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Hyundai’s all-new Elantra has arrived in South Africa, boasting attractive design lines and an exciting flagship derivative with a turbocharged engine and dual-clutch transmission. Reuben van Niekerk reports
Building on the credentials of the model which won the Car of the Year prize in South Africa in 2012, the 2017 Elantra is bound to be a strong competitor in the local compact sedan segment.
Four derivatives are on offer: the 1,6 Executive with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, a 2,0 litre Elite and the range-topping 1,6 TGDI Elite DCT Sport.
The new model projects confidence with sculpted body forms complimented by smoothly contoured lines. The now signature hexagonal grille gives the Elantra a strong presence from the front, with automatic projection lamps and LED daytime running lights as part of the cluster.
The sporty lower front fascia integrates functional front wheel air curtains that help to manage airflow from the front of the vehicle and around the wheels to minimise turbulence and wind resistance.
In addition, under body covers, an aerodynamic rear bumper bottom spoiler and rear deck lid designed with an expanded trunk edge contribute to the vehicle’s 0,27 drag coefficient.
Model-exclusive front and rear fascias give the Sport crucial visual differentiation from the rest of the Elantra line-up. Other exclusive touches include a black grille with a turbo badge, aggressive side sill extensions and dual chrome exhaust outlets nestled in a rear-bumper diffuser insert.
The rear light cluster of the new Elantra, with its bright LED display, is also distinctive. On the Sport, a different bottom half of the rear bumper reiterates its performance nature, with a unique skid plate and visible chrome-plated dual exhaust pipes. Executive derivatives are kitted out with 16-inch alloy wheels while the Elite trim level includes 17-inch alloys.
On the inside, the Elantra continues to depict a modern, driver-orientated design optimised for intuitive control, improved roominess, high-quality materials and premium technology features.
The design integrates premium soft-touch materials in key points and high-tech details to create an inviting and comfortable cabin. The seats of all four derivatives are covered in leather and are cushioned by moulded Soy Foam, which is environmentally friendly. It replaces petroleum based polyol with hydroxyl-functionalised soybean oil.
The Elantra Sport is visually differentiated with model specific interior appointments such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel, red sport seats and red contrast stitching.
The standard eight-inch infotainment system, which includes 3D satellite navigation, provides a USB Mirror Link for Android devices, HDMI connectivity for iPhones and Bluetooth with steering wheel controls.
The new range features a choice three petrol engines – a 1,6-litre four-cylinder that produces 94kW at 6 300 revs/min and 154Nm at 4 850 revs/min in the Executive options; a 2,0-litre equivalent, coupled with an auto gearbox, that produces 115kW at 6 200 revs/min and 195Nm at 4 500 revs/min in the Elite derivative and, in the 1,6-litre TGDI Elite DCT Sport, a turbocharged engine that produces 150kW at 6 000 revs/min and 265Nm from 1 500 to 4 000 revs/min.
The model features a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox with paddle shifters and the choice of three drive modes – Normal, Eco or Sport – in which gear change patterns are altered to suit the required application.
Though the Sport features exclusive rear multi-link independent suspension, ride comfort, handling and stability have been achieved in other models in the range through redesigned rear suspension geometry where the angle of the shock absorbers and the position of the coil springs on the coupled torsion beam axle have been changed.
Upfront, the Elantra’s suspension uses and optimally designed McPherson strut with coil springs and gas shock absorbers along with a front stabiliser bar to help reduce body roll when cornering.
ABS with EBD is standard on all derivatives while the Elantra Sport benefits from an Electronic Stability Programme too.
Passive safety is taken care of by driver, front passenger, side and curtain airbags while the intelligent use of different grades of steel also enhances the safety cell for the Elantra’s occupants.
Hyundai is confident that it has brought an attractive and well-rounded package to an important segment of the market, with the Elantra filling a significant slot in the brand’s model line-up for those looking for a bigger sedan.
The model continues to offer a good level of specification for its price, something that has become somewhat of a Hyundai trademark. The value for money aspect is further reflected by the excellent fleetability rating of the 1,6 Executive model.