Hyundai has unveiled its new-generation Elantra sedan, due in Australia later this year as the 2020 Hyundai i30 Sedan.
Market observers have long held the i30 badge could top Corolla sales in Australia if it had the same advantage enjoyed by the small Toyota and others: five-door hatch and four-door sedan wearing the same badge.
Now, after generations apart, the two will come together in the second half of 2020 – albeit with distinctly different looks (despite the newly facelifted i30's makeover).
In some ways, this locally rebranded Elantra replacement fills a space that could have been occupied by the i30 Fastback if it had been made available here below the N tier – but that model, despite its coupe-sedan look, is also a 'liftback' hatch offering.
Described as a four-door coupe style, the i30 Sedan's polarising look comes courtesy of new 'Parametric Dynamics' themes – the first model in its family to adopt the bold design language.
Interestingly, Hyundai says the new i30 Sedan's overall look is also guided by the 'Sensuous Sportiness' language first revealed with the HDC-1 concept in 2018, shown again with the HDC-2 and Prophecy, and brought to production reality with the new Sonata.
“Like the first generation, the seventh-generation Elantra (i30 Sedan) has a bold character,” says Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President and Chief Design Officer, Hyundai Motor Group.
“The fresh esthetic was completed through unconventional lines and a face that broke a taboo in automotive design. The i30 Sedan is highlighted by its stance that looks like geometric crystals and divided body surfaces to get a strong emotional response from the customers.”
Up front, the new i30 Sedan / Elantra features a wide 'Parametric-jewel pattern' grille with integrated turn signals, the whole piece merging visually with the headlights.
Along the profile, the i30 Sedan boasts a 'forwarded' silhouette with a low bonnet to "create a feeling of tension". The model shown here wears 17-inch wheels, but 16- and 15-inch options will also be offered.
At the rear, the new sedan has adopted the connected tail-lamp trend, with a long LED signature terminating at both ends in a sharp pick-like appearance.
A tall rear deck reaches out over the lamps, shading another trend-driven element: the 'E L A N T R A' badge spaced wide across the boot lid (likely to be replaced locally with an i30 badge in the bottom corner.)
If the outside of the i30 Sedan is polarising, the interior is sure to be regarded as a more conventionally contemporary space.
Latest trends are again satisfied with the louvred garnish feature running along the dash, while the driver 'cockpit' is made the focus of the space thanks to a barrier-like hand grip along the centre console.
The statement pieces, however, are surely the unique four-spoke steering wheel and expansive dual 10.25-inch displays making up the main display and instrument cluster, set behind a single piece of glass.
That display, perhaps not surprisingly, is optional – at least in the US specification. Australian-market equipment specs are still to be confirmed.
In its standard form, the i30 Sedan will come with a large 8.0-inch main display and analogue-style instrument gauges (likely with a small multi-function digital display), but images of this setup have not yet been released.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with Qi wireless charging.
Interior space grows in most directions with the new model, gaining – most importantly – 58.4mm more legroom in the rear (to 906.8mm).
Headroom grows 7.6mm in the front (5.1mm with a sunroof installed (1023.6, 977.9mm respectively)), but remains unchanged in the second row.
Shoulder room also grows by 7.6mm in both rows (1427.5mm front, 1404.6mm rear).
The new i30 Sedan rides on the Hyundai Group's K3 platform, gaining 20mm in its wheelbase (now 2720mm).
Hyundai says it has blessed the new Elantra / i30 Sedan with a lower centre of gravity and lower seat height – bound to produce a more sporting feel, pushing the new sedan further into lifestyle territory as SUVs continue their inexorable takeover of the 'practical car' market.
It also benefits, Hyundai tells us, from improved steering through a more forward-positioned gearbox, and more responsive handling thanks to an improved suspension mounting structure.
In the US, the new sedan will be offered with petrol/electric hybrid and standard petrol powertrains.
The hybrid partners a 1.6-litre GDI Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with a 32kW electric motor and 1.32kWh lithium-ion battery pack to deliver a combined 103kW and 264Nm.
Unlike most hybrids, but in common with other Hyundai hybrids, the i30 Sedan hybrid gets a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
However, that option won't initially be offered in Australia. Although not confirmed for our market at all, the local arm tells us it may appear later. (If you want it, make sure your local dealer knows.)
What we will get from launch is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, although Hyundai Australia tells us an exact local specification has not been locked in.
Today's release describes an efficiency-focused 109kW/179Nm MPI Atkinson-cycle engine with a continuously ("intelligently", so 'IVT' in Hyundai speak) variable automatic transmission.
In its current MY20 form, Australia's base Elantra is driven by a 112kW/192Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine, shared with the new Kia Cerato – so we may see this arrangement continue in Australian-delivered cars.
For fans seeking a little more 'oomph', an i30 Sedan N-Line model will reach Australia later this year, which should – although not confirmed – be driven by the same 150kW/265Nm 1.6 turbo petrol engine that powers other N-Line models (and the Elantra SR / Elantra Sport already sold here).
When will the i30 Sedan come to Australia?
For now, Hyundai Australia has confirmed we will see the new i30 Sedan replace the Elantra in the second half of 2020. Exact timing, pricing and equipment will be announced closer to launch.