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

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Head-on collision Jan. 14 claims one life west of Fort St. James

Jenkins said alcohol, as well as road surface conditions, have been ruled out as factors

Nechako River, Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Officials keeping close tabs on Nechako River after ice jam causes area flooding

District of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen, though, said water levels have gone down, for now

Vanderhoof home sees water from the Nechako move up into the yard, and within hours, water was seen up to the deck. Ken Young, Vanderhoof councillor posted this photo on social media.
Mayor concerned about ice jams in the Nechako river

“We have never lived with a frozen river at this magnitude during our time in council,” mayor said.

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Most Read