Hyundai Elantra / Avante


Debut: 2015
Maker: Hyundai
Predecessor: Elantra / Avante (2010)


 Published on 24 Mar 2016
All rights reserved. 


You might not notice, Hyundai Elantra is rising to be one of the best selling cars in the world. Last year, 811,000 units of Elantra (or Avanti, as it is called in Korea) were sold worldwide. Although this number comprises of old and new generations, it is still a remarkable achievement. What makes the Elantra successful is obviously its great value for money – it offers a lot of space and features for very reasonable money – but since the last generation it also gets more desirable, placing styling, packaging and even performance on high orders. It has to do so, because the Korean needs to go upmarket in order to offset its rising development and production costs and keep itself safe from the competition of developing countries. The path is just the same as what Japanese car makers did from the late 1980s. Also like the Japanese, in quest of upmarket status it turns to a more conservative approach, adding maturity instead of creativity to its cars. That is a little bit sad.

Launched in Korea late last year, the 6th generation Elantra / Avanti has gone on sale in China and USA recently. These 3 are by far its biggest markets, no wonder it is once again assembled in each of these countries. Compared with the last generation, its exterior design has evolved to be a little more matured without altering the sleek profile. The prominent hexagonal grille looks more premium, and I'm sure Audi won't be happy with it. The side and rear sculptures become neater and more straightforward, though the fast roofline is carried over from the old car, while drag coefficient drops further to a remarkable 0.27. Overall, it is a handsome design, if a bit too predictable and not quite as inspiring as the old car.



The new car is built on the old platform, sharing its 2700 mm wheelbase as well as the very basic suspension consisting of MacPherson struts up front and torsion-beam axle at the rear. However, there are still plenty of improvements can be made. The weakest link of the old car was its lack of chassis rigidity and NVH suppression, both contributed to poor running refinement. This time Hyundai spent a lot more effort into this area. Its chassis gains 30 percent in torsional rigidity, thanks to using significantly more high-strength steel (up from 21 to 53 percent by mass of the body-in-white) as well as extensive use of structural adhesives. The front suspension is now mounted on a subframe to absorb NVH. The rear suspension has its dampers repositioned more vertically to better absorb road shocks. To cut down noise level, there are thicker windscreen and front side glass, sound-absorbing wheel well liners and smaller holes in the firewall and dash structure. Thanks to the high-strength steel, its kerb weight is virtually unchanged.

The new Elantra is slightly longer and wider again than its predecessor. Although it is marketed as a "compact car" in the America, it is not exactly compact. Like the recent Honda Civic sedan and US-version of Toyota Corolla, its 2700 mm wheelbase offers rear legroom that could rival some D-segment sedans. The interior is spacious. That said, the fastback roofline means headroom is marginal for 6-footers.



The interior design is a sharp contrast to the old car's. Infected by Sonata, its dashboard is square, conservative and uninspiring, with no imagination at all. On the plus side, the build quality is undeniably improved. Although not quite the best of the class, it might be better than its key rivals Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla (both topple the Elantra in US sales chart). Soft-touch plastic covers the top of the dash, if not elsewhere. The faux alloy trims look decent. Predictably, equipment level is quite high, and the electronics are up to date.

Such an air of maturity can be felt in the driving as well. On the road, the new car's improved refinement is evident. Its chassis finally feels as stiff as a modern car should. The ride is much more composed, although damping could be more polished at speed. The cabin is well insulated from wind and road noise. Refinement isn't far off from the best European or Japanese rivals. Well done.

Handling is less remarkable. It is competent to handle most driving situations. It is safe and easy to drive as most buyers want. However, there is not much fun in the process. Its cornering limit is not especially high to inspire excitement. The chassis response is not especially keen to sudden changes. The steering is numb. In short, it is not intended to be a driver's car.



