The Hyundai Elantra in its 26 years of existence has sold a whopping 11.5 million units globally. It has won several awards for safety, design and features and has been the choice of wheels for the buyer who’s looking for an all-round executive sedan. But strangely enough the Indian market didn’t receive the Elantra too well in both its previous generations. The outgoing fifth generation of the car was one of the most striking looking sedans to have ever run on Indian roads, thanks to the Korean car maker’s fluidic design philosophy, but this is a segment where the buyers don’t respond with a lot of enthusiasm. Hyundai is trying its luck once again with a brand new generation of the sedan and invited us over to their home city Chennai to get behind the wheels of the car.
The new design philosophy is termed as Fluidic 2.0 by Hyundai. It isn’t as radical as the previous generation and some of the buyers in the segment would like that as that was one of the best selling points of the car. However this new car also manages to impress with the way it looks and some of the stand out cues include a single hexagonal chrome grille as well as HID projector headlamps that come with LED DRLs. The boomerang shaped housing that’s put in place of fog lamps adds a lot of character to the front of the car. The profile is attractive too and comes with chrome door handles as well as well as welcome lights in the door handle pockets. The highlight though is the rear where the striking split type LED tail lamps merge beautifully into the boot. The integrated spoiler also makes the car look sporty. The car may look compact in terms of dimensions (some even referred to it as a stretched out i20) but it is actually as long as before and about 20 mm wider than the previous generation.
Hyundai is known to have spoilt the Indian consumers by offering segment first features in all their cars and the story gets even better in the new Elantra. There’s an 8 inch touch screen infotainment system that works with both Apple car play as well as Android auto. It offers a lot of aids like a Sat Nav system along with a rear parking camera. There’s a 2-zone climate control system but the second row comes with just AC vents. The driver seat can be adjusted electronically in ten different way but only the top automatic variants of the car get features like ventilated seats as well as a sunroof. The upholstery and leather is of utmost quality that you expect from this segment. The boot space of 458 liters is more than the older car and comes with nice ergonomic touches. You can gain access to the boot from the second row merely by pulling down the armrest and with the key in your pocket the boot opens by itself when you stand behind the car for a few seconds.
Hyundai is trying its luck once again with a brand new generation of the sedan and invited us over to their home city Chennai to get behind the wheels of the car.
There are a plethora of engine and drive train options that come with the new Elantra. There are both Petrol and Diesel variants and both come with 6 speed manual and automatic options. The brand new 2.0 litre Nu Petrol engine according to Hyundai is the biggest in the segment. The 4 cylinder motor makes a maximum power of 152 PS and the company is claiming a mileage of 14.6 kmpl on the automatic variant which surprisingly a little more the manual model. The Diesel on the other hand is the tried and tested 1.6 litre 128 PS motor also seen on the hugely successful Creta. Here the claimed mileage is 18.23 kmpl for automatic and 22.54 kmpl for the manual variant. A first-in-segment drive mode select feature gives an option to the driver to choose between ECO mode for higher fuel efficiency and SPORT mode for a more engaging drive.
Ride & Handling
The car is built on a new platform with a 53% Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) structure which according to Hyundai aids in good ride comfort along with smooth & precise handling. The suspension settings are tuned well to adapt to the Indian road conditions and the car gives a planted ride. The Chennai-Pondicherry East coast road forces you to change lanes frequently and the Elantra played along well. Hyundai also claims to have taken a lot of measures in improving the NVH levels on the car. These include usage of thicker glasses and reduction of gap between trunk lid and rear windscreen amongst other things. The results show as there is clearly an improved interior quietness in this new car.
This is a segment which overall hasn’t done well in recent times despite the presence of some good cars like the Toyota Corolla Altis or the previous Elantra. In that sense the new Elantra has a huge responsibility on its shoulders as it is carrying the weight of not just itself or the brand but the entire segment. The car without a doubt has the potential to replicate its global success in India and Hyundai has rounded off a great offering by launching it at an attractive and aggressive starting price of Rs. 12.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars