Hyundai is back in the executive sedan segment with the introduction of the 6th generation Elantra. The car itself promises to be a winner; with Hyundai having left no stone unturned in any department – be it the way it looks, feels, drives or the features on board.
We recently got to spend an entire week with both the petrol and diesel versions of the Elantra.
Following Hyundai’s Fluidic Design 2.0 philosophy, this Elantra boasts of a low sporty stance that is further enhanced by those sharp character lines. While it follows the same swooping look of its predecessor, the tweaks have vastly improved its appeal and the end result is an extraordinary looking sedan.
Up front you get the large trapezoidal grille finished in chrome, sleek headlights fitted with HID projector lamps and LED DRLs (which incidentally looks sinister at night).
Viewed from the side, Elantra’s sloping roofline gives it a coupe-like stance and the strong shoulder line further accentuates the car’s sleek styling. The rear does justice to the entire package with its chiselled look and those drop-dead-gorgeous taillight clusters.
The large 16-inch alloys further enhance the Elantra’s visual appeal and as a package, you can’t deny the fact that the Elantra is a strikingly good-looking executive sedan.
The plush cabin is well-appointed and there is a healthy dose of leatherette in there for good measure.
The steering is really nice to grip and the entire driver-centric cockpit layout is much-appreciated. All the materials used are top notch and you really can’t find fault with how everything has been put together. It is a fine job of craftsmanship and is one of the star attributes of the new Elantra.
Power & Feature Packed
Like all Hyundai products, the Elantra is also offered with both petrol and diesel engine options. This time around, Hyundai has decided to go with a larger DOHC 16V VTVT petrol engine that displaces 2.0 litres and makes 152 PS of power @6,200 rpm and 192 Nm of torque @4,000 rpm.
The diesel engine remains the 1.6 litre CRDi unit that we’ve seen in the Verna and the Creta and it churns out a healthy 128 PS @ 4,000 rpm and 260 Nm between 1900-2750 rpm. Both engines are available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic.
As far as the really awesome stuff on board is concerned, you get the start/stop button, steering mounted controls for the audio system, Bluetooth and cruise control. As part of the standard safety package, the Elantra is offered with driver and passenger airbags, ABS and EBD.
The top of the line versions that we had on test also came with curtain airbags, side airbags, vehicle stability management, hill start assist, and electronic stability control.
There is a neat 8-inch infotainment system that gets both Apple Car Play as well as Android Auto (you aren’t restricted in terms of functionality because of the phone you have), vented front seats that can be cooled (a blessing in our country), dual zone climate control, rear a/c vents and a sunroof!
The cabin itself is rather spacious and despite the car’s sleek profile, you surprisingly have a decent amount of headroom at the rear. Leg space is noteworthy and the trunk is big enough to carry two large suitcases and a bunch of bags with ease.
While we got to drive both the petrol and diesel versions, we only got to test the top of the line variants that come with the automatic gearbox. We decided to start with the Elantra petrol and after having spent some time driving it around in varied conditions, it was clear that the petrol version is more of a relaxed cruiser and not a four-wheeled missile.
While the engine churns out oodles of power, the automatic gearbox takes its time to switch gears thus bringing the whole drive experience to a pace that is slower than what you imagined it would be.
At most times it isn’t going to give you an adrenaline rush; however, we figured that it has been tuned as such in order to keep the mileage in check.
The Elantra petrol does return a rather healthy 14.63 kmpl according to the official test cycle and when you take that into consideration, it is a fair trade-off.
Having said that, all is not lost for you to get the option to improve your drive experience while on board the Elantra petrol, thanks to the inclusion of ‘Sport’ mode and the ability to also switch gears manually through the tiptronic function. They do take things up a notch and you might find yourself smiling as you power up to three-digit speeds.
The diesel Elantra proved to be a whole different beast. The drive felt more engaging, the car felt quicker off the mark and we couldn’t get enough of driving it around in ‘Sport’ mode – an absolute hoot!
It goes without saying that if we had to put our money down on an Elantra, it would be the diesel that finds its way to our garage. Incidentally, the diesel Elantra offers a staggering 22.54 kmpl, according to the official test cycle results!
As far as ride comfort is concerned, both the petrol and diesel variants offer a nice smooth drive. The suspension is firmer when compared to its predecessor and the car doesn’t feel wafty at all. It takes corners well, there isn’t any pronounced body roll and it feels nice and planted while cruising along at high speeds on the highway as well.
With the Elantra’s introduction, Hyundai is once again taking on a segment that has proved to be one of the toughest markets in India. It is a great looking car that is feature-rich, comfortable, spacious, frugal and relatively fun to drive.
If you happen to be looking for a neat sedan that will pamper you and get heads turning – the Elantra is for you.
(Vikram Gour is one of India’s renowned automotive journalists and the co-founder of MotorScribes. He can be reached at @VikramGour )