The new design is, quite literally, edgy. The Elantra is also larger than before and has a bit more distance between the front and rear wheels. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

The new design is, quite literally, edgy. The Elantra is also larger than before and has a bit more distance between the front and rear wheels. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

2021 Hyundai Elantra: Could this be the car that starts a sedan revival?

Pricing starts at $19,750 for the base Essential model and $26,600 for the base hybrid

An everyday compact car masquerading as a premium sedan sounds like a winning formula, and a welcome one for buyers. Add fuel-sipping and performance-focused versions to broaden interest and the result is the 2021 Hyundai Elantra.

The nameplate was launched in the early 1990s as a budget-oriented competitor to the established Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Escort models, to name a few. Back then, the Elantra’s low price was its primary claim to fame: A new-car alternative to buying used.

Today, the Elantra is one of the top nameplates in a field that has suffered due to the growing popularity of the utility vehicles. But where others — notably domestic-based automakers — appear to have given up on small sedans, Hyundai is doubling down.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra features attractive side creases extending along the door and rear-fender panels that blend into a knife-edged trunk lid.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra features attractive side creases extending along the door and rear-fender panels that blend into a knife-edged trunk lid.

The new Elantra’s design is, to put it mildly, jaw-dropping and follows the general shape of the larger Sonata. Most notable is the aggressively styled “jewel pattern” grille and enlarged air intakes. Also attractive are the side creases extending along the door and rear-fender panels that blend into a knife-edged trunk lid. Combined with a sweeping fastback roofline, the Elantra looks as good from the rear as from the front, if not better.

Compared with the previous-gen Elantra, the 2021 model is more than five centimetres longer, 2.5 centimetres wider and it gains close to that amount between the front and rear wheels. The car’s slightly lowered stance and roofline (with no loss in front or rear headroom) make it appear larger than measurements otherwise indicate.

The Elantra’s stronger and lighter platform has also allowed Hyundai’s design team to lower the car’s centre of gravity to improve cornering agility.

The interior isn’t quite as dramatic as the outside, but it looks downright luxurious. An available 10.25-inch-wide screen for the communications, infotainment and navigation-system is positioned directly beside the electronic gauge panel. A traditional T-shaped shift lever, instead of dials or switches, also speaks to the cabin’s conservative environment.

There’s also nothing too unusual about the Elantra’s base engine, a 147-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder that carries over from the previous model.

For the first time in an Elantra, however, a hybrid system is optional. It consists of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder with an electric motor that makes a net 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a continuously variable unit (CVT) is optional. A quick-shifting six-speed automated manual is paired with the hybrid and a seven-speed version comes with the N Line.

Hyundai says the hybrid will achieve better than 4.7-litres/100 km in combined city/highway driving. By comparison, the CVT-equipped Elantra is rated at 7.5 l/100 km in the city, 5.7 on the highway and 6.7 combined.

In another first for the Elantra, there’s a performance-focused N-Line. It’s fitted with a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the N Line, while a seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic is available. An independent rear suspension is standard for the N Line, as it is with the hybrid. The base Elantra uses a torsion-beam (solid) rear axle.

Pricing starts at $19,750 for the base Essential model. It arrives with dynamic-safety tech such as forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver-attention warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

The receives a few more goodies such as dual-zone climate control and hands-free trunk release. The N Line ($30,500) gets heated sport-style front seats (power-operated for the driver) and Goodyear summer tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels.

The variety of Elantra models and content is not dissimilar to what’s available from the top-selling Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but a stunning design perhaps gives this Hyundai the edge.

The Elantra interior is spectacular in its simplicity, with tidy screens and a traditional shift lever (no buttons or dial). This is the interior of the N Line, which starts at $30,500. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

The Elantra interior is spectacular in its simplicity, with tidy screens and a traditional shift lever (no buttons or dial). This is the interior of the N Line, which starts at $30,500. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

What you should know: 2021 Hyundai Elantra

Type: Front-wheel-drive compact sedan

Engines (h.p.)2.0-litre I-4 (147); 1.6-litre I-4 with electric motor (139); 1.6-litre I-4, turbocharged (201)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; continuously variable (CVT); six-speed automated manual (hybrid); seven-speed automated manual (N Line)

Market position: With domestic-based sedans — both compact and midsize — almost extinct, import-based automakers such as Hyundai now have the playing field to themselves. What’s more, such automakers are advancing the segment and not slowing down.

Points: Eye-catching design makes for one of the best-looking sedans on the market. • Hybrid and performance editions should appeal to a wider cross-section of buyers. • Interior design is conservative, but includes the latest in technology. • Standard array of safety tech covers nearly all contingencies. • An attractive price point for all models is a huge plus.

Driver assist: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (opt); inattentive-driver alert (n.a..); lane-departure warning (opt.); pedestrian detection (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 7.5/5.7 (CVT); Base price (incl. destination) $19,750

BY COMPARISON

Honda Civic

  • Base price: $25,200
  • Popular sedan’s all-turbocharged engine lineup ranges from 174 to 306-h.p.

Toyota Corolla

  • Base price: $20,800
  • Sedan and hatchback versions are joined by a hybridrated at 4.5 l/100 km.

Volkswagen Jetta

  • Base price: $24,000
  • Low-key compact uses a 147-h.p. turbo I-4. GLI turbo I-4 makes 228 h.p.

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Automotivecars

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stettler resident Jaden Norman is pictured here outside of the Stettler Learning Centre where she lends a helping hand as a volunteer tutor. photo contributed
Stettler’s Jaden Norman has discovered the many joys of giving back

National Volunteer Week runs April 18th to 24th

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
A commercial building, housing two businesses, in Stettler was completed destroyed by a fire Thursday. (Photo courtesy Stettler Regional Fire Department)
Fire destroys commercial building in Stettler

Giant plume of smoke attracts spectators

Stettler County
Highlights from County of Stettler council – April 14th

The County of Stettler has received a clean audit for the 16th year in a row

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Most Read