2015 Hyundai Elantra tries to solve the problems of the earlier version and it succeeds too, but there is still room for improvement from the enthusiast point of view
Hyundai in India is the only brand which has gotten everything right from day one. They are the only manufacturers who sold the Getz to the Sonata through the same showroom. Same applies right from Eon to Elantra everything is sold on the same floor and it working for them too. Hyundai image of high quality car inside out with reliability and efficiency has and this is where the proof lies today. Elantra turned out to be just as popular as the i10 or i20 did. While sales numbers don’t exactly match because our country just loves small cars.
Hyundai Elantra received special love and attention and become the number one seller in its segment despite tough competition from the players in the segment who are here for decades.
That’s the reason we are testing this popular flavor of the lot, how does it fare? We spend a really long time with the car this time, to tell you what’s what.
Car Tested: Hyundai Elantra 1.6 SX MT 16.98 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.8 S 14.43 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.6 Base 14.88 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.6 S MT 15.65 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.8 SX MT 15.71 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.8 SX AT 16.80 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.6 SX MT 16.98 lakh
Hyundai Elantra 1.6 SX AT 18.24 lakh
The reason it gets the special treatment in the market because the way it looks. The design is spot on and it is a very attractive car indeed. Side profile reminds you of the coupe’s you have seen in pictures all these years but with the four-door practicality. A Small window line which looks like one big eye. Waist line gets a chrome belt, which adds to the distinction on this facelift. Front-end is typical fluidic with curved bonnet, bumper and single slat chrome grill. Flowing headlights with smoked LED lights looks quite unique and appealing and so do the large fog lights.
Lights remind us of the illumination is fantastic thanks to projector, but the throw isn’t that great despite looking into the settings. Big fat bumper at the rear along with long running tail-lights add drama to the rear. A faux diffuser with a good-looking exhaust tip makes it look substantial and powerful to preying eyes. Alloy wheels are of new design and they look way better than the earlier version which was a plain 5 spoke wheels. Overall, a fresh and stylish looking car that should help before next generation comes in.
Another strong point of the car is the interiors. Fit-finish is top-notch and the cabin looks modern enough. Quality is good, but not that great with plastics all around. Competition offers soft-touch plastic everywhere. Black interiors look swell to any enthusiast and with brushed silver accents all around. Blue back-lit lights also make the cabin a ‘cool’ place to be in. Steering and dials are new but most of the stuff is taken from the Verna.
Space at the rear is really good as there is a lot of knee, leg, head room. Shoulder room is lacking, but seat recline along with armrest makes it a car for four people to be comfortable in the car. 500 litre boot space takes all your luggage with its width. Rear A/c vents cool the cabin at the rear quickly and also eats into the 5’th passenger space at the same time. A/c works well at the front thanks to solar glass used in the windshield and doors that absorbs sun and helps in the cabin stay cool.
Hyundai’s are known for feature packed interiors, but the Elantra’s case is different. It misses out on goodies such as any kind of fuel indicator. Leather on the hand brake lever is missing, which is a shocking omission. There is no distance to empty feature as well. Small touch screen and infotainment system is taken from the Verna, which provides Bluetooth, Aux, USB iPod connectivity.
Other features include sporty pedals, cooled glove box, driver side power and cooled seats, auto fog remover and dual zone climate control. Heated ORVM’s, engine start stop, keyless go, automatic headlights along parking sensors with camera are also available. Safety wise 6 airbags, impact sensing door locks with ABS with EBD along with disc brake all around make things safe.
Powering is the same diesel unit that is seen in the Elantra. The 1.6 diesel engine which make 128 PS of power and 260 Nm of torque is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox in our test car. Power delivery is linear and redlines smoothly till 4500 RPM redline. Usually Hyundai engines are known for NVH levels but not with this automatic gearbox.
It is constantly switching gears and the engine is on the boil and hence its audible all the time. However, it’s no basic diesel clatter, but a muted thrum that does not make things irritating. Ambling around in town is easy as the car picks up speed with low and medium throttle inputs. Smash the sporty pedal to the carpet and surprisingly the engine responds quickly by downshifting couple of cogs and it redlines and give you the kick you want pretty much spontaneously. There is a manual mode when you shift the lever to your side in D mode and you can use it to shift on your own.
Performance is adequate and gearbox does just fine, even by enthusiastic standards, wish it had a powerful engine that it deserves
You can feel the wee bit of lag from turbo in the mid range, but learn how to extract the best through throttle positioning and you will be very happy with the engine and gearbox. We got stuck in hardcore, peak hour, weekend traffic in Mumbai and were left praising the automatic gearbox as it was quick and comfortable at the same time. Top-end power is fair enough and open stretch it reaches 150 km/hr easily and post that, reaching 180 km/hr takes a wee bit of time. Something that’s isn’t a problem with the manual variant. Tank to tank to efficiency figures are around the 12.5 km/l which is pretty impressive considering expressway and city duties very performed. Overall, we wish Elantra gets a powerful engine which it clearly deserves as the Elantra is just about ok with this Verna diesel engine on-board.
This part of the car is usually not associated with the brand forte’s. However, with time and criticism Hyundai has taken things seriously and has been working on chassis and dynamics of the car. With stiffer suspension on all ends and tweaking to the chassis has resulted in being much more confident than before. Whether its the twisties or straight roads, Elantra has the composure now and does not scare you when you are changing lanes at triple digit speeds or when going flat-out.
There is still a good amount of body, but only when driven enthusiastically. Normal speeds and average driver will not notice the fact. Tyres are good and grip is good in wet and dry roads conditions along with mechanical grip is sufficient with subtle amount understeer when near the limit.
Steering calibration is better than before. Ride quality and stability has improved but it’s still no where near the competition
Ride quality is excellent as always continues to glide over bad roads with ease without any vertical movement. Steering is light and direct at low speeds and it weighs up pretty well at high speeds too so changing lanes is confidence inspiring. Tighter ratio of the steering also means u-turns and maneuvering is very easy for a car of this size. Braking is good but low-speed pedal feel is mushy, but post that braking performance and shedding triple digits speeds is fuss free task.
The Elantra is a package just about right for the masses. The styling is great and so is the space, brand, efficiency and performance figures. However, the enthusiast point of view remains weak. Not much performance on tap with average dynamics and a car that isn’t fun or engaging to drive remains the points for people like us and hence we would have a German rival over this.
But when you consider the fact its going to cheap to run, hassle free maintenance is its strong points, wide sales and service dealership won’t let you down most of the time makes it a head over heart decision. We’d go with the decision of our heart, but the masses will go with head as the Elantra ticks all their boxes for them and the main is value for money!
Prices ex-showroom New Delhi
- Stunning aesthetics
- Responsive automatic gearbox
- Hyundai sales and service backup
- Mediocre dynamics
- Missing features (MID)
- Powerful diesel engine missing