The 2021 Hyundai Elantra brings new styling and new features, but the biggest changes in this new generation are two distinct new additions to the lineup. Beyond the standard trims form the conventional model, you’ll be able to buy a hybrid or a sportier N Line sedan this fall.
When it comes down to it, though, the Elantra is about value to most buyers. Fortunately, this new model isn’t significantly more expensive, with the base SE kicking off at $20,645, including destination. That’s $350 more than the outgoing 2020, but brings a host of new standard features for the money. Hyundai points out over a dozen improvements, from fuel economy to safety and tech. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra with its “IVT” continuously variable transmission manages 37 combined mpg. That’s 2 mpg more than the old Elantra, thanks in part to Idle Stop & Go that was not available on the old car.
More standard features on the standard Elantra SE include new projector headlights with LED running lamps, a larger 8-inch infotainment display, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support and 15-inch alloy wheels. Hyundai SafetySense also adds blind sport monitoring, forward collision avoidance assist, lane following assist, high beam assist and Safe Exit Warning to the equation. A small but noticeable update: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra also drops rear drum brakes — still kicking around in some economy cars — for four-wheel discs throughout the entire range.
More trim options for the standard Elantra
Bumping up to the SEL actually deletes the Idle Stop & Go system, while offering more creature comforts like heated front seats and push button start. The $950 SEL Convenience Package goes even further, adding a 10.25-inch infotainment display, smart cruise control, an electronic parking brake, leather steering wheel and shifter, wireless smartphone charging and heated door mirrors. Topping out the trim, the $2,100 SEL Premium Package (which requires the Convenience Package, bringing the total upgrade cost to $3,150) adds even more. That bumps the Elantra up to 17-inch alloys, full LED lights all around, a sunroof, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and access to Hyundai’s Digital Key smartphone app.
2021 Hyundai Elantra SEL models start at $21,895. The SE, SEL, and Limited models use a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine managing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque.
Elantra N Line: Keeping three pedals alive
Depending on which model you buy, you actually have three transmission options for the 2021 Hyundai Elantra. On the standard models (SE, SEL and Limited), the IVT remains your only option. However, the sporty N Line still gets a six-speed manual transmission option for those who prefer to row their own gears. That model starts at $25,095 — a competitive price against cars like the Honda Civic Si. If you don’t prefer the three-pedal approach, you can spec a 6-speed DCT for $900 more.
Elantra N Line models get a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. N Line also adds specially-tuned shocks, thicker roll bars, stiffer engine and rollrod mounts, tighter steering, larger brakes and Hankook Ventus S1 all-season tires. Spec the manual transmission, and Hyundai will fit Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires instead.
On the design front, the sportier model brings unique front and rear fascias, as well as a lip spoiler, chrome exhaust tips, a standard sunroof, LED lights and N Line badging throughout the car. Inside, you get a unique N steering wheel, Qi wireless charging, alloy pedals and the Digital Key, similar to the SEL with options.
Apart from going the sportier route, Hyundai’s also offering a direct competitor to the Toyota Corolla Hybrid with the Elantra. With a 1.6-liter Atkinson cycle engine mated to a 32 kW electric motor, the hybrid model promises 54 mpg and starts at $24,545 for the SEL model. Like the standard car, the Hybrid also comes in Limited trim, topping out at $29,195. Those hybrid models use a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, similar to the N Line.
All 2021 Elantra models will go on sale this fall.