In the Indian context, the entry D sedan segment is the point of inflection that represents your shift from upper middle-class to high-income demographic. A clear financial success. It is also the point where cars start to feel sophisticated and you get introduced to several niceties and a certain level of luxury. So, in more ways than one, an entry level D sedan is a gateway into the world of fine automobiles, and for an ambitious person, it’s only the beginning.
However, of late, relatively crude SUVs have taken over this price segment almost completely. They may fall short in finesse, dynamics, and refinement but they have managed to captivate the Indian audience with a road presence that can’t be ignored, and a sense of practicality and comfort. The change in trend has diminished the once loved entry D sedan segment and what is left is a bunch of underrated models with lackluster sales figures.
Notwithstanding the current market conditions, Hyundai has boldly launched the latest iteration of the Elantra sedan in India. The sedan which is currently in its sixth generation has been a global best-seller for the automaker but can it make an impression strong enough to lure an SUV-loving Indian buyer? Here is what we think of it after a day’s worth driving, along the famous East Coast Road that connects Chennai and Pondy.
The new design language is called Fluidic Sculpture 2.0. Even if Hyundai came up with an entirely different name, it could have gotten away with it. Such is the disparity in styling between the outgoing car and the new one.
Keeping up with the current global design trend, the new Hyundai Elantra sports a sharp hexagonal grille with chrome slats and angular wraparound headlights with LED daytime running lights and projector elements. Rest of the real estate on the low-slung front fascia is occupied by boomerang-shaped foglamp enclosures.
The profile too has nothing in common with previous-gen Elantra. The sheet metal skin is tauter, character lines are more pronounced and the rear overhang is shorter. The sculpted rear fascia with an integrated spoiler, sleek LED combination lights and a black diffuser is our most favorite part of the Elantra’s design.
Overall, the new Hyundai Elantra has a more matured design appeal compared to the older generation which marked the South Korean automaker’s new design era.
The new Elantra’s interior also has very little in common with that of its predecessor. The old dashboard’s design, dual-tone color theme, and layout were a bit too loud for our liking but the new one has a whole new appeal.
Rather than going with the popular belief that Indians love beige interiors, Hyundai has opted to offer the Elantra with all-black appointment with subtle silver and chrome accents. The layout is simple and uncluttered, ergonomics is impressive and overall quality levels are good (plastic quality falls a bit short of segment benchmark).
The heavily contoured leather front seats are supremely comfortable. The 10-way electric adjustment for the driver seat and ventilation (for front seats) add to the comfort. Leg room is good and the visibility ahead is impressive.
The rear seats offer right amount of cushioning, optimum seatback inclination, adequate thigh support, and ample leg room. Floor-mounted AC vents ensure that the rear part of the cabin cools down quickly.
Like I said, an entry-level D-Segment sedan is a gateway into the world of fine automobiles and fine automobiles are packed up to the gills with premium features. The new Hyundai Elantra lives up to this expectation.
On the safety front, the fully loaded version of the latest Hyundai Elantra offers six airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, VSM, rear parking sensors with camera, and front seat belt pre-tensioners.
Other equipment highlights include projector headlamps, alloy wheels, touchscreen infotainment system with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, 6-speaker Arkamys sound system, voice recognition, dual-zone auto AC, chilled glove box, ventilated front seats, Drive Mode select, cruise control, keyless entry and go, handsfree smart truck, etc.
The new Hyundai Elantra is powered by a new 2.0-litre Nu petrol engine and the familiar 1.6-litre U2 diesel engine. Both motors are available with 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions. We sampled the petrol manual and diesel automatic variants.
2.0-litre Petrol Manual
The four-cylinder naturally aspirated mill pumps out 152 PS at 6,200 rpm and 192 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Equipped with variable valve timing, the motor displays excellent flexibility.
Under normal driving conditions, it’s pretty refined, adequately responsive and gets the job done effortlessly. Putting the pedal to the metal unleashes a completely different character, especially when the tacho needle approaches 5,000 rpm mark. The top-end performance is terrific and is sustained all the way up to the red line. The sound track is good too.
The six-speed manual transmission complements the motor very well and the shift quality is slick. After a bout of spirited driving, the Elantra’s onboard fuel economy meter came up with a value of around 10 kmpl which is not bad at all.
