Hyundai's newest baby, the Elantra is a great looker and is definitely one of the best examples of the fluidic design language until now. Much has been said about the car's styling both in and out, features and engine options. But how does it perform? We find out after testing both the petrol and diesel models.
The diesel Elantra borrows the 1.6-litre CRDi motor from its younger sibling, the Verna. So you get a 1582cc DOHC common rail variable geometry turbocharged diesel that makes identical figures of 128PS at 4000rpm and 260Nm of torque at 1900-2750rpm, as in the Verna. This engine feels better in the Verna because it is lighter than the Elantra. It never felt strained and is adequate. The engine is refined and smooth while power delivery is linear. However, it does not feel as punchy as the Verna. It takes 10.83 seconds to reach the ton (slower to the Verna by only 0.21 seconds) while top speed is a respectble189kmph. Roll on figures are slightly slower to the Verna. The quarter mile is crossed in 17.71 seconds.
Compared to its rivals that are equipped with either larger or smaller capacity engines, the Elantra takes the middle path both in terms of capacity and results. In terms of braking, the car comes to a halt quickly but since the car is softly sprung, on bad roads the car tends to follow the undulations and doesn't brake in a straight line. We also tested the automatic transmission variant. The car features a six-speed torque convertor that helps the car cross 100kmph in 11.45 seconds while 40-100kmph comes up in just 9.34 seconds. In terms of fuel efficiency, the diesel manual returned 12.4kmpl in town and an impressive 20.4kmpl on the highway, resulting in an overall figure of 14.4kmpl. The automatic diesel returned 11.2kmpl and 19.8kmpl in the city and highway respectively, this translates to a lower 13.35kmpl overall figure. The ARAI claimed figure for the diesel manual is 22.7kmpl.
The petrol Elantra features an all new 1.8-litre engine that produces a maximum power of 149.5PS at 6500rpm while max torque is 177.5Nm at 4700rpm. The engine is a rev happy unit revving up to 6800rpm. Power delivery is like most Hyundai petrol engines, peppy and quick. It's refined and very silent too. Driving in town or on the highway, the motor feels relaxed and when needed, there is sufficient power on tap. The 100kmph dash comes in at 10.37 seconds while the quarter mile is covered in 17.32 seconds. The car maxed out at 204kmph in our test. In terms of fuel efficiency the Elantra petrol returned 10.2kmpl in town and 17.8kmpl on the highway resulting in a respectable overall figure of 12.1kmpl. The ARAI claimed figure is 16.3kmpl.
The suspension and chassis uses all the conventional bits that you'd get in any contemporary car. The three-box monocoque resides atop a McPherson strut at the front and a coupled torsion beam axle at the rear to keep costs at check (the previous Elantra had a more complex independent rear suspension). This suspension setup is tuned for ride comfort and it works impressively, ironing out all bumps and potholes. There is a lot of body roll, given the soft nature of this suspension but despite me pushing her she felt understeery but never entirely out of bounds. The steering is rather light and has very little feedback and hence on bumpy roads and at higher speeds, the car tends to get quite hairy. The Elantra loves to be driven on smooth and flat roads like most modern Hyundais. In town though, the car is easy to manoeuvre and parking is effortless.
As mentioned earlier, the Elantra is a spacious car. The front offers adequate space and is similar to most of its competition. The front maximum headroom at 960mm is more than cars like the Corolla, Laura and is a boon for tall drivers. At the rear, the max and minimum kneeroom is 890mm and 650mm respectively. The sloping roof eats into rear headroom making it a bit lesser than competition but is similar to the Laura. Shoulder room is generous and is on par with most rivals.
The Elantra had been missing for quite some time in the Indian market and now adds freshness to the segment. It makes for a good buy if one is looking for styling, features and performance. While the petrol variant is priced similar to competition (Rs 12.51 lakh- Rs 14.74 lakh, ex-Delhi), the diesel makes for a good buy since it starts at a tempting Rs 12.91 lakh, ex-Delhi and goes up to Rs 15.85 lakh for the fully loaded variant that features a host of segment first features.