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Hyundai Elantra Diesel Road Test Review

Snapshot: If experience is a good teacher, the new Elantra is a perfect example of that

In the past, if you drove a Hyundai, it meant that you didn’t care very much for speed or style, as frugality and practicality were at the top of your priority list. But that is not so much the case now. The Korean manufacturer has turned out to be a quality leader, from an ordinary bargain basement brand. Hyundai’s new ‘Fluidic’ sculpture design philosophy has won many admirers across the globe – and that is clearly evident in their sales figures. 

Hyundai replaced the blunt third generation with the all-new fifth generation fluidic Elantra, almost two years back. The fluidic Elantra comes with two engines, two transmission and seven variants, priced between INR 12.73 lakh to INR 16.02 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Exteriors:
Unlike its predecessor, the next-gen Elantra in its newest avatar, carries forward the Hyundai's in-trend Fluidic Sculpture design philosophy. The naturally flowing lines and curves, along with its balanced proportions, gives the sedan a premium and up-market look. Other prominent characters on the body includes- twin-beam swept back headlights, bold hexagonal front grille, pronounced creases on the bonnet, and the wide front bumper leaves graceful, yet a sporty stance. The elegantly designed elongated and curvy rear combination lamps carry the fluidic theme backwards. An upswept shoulder line, with two strong creases rising upwards towards the rear lend the Elantra a Coupe profile. Even the outer rear-view mirrors (ORVMs), have been given a sculpted shape, and are fitted with LED blinkers. All of this is capped off by a nice set of clean-looking 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

Interiors, Comfort and Cabin Space:
Yes, the Elantra looks good, and the best in class. But there is always more to a car than the looks– especially in this segment. Inside, it features a dual-tone colour theme, waterfall design center console houses a digital clock, integrated stereo and AC controls. It has a multi-function steering that allows you to control Bluetooth telephony, and various modes of audio ranging from CD/MP3, USB, iPod, or anything else that you can get into the Auxiliary input. It also gets dual-zone air conditioning, and rear air-con vents. Rear seat passengers also get audio controls on the rear arm rest. And, in the top-of-the-line variant, you get six-airbags, keyless entry, a rear view parking camera. The driver gets a ten-way electrically adjustable seat, while the co-front passenger gets only manual adjustments. Most of the buyers in this segment, usually prefer sitting at the rear with a driver on the duty. So, the comfort of the rear seats is quite good, with above average head, leg and shoulder room on offer. Over-all cushioning, thigh support and recline angle of the rear seats is quite good too. However, the rear AC vents may sometimes obstructs the knees of the central passenger. The dashboard and instrument panel is loaded with switches and controls for the various functions of the car, and although some of geeks might like this a lot, others could find it very intimidating. It’s good to be simple sometimes, but Hyundai on its part has tried to offer a lot of car for the money.

Engine and Performance:
Being a Hyundai, you cannnot expect something out-of-the-box but, yes, the car is refined and delivers a decent performance on the road. Hyundai offers total seven variants on Elantra with two engine and transmission options. The one we drove, was the popular 1.6-litre CRDi diesel coupled with a six-speed manual gear box; the other option is a 1.8 litre petrol engine. Infact, the 1.6 litre diesel is the same one that already does its duty in the top-of-the-line Verna. There is a fair bit of turbo lag below 2,000 rpm and it’s best to downshift to keep the engine on the boil. But once the turbo kicks in, there is a strong surge and the Elantra picks up quite rapidly. While testing, the saloon achieved 0-100 in just over 10 seconds and went up to 190 kmph, with relative ease.The gear change indicator on the dash keeps urging you to shift up early in the interest of better fuel economy.  

Over-All Driveability and Safety Equipment:
Elantra’s drive is more focused on comfort and convenience than outright performance. The suspension has been tuned softly, to provide the best possible comfort to occupants. With McPherson struts doing their duty in the front and a coupled torsion beam for the rear suspension, the Elantra leaves a good impression with its absorbent ride quality. The car just glides over most rough patches of road, with only the bigger bumps upsetting its composure a bit. Even the rear seat ride comfort is commendable and it effectively isolates its occupants from un-even Indian roads. With the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) at work and disc brakes on all four wheels, the Elantra brakes very positively and its combined suspension/braking capabilities respond positively to sudden directional changes. In terms of safety, Elantra has a five-star rating in USA’s National Highway Testing and Safety Assessment(NHTSA) tests. The car gets up to six-airbags (dual front, front-side & curtain). Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) come as a standard equipment with the Elantra.

Verdict:
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Like most of the Hyundais in the Indian market, the Elantra is another segment leader, and boasts stunning looks, good build quality, comfortable suspension and is loaded to the gills with features and gizmos. This saloon is value for money in its segment and would appeal more to the back-benchers rather than keen drivers!

Hyundai Elantra 1.6 CRDi SX:

  • Engine- 1,582 cc / in-line 4 cylinders / CRDi / Variable Geometry Turbocharger
  • Fuel- Diesel
  • Transmission-  Six-speed automatic & manual 
  • Front Wheel Drive
  • Power- 126.3 BHP @ 4000 RPM
  • Torque- 260 NM @ 1900-2750 RPM
  • Dimensions- 4530 x 1775 x 1470
  • Wheelbase - 2700 mm
  • Fuel tank capacity - 56 litres

Pros:

  • Futuristic Fluidic Design 
  • Loaded with Gadgets
  • Excellent NVH levels
  • Cooled front seats

Cons:

  • Some trims very plasticky
  • Light Steering: Great for parking, not so much for high-speeds
  • No sunroof option
  • Turbo-lag below 2,000 rpm  

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