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New sense of Elan-tra

With the new Elantra, Hyundai makes a fresh new start in the fiercely contested Cat A family saloon market. We put it through its paces to find out if its good enough to potentially take the top spot in its sector.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
22 Jun 2011
What we like:
Sleek profile
adequate performance
distinctive looks
smooth shifting six-speed gearbox
tightly screwed interior
adequate interior room
well damped ride
What we dislike:
Slightly high driving position
lethargic acceleration from standstill

Just like its exterior design, the Elantra's interior design is a step forward over its Avante predecessor. The dashboard shares its basic flowing architecture with the Tucson and i45 and, together with the door trims, once again show off Hyundai's ‘fluidic sculpture' design themes and lines. Another distinguishing feature of the dash is the low-set central air-con vents. It seems that the interior designers decided that they shouldn't place the air vents higher up next to the stereo like in a Kia, presumably to distinguish themselves from its sister brand. The air-con vents in the Elantra might look miniscule but they work well enough to channel cold air to the right places.

The design of the instrument binnacle apes the i45' s. The deep-set instruments are backlit in blue and the digital water temperature and fuel gauge sit in between the analogue speedometer and tachometer, giving the whole instrument panel an uncluttered feel. Just like its European counterparts, the Elantra offers a multi-function display in between the dials.

The driving position can be improved though as the height adjustment for the driver's seat won't go low enough. Taller drivers will feel like they are perched on top of the car rather than driving in it. Only the driver's seat gets electrical adjustments. Storage spaces up front are also plentiful.

With a 50 mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor, rear passengers have more than ample legroom and headroom. Moreover, rear passengers, especially the one seated in the middle, will appreciate the additional legroom freed up by the flat floor design. The boot is voluminous and well shaped. For convenience, there's a lever in the trunk to split/fold the rear seatbacks in an instant when required.

Overall build quality levels are high, though the rough plastic of the steering wheel is a slight let-down. However, that problem can be overcome by simply wrapping the wheel with leather.

Standard equipment on the Elite model tested here includes a factory fitted stereo with iPod connectivity and steering-mounted controls, dual zone climate control, electrical adjustments for the driver's seat, keyless entry and start, cruise control, auto headlamps, electronic stability control, all-round vented disc brakes, ABS, six airbags, leather seats and so on.

Regardless of pricing and the crazy COE prices, the Elantra is surely one of the most highly anticipated new cars to be launched this year and interest in it has been high. This isn't surprising when you consider how different the Elantra looks from its competitors, and Hyundai has earned a dependable and reliable reputation amongst Singaporean car buyers.

Credits: Story by Joe Yeo Photos by Raymond Lai

Cars in this article
Hyundai Elantra 1.6 Elite (A) 2011
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Hyundai Elantra 1.6 Elite (A) 2011

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