Hyundai in India has been working towards a successful module of selling class leading cars and capturing the market. Ever since they launched the Creta, the average pricing of a Hyundai car has settled down at a cost of Rs. 8 lakh. And as of this year, the Korean manufacturer has 2 cars lined up for the Indian market. Expected sometime later this year is the all new Tucson which is another SUV from the company’s ‘Modern Premium’ lineup.
Tagging along is the new Elantra which is making up for a premium sedan in the stable after Hyundai dropped the Sonata for India. This all new sedan is much different from the older model. The curvaceous design of the ‘Fluidic’ style is no more. Instead a new sharper and crisper styling which Hyundai is calling ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ is on the cards here.
With a target plan of 300 – 400 units per month, we were invited to test drive this car and see how well it performed and if it had what it takes to be a preferred choice for our buyers.
The all new design sports a large size hexagonal grille which is lined with horizontal bars of chrome. The front end has an uncanny resemblance to the Audi type of styling. The headlights on the either side of this grill come with a HID (High Intensity Discharge) light unit working along with DRL’s. These light setups are fully in LED.
The headlights are followed by a vertical bracket on the either side of the bumper which hoists the projector type fog lights. Along with the fog lights, these slots have a dual purpose. They channel air into the bumper which sends it around the tyre to form a ‘air curtain’. This enables a much smoother drive but cutting any kind of tire and road roar and also, thus improvises the fuel economy.
The side profile of this car is pretty much similar to the older model. The rear window line is tapered in a similar fashion with a sharper roof line. The waist line is smooth and it rises gently.
To the rear, the car has a horizontal split tail light unit. These are LED’s, except for the base model.
The Elantra has an all new monocoque frame setup with a high percentage of steel which has a high grade of strength. The percentage of steel used is more than 53% over the previous model. There is an additional use of structural adhesive in the car which has now risen by 40%.
The new Elantra has gone a step ahead with the way the interiors are designed. The old curvy style is now completely absent with a new straight edge design on the cards. There is a large 8-inch touchscreen with connectivity options like Bluetooth, USB, Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The instrument panel has 2 circular dials for the speedometer and the tachometer. There is a TFT 3.5-inch mono screen here for displaying the trip info.
This new car gets a 3 level controlled ventilation system for the seats for added comfort. The car has a sloping roofline which has made the rear seats set at a deeper position with an upward slope enabling a good amount of thigh support. There is sufficient headroom even though the rear windows are narrow.
A new feature in the car is the smart boot unlocking system which enables the user to open the trunk lid by just standing next to the car if the key is with you in just 3 seconds.
The car is decently loaded with features but misses out on some details like rain sensing wipers, paddle shifts, parking sensors and memory seats. These would have been an added bonus to the car.
Engine, performance and handling:
Powering the Elantra is a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder petrol engine which produces 152 BHP. The diesel version is a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder which produces 128 BHP. The engines are paired to an automatic or manual gearbox, both of which are 6 speed units.
The diesel engine is decent enough but lacks the punch. The power delivery is linear but it falls out on the surge which would add a punch considering the size of this car. The petrol engine on the other hand is really exciting and loud at the higher rev range.
The best part is the refinement levels in this car. There is literally no sound at idle and the vibrations in the car are minimal. The car has barley any engine and tire noise and the cabin feels super quite.
There are 3 modes on the automatic box namely Normal, Eco and Sport. The engine is highly responsive and driving this car in the petrol variant was perfect.
The suspension setup has been worked on and it soaks the road bumps with a lot of ease. The car feels totally European with a very firm and controlled drive. There could have been some improvements on the steering wheel by making it more responsive and engaging.
Hyundai has loaded this car with safety features like ABS and EBD as a standard. The higher variants get electronic stability control, hill-start assist control, vehicle stability management as well as side and curtain airbags.
The Elantra comes into a segment where it directly rivals the Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla Altis, Chevrolet Cruze and the Skoda Octavia. While the first 3 have been around way too long, the Octavia though feature rich, is highly priced and has a host of dealer and support issues. This gives the Elantra an upper hand.
The Elantra is not that exciting considering the executive sedan segment. What it does offer though is a super modern car with an excellent drive, well designed interiors and a good range of equipment.
And talking about all this at a base price of almost Rs. 13 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) while the top model at almost Rs. 20 lakh. Even though the top line automatic models get the creature comfort add ons like the ventilated seats, sunroof and safety kits with the speed sensing door locks, what this car does really offer is a great all round performer with a service network which has proven itself over the last decade.
Ultimately the all new Hyundai Elantra does have what it takes to be the versatile segment leader.