Car Review: New Hyundai Elantra

First-time Elantra drivers will be pleasantly surprised…

Last week (2 June 2017) Hyundai launched its new Elantra and as a first-time Elantra driver I was pleasantly surprised…

Competing in the compact segment, the new Hyundai Elantra competes with the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Following on design credentials of the previous model – which won the Car of the Year prize in South Africa in 2017 – Hyundai has high hopes that the new Elantra is impressive enough to be a successful competitor in its segment.

The new Elantra is available in four derivatives: The Elantra 1.6 Executive manual and automatic (both powered by a 1,6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine), the Elantra 2.0 Elite with a 2-litre petrol engine, and the top-of-the-range Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT Sport with a 1,6-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Sidenote: The Hyundai Tucson Sport was at the launch too, but more on this later…

Also read: Introducing the Hyundai Tucson Sport – “Bold and Beautiful” 

So what’s new?

Well the new Elantra’s exterior styling gives it a bit of a stronger presence on the road, but its new look also serves a functional purpose, according to Hyundai.

“Elantra’s architecture was a perfect platform for collaboration between Hyundai designers and engineers to blend advanced styling with functional aerodynamics,” mentions Hyundai.

From the front, Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille reminds me so much of Audi (not a bad thing at all), and from the side I keep thinking it could easily be mistaken for a Honda Ballade. Inside is where I was pleasantly surprised. It feels a lot more premium than I expected it to be, with a modern and driver-orientated design, roominess and high-quality finishes. The Sport derivative is noticeably different inside, with red sports seats and stitching and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

All the new Elantra derivatives come standard with leather seating and the SoyFoam™ used inside is environmentally friendly! Also as standard is an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and for those who loath the mundane and often frustrating experience of pairing your phone to your car…it took just a few simple and super quick steps to get connected!

Electric mirrors and windows, cruise control and rear park assist are also all standard features in the new Elantra while the Elite derivative offers automatic air-con, rain sensors for windscreen wipers and a smart key push-start button.

Power and Performance

Three petrol engines are available from a 1 591 cc four-cylinder engine that produces 94 kW at 6 300 rpm and 154 N.m at 4 850 rpm in the 1,6 Executive manual and 1,6 Executive Elite auto, to the turbocharged 1 591 cc four-cylinder engine in the Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT Sport which produces 150 kW at 6 000 rpm and 265 N.m torque from 1 500 to 4 500 rpm.

I had the pleasure of driving the Elantra 1,6 TGDI Elite Sport which has a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters. While driving it along various mountain passes, switching it to its Sport Driving Mode was where its fun-to-drive attributes showed! It’s a seriously hot car to drive with a lot of punch and personality and if you can afford the higher-end variant, this is the one I’d go for.

A Focus On Safety

During the business presentation, quite a bit of time was spent discussing the new Elantra’s safety features. Hyundai engineers really put a lot into advancing the Elantra’s safety features to include a strengthened chassis, and different grades of steel strength to enhance driver and passenger safety. We were shown a video demonstration of the new Elantra’s crash test, which really put things into perspective, as well as put my mind at ease for the drive ahead (yes, I still get nervous driving new cars with a bunch of experienced motoring journos and manufacturers). But after the presentation I felt somewhat more confident and less hesitant while hugging the corners of the Franschhoek Pass.

An Advanced Braking System (ABS), with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) are standard on all derivatives while the Elantra Sport includes Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).


Pricing for the new Hyundai Elantra is as follows:

Elantra 1.6 Executive (manual) – R299, 900

Elantra 1.6 Executive (auto) – R314 900

Elantra 2.0 Elite (auto) – R349 900

Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT – R399 900

Source: Hyundai South Africa and QuickPic