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2021 Hyundai Elantra – New King of the Compact Hill?

Hyundai Continues to Excel at CARS!

AutoPacific has been supporting the charge from cars to crossover SUVs (XSUVs) for 35 years.  Drivers in the USA have slowly, but surely, been moving that way.  Automakers have responded and many are dropping their passenger cars to devote resources to more popular and profitable XSUVs.  Hyundai is not one of those companies.  While Hyundai has an impressive stable of XSUVs, it is keeping its car lineup at the top of its game.  The all new 2021 Hyundai Elantra, Elantra Hybrid and Elantra N-Line may just be the king of the compact hill.  For the time being, that is.

7th Generation Elantra  The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is the 7th generation Elantra.  First launched in 1990, Elantra was nothing if not pedestrian.  Hyundai launched in the USA in 1986 and the Elantra was its first compact car slotting in above the Excel sub-compact.  Hyundai has steadily been upping its game and the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is the latest example.

Sensuous Sportiness  While the Elantra competes in the compact car class, it has the size of a mid-size car.  The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is the second Hyundai model to get its “sensuous sportiness” styling language.  Bodyside styling is very distinctive.  There are three crisp lines converging in the center of the front doors.  This looks much like an arrowhead.

The longer, wider, lower Elantra comes across as a 4-door sport coupe.  Even with its fast windshield and backlite, the Elantra is easy to get into and out of.  It is roomy inside and has none of the traditional compact car flimsy feel.

In the driver’s seat, forward visibility is excellent.  The cowl is low providing a panoramic view out front.  Glass is generous and visibility to the sides and rear is good.

Two Screens Under One Piece of Glass  One of the most striking things about the interior of the 2021 Elantra are the two displays under one piece of glass.  In the base car – the SE, there is a 4.2-inch color TFT display in the instrument cluster.  Flanking that is an 8-inch display audio system.  Moving to the next model up – the SEL, an optional convenience package provides a 10.25-inch LCD TFT display.  This display is standard on the Limited model.

The center console includes a strut-like passenger grab handle rising from the console box to the instrument panel.  This a very interesting touch.

Connectivity  Connectivity is a big deal these days.  The base Elantra has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.  The models with the 10.25-inch screen, however, uses a cord to connect to your smartphone.

BlueLink  The SEL model and above include BlueLink Connected Car Services.  With BlueLink, the Elantra automatically loads your personal settings for climate control, heated/cooled seats, radio pre-sets.

Powertrains  The Elantra has a wide line-up, all front wheel drive.  Its standard gasoline engine is a 147-horsepower 2.0L four cylinder.  The hybrid model is powered by a 104HP 1.6L 4-cylinder mated to a 43HP electric motor.   Topping the line-up is the Elantra N-Line powered by a 201HP 1.6L GDI Turbocharged 4-cylinder.  Most Elantras will get a 6-speed “Smartstream” Intelligent Variable Transmission.  The higher performance N-Line has either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

The hybrid and N-Line models get a multi-link independent rear suspension.

How Does the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Drive?  The new Elantra drives like a larger car.  The suspension is well controlled.  Noise, vibration and harshness are low.  Acceleration is adequate for the gasoline and hybrid models.  The N-Line, as expected, is much more spirited  During a surface road stretch in the Hybrid model, the car averaged over 60mpg.  The 2.0L 4-cylinder showed fuel economy of over 45 miles-per-gallon in a combined city/highway stretch.

Pricing  Hyundai products have always been known to provide great feature value for the money.  The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is no exception.  The base SE is feature-laden but begins with a price below $20,000 – $19,650.  When you go to the top-of-the-line Limited Hybrid, the price is $28,100.  The most popular configuration will likely be the SEL at $20,900 with the convenience package ($950) and premium package ($2,100) – $23,950.

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