2021 Hyundai Elantra first drive review: Standout style with plenty of substance

    Hyundai is launching a couple of new 2021 Elantra fashions proper now, together with the super-efficient Hybrid and zippy N Line. They’re all fairly nice, and that is largely because of the truth that the usual Elantra is a stable basis on which to construct. It drives properly, seems to be cool and has a bunch of latest tech — all of the belongings you’d need in a contemporary compact sedan.Lookin’ sharpAt first, I believed the brand new Elantra’s design was slightly a lot, however the extra I see it — particularly in the actual world — the extra cohesive it seems to be. My favourite angle is definitely the rear three-quarter, the place you actually get a way of the fastback form, which is sliced via the center by a horizontal mild bar and pointy taillights. It’s like one thing out of anime. I’m into it.

    Like most automobiles, the Elantra seems to be finest all loaded up in high-end trim — on this case, which means the Limited mannequin with its full-LED lighting and largest 17-inch wheels (solely the N Line will get the best-looking 18s). Base SE fashions roll on 15s whereas the mid-range SEL comes normal with 16s, however no less than Hyundai delivers alloy wheels throughout the board — no steelies and hubcaps right here.

    Dimensionally talking, the 2021 Elantra is 2.2 inches longer, 1 inch wider and 1 inch decrease than the outgoing sedan, so it nonetheless very a lot has a compact footprint. Interestingly, although, because of elevated headroom and legroom, the Elantra has 99.4 cubic ft of passenger house, which really bumps it as much as the EPA’s midsize classification like Hyundai’s personal Sonata. Neat.Comfy cabin with a give attention to techDesign smart, the Elantra’s inside is approach much less bizarre than its exterior, with comparatively easy styling and cleanly organized controls. I really like the knurled ends of the flip sign and wiper stalks, that are just like what Hyundai provides within the Sonata. The Elantra Limited has delicate leather-based on the steering wheel and seats, and the surfaces you contact most are properly grained. There are a couple of low cost bits, certain, nevertheless it’s largely stuff just like the transmission tunnel and steering column, so you will not discover it on the common.

    Compact footprint, midsize inside house.
    Drew Phillips
    There’s one odd factor that is price mentioning: the backlit design aspect to the left of the gauge cluster — you realize, the factor that sort of seems to be prefer it ought to be an air vent. This is the place you may discover the drive mode dial on the DCT-equipped Elantra N Line, however right here, it is nonfunctional. In reality, the usual Elantra’s drive mode button is on the middle console subsequent to the gear shifter. Weird, proper?

    A 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster is optionally available on the Elantra SEL and normal on the Limited, and I positively advocate springing for this improve. The TFT-LCD display screen is sweet and crisp with colourful graphics, and the dial designs change primarily based on the chosen drive mode. No different compact sedan provides an IP this flashy or configurable.Most Elantras will roll out with an 8-inch central touchscreen, flanked on both facet by massive shortcut buttons and a little bit of black plastic. Spring for an Elantra Limited and also you get a 10.2-inch high-res display screen with embedded navigation. Strangely and frustratingly, it is the smaller 8-inch setup the place you may get wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; this smartphone-mirroring tech requires a wired reference to the bigger display screen.SEL and Limited fashions may be had with a 10.2-inch heart touchscreen.
    Drew Phillips
    If you do plan to make use of one of many cord-free choices with the 8-inch display screen, you should definitely get an Elantra SEL, since that is the one approach you will get a wi-fi charging pad. The Limited has one normal, however because it has the bigger show, you continue to need to plug your cellphone in if you need entry to your apps. The Limited can also be the one Elantra to obtain Dynamic Voice Recognition software program, which is Hyundai-speak for natural-language instructions — sort of just like the “Hey, Mercedes” function constructed into the German automaker’s MBUX software program. Hyundai’s Android-only Digital Key makes its solution to the Elantra, too, the place it is optionally available on the SEL and normal on the Limited.While I’m as regards to tech, let’s speak in regards to the Elantra’s superior driver-assistance methods (ADAS). Forward-collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping help, a driver-attention monitor and Hyundai’s Safe Exit Alert are all normal — that final one prevents occupants from opening a door right into a bicycle owner’s path when parallel parked. You can add full-speed adaptive cruise management and automated forward-collision braking to the SEL in an possibility pack, although each are normal on the Limited. Finally, there’s the Highway Drive Assist function, which mixes lane-following, lane-centering and adaptive cruise tech for easy-peasy freeway driving. You guessed it, it solely comes on the Elantra Limited.Competent commuterIf you need essentially the most entertaining Elantra, get your self an N Line. If it is gas financial system you are after, the Elantra Hybrid is your jam. Every different model makes use of the identical engine: a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This I4 is paired with a repeatedly variable transmission, which helps the Elantra to return respectable EPA gas financial system estimates of 33 miles per gallon metropolis, 43 mpg freeway and 37 mpg mixed.No different mainstream compact automotive provides gauges this cool.
    Drew Phillips
    The Elantra is not precisely fast, however the 2.0-liter engine has sufficient pep to get the sedan up and out of its personal approach. Uphill freeway sections require a heavy proper foot, although fortunately, the CVT does not buzz or drone at increased revs when extra energy is required. In addition to the Normal setting, you possibly can choose Sport or Smart drive modes, the previous including a bit extra throttle response, the latter reining in your aggressive tendencies for the sake of higher effectivity. Neither actually change the Elantra’s total character, so perhaps simply depart ’em alone (except you wish to watch the digital gauge cluster animations when the modes swap, which is nifty).The Elantra is a day by day driver and errand-runner, and it is tuned as such. The steering is mild and considerably obscure, however the trip is de facto snug. What’s extra spectacular is how quiet the Elantra is inside, even at freeway speeds. That makes driving it lengthy distances much less fatiguing. It’s only a disgrace the seats aren’t extra snug; the Limited’s leather-based chairs are sort of flat and unsupportive.Compared to different compacts, the Elantra actually is not essentially the most enjoyable to drive, however that is not essentially a precedence for many small-car buyers. A Honda Civic is a bit more nimble and a Mazda3 is certainly sharper, however the Elantra is lots likable by itself. It won’t be the sportiest, nevertheless it’s positively one of many quietest and most tech-laden choices in its class.The Elantra is not a frumpy little four-door.
    Drew Phillips
    Affordable and higher than everThe 2021 Elantra is inexpensive, beginning at $20,645 for a base SE together with $995 for vacation spot. The mid-tier SEL is available in at $21,895 and the fancy-shmancy Limited will set you again $26,445. That places the Elantra on the decrease facet of common for the category, which is a fairly good spot to be.Hyundai initially made a reputation for itself by providing robust worth propositions in extremely aggressive car segments. The firm nonetheless does that at the moment, however the firm’s automobiles are way more aggressive — in lots of circumstances, they lead the pack. The 2021 Elantra is not essentially a shoo-in for one of the best compact sedan accessible within the US; practically each participant on this section brings loads to the desk. But by providing tech options usually reserved for luxurious automobiles and a few critically sharp, standout styling, this seventh-generation Elantra makes a stronger case for itself than ever earlier than.

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