$20,590 – $28,990
Good: Modern exterior design; Impressive standard features list; Roomy interior.
Not so Good: Course engine note; Light steering feel; Noise insulation; Lack of diesel option.
Design and Engineering
Good : Formerly named the Hyundai Lantra first arrived on our shores in 1990 before changing its name to the Elantra due to a name similarity of the Mitsubishi Magna Elante.
Now in its fifth generation the current Hyundai Elantra sedan arrived on our shores in June 2011. Featuring sleek, contemporary exterior styling, a long list of safety features and larger than usual cabin space for a small sedan.
The new Hyundai Elantra is easily identified by its ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design that it shares with its i45 sedan and i40 wagon siblings. The design is said to create the illusion of constant motion through the use of flowing lines; sounds like a heap of mumbo jumbo to us, but what we do know is that we love the design and that Hyundai is moving in the right direction with the styling of its vehicles.
Not so good : Some people might find the design of the Hyundai Elantra sedan a little too contemporary and that’s why these buyers would choose the more subtle design of the Elantras competitors. However, did we mention we love the design?
Interior and Styling
Good : Stepping inside of the Hyundai Elantra you are greeted with a flowing, futuristic dash that flows on down the centre console. The mostly black themed interior features chrome ‘look’ and piano-black highlights that give the interior a high-tech premium feel.
The instrument cluster features a slightly angled design (looks like alien eyes peering back at you), nestled in between the rev meter and speedo is an LCD screen that displays the usual trip, fuel levels, temperature, kilometre before empty etc.
Dash instruments are illuminated with an ice blue hue that is easy to read day or night.
All models include cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and MP3 audio – with steering wheel mounted controls as standard, while higher grades offer dual-zone air-conditioning, rear park sensors, rain-sensing wipers, push-button start with proximity key, front seat heating and a sunroof.
Not so good : While the interior looks great we found the quality of materials used weren’t as good as what some of its competitors offer. Overall not too bad.
Good : Powering all three grades is a 1.8-litre direct injection four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power and 178Nm of torque.
The entry level Active comes with a six-speed manual with the option if a six-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile the mid-spec Elite and top-spec Premium Only come with a six-speed automatic.
The 1.8-litre engine has enough power and torque to move the 1277kg to 1289kg (depending on grade) around in relative comfort. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts well and is a smooth unit; you can also put the shifter into manual mode and select gears yourself.
Not so good : To say that the Elantra is sporty is a stretch, the 1.8-litre sounds very course when the revs start to rise. But, under normal driving conditions the Elantra does the job.
Ride and Handling
Good : Featuring MacPherson struts and coil springs up front and a coupled torsion beam at the rear – Hyundai say that they have done extensive on-road testing to suit unique Australian roads and it shows. The Elantra does well over most road surfaces but can become unsettled when pushed through some fast corners. Overall the suspension is comfortable and best suits city roads.
All models include electronic stability, traction control (known as Vehicle Stability Management, or VSM) and four-channel ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.
Not so good : We found the electric power-steering set-up way too light, offering the driver little to no feedback even at speed.
Buying and Owning
Good : The fifth generation Hyundai Elantra sedan offers up a great package with an impressive list of features that come as standard. The contemporary exterior styling and futuristic interior also add to the Elantras appeal.
It will definitely draw buyers away from the Ford Focus and the Mazda3 especially for those buyers that what a little bit of extra room inside.
Not so good : The Hyundai Elantra does have a few minor refinement issues in terms of steering feel and interior materials, but if you look at the equipment levels and price all is forgiven.