The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Is More Than Just a Smaller Sonata

Car buyers get excited when automakers announce redesigns and upgrades for existing favorite models. It usually means stylish new looks, better tech, and improved performance. And new for 2021, the Hyundai Elantra is getting a major overhaul. Hyundai is taking some risks with this change-up of an old entry in its portfolio. But it’s already paying off, turning heads and making a splash. And the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is proving that it’s more than just a sized-down Sonata.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is shaking things up

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is in its seventh generation and looking to shake things up a bit. With complete redesigns both inside and out, the Elantra is looking to gain a little market share among younger car buyers. And Hyundai recognized to do that, and to compete with the segment-leading Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, it would have to go bigger, better, and more visually appealing.

Hyundai took the leap to make the Elantra physically bigger than ever before. This compact sedan now stretches 2.2-inches longer than previous models and also grew an inch wider. The Elantra’s wheelbase increases by 0.8 inches, making it the most extended wheelbase in the class altogether. This extra size also translates to increased legroom and interior space, which is what Hyundai hopes will be a significant differentiator.

The official word from Hyundai design execs

The senior designer for Hyundai North America, Davis Lee, discussed the latest Elantra redesign with Car and Driver. And one of the first comments Lee makes recognizes the bold styling of the sedan’s flanks. He says, “it can look out of place,” but promises these new lines will add character to the car and make it stand apart from others in this class.

Lee goes on to say that Hyundai is looking to break away from the same-old, same-old, and each vehicle needs to present its own visual style. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra definitely stands alone, and it presents a more angular and edgy look than its Sonata cousin.

The Hyundai Elantra proves it’s not all looks either

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It’s clear the 2021 Hyundai Elantra has been designed by engineers who know a thing or two about an exciting drive. Critics are already noting how well the Elantra handles, including its well-balanced steering, corner-hugging prowess, and responsive power.

Under the hood, the new generation Elantra features a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, which is married to the standard continuously variable auto transmission. And the improvements don’t stop there. Both SEL and Limited trims achieve a 2-mpg bump in EPA rated fuel economy.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra has cockpit improvements too

Climbing inside the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, you’ll notice more design changes, including the sizable grab handle for front passengers. The cabin is super spacious, again, in part because of the Elantra’s new measurements. But it’s also attractive and comfortable. And the roster of technology extras is robust as well. Even the entry-level Elantra comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, with both Android and Apple device pairing capability. There is a full menu of standard driver aids to enjoy, including blind-spot collision warnings, lane-keeping assist, and pedestrian detection sensors.

Hyundai may be taking a few risks with this newly redesigned Elantra for 2021. And while they recognize not everyone will like this new look, changing things up for this compact sedan was the smartest option. Hoping to gain market share and attract a new pool of car buyers, Hyundai went with bigger and better. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra certainly looks and feels different from previous generations. You might be surprised and decide it’s a perfect fit for your next car.