1.6-litre Diesel Automatic
This oil burner has been doing duty under the hoods of Verna, Creta, and Elantra in India for quite some time and it has earned a reputation for its punchy mid-range and good fuel economy.
With 128 PS at 4,000 rpm and 260 Nm of torque between 1,900 – 2,750 rpm, the diesel engine didn’t change much but that’s not a bad thing. As expected, it makes for an extremely relaxed highway driving experience. The responsive and smooth shifting 6-speed automatic gearbox does a commendable job of compensating for the engine’s well-documented turbo lag.
The new Elantra diesel automatic never feels under powered at any circumstances. It has the ability to munch away the miles tirelessly for hours together. The motor has an impressive ARAI certified mileage of 22.54 km.
Hyundai has been making some serious efforts to improve the dynamics of its global portfolio and it clearly shows in the way the new Elantra drives. While the previous Elantra scored high on ride quality, it had room for improvement in other aspects of dynamics and the new sedan is a massive step in the right direction.
The suspension setup (Front – McPherson Struts; Rear – coupled torsion beam axle) is much more matured than before. The ride quality is still comfortable albeit with a mild hint of stiffness.
Hyundai’s engineers have managed to get the damping spot on and this leads to marked improvement in straight line stability and composure around high-speed corners. The nicely calibrated electric power steering system is direct and is a delight to use.
The new Elantra employs disc brakes at all the four wheels. The system is easy to modulate and has enough bite to bring the car to a complete halt within the estimated distance from any given speed. No nasty surprises.
Here is what we think of it
The new Hyundai Elantra has eaten away almost all of the advantages its European rivals hold. It looks sharp, sports well-appointed and comfortable cabin, scores high on dynamics and trounces its competition when it comes to equipment.
We think it has enough premium appeal to justify its INR 12.99 lakh – 19.19 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) price range. And it definitely feels much more sophisticated than any of the SUVs in the similar price bracket.
So, if you are in the market for your first premium automobile, the new Hyundai Elantra is definitely worth your serious consideration.
New Hyundai Elantra variant-wise prices
- S – INR 12.99 lakhs
- SX – INR 14.79 lakhs
- SX AT – INR 15.89 lakhs
- SX (O) – INR 16.59 lakhs
- SX (O) AT – INR 17.99 lakhs
- S – INR 14.79 lakhs
- SX – INR 16.39 lakhs
- SX (O) – INR 17.69 lakhs
- SX (O) AT – INR 19.19 lakhs
Toyota Corolla, Skoda Octavia, VW Jetta,Chevrolet Cruze, Renault Fluence. Check out how the new Hyundai Elantra compares with its rivals in terms of tech specs here.
|Overall length (mm)||4,570|
|Overall width (mm)||1,800|
|Overall height (mm)||1,465|
|Front Track (mm)||1,555|
|Rear Track (mm)||1,564|
|Front Tires||205/60 R16|
|Rear Tires||205/60 R16|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (L)||50|
– Projector Headlamps with Xenon – High Intensity Discharge (HID)
– LED Tail Lamp, LED DRL & Guide Light
– Electric Sunroof with Pinch Guard, Body Coloured Outside Rearview Mirror with Turn Indicators
– Body Coloured Door Handles, Shark Fin Antenna
– Leather upholstery, Door Scuff Plate, Aluminum Pedals
– 10-way Adjustable Power Driver Seat w/ Electric Lumbar Support
– Rear AC Vents, Glove Box Cooling
– 8.0 Touch Audio Video Naviagation System
– Voice Recognition, USB, AUX-In Connectivity, Bluetooth
– 4-Speakers, 2 Tweeters
– Drive Mode Select, Auto Cruise control
– Smart Key w/ Push Button Start, Smart Trunk, Burglar Alarm
– Rear Parking Camera w/ Display on Audio Screen
– Electrically Adjustable and Folding Outside Mirrors with Turn Indicators
– Electrochromic Type (ECM) Inside Rear View Mirror
– Dual Front Airbags, Side & Curtain airbag
– ABS & EBD, Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
– Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Hill Assist Control, Rear Parking Sensors
– Impact Sensing Door Unlock, Speed Sensing Auto Door Lock