With the 2021 model year Hyundai comes an all-new design for the manufacturer’s mid-sized sedan, the Elantra. Having a sedan in the wheelhouse is something that other manufactures as shying away from, instead opting for SUV-only lineups.
“While some manufacturers no longer see the value in the car side of the business, we’re doubling down by offering an all-new model with both gas and hybrid powertrains,” said José Muñoz, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve sold more than 3.4 million Elantras here in the U.S. and more than 13.8 million worldwide, and the new, captivating look is going to bring excitement to a whole new generation of buyers. Then once inside, they’re going to love all of the progressive features.”
After a busy Christmas week with the new Elantra, we came to find that Munoz’ statement was really quite the understatement. This is usually the case for the automaker as they always seem to have extras we would never have expected in their vehicles.
Hyundai wants to keep the sedan a viable option for any type of buyer, and the company has added amenities to the Elantra that we have only been able to enjoy in high-end luxury models up to this point.
On the outside, the new Elantra is quite stunning with new bends along the sides that give it a futuristic look and a unique wheel design that really stands out in a crowd.
We found the design got conversations started when we were out and about getting last minute items on Christmas Eve. Folks wanted to know what kind of car we were driving and where we got it, as its design was outside of the norm.
The front and rear facias have also been completely redone, with imbedded, unique LED lighting that adds to the futuristic look when driving at night.
This year, the sedan has been lengthened by 2.2 inches, widened by one inch and lowered by .8 inches. Hyundai also added .8 inches to the wheelbase. This doesn’t seem like much, but it all adds up and creates more interior space, a lower center of gravity and a better overall ride.
The new Elantra is powered by a 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder engine that produces 147 horse power and 132 pounds-feet of torque. It is not going to win any races, however, we found it more than able to get up to speed on the highway or when passing other drivers.
This is all linked via — what Hyundai calls — an IVT, or intelligent variable transmission. The transmission differs from other variable transmissions as it utilizes a wide-ratio pulley system that gives a broader ratio of operation when compared to other competitor’s transmissions. This all added up to 36 miles per gallon on average during our week with the new Elantra.
The interior is where the real magic begins, however. The seventh generation for the mid-sized sedan has two 10.25-inch, LED screens that sit almost side-by-side. One is used for the driver information screen, or dashboard, and the other is for the infotainment screen.
The driver’s screen can be set up with various different themes and looks, some of which are very futuristic. It also can be set up to display different information in the center, from radio to performance data.
The touchscreen infotainment screen — which is huge, especially in the mid-sized sedan — can also be configured to give whatever information the driver or passenger wants. Up to this point, we have not encountered a vehicle in this price range that has a fully-digital dashboard let alone two, huge screens, like the new Hyundai.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both wireless in the new Elantra, making it much easier to get in and go without having to plug in the phone. There is also an optional wireless charging system.
The Elantra comes with an all-digital key system that can be controlled by an Android phone, meaning drivers no longer have to carry a key of any sort to get into or start the Hyundai.
This system uses Near Field Communication and Bluetooth Low Energy technology and allows the owner to give out digital keys that can be used for only certain things, to go to certain areas, or limits the driver to certain speeds.
So much for the parking attendant taking the vehicle for a test drive, as it was in “Ferris Bulers Day Off.”
As these keys are digital and can be taken away and given at any time, it isn’t difficult to think of the possibilities when it comes to teenagers.
“Yes, son, you will be home by midnight or the car will no longer run,” would have been great for us when our two teen boys were in the house.
On the safety side, the Elantra is loaded with standard features through the Hyundai SmartSense system.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection uses the car’s front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision with a vehicle or pedestrian and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking automatically, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist helps detect vehicles in the drivers’ blind spot while the turn signal is on and may apply braking to minimize potential for a collision, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist.
The new 2021 Hyundai Elantra is loaded with looks and technology and is one of the best values for the money that we have driven this year. They should now be in dealers showrooms as production started in the fall of 2020.
Base Price: $25,490
Price as Driven: $26,600