Showing its eagerness to conquest all segments including cars Hyundai unveiled its 2021 Elantra sedan last night. The debut in West Hollywood was without guests and instead streamed live because of coronavirus concerns. “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 Hyundai America’s COO Brian Smith. What he revealed was a larger Elantra than the previous one with a body that surprises with what can best be described as having creases, folds, and straight slices.
The creases, folds, and slices chart new design territory
The styling charts some new territory with Hyundai’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design language. The designers have labelled it “Parametric Dynamics.” Hyundai chief designer Luc Donckerwolke says, “The new Elantra is highlighted by its stance that looks like geometric crystals and divided body surfaces to get a strong emotional response from customers.”
Well, he’s probably right about the “response” part of his analysis. We’ll reserve judgment until we can get a look live. We can say the arbitrary creases make for busy body sculpting not seen before. Whether it resonates with buyers or influences future design remains to be seen. On first inspection, it seems like a mercy play to inject some individuality into the Elantra.
Will the creases and folds end up visually shortening the Elantra?
The Elantra’s profile continues the fastback theme that is the de facto sedan look. At least for the immediate future, the “three-box” design is pretty much dead for sedans. Let’s hope the creases and sharp lines don’t end up visually shortening the Elantra.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a first for sedans in this class. Available with Android phones is an app that allows owners to lock/unlock the car. The 10.25-inch infotainment screen has a data connection for instant route updates and traffic alerts. A voice command system allows for climate control and other functions to be adjusted.
Both standard and optional safety features are abundant
Of course, most all safety features are standard but there are optional ones as well. Radar cruise control and lane centering, a warning for approaching vehicles from behind, and collision avoidance when in reverse.
Where there may be a weakness with the new Elantra is in the power department. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine spins an intelligent continuously variable automatic transmission. At 147 hp at least on paper, it looks like it could use a bit more get up.
The optional hybrid version should deliver an average of 50 mpg
An optional hybrid version is smaller at 1.6-liters. The GDI Atkinson four-cylinder engine is listed at 139 hp with a lithium-ion battery powering a permanent magnet electric motor. It comes with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission rather than the more common CVT. Hyundai says it should return 50 mpg in average driving.
The new Elantra looks to be besting rivals Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic in the compact sedan segment. While down on power expect a turbocharged version in the not too distant future. That one addition seems like it would add a lot of polish to Elantra’s excellent start.
Expect the 2021 Elantra to arrive in dealerships this fall.