Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY - Bill Buys

HYUNDAI struck gold with its Elantra and there's more to come, judg­ing by its lat­est model.

The just-launched sixth-gen­er­a­tion has more re­fine­ment and style, and seems cer­tain to build on the model's stun­ning global suc­cess.

More than 10 mil­lion Elantras have been sold world­wide since the classy compact was launched in 1990.

The new one re­tains the 'flu­idic sculp­ture' styling but with bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics; a stronger, more rigid body; big­ger en­gine; im­proved sus­pen­sion; and a lot of worth­while stan­dard equip­ment.

There are two mod­els, the Ac- tive and Elite, priced from $21,490 for the man­ual and $2300 more for the auto. The Elite adds an­other $3000.

Be­hind the sig­na­ture hexag­o­nal grille is a new 112kW/192Nm four-cylin­der 2.0litre en­gine that needs only 7.2litres/100km, and trans­mis­sion is via a six-speed man­ual or six-speed auto in the Ac­tive and auto-only in the Elite.

The mo­tor has a bit more power than the ear­lier 1.8, but a stronger torque curve.

Bud­get watch­ers will be happy that the Elantra needs stan­dard 91-oc­tane fuel.

The new car is 20mm longer, 25mm wider and 5mm taller than its pre­de­ces­sor, and has more head and shoul­der room.

Stan­dard fea­tures in both mod­els in­clude 7-inch touch­screen, Ap­ple CarPlay, (no An­droid yet) rear-view cam­era and park-as­sist, cruise con­trol, LED Day­time Run­ning Lights, au­to­matic dusk-sens­ing headlights, and smart al­loy wheels.

There's also a six-speaker au­dio sys­tem with steer­ing wheel­mounted con­trols and we liked the cen­tre stack, slightly an­gled to­wards the driver, and the clear in­stru­ments and sen­si­bly-placed switchgear.

For the ex­tra $3000, the Elite gets leather trim – choice of black or beige – cli­mate con­trol, pow­ered mir­rors, prox­im­ity key, a chromed grille, pre­mium gear­knob, a set of sexy LED tail­lights and, would you be­lieve, a boot that opens all by it­self if you linger close-by for more than three sec­onds.

It as­sumes you have both arms clutch­ing shop­ping items, so it saves you fid­dling with the key fob.

The boot is a size­able 458 litres, and can be ex­panded by low­er­ing the rear seat back­rests.

Both cars also get an enor­mous suite of safety gear. The Elantra drives beau­ti­fully. Our drive route in­cluded a cou­ple of Targa Tas­ma­nia spe­cial stages, plus a bit of gravel, and we never had any anx­ious mo­ments.

The Aus­tralian-spec Elantras have unique, stiffer sus­pen­sion, which, cou­pled with the new struc­tural rigid­ity, re­sult in surefooted han­dling and a qui­eter ride.

Per­for­mance is ad­e­quate for most needs; it's de­signed as a fam­ily car and for ma­ture mo­torists.

But a hot­tie is on its way for keener driv­ers: the SR, a 150kW/ 265Nm 1.6-litre tur­bocharged model ar­rives in a few months.

One of the best pack­ages in its class.

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