The last all-new Elantra was unveiled in 2015, so it’s about time for a new one. Hyundai says this new car is a return to its sporty roots for all the “young disruptors” it considers its customer base for this car. The compact sedan market continues to shrink, but with some sharp futuristic good looks, perhaps Hyundai can pump some life back into the segment.
This brand new car is larger in almost every dimension, which is the trend in car design these days, of course. The new Elantra is 2.2 inches overall longer than the outgoing model. 0.8 inches of that length is found inside the wheelbase, meaning the new car has more overhang. Width is increased by a full inch, and the cowl point was moved rearward by almost two inches. The big surprise is that this new car is actually 0.8 inches shorter than the outgoing model.
The standard Elantra will get a 2.0-litre Atkinson engine that focuses on fuel economy over power. With 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, it’s no slouch in its class. The fuel economy numbers have not been released, but Hyundai assures that it will be deliver best in class, thanks to its intelligent CVT transmission.
If you’re really looking for fuel economy numbers, however, look for the Elantra Hybrid to deliver over 50 mpg. The Hybrid engine is a 1.6-litre GDI Atkinson four cylinder mated to a permanent-magnet 32 kW electric motor powered by a 1.32 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery. This system manages to put out 139 horsepower and a whopping 195 foot lubs of torque. The Hybrid model also gets a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It seems strange that Hyundai is focusing the Elantra as a sporty sedan, but in spite of it being longer and wider than the outgoing model, it does weigh less. It also has a lower centre of gravity and a stiffer chassis. Even the seat is mounted lower in the car to make the car feel sportier.
From a tech standpoint, the new Elantra offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly. I’ve only experienced this in a few models, but it’s a nice touch. It also has an updated voice command system which is supposed to be more conversational than traditional examples of the tech. Here’s how Hyundai explains it.
To activate controls, all the driver has to do is use the “push to talk button” on the steering wheel and say the requested command. Conversations will sound like, “Air conditioner on,” “Set fan to face,” or “Turn on my heated seat.” There are also more requests the system can handle. A user can say via Blue Link, “What is the temperature in St. Louis?”, “When is Mother’s Day?”, “Find me a Starbucks”, or “Who won the L.A. King’s game last night?”
From a design standpoint, it’s a wild look with straight edges and triangular shapes. It doesn’t look like any other car, and that’s a good thing. This sharp styling seems to be doing well for Hyundai’s Sonata, so why not move that to the smaller sedan, too? I think it’s attractive, but it will probably be considered polarising for most. Who would have thought Hyundai would be a design leader in 2020?
Scheduled to begin production in fall 2020, the Elantra will be built in both the Ulsan, Korea factory as well as Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. It should hit dealers before the end of the year.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but the current Elantra starts at $US18,150 ($31,393) and I wouldn’t expect it to stray too far from that.
All of this sounds pretty good, but when can we expect to see the Elantra N?