Longer, lower, wider: Hyundai has gone dramatic with the seventh iteration of its Elantra compact car.
Revealed at its own event in Hollywood, the Elantra is a marked departure from the current car. Out goes the odd-fitting face and tail treatment that always felt designed for a car a size up. In comes a uniquely-surfaced, fractal-like design that has us thinking of precious gems, or old-school 3D car models. There are certainly hints of the new Sonata, but it isn’t a same-sausage, different-length sort of design.
The 2021 Elantra sits on a new platform, with a 107.1-inch wheelbase, up 0.8 inches over the previous model. Total length is also up, by 2.2 inches, to 184.1 inches nose-to-tail. It’s wider too, by an inch. That makes it longer and wider than any of its Asian competition, while the Mazda 3 just shades it by 0.2 inches between the axles. Hyundai has shaved 0.8 inches off the Elantra’s height however, tying the Honda Civic as the lowest in the class. The Korean automaker promises that despite the chopped roofline, most interior dimensions have actually increased.
Premium interior offers plenty of tech
We’ve seen a big push towards more premium compact car interiors from the likes of Nissan and Mazda. Hyundai’s seen it too, and the Elantra is its multi-faceted riposte.
It starts with an available dual-screen setup that houses both the instrument panel and infotainment within a single piece of glass. Both units are 10.25 inches across, offering high-def, customizable information. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, though in a segment first they’re both wireless. The Elantra’s system also supports two simultaneous Bluetooth connections.
A natural voice recognition feature is standard, with drivers needing to press a steering wheel-mounted button. Also included is customizable mood lighting, with 64 available colors.
If that all sounds—and looks—a little like Mercedes’ A-Class, well, we imagine Hyundai wants you to make that association.
The standard 8.0-inch screen is, well, less easy on the eye, as you can see above.
The 2021 Elantra will use Hyundai’s digital key technology, much like the 2020 Sonata Hybrid. It uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, allowing owners to share their car without letting go of the physical keys. It is only available with Android phones.
Hyundai is including a wide range of standard safety systems as part of its SmartSense suite. This includes forward collision-avoidance, lane keep assist, lane following assist, auto high beams, and a driver attention warning. Optional additional aids and safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alart and lane change assist.
Elantra Hybrid joins the lineup
For the first time the Elantra will be available as a hybrid. It features a 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and a 32 kW electric motor. A lithium-ion-polymer battery sits under the rear seats, with a 1.32 kWh capacity. Combined outputs are 139 hp and 195 lb-ft. Instead of the usual CVT, the Elantra Hybrid runs a six-speed dual-clutch.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it appears to be the same setup as the Ioniq Hybrid. There’s just one small difference: the Ioniq’s battery is a slightly larger 1.56 kWh unit.
Hyundai is targeting a combined 50 mpg for the Elantra Hybrid. The Toyota Corolla hybrid—which also borrows its drivetrain from a purpose-built model, the Prius—has an EPA certified 52 mpg combined rating.
Gas-powered Elantras (SE, SEL and Limited) will stick to the familiar 2.0-liter engine of the current model, with 147 hp and 132 lb-ft. The only available transmission is a CVT. During its live presentation Hyundai confirmed an N-Line Elantra is in the pipeline. The accompanying press release talks about the lighter curb weight of the new car and a lower, more driver-focused seating position, so it sounds like there’s a good base here for that.
The 2021 Elantra will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Stay tuned for its full pricing and specs closer to that date.