Hyundai has always been known as very reliable small car manufacturer. However their earlier forays like Maruti to break into Rs.10 lacs plus premium sedan car segment had not met with much success; be it the Elantra and even the Sonata.
However, all that is history now, with Verna still going strong even after almost over a year since it's launch, the Rs.10 lacs car buyers in India, have started taking Hyundai as a competent car maker, that they believe deserves a certain share of their wallet. Buoyed with Verna’s success, it is all, but natural that Hyundai has now moved a step above and gave a shot to D-segment, with its another drop dead gorgeous looking car ; The Elantra.
Elantra's sleek but edgy style and lavish equipment, sure has caught the fancy of Indian car buyer, as is obvious from its sales figures. Whilst early success is not a guarantee of future attention from the finicky and demanding D segment car buyers in India. Competition for sure can be expected not to make things easier for the Elantra.
While Toyota has gone whole-hog to make Corolla Altis best in practicality, GM is trying hard to lure the customers on the basis of devastating performance of its flag bearer; Cruze. The question that needs to be answered is the 'Why Buy Me Reason' for Elantra. Is it performing distinctively ahead on some parameters or does it offer an optimum combination of all the virtues in totality to the D Segment car buyers in India. It's to seek answers to these questions that we at www.ecardlr.com decided to take the Elantra diesel for an exhaustive ride.
Hyundai Elantra - Exteriors
Although all the new generation Hyundais’ look beautiful in their flesh; it is actually the Elantra which walks out with aplomb, with its drop-dead gorgeous styling. Elantra takes the manifestation of fluidic design language of the company to a new high. Hexagonal grill, sleek cuts and rising shoulder line makes Elantra all the more beautiful. One grouse though the owners could have, is about the similarity of Elantra’s facia with Verna. Seen head on, Elantra’s grill, chrome slatted logo and hawk-styled headlamps blend seamlessly. Fog lamps too follow the suit and so is the air dam which has got chrome accents on its periphery.
Side profile of the car looks almost flawless thanks to the sleek lines running back to back towards the rear. While belt line merges with the rear lamp, shoulder line gets a nice kink towards the roof panel. Both windscreens are sharply raked and that enhances the fluidity of the whole design. Flanked by the wrap around tail lamps on either side, rear too does not disappoint. Though rear bumper seems a little beefy, but they are still not all that distracting.
Overall Hyundai has once again done a stellar job in designing the nee Elantra, which is sure grabs eyeballs wherever it goes. We are sure, that even the modern and flared up Cruze won’t be able to withstand the coherence and fluidity of the Elantra. In other words Elantra's design seems to be its biggest USP.
Hyundai Elantra - Interiors
Step inside the Elantra and get wowed. The interiors are worthy of a car asking priced over 15 lacs. Car buyers in India won't mind betting 15 lacs on Elantra's luxurious interiors with as much as batting an eyelid. Elantra's interiors are designed to pamper its owners both visually and physically. Rich luxurious interiors with top-end material quality is how one can sum-up the cars interior.
Elantra's offers keyless entry in the real sense of the word, all you need is its key to be within a defined proximity. Once the car sensor sense the key, the driver can open the door by pressing the push button located on the door handle.
Once inside, experience tasteful combination of black and beige colour, which just looks fabulous. Twin cockpit design theme used very explicitly to distinguish the driver and passenger is neat. Centre console stretches its limits way back to rear and has some usable bits like cup holders and deep stowage space. Steering wheel is well sculpted though mounted controls are not very intuitive to use. Binoculars type instrument panel adds flair to the design, though we have our apprehensions about its visibility on high speed.
Centre console design is compact and the quality of material is excellent. Fit-finish conforms to the norms of D-segment, though central air cons vents are little small and odd in shape. Hyundai has left no stone unturned on the equipment front and the Elantra is lavishly equipped. It has got the front seat ventilation and vehicle stability management (VSM), silica tyres, solar glass panel; first in its class features, along with ABS, EBD, rear parking camera, 6-air bags, rear audio control in armrest, dual zone climate control, cruise control and list just goes on.
