It’s got an unmatched styling, a line up of the powerful and convenient engine and gearbox choices, and a ride quality that’s hard to improve. With all that not only is the Elantra one of the best Hyundais in India, it’s also a worthy buy in the segment. A segment that’s no longer dealing with great numbers but thankfully has products so good that even luxury carmakers have rejigged their strategies to make their presence as well.
On the outside, the Hyundai Elantra represents the huge advancements made by Hyundai since the time the original Elantra came to India years ago. The grille might seem a bit large at first, but it adds appeal to the design. The headlamps and the circular fog lamps add a fair bit to the charm, and so does the remarkable rear. The three-pod design of the tail lamps is striking beyond words, and it needs to be said that the segment needs more such designs. The thick C-pillar isn’t exactly conventional saloon material, but in the way, it meets the boot and encompasses the glasshouse, it works just fine.
Feature-rich it might be but the Hyundai Elantra’s cabin isn’t the usual D-segment sedan affair. The dark theme isn’t to everyone’s taste, but if you’re up for it, it’s one of the best cabins by the company. Not only is the fit and finish good,but it also emanates a sense of premium quality. The use of satin/silver accents does break the monotony. And the optional ventilated leatherette seats further add to the comfort the Elantra offers. Move up the ladder, and there are features worth enjoying: an electric sunroof, hands-free boot, wireless phone charger, added lumbar support on the electrically adjustable driver’s seat, among other things.
The Elantra comes with two engine options. A 128 PS 1.6-litre diesel that it shares with the Hyundai Verna. It might seem low on power (on paper) but in reality, it works absolutely fine. Not only is it good for long journeys,but the healthy torque also ensures city driving isn’t painful, either. The 152 PS 2-litre petrol is only shared with the larger Tucson and is an equally enjoyable powerplant. Being a naturally aspirated petrol, one needs to build up the revs to go fast, but coupled with the manual gearbox, it makes the Elantra one of the most focused cars in the segment. There’s also the choice of an automatic gearbox on both engines — a 6-speed — which certainly makes life easier.
As mentioned above, the segment isn’t as popular as it once was. That’s largely down to the presence of SUVs in a similar price bracket. But the D-segment sedans deserve a second look. The Elantra ,for instance, does so much more in terms of the way it drives (handles and rides both) than a similarly expensive SUV. Prices for the Hyundai Elantra start at Rs 13.71 lakh for the petrol variant and Rs 15 lakh for the diesel. If you’re looking at the top-spec variants, expect to pay Rs 18.8 lakh for the petrol and Rs 19.94 lakh for the diesel.
Rivals include the Toyota Corolla Altis, which happens to be the most successful in the segment. The Skoda Octavia is a popular choice among enthusiasts, especially the vRS derivative.