of the front passenger, a handrail acts as a barrier to everything from the climate control downwards, eliminating the usefulness of the co-pilot/front passenger. The driver also has another 10.25-inch screen to look at — the meter cluster — which is said to link up with the dashboard’s screen.
The media system features wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Elantra is offered with the optional Hyundai Digital Key. This feature uses a mobile app, Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to unlock, start and drive without a key fob. This digital key is sharable and customisable. You can preset how long the car can be used and limit the Elantra to some features. Additionally, the owner can remotely revoke the use of the shared key. The Digital Key is only available for Android phones.
The Elantra is offered with two engines that do not feature turbocharging and instead focus on fuel economy. The 2.0-litre MPI Atkinson Cycle engine produces 147hp at 6,200rpm and 179Nm of torque. This engine is mated to an Intelligent Variable Transmission, or IVT, which sounds suspiciously similar to CVT. This transmission is said to perform ‘continuous shifts by modulating pressure of the transmission’s pulley, depending on driving conditions and driver inputs’. The chain-design belt, as opposed to the commonly used push belt, improves fuel efficiency by another 1.2 per cent.
The other Elantra features hybrid propulsion. The Elantra Hybrid combines the power from a 1.6-litre GDI engine with an electric motor to produce a total system output of 139hp and 264Nm of torque. The drivetrain is complete with the six-speed dual clutch transmission for a swifter response. When it gets here, expect the Elantra Hybrid to be the top-range variant.
In terms of safety, the Elantra should arrive with Hyundai’s SmartSense. Included in the list of starts advanced safety technologies are Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning and a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines. Offered as optional are Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Highway Driving Assist, Safe Exit Warning and Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist.
The seventh-generation Elantra is said to start production in the Q3 in Ulsan, Korea. Sales should begin in Q4.