After experiencing the new Elantra, one can easily see why Hyundai's claim that this is the best Elantra to date is no marketing spiel. Since 1990, when the car was launched, more than one crore cars have hit the markets in six generations. The car is believed to be the most-sold family sedan across the world. The new model has been launched in India to shake up the market and price starts at Rs 13 lakhs.
Elantra is an American car, perhaps the only American car that you can buy in India. Although it is made by Hyundai of South Korea, it is meant for the American market. It might perhaps help to know that the cars that Ford and GM are marketing in India are not sold in the US.
The advantage of an American car is that it comes from the most advanced market in the world where mediocrity is not tolerated. Various aspects such as performance, safety, facilities etc are put to test there. Further, sales and after-sales services need to be perfect. Elantra has broken through all these hurdles. The same car that runs in the US would now be available for the Indian consumer. There is only difference: in the US, the car has been placed in the market as a small family car, in India it is being marketed as a luxury vehicle.
The car has a low center of gravity and is conspicuous because of its large grills. Consumers are expected to take a liking to the hexagonal grill and headlamps. The lines of the body are in conformance with the fluidic-design philosophy of Hyundai. LED lamps and 16-inch wheels can surely turn heads.
Elantra has lots of space inside, especially at the back. The simple dashboard, laid out in black with matt finish, exude quality. The navigation console tips a bit towards the driver. A big TFT screen, aluminium scuff plate, rear AC, electric sun roof, ventilation systems for the front seats, electrically adjustable driver's seat are all available.
Elantra carries a torsion-beam suspension at the back that offers superior ride quality. Gas-filled shock absorbers and a strong build that conforms to US standards add stability to the car. Disc brakes for all wheels, ABS, traction control system, electronic brake distribution and hill-descent controls provide superior safety features to the vehicle. It has six air bags.
The model comes with two engines: a two-litre petrol and a 1.6 L diesel motor. One can opt to have a six-speed manual transmission or automatic transmission. The petrol engine is strongest in the class and the diesel motor does not lag much behind. Our test drive was on the diesel model.
The diesel motor provides 128 ps power and 26.5 kgm torque. The engine, which roars into action if prodded, lies quiet, purring softly when idling. It is claimed to return 22.5 kilometres to the litre. The car comes with a three year-unlimited warranty and one does not need to spend money in three years and 30000 kms even to change engine oil. One also need not spend a dime when the company comes home to service the car. For 13 lakhs, Elantra is a good deal.