The 2016 Hyundai Elantra made its Australian premiere this week, giving the company its “best ever” small sedan rival for the class-leading Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla.
This latest generation Hyundai Elantra, which remains the sedan complement to the i30 hatchback that last year outsold this Elantra’s predecessor about 4:1, is basically all new. New design, new cabin, new engine and an ever sharper price than before.
All variants also come with class-leading infotainment including the standard fitment of Apple CarPlay (sorry Android users, there’s no compatibility for Android Auto yet — Hyundai is having issues with licensing).
In a mission to simplify its offerings, Hyundai Australia is limiting the 2016 Elantra to two specification levels, the Active and Elite. Both are powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine making 112kW/192Nm, which is more than the old 1.8. That peak torque is available at lower engine speeds, improving drive-ability.
Matched to this engine is the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed torque converter automatic on the Active, or just the auto on the Elite. Despite the bigger displacement, fuel use is 7.2 litres per 100km, actually 0.1L/100km worse than before.
This new Elantra is slightly larger than before (20mm longer, 25mm wider and 5mm taller), and takes after its larger Sonata sibling. The driver-focused fascia inside with standard 7.0-inch touchscreen is also reminiscent of its bigger brother, while interior space front and rear is marginally improved.
The bigger body is also stiffer, thanks to more than double the previous amount of high-tensile steel featuring, and the company is claiming significant strides in occupant protection, cabin noise intrusion and dynamics — the latter of which are improved by the usual Australia-specific suspension tune.
According to Hyundai Australia, this Elantra’s strut-front/torsion beam rear suspension offers a better ride and handling compromise than before. The company’s Sydney team tested 15 different front damper tunes and 34 different rear ones, with help from British rally engineer David Potter.
The new Elantra is also billed as safer than before, with standard features (on all variants) including six airbags, reverse-view camera and sensors, cruise control, LED daytime running and dusk-sensing headlights.
Hyundai says a local ANCAP crash test on the AD Elantra will be carried out in the second quarter of 2016.
From an ownership perspective, you get Hyundai iCare, which packages lifetime capped-price servicing, a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, complimentary roadside assist for 12 months on new vehicles, a roadside support plan for up to 10 years, and a complimentary first service at 1500km.
Hyundai Australia expects about 70 per cent of sales will be of the Active, with about 15-20 per cent of those to be manuals.