CarAdvice is in Canberra for tomorrow’s Australian press launch of the new generation Hyundai Elantra; a critically important car for the Korean carmaker as it forges ahead with its ambition to become the number one car manufacturer in the world.
We saw the new Elantra (aka Avante) in Korea last year and I thought the styling and proportions worked very well; better even than the i45, some say. There are less crease lines on this car, but enough of the 'fluidic sculpture' design language to give the impression that it’s moving quickly, even when standing still.
The new Elantra is classified as a small car, but like many of the cars in the this highly competitive segment, which includes Hyundai’s own best seller the i30, the interior architecture is so well designed that a family of four will find it more than satisfactory as far as space and comfort goes.
Hyundai will launch the Elantra with just one powertrain; a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW and 177Nm of torque. It doesn’t sound all that inspiring, but the Elantra only weighs around 1225kg, and mated to an in-house six-speed automatic or manual transmission, progress should be swift enough.
When we saw the car in Korea late last year, the interior looked more premium than most other cars in the segment, although the Ford Focus will no doubt remain a serious challenger for the small car crown.
That said, Hyundai hopes to sell around 650 units per month or more, if it can get a large enough supply to feed what is a hungry dealer network of 147 showrooms around Australia. It hopes to add another 10 dealerships to that number.
We can’t help think that the Elantra would benefit enormously from a diesel powertrain, either the 1.6-litre from the i30, or the larger 1.8-litre, which the company also has on its shelves.
Hyundai Motor Company Australia has a busy second half of 2011 coming up, with the Accent, Veloster and i40 still to launch in 2011.
Stay tuned for a full Hyundai Elantra first drive review, shortly.