The new design is, quite literally, edgy. The Elantra is also larger than before and has a bit more distance between the front and rear wheels. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

The new design is, quite literally, edgy. The Elantra is also larger than before and has a bit more distance between the front and rear wheels. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

2021 Hyundai Elantra: Could this be the car that starts a sedan revival?

Pricing starts at $19,750 for the base Essential model and $26,600 for the base hybrid

An everyday compact car masquerading as a premium sedan sounds like a winning formula, and a welcome one for buyers. Add fuel-sipping and performance-focused versions to broaden interest and the result is the 2021 Hyundai Elantra.

The nameplate was launched in the early 1990s as a budget-oriented competitor to the established Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Escort models, to name a few. Back then, the Elantra’s low price was its primary claim to fame: A new-car alternative to buying used.

Today, the Elantra is one of the top nameplates in a field that has suffered due to the growing popularity of the utility vehicles. But where others — notably domestic-based automakers — appear to have given up on small sedans, Hyundai is doubling down.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra features attractive side creases extending along the door and rear-fender panels that blend into a knife-edged trunk lid.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra features attractive side creases extending along the door and rear-fender panels that blend into a knife-edged trunk lid.

The new Elantra’s design is, to put it mildly, jaw-dropping and follows the general shape of the larger Sonata. Most notable is the aggressively styled “jewel pattern” grille and enlarged air intakes. Also attractive are the side creases extending along the door and rear-fender panels that blend into a knife-edged trunk lid. Combined with a sweeping fastback roofline, the Elantra looks as good from the rear as from the front, if not better.

Compared with the previous-gen Elantra, the 2021 model is more than five centimetres longer, 2.5 centimetres wider and it gains close to that amount between the front and rear wheels. The car’s slightly lowered stance and roofline (with no loss in front or rear headroom) make it appear larger than measurements otherwise indicate.

The Elantra’s stronger and lighter platform has also allowed Hyundai’s design team to lower the car’s centre of gravity to improve cornering agility.

The interior isn’t quite as dramatic as the outside, but it looks downright luxurious. An available 10.25-inch-wide screen for the communications, infotainment and navigation-system is positioned directly beside the electronic gauge panel. A traditional T-shaped shift lever, instead of dials or switches, also speaks to the cabin’s conservative environment.

There’s also nothing too unusual about the Elantra’s base engine, a 147-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder that carries over from the previous model.

For the first time in an Elantra, however, a hybrid system is optional. It consists of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder with an electric motor that makes a net 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a continuously variable unit (CVT) is optional. A quick-shifting six-speed automated manual is paired with the hybrid and a seven-speed version comes with the N Line.

Hyundai says the hybrid will achieve better than 4.7-litres/100 km in combined city/highway driving. By comparison, the CVT-equipped Elantra is rated at 7.5 l/100 km in the city, 5.7 on the highway and 6.7 combined.

In another first for the Elantra, there’s a performance-focused N-Line. It’s fitted with a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the N Line, while a seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic is available. An independent rear suspension is standard for the N Line, as it is with the hybrid. The base Elantra uses a torsion-beam (solid) rear axle.

Pricing starts at $19,750 for the base Essential model. It arrives with dynamic-safety tech such as forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver-attention warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

The receives a few more goodies such as dual-zone climate control and hands-free trunk release. The N Line ($30,500) gets heated sport-style front seats (power-operated for the driver) and Goodyear summer tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels.

The variety of Elantra models and content is not dissimilar to what’s available from the top-selling Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but a stunning design perhaps gives this Hyundai the edge.

The Elantra interior is spectacular in its simplicity, with tidy screens and a traditional shift lever (no buttons or dial). This is the interior of the N Line, which starts at $30,500. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

The Elantra interior is spectacular in its simplicity, with tidy screens and a traditional shift lever (no buttons or dial). This is the interior of the N Line, which starts at $30,500. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

What you should know: 2021 Hyundai Elantra

Type: Front-wheel-drive compact sedan

Engines (h.p.)2.0-litre I-4 (147); 1.6-litre I-4 with electric motor (139); 1.6-litre I-4, turbocharged (201)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; continuously variable (CVT); six-speed automated manual (hybrid); seven-speed automated manual (N Line)

Market position: With domestic-based sedans — both compact and midsize — almost extinct, import-based automakers such as Hyundai now have the playing field to themselves. What’s more, such automakers are advancing the segment and not slowing down.

Points: Eye-catching design makes for one of the best-looking sedans on the market. • Hybrid and performance editions should appeal to a wider cross-section of buyers. • Interior design is conservative, but includes the latest in technology. • Standard array of safety tech covers nearly all contingencies. • An attractive price point for all models is a huge plus.

Driver assist: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); front and rear emergency braking (opt); inattentive-driver alert (n.a..); lane-departure warning (opt.); pedestrian detection (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 7.5/5.7 (CVT); Base price (incl. destination) $19,750

BY COMPARISON

Honda Civic

  • Base price: $25,200
  • Popular sedan’s all-turbocharged engine lineup ranges from 174 to 306-h.p.

Toyota Corolla

  • Base price: $20,800
  • Sedan and hatchback versions are joined by a hybridrated at 4.5 l/100 km.

Volkswagen Jetta

  • Base price: $24,000
  • Low-key compact uses a 147-h.p. turbo I-4. GLI turbo I-4 makes 228 h.p.

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Automotivecars

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino’s mayoralty candidates lay out key differences

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Clockwise from top right, chamber executive director Jen Dart moderated a Zoom-based forum last week where Tofino’s mayoralty candidates J.J. Belanger, Andrea McQuade and Dan Law made their pitch to lead their community. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Tofino mayoralty candidates face off at forum

Town to elect new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

A man died in a house fire at the Ahousaht First Nation reserve on Feb. 17, 2021. (BP File Image)
House fire claims life of one man in Ahousaht

Investigation underway as tight-knit community mourns, foul play not suspected

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read