In Canada, Hyundai is on a roll and now ranks fourth in annual sales, just behind Honda.
In addition, over the next 14 months, the Korean brand is set to launch no less than six new models, namely the Elantra, Santa Fe, Tucson, Kona, Santa Cruz and the electrically powered Ioniq 5. In addition, several of these models will offer conventional or plug-in hybrid powertrains, N Line variants and even. In the case of the Elantra, we expect an N variant even more focused on dynamics and performance, much like the current Veloster N. In short, we haven’t finished talking to you about Hyundai …
Even though the compact niche has shrunk in Canada recently, this segment still represents more than 274,000 sales annually in the country, and the new seventh-generation Elantra should be able to carve out a good share of this market, especially more than several other manufacturers have stopped producing vehicles falling within this niche.
A game of chess
During my last visit to Hyundai’s design studio in South Korea, SangYup Lee, the brand’s chief design officer, explained to me his philosophy and how he saw the future of the brand’s various models in terms of to style.
In a few words, he indicated that a parentage was going to be apparent, but that each of the models would keep its own identity concerning the design, a bit like the pieces of a chess game. This is why we notice that the Sonata and the new Elantra share a look of a four-door coupe, but that the Elantra stands out with the design of its grille and its headlights. On the jig, Hyundai’s new sedan is simultaneously longer, wider and lower than the previous model, while its wheelbase has increased.
A digital cabin
Following the current trend, the interior of the Elantra 2021 is digital with two 10.25-inch color screens, the first replacing the instrument cluster while the second, tactile, serves as an interface to the infotainment system. .
In terms of connectivity, the Elantra allows wireless access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features, which is a first in this niche. We also notice the quality of the materials used in the passenger compartment as well as the neat finish.
Before the arrival of the hybrid variants, N Line and N, the Elantra sedan will be offered in six versions including an Essential version with manual transmission, which represents about 5% of sales in Quebec, while all others are equipped with a transmission. continuously variable that stands out with its chain drive rather than a belt. Either way, the engine is the same, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder developing 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, while peak torque is 132 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm.
At the wheel of the Elantra, we quickly notice that this new CVT behaves almost like a classic automatic transmission with a more natural feel. The performance is fine, nothing more, and the engine is sometimes noisy and a little rough at full load, which is often typical in Korean cars.
Speaking of fuel consumption, we observed an average of 6.5 L / 100 km on a mixed route. Overall handling is good, the chassis feels stiff and the steering is more precise than the previous model. That being said, the Elantra is not as dynamic as a Mazda3, although it has made some progress in this area. We also note that the equipment of advanced safety systems is rather complete and that the Highway Driving Assist device makes driving on the highway more comfortable with its adaptive cruise control and its system for maintaining the center of the lane.
From January 2021, Hyundai will launch the Elantra Hybrid, which uses the same engine as the current Ioniq hybrid, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder block mated to an electric motor. Subsequently, the N Line variant will appear with a more distinctive look and its turbocharged engine developing 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The Elantra N will be at the top of the range with its 2.0-liter turbo engine and 276 horsepower, its six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, as well as its piloted suspensions and electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
While waiting for the arrival of the new variants, we are dealing with a more competent, more equipped and more upscale Elantra than the previous model, whose price range varies between $ 17,899 (Essential with manual transmission) and 28,299 $ (Ultimate Tech).