There’s a sense of minimalism creeping into Hyundai’s designs, and we like it. We'd like to think this is Peter Schreyer’s influence, the manifestation of his previous work with Audi. We’ve seen it in the Sonata and the Tucson.
This new style direction is again evident in the all-new Elantra (called Avante in its home market of South Korea) that has just been revealed. This is the sixth generation of Hyundai’s popular model, and it’s 20mm longer and 20mm wider than its predecessor.
With its prominent hexagonal grille framed by slim headlights, the new Elantra distinguishes itself from the outgoing model immediately. Clean and simple lines reinforce the new look, while under the skin, the body structure has 32% more high-strength steel to boost rigidity and durability.
"The Elantra has set forth new standards for global compact-size sedans in each generation," said Woong-Chul Yang, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D Center during the launch ceremony at the Namyang R&D Center. "With the pursuit to achieve the world’s best technology, the newly introduced all-new Elantra was developed with the concerted efforts of all our employees."
A new model isn’t complete without a raft of tech additions, and the Elantra doesn’t disappoint. It has an integrated memory seat for better driver comfort, and a Smart Trunk that opens automatically when the holder of the key fob approaches. For safety, there’s now autonomous emergency braking, high-beam assist, blind spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert. We hope all these safety features make it to our market.
Taking a page from premium car brands, the Elantra now has a Harman Kardon audio system with eight speakers and an amplifier. Door-mounted tweeters ensure more enjoyment from your Spotify playlists.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter gasoline engine with 147hp and 180Nm. In terms of power, this mill is stronger than the one in the Toyota Corolla Altis, but weaker than the one in the Mazda 3--these being the two compacts the Elantra has to beat if it wants to be the bestseller in its class. There’s also a 1.6-liter VGT diesel option, and while we’re optimistic about this because local distributor Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. brought in a diesel Accent, we think HARI will wait for Euro 4 fuels to be implemented before bringing in more oil-burning variants.
We look forward to seeing this larger and more refined Elantra on our roads. We believe it has a good chance of standing out in its segment.