Hyundai Elantra 1.6 Elite Review
New sense of Elan-tra

Story by Joe Yeo Photos by Raymond Lai
22 Jun 2011

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.

Introduction, styling

Hyundai is known to create multiple names for a certain car model, with each name applicable to a specific regional market. Take its sub-compact saloon model, the Verna for example, it was known as the Accent in most markets but for Singapore, it somehow adopted the Verna nameplate. This despite the fact that the Verna's two previous predecessors were badged as the Accent locally. Before the first Accent in the mid-1990s, Hyundai's sub-compact saloon model was known as the Excel while the latter's lineage itself can be traced back to the Pony. 

The i45 is another case in point. The first large saloon from Hyundai was the 1980s Stellar but with the latter's replacement, Hyundai adopted the Korean market's Sonata nameplate. The Sonata named remained on subsequent models locally till last year, when the latest generation Sonata was introduced here, it was badged as the i45, presumably to distance the new model from its immediate predecessor, which is mostly driven by taxi drivers in their bright yellow or pale blue Sonatas.

This brings us to Hyundai's latest mid-sized saloon model, the Elantra. The Elantra wasn't spared from the game of multiple names as well. While Singapore stuck to the model's original name from Korea, The Elantra lost its ‘E' to become Lantra in some European markets as Lotus claimed that ‘Elantra' sounded very much like ‘Elan'. With the fourth generation model though, the Elantra somehow adopted the Korean domestic market's Avante name for Singapore. The Avante went on to become one of Hyundai's most successful saloon models ever in Singapore, so you'd expect Hyundai to stick to the name when it was time for a replacement model. When it comes to its moniker, the Avante's successor returned to its roots by readopting the Elantra nameplate. The Elantra you see here can be considered to be the ‘new' Avante.

On the outside, the new saloon seems nothing like its mundane looking Avante predecessor. Compared to the Avante, the Elantra is 25 mm longer, 45 mm lower, has the same width and has a 50 mm longer wheelbase. While the Avante looks unadventurous and unimaginative to say the least, the Elantra's appearance is the direct opposite - it looks nothing short of distinctive and purposeful thanks to its curves and bulbous overtures.

Like the i45, the Elantra embodies Hyundai's ‘fluidic sculpture' design language. Up front, the Elantra's nose looks better sorted than the i45's thanks to its slim radiator grille and swept back headlamps, though some might say that there are hints of the Civic and the Ford S-max here. Along the flanks, the bulbous wheel arches are met by a pair of overlapping creases. The exaggerated wheel arches look like they are inspired by Mazda while the steeply raked windscreen and gently sloping roof line gives the Elantra a slightly sporty stance. At the rear, the sizable wraparound tail lamps have a wavy shape to their profiles. The car's standard 16-inch alloy wheels are a tad too small to convincingly fill the sizable wheel arches though.

The Elantra certainly looks dinstinctive thanks to the smooth curves that gracefully outline the car. It has a sleek yet slightly muscled appearance that gives the driver a sense of confidence in the performance of the vehicle. However, some people may find the myriad of lines and surfaces a bit overwhelming and slightly messy. Regardless, the Elantra will still win many fans for its fresh design and looks.


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Engine Capacity 1599cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Bore x Stroke (77.0 x 85.44)mm
Power 128bhp @ 6300rpm
Torque 157Nm @ 4850rpm
Power to Weight 108.4 bhp per ton


Acceleration 11.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 195 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4530 x 1775 x 1445) mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm
Turning Circle 5.3 metres
Kerb Weight 1181 kg
Boot Capacity 420 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 48.5 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs