Hyundai is not giving up on the executive sedan segment at any cost. In fact, the new 2016 Elantra is pure proof that the company is committed to this segment like no other carmaker. For starters it looks fantastic in flesh and moreover, it comes loaded with all the bells and whistles, some of which most other rivals don’t even offer as options. But more on that later. Here’s what we think
If you needed any proof that Hyundai has nailed it in the design department, then one look all across of the new Elantra is it. The front end is dominated by the hexagonal grille, which looks premium and posh. The big peeled back head lamps with the LED-strip in them all work to give the Elantra a very European look. The side profile with its chunky tyres as well as the raising waistline give it a muscular stance. The rear lamps with their triple lights look very similar to the i20 and add to the European look and feel of the car. Overall, it’s a design that wouldn’t look out of place on a much more European looking brand. It looks posh, upmarket and very appealing.
Step inside and the huge 8-inch screen will greet you. The touch screen houses the infotainment as well as maps on the car. Its an intuitive system to use and easy to navigate all around. The gauges are similar to the Creta and the white back light makes them look clear as well. The seats offer excellent support and also get side bolstering in them. The front seats are ventilated, which is a very thoughtful touch especially for Indian summers. You also get dual zone climate control on the top version along with a sunroof. The rear AC vents offer a decent throw of air. What adds to the sense of space at the back is the flat floor board and generous width of the car as well.
Engine, gearbox and performance
There is a new 2-litre petrol engine on offer with 150bhp. This makes it more powerful than the main rival Toyota Altis. The best part about this engine is its sheer refined nature. You can choose from a manual as well as six-speed auto gearbox. Overall, the petrol will delight you with its nippy acceleration as well as rev happy nature.
You can also choose a diesel option. The 1.6-litre CRDi is shared with the Verna as well as the Creta. It develops 126bhp of power and offers plenty of pep. It does suffer from a bit of turbo lag but once past the 2,000rpm mark this engine simply flies. The diesel engine refinement is good as well.
Ride and handling
Hyundai has worked hard to enhance the stiffness of the car’s chassis as well as the suspension. This is clearly visible when you step out on the highway, the Elantra feels more agile than the last version of the car and the steering also feels better weighted. That said, its still not in the same league as the Skoda Octavia for sheer driving dynamics. Some of the sharp ridges do enter the cabin and at slow city speeds bad patch-worked roads do enter the cabin as well.
There is no denying that the Elantra is a huge improvement over the last gen car. It looks good, drives well and comes with punchy engines as well. All these things along with the extensive aftersales and service package makes the Elantra a brilliant package and the best bet in the executive segment at the moment.