2021 Hyundai Elantra
MSRP: $19,650 (SE) As Tested: $26,600 (Limited)
Elantra competes in the four door, compact sedan segment. That’s a market crowded with veteran name plates like Civic, Corolla, Jetta and Sentra, among others. The redesigned, 7th generation Elantra comes out swinging, with bold styling and a wide choice of engines (four cylinder, turbo four or hybrid power). Prices start with the SE (MSRP $19,650), followed by SEL ($20,900), N Line ($24,100) and Limited ($25,450). A gas/electric hybrid is also available ($27,750-$35,300). All models are front-wheel drive.
SE, SEL and Limited trim levels are powered by a 2.0L four cylinder engine, rated at 147 h.p. and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s matched with a CVT. Handling is confident though not sporty and ride quality is very good. Acceleration isn’t stirring, but it is respectable, and Elantra feels comfortably quick ’round town. It also yields very solid fuel economy. EPA estimates for the 2.0L are 31/41/35. I averaged 32 overall in a week behind the wheel, and I didn’t baby it. On highway stretches mileage ranged into the upper 30’s, so 40 doesn’t seem like a stretch, on an extended drive. Speaking of mpg’s, the Hybrid’s gas and electric power combines for 139 horsepower, and EPA estimates of 53/56/54. The last motor choice is the 1.6L four cylinder exclusive to the N Line. The turbo four makes 201 h.p and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. The latter is reached at 1,500-4,5000 rpm, so this engine figures to be quick off the dime. Also of interest on this model is the standard, six-speed manual transmission (with optional, dual clutch automatic). That, and the N Line’s other features (multi-link, independent rear suspension, beefier brakes, stiffer, Sport driving mode (on automatic transmission cars) signal Hyundai’s interest in carving out a slice of the performance end of this segment as well.
Slide inside Elantra and the cabin has a cockpit layout. The dash and console are oriented towards the driver, with a low, rising bar separating the driver and passenger sides of the center console. HVAC controls are positioned midway up the center stack, and straight forward in operation. A standard, 8″ touch screen display is top center on the dash. A 10.25″ touchscreen is optional. All models are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The connection is wireless with the 8″ display, but wired on the 10.25″ touchscreen. Hyundai’s roster of standard, technology covers several, safety staples, including: blind spot, forward, and rear cross traffic collision-avoidance assistance. The latest Elantra gains 2.3″ in rear leg room (now 38″) over the previous model, and I find there’s just enough room to fit a six footer in back, with like-size passengers in front. The back seat is comfortable, though the space is unadorned, even in Limited trim. Rear seatbacks fold forward, to a split level load floor. Like any sedan, cargo capacity isn’t as varied as with a crossover, owing to the size of the slot that you load through. That said, the trunk measures a usably large 14.2 cubic-feet, which is right in range with the competition.
A 40 year resident of the Capital District, Dan Lyons is the author of six automotive books, and photographer of more than 200 calendars.