2021 Hyundai Elantra – Bigger, tech and coupe-like styling. Hyundai has been busy lately. Recently, the company revised its lineup with more crossovers, then debuted the new 2020 Sonata, and now it unveils the 2021 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan. Among a segment replete with hallmark options like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Mazda3, among others, the new Elantra looks to stand out with its improved dimensions and completely overhauled interior tech.
Even with customers switching to compact crossover options like the Venue, Hyundai still sees a need for its two best-selling sedans. As with the Sonata, Hyundai adds a smattering of new technology and features to the Elantra once reserved for pricier vehicles in the hopes of expanding its customer reach. This includes standard wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, dual 10.3-inch displays, and the first Elantra Hybrid model. But the changes start with a sleeker design.
The 2020 model is widely regarded as a downgrade in the looks department. So in some ways, Hyundai restores what once was with the new Elantra. Removing the pointy, stubby looks of the current car, Hyundai replaces them with a more flowing, elegant design partially inspired by the Sonata.
This is doable thanks in-part to a new platform underpinning the Elantra, which stretches the wheelbase nearly an inch, and adds 2 inches in overall length. The new Elantra gets wider and lower, with a shorter front overhang to help transform its look. Hyundai says the new car achieves a “four-door coupe aesthetic,” which is a vague term, but speaks to its sleeker look. Regardless, we call the new body lines and revised lighting design a big improvement.
Even with its lower coupe-like roof, the new Elantra matches the front and rear headroom of the current car by lowering its seating position. Legroom stays class-competitive with 42.3 inches in the front and 38 inches in the rear.
Perhaps the biggest leap forward is in the technology department; the Elantra offers a host of new features. Base models come equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with standard wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto – a first for the segment. Upgraded models get a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen that pairs with an identically sized digital gauge cluster. The two displays sit under one piece of glass, feature multiple configurations, and support connecting two phones at once via Bluetooth. This design is a huge departure from the current car, and it looks more modern than any of its competitors.
Supplementing the new infotainment setup is an improved range of safety equipment that includes standard automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and driver attention monitoring system. Optional kit includes blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The Elantra also implements the digital key technology from the Sonata, which allows control over many of the car’s functions from your phone.
The headline in the powertrain department is that Hyundai will offer an Elantra Hybrid for the first time. This model uses a 1.6-liter inline-four engine paired with an electric motor, putting out a combined 139 horsepower (104 kilowatts) and a relatively potent 195 pound-feet of torque (179 Newton-meters). Hyundai anticipates the Elantra Hybrid will earn over 50 miles per gallon combined, making it competitive with cars like the Honda Insight and Toyota Corolla Hybrid.
The non-hybrid model stays largely the same with SE, SEL, and Premium models retaining the 2.0-liter inline-four and continuously variable transmission. Power stays the same compared to the 2020 model with 147 hp (110 kilowatts) and 132 lb-ft of torque (264 Newton-meters). Though not yet confirmed, we can likely expect a more potent N-Line variant sometime in the future.
For now, we’re left in the dark on pricing information for the 2021 Elantra and Elantra Hybrid. Hyundai plans to start building the new Elantras in Korea and its Alabama manufacturing plant in the fall of this year. Whether or not production delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the new Elantra remains to be seen. Even if the car comes on a delayed timetable, the new Elantra should jolt the segment but upping the technology game and pushing the styling envelope further.
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