Say what you want about Hyundai’s styling, but the brand is certainly going in a more dramatic direction. Meet the all-new 2021 Hyundai Elantra — a more comprehensive redesign after the last model was itself updated last year. This model rides on the brand’s new “K3” compact vehicle platform and comes standard with a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine. For the first time, an Elantra Hybrid also joins the model lineup, mating a 1.6-liter engine to an electric motor and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Take all those changes along with a dramatically updated interior, and the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is another new example of the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy.
Take the name for what you will, but it basically translates to incorporate more dramatic design with improved dynamics over this generation’s predecessors. The seventh-generation Elantra rides on a longer wheelbase, and it also has a wider stance and lower roof line over older models. The sporty part plays more on the car’s four-door coupe look like its larger sibling. It has shorter overhangs both front and rear (0.8 inches and 1.1 inches, respectively), and is also lighter and stiffer than the previous Elantra.
On standard versions, the standard engine manages 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Power is still sent to the front wheels through Hyundai’s IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission). No manual transmission option is available.
A heap of tech, especially for an economy car
Apart from looks, technology also comes front and center by way of two new (available) displays — one for the infotainment system and the other functioning as a digital instrument cluster — and Hyundai’s standard SmartSense safety features. On lower-end models, you still get an 8.0-inch infotainment system with conventional gauges. On the safety front, technologies like forward automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane following assist, high beam assist and driver attention warning all come standard.
Filling out those features, things like blind spot warning, smart cruise control, rear parking collision avoidance assist and Hyundai’s relatively new “Safe Exit Assist” are optional equipment. Qi wireless charging and the Blue Link connectivity suite are also optional features, as is the smartphone-based Hyundai Digital Key.
What about the hybrid model?
Now is a solid time to introduce an Elantra Hybrid, as the company has the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Honda Insight locked dead in its sights. To that end, we see the 1.6-liter direct-injected engine mated to 32 kW electric motor. That motor is fed by a small 1.32-kWh battery pack mounted under the rear seats. Hyundai quotes the power figures at 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, but ironically doesn’t mate the powertrain to a CVT, like the standard Elantra. Instead, you get the dual-clutch option here, which the company says offers a more engaging experience.
The electric motor can operate in EV-only mode at lower speeds. At higher speeds, it acts more as a power-assist feature. While it doesn’t have the same electric range as a plug-in hybrid, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid should still manage over 50 mpg, according to the company’s estimates. Anything less would keep it from being competitive against the likes of Hyundai’s other hybrids, let alone the Corolla, Insight or Prius.
On sale in late 2020
Pricing for the 2021 Hyundai Elantra isn’t available yet. That information will come out closer to launch, which Hyundai expects to be in the fourth quarter of 2020. The new Elantra will be built in Ulsan, Korea as well as Hyundai Motor Manufacturing in Alabama, alongside the new Sonata and the upcoming Santa Cruz unibody pickup.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates!