The Elantra’s new flag­ship model of­fers a step up in per­for­mance and premium qual­ity

Car (South Africa) - - TEST -

TWO years after its global re­veal, the new Hyundai Elantra has nally ar­rived in South Africa. Given the fact that its pre­de­ces­sor se­cured our Top 12 Best Buys Com­pact Sedan ti­tle in 2012 and ‘13, we were ea­ger to see what the new model had to of­fer. Our test car is the ag­ship T-GDI Elite tted with the tur­bocharged 1,6-litre, 150 kw en­gine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission found in the equiv­a­lent Veloster; the re­sult is a sur­pris­ing amount of grunt.

The new Elantra’s ex­te­rior is best de­scribed as a safe evo­lu­tion of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion and, like other new Hyundais we’ve seen, such as the Tuc­son and Creta, it’s a hand­some car rather than a strik­ing one. The Elite’s looks only hint at its per­for­mance ad­van­tages over the rest of its sib­lings, with LED day­timerun­ning lights and a slightly restyled front grille. The rear in­cor­po­rates a mild dif­fuser along­side a sim­i­larly mild twinex­haust tail­piece.

Inside it’s a sim­i­lar story. The in­te­rior gains a racy set of red leather seats, a pleas­antly nished at-bot­tomed mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel with red con­trast stitch­ing and some sturdy steel ped­als.

As the Korean man­u­fac­tur­ers have done with ev­ery suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tion, the new Elantra’s cabin is a step up in both build and ma­te­rial qual­ity. All of the com­po­nents feel well nished and most are soft to the touch.

In­te­rior pack­ag­ing is not classlead­ing, but with a mea­sured boot space of 384 litres and rear legroom of 654 mm, it’s in line with com­peti­tors. Stan­dard fea­tures in this trim in­clude an arm­rest, six airbags, a 60:40-split rear fold­ing seat and an in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with Mir­rorlink func­tion­al­i­ties and satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion. These are,

it must be said, fea­tures you would ex­pect as stan­dard at this price point, although you don’t get a glass sun­roof, elec­tri­cally driver’s seat or blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing; they’re fea­tures that come stan­dard on the Mazda3 Sedan 2,0 Astina. This is al­ways a some­what sub­jec­tive call, but the NVH lev­els seemed im­pres­sively low and we mea­sured an idle in­te­rior noise level read­ing of 40 DBA – one of the low­est we have seen.

The fo­cal point of the T-GDI Elite, how­ever, is the pow­er­train and, as men­tioned, it’s a lay­out that Hyundai has used be­fore. In this Elantra, how­ever, it feels punchier … some­thing that was con­firmed in our test re­sults. Whereas Hyundai claims a 0-100 km/h time of 7,7 sec­onds and a top speed of 210 km/h (about right for 1 373 kg ve­hi­cle with an en­gine this size), our per­for­mance test­ing posted a 0-100 km/h time of 6,84 sec­onds. That’s not only sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the of­fi­cial stat, but it’s al­most half a sec­ond quicker than the Veloster 1,6 T-GDI.

The Elantra’s in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion tests also in­di­cated the car was able to carry that mo­men­tum through the gears and it dis­played a 100-120 km/h time of 2,56 sec­onds. The Elantra was also im­pres­sive in scrub­bing off all this speed, boast­ing an av­er­age 100-0 km/h stop­ping time of 2,79 sec­onds, a fig­ure that can be at­trib­uted to the 305 mm front ven­ti­lated brake disks and the grippy Hankook Ven­tus Prime rub­ber.

While these fig­ures are no doubt im­pres­sive for a tur­bocharged 1,6-litre en­gine, the gen­eral de­meanour of the Elantra doesn’t quite match the pow­er­train’s per­for­mance. While the rear mul­ti­link sus­pen­sion does make the ve­hi­cle feel planted in corners, it’s

Cer­tainly a pleas­ant, if very niche, per­for­mance sur­prise Ian Mclaren A sur­pris­ingly dy­namic pack­age; a long way off the orig­i­nal Elantra Sudhir Matai A sprightly per­former. Wor­thy of the Sport badge? Just about Ryan Bubear

cer­tainly not a car that en­joys be­ing pushed to the limit. Hyundai has di­alled a lit­tle more com­fort into the ride qual­ity and when push­ing on – as en­cour­aged by the en­gine – there are hints of un­der­steer and slight signs of in­sta­bil­ity un­der hard brak­ing.

In an ev­ery­day set­ting, how­ever, the Elantra pos­sesses a com­fort­able and re ned de­meanour. The sus­pen­sion pro­vides a softly sprung ride and works well with the re­spon­sive, elec­tri­cally as­sisted steer­ing.


At R399 900, the new Elantra’s range top­per is quite a jump up in price, but it is a more premium prod­uct and does of­fer gen­er­ous stan­dard speci cation and a ve-year/ 90 000 km ser­vice plan. With this new-gen­er­a­tion car, the Elantra’s brand prom­ise re­mains a well-rounded prod­uct that, given its spec, is com­pet­i­tively priced and re­mains a wor­thy sedan al­ter­na­tive to the ubiq­ui­tous SUVS and crossovers. Ac­cel­er­a­tion stats aside, it may not quite live up to that Sport badge branded on its boot lid, but this ag­ship model does of­fer a premium driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

That said, if you’re will­ing to trade the punch of­fered by the 1,6-litre tur­bopetrol and its dual-clutch transmission for a more re­laxed, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 2,0-litre with a sixspeed torque con­verter, the sim­i­larly specced 115 kw 2,0 Elite is worth look­ing at. For one thing, it’s R50 000 cheaper and, although on pa­per it’s heav­ier on fuel, we’d bet in real-world con­di­tions their con­sump­tion gures would be more closely matched.

In an ev­ery­day set­ting, the Elantra pos­sesses a comfy, re­fined de­meanour

clock­wise from be­low Per­ceived qual­ity is ex­cel­lent and spec gen­er­ous; leather-wrapped, flat-bot­tomed steer­ing wheel is a cheeky ad­di­tion; leather seats feel up­mar­ket; rear legroom, although not classlead­ing, is suf­fi­cient for two adults.

clock­wise from top left The boot has an­chors for a cargo net, but lacks more help­ful bag hooks; 1,6 T-GDI’S per­for­mance gures came as a pleas­ant sur­prise; new Elantra has an el­e­gant, dy­namic de­sign, not of­ten a given in this straight-laced seg­ment.

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