Many automotive pundits say the passenger car is dead, and the future of the automobile lies with the crossover. Even though Hyundai has embraced the crossover — a vehicle with SUV looks on a road car chassis — as much as other manufacturers, the company is not quite ready to give up on the traditional sedan. Instead, the Korean automaker is going all-in with the introduction of the all-new 2021 Hyundai Elantra. With standout styling and a range of high-end features as well as the first hybrid version, the Elantra is clearly here to stay.
“While some manufacturers no longer see the value in the car side of the business, we’re doubling down by offering an all-new model with both gas and hybrid powertrains,” said Brian Smith, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve sold more than 3.4 million Elantras here in the U.S. and more than 13.8 million worldwide, and the new, captivating look is going to bring excitement to a whole new generation of buyers. Then once inside, they’re going to love all of the progressive features,” Smith enthused.
The Elantra has been in America since 1992, and now the sedan moves into its seventh generation with a longer wheelbase, wider stance and lower roofline for a premium look. Hyundai brand communications specialists refer to the Elantra’s styling as “Sensuous Sportiness“ — a look very similar to its larger sibling, the Sonata, which was new for 2020.
Built on Hyundai’s new K3 platform, the 2021 Elantra weighs less but possesses a stronger chassis with better efficiency and a lower center of gravity. The new platform also improves safety, efficiency and overall driving performance.
The new Elantra is clearly distinguishable from previous generations thanks to an all-new wide grille that integrates with headlights and turn signals. The long, low hood adds to the sporty coupelike silhouette.
At the rear are new LED taillights with a line of light connecting the left and right, in effect creating an H (for Hyundai). Although the exterior is much more expressive than the model it replaces, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra’s interior really shines.
Mimicking vehicles that cost considerably more, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra has two connected 10.25-inch display interfaces under one pane of glass that gives the interior a futuristic feel. This gets further enhanced by slim air vents and an overall cockpit-like design.
When it goes on sale, Elantra will also be available with the latest high-tech features including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay — the first wireless application of these systems in the segment.
With its longer wheelbase, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra gets 2.3 inches of additional rear-seat legroom compared to its predecessor. While the overall shape of the car is lower and sleeker, the passengers sitting in the rear seat do not lose any headroom and the wider chassis provides a roomier space overall.
Hyundai equips the 2021 Elantra with the latest in advanced safety features. These include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, driver attention warning, high-beam assist and a rearview camera. Also available are blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, reverse-parking collision avoidance and safe exit warning — which alerts the passengers if a vehicle is approaching from behind.
The new Elantra will be available with a smartphone-based Hyundai Digital Key. The digital key makes it possible to unlock, start and drive the Elantra without need for the physical key. This also allows the digital key to be shared with others, including the ability to customize the access and functionality as well as limit the time of use.
For the first time ever, Hyundai offers the 2021 Elantra with a hybrid powertrain. The Elantra Hybrid will feature a 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle engine teamed with an electric motor for a combined 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid powertrain gets teamed with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, which should offer a better driving experience than most of the competition that uses a continuously-variable transmission. Combined fuel economy is expected to top 50 mpg.
Elantra will also be available with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the hybrid, the gas-only motor is matched to Hyundai’s Intelligent Variable Transmission. This powertrain carries over from the previous generation — based on that we expect, combined fuel economy (city/highway) should be around 40 mpg.
The all-new 2021 Hyundai Elantra will be built both in Ulsan, Korea, and Montgomery, Alabama, with sales expected to begin toward the end of this year. For shoppers seeking additional performance, Hyundai also announced that an N-Line variant of the new Elantra is in the works — but no timeline has been suggested.