Depending on markets, you can choose among 4 power units: the familiar 1.6 GDI with 130 hp, a new 1.4 T-GDI turbo with similar power but more torque, a new 2.0 GDI Atkinson-cycle engine with 147 hp and a 1.6 turbo diesel with 136 hp. Experience tells us the turbo diesel should be the best performer in the real world and also the most refined, so it is worth the premium. Moreover, it is mated with a 7-speed twin-clutch gearbox. The 1.4 T-GDI also shares this gearbox. Like a diesel, it offers strong mid-range punch but there is some turbo lag low down. It is not as sweet as, say, Fiat 1.4 MultiAir turbo or Volkswagen 1.4 TSI, and it makes significantly less horsepower. The US-bounded 2.0 Atkinson-cycle engine offers more power, but it is linear rather than punchy. At least, it is much quieter and nicer to listen than the old car's 1.8-liter unit. The 6-speed automatic works seamlessly.

As seen, the strength of new Elantra is comfort, refinement and space, though they are not good enough to set new standards. Among its key rivals, Honda Civic is the closest match, but the Civic is also a bit more youthful and fun to drive. A characterless all-rounder is no longer deemed to be sufficient these days. Hyundai needs to think again what messages it wants to deliver with the Elantra.
Verdict: 
 Published on 7 Nov 2016
All rights reserved. 
Elantra Sport


Hyundai finally gives Elantra a performance treatment. It receives the 204-horsepower 1.6 direct injection turbo engine of Veloster and Kia Pro_Cee’d GT, pairing it with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT gearbox, which sounds delicious enough. Moreover, the cheap torsion-beam rear axle has been replaced with a multi-link setup – presumably transplanted from Pro_Cee’d. Its suspension’s front and rear springs have been stiffened by 14 and 22 percent respectively, while damper rate is increased by 30 percent. The footwork consists of 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/40 rubbers and larger brakes. Finally, the steering rack is also quickened a little bit. Outside, the front end gets pseudo intakes under the headlights to make a sportier look, while twin-exhaust and diffuser fins improve aesthetic at the rear. Inside, there are new bucket leather seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel to distinguish from lesser models.

All these sound promising, but the Elantra Sport is no Pro_Cee’d GT, let alone Golf GTi, Ford Focus ST or Seat Leon Cupra. Its steering is light and numb, delivering no sense of fun at all. The suspension is firm enough to keep roll in check, but the car is prone to understeer when pushed. The Hankook tires are not renowned for grip. The ride lacks the fluidity of its rivals. The manual gearbox is troubled by a vague shifter action and a too-light clutch pedal. The DCT is slightly better, but its response is no match with DSG or the like. In short, its chassis and control setup are half-baked.

Performance is not great either. Admittedly, we don’t expect a 1.6-liter turbo to deliver Ford Focus RS level of performance, but while Peugeot is capable to squeeze 270 horses out of the same capacity, Hyundai’s 204 hp output looks rather tamed. Moreover, the 3-box Elantra is longer and heavier than its Kia cousin thus its performance is hampered. Even by the standard of “warm hatches”, it is relatively weak.

On the plus side, the Hyundai is cheaper than most others, of course. However, in return you get a car that is not fast enough to raise your pulse, not fun enough to drive in the twisty and not comfortable enough to do long distances. While styling is very personal, all agree that its cabin looks conservative and feels cheap compared with the class leaders. Hyundai once again fails to make a good sporty compact car.

Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Elantra 1.4 T-GDI
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4570 / 1800 / 1440 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4
1353 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
128 hp
156 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/65R15
1294 kg
120 mph (est)
7.8*
21.9*
Elantra 2.0
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4570 / 1800 / 1440 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4, Atkinson-cycle
1999 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
-
DI
147 hp
132 lbft
6-speed automatic
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
225/45R17
1305 kg
127 mph (est)
8.5*
23.0*
Avante 1.6CRDi
2015
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4570 / 1800 / 1440 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1582 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
136 hp
221 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
225/45R17
1380 kg
124 mph (est)
9.0 (est)
-




Performance tested by: *C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Elantra Sport
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4570 / 1800 / 1440 mm
2700 mm
Inline-4
1591 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
204 hp / 6000 rpm
195 lbft / 1500-4500 rpm
7-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/40R18
1360 kg
143 mph (est)
7.0 (est)
-


















































Performance tested by: -




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