The Hyundai Elantra has long been an excellent choice of practical sedan, providing all the features you’d expect from a vehicle in this segment at competitive prices. Yet it’s never been dime a dozen like many of the established players in the market. The new Elantra is of course hoping to set itself apart from the competition and pull in new customers, most of whom will be incredibly brand loyal to marques they have trusted for years. To do this Hyundai will need something special, something that will turn heads and set a new trend in motoring. So do we have a new market leader on our hands?
On the Outside
Manufacturers spend millions to achieve unique designs; designs that will entice customers, excite them, draw them into the brand philosophy and most importantly, are memorable. The Elantra falls at this first hurdle quite spectacularly I’m afraid as the exterior is far from provocative in either a positive or negative way. Rather it blends in with the crowd so well that if ninjas do in fact exist, this will undoubtedly be their car of choice in no time at all. Some of course may not be bothered by this lack of wow factor in the styling department, but unless Hyundai are going exclusively for ‘rep’ appeal, you can’t help but feel a serious make over is required to entice your traditional brand loyal Japanese customer.
On the Inside
Korean cars always excel in the interior department. This of course is mostly thanks to the myriad of gadgets and gizmos shoved into the package for free when compared to their German and Japanese counterparts, and has been a huge selling point for a number of years now. What has been steadily improving over the last few years is the ambiance inside, that indefinable quality of comfort and homeliness that is almost impossible to create by photocopier design. To its credit the Elantra has this indefinable quality in abundance and as a cabin to find yourself inside on the long drive home after another gruelling day in the office, there is something incredibly comfortable about this Hyundai.
While interior gadgets and gizmos have been a constant area of excellence for Hyundai, unfortunately driving experience has not been a stand out point. The Hyundai Elantra does very little to rectify the situation, and while it has an incredibly smooth ride, the 1.8 petrol engine is far from packing any real punch and the steering has little to no feel to it. Again this is hardly going to worry the accountants ordering next year’s fleet of rep mobiles, but for those people who want a bit of excitement in their practical sedan, they’ll have to look elsewhere.
The Elantra reminds me very much of vanilla ice cream. It’s a flavour that everyone likes, there’s no denying that, but it’s also no one favourite. The Hyundai is very much like this, in that it does everything right for a car in this segment, and yet it doesn’t do enough to really set itself apart, because to make vanilla ice cream blow someone’s mind you’d really have to shake up the formula, do something different and turn some heads. So yes, it’s comfortable, reliable, economical and well equipped, but if you’re looking to turn a few heads at the next office party, arriving in one of these is not going to cut it.
Engine: 1797cc four cylinder petrol
Power: 110 kW
Torque: 178 Nm
Consumption (l/100km): 6.5 (claimed)
Service: 5yr/90 000km service plan
Warranty: 5yr/150 000km