From space point of view, Elantra boasts of wonderful room at the front, however at the back, the space proposition at best, can be defined as mediocre. Front seats have ample room and the thigh support is good too. With seat pushed back, any person irrespective of his/her dimensions can easily accommodate himself/herself without qualms.
Rear however is not all that generous in space; especially the head room. We were expecting the low rear seat headroom thanks to the downward sloping roofline and the low glass area, which further exaggerates the cooped in feeling for rear occupants. Except these flaws, rear seat is quite supportive and AC vents at the back are a nice touch to enhance the overall comfort of rear seat passengers in the Elantra.
Boot space in Elantra stands at humongous 420 litres and it is indeed very intelligently laid out. There are no intrusions from the suspension towers and the wide opening makes the job further easy for the users, though we would like to have a low loading tip.
Hyundai Elantra - Engine & Transmission
Hyundai Elantra comes with both petrol and diesel engines. While petrol is rated at 150 PS and 18.1 kg-m, diesel develops 128 PS and 26.5 kg-m of power and torque respectively. Both units use contemporary double overhead cam mechanism and with the engine breathing through 16 valves. We got the diesel one for a spin which displaces 1.6 L of displacement coupled with 6 speed manual-transmission.
Idle of the Elantra is impressively silent and barely audible inside the cabin. Low speed response of Elantra is good, but the hints of turbo lag is always present in the car. Below 1800 rpm mark the engine is bit lethargic, but once you cross the threshold of this level, turbo action kicks in immediately, thus equipping Elantra with serious progressive power thereafter.
Mid-range is where Elantra feels very comfortable and there are no cues of signing off even when Elantra crosses 3000 rpm mark. Highway performance is sure to excite the owners but we don’t think Elantra has any clear cut answer to the strong bottom end of either Corolla or Cruze. This is sure to disappoint the persons looking for easy manoeuvrability in town without practicing frequent gears changes frequently.
Engine comes with 6-speed manual transmission. Clutch travel in Elantra is bit long but the gear shift is quite sleek and straight however it could have been shorter. Brakes do a wonderful job and various security systems working in tandem are very reassuring.
Hyundai Elantra - Suspension
Elantra features McPherson struts up front while at rear torsion beam does the duty to suspend the wheels. 16” alloy wheels are shrouded with 205 mm wide rubber with an aspect ratio of 60.
Elantra's suspension is designed keeping in mind the ride comfort of the car. Elantra features the soft suspension settings to comfort the passengers from any fluctuations and waviness. Slow speed ride is very cushioning and is sure to get down well with most of the target customers. High speed stability though is something Elantra cannot gloat upon.
Handling is not Elantra’s forte as it just manages fine on this front, however the reliving factor is that it doesn’t roll excessively like its younger sister Verna. Elantra shows a bit more composure on being hustled. Hyundai has still to find an optimum balance between ride and handling and Elantra has a lot to learn from other direct contenders like the Cruze and Corolla Altis on overall dynamic front.
Hyundai Elantra -Overall Verdict
Elantra’s price range stretches from Rs. 12.55 lakh base petrol to Rs. 15.89 lakh to fully loaded automatic diesel (ex-showroom, Delhi). On value for money (VFM) proposition Elantra doesn’t perform very well, but then one has to remember the fact that the pricing is in-line with the equipment the car comes loaded with.
Fully loaded version of Elantra is generously adorned and comes with many 1st in class features. Besides Elantra's stunning style, luxurious cabin and cushioning ride are the virtues that sure will impress it's buyers and prospects. Current sales figures have shown that Elantra has actually dethroned the Corolla from its leadership position. But then competition is sure to come back with loaded ammunition; thus there is hardly any chance for Hyundai Elantra to rest on its laurels.
Style & Substance : 4.5/5 Ride & Handling : 3/5
Interiors & Ergonomics : 4/5 Safety & Equipment : 4.5/5
Power Plant & Transmission : 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency : 3.5/5
Value for Money : 3/5