We could be looking at a new class leader.
There may not be an in-person event (due to the coronavirus) but Hyundai couldn't wait to show off its latest creation, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra. Revealed during a live broadcast from The Lot Studios in West Hollywood, California, Hyundai has shown off the seventh-generation Elantra as well as the first-ever Elantra Hybrid. This new sedan shows off what Hyundai calls a "Sensuous Sportiness design identity." As we saw in the teasers, this design identity includes a longer wheelbase, wider stance, and a lower, more coupe-like roofline.
"While some manufacturers no longer see the value in the car side of the business, we're doubling down by offering an all-new model with both gas and hybrid powertrains," said Brian Smith, chief operating officer, Hyundai Motor America. "We've sold more than 3.4 million Elantras here in the US and more than 13.8 million worldwide, and the new, captivating look is going to bring excitement to a whole new generation of buyers. Then once inside, they're going to love all of the progressive features."
Speaking of those new interior features, the all-new Elantra is packed with some of Hyundai's latest and greatest technology. The "immersive cocoon" interior layout is highlighted by an airplane cockpit-inspired configuration, slim vents, a passenger grab handle, and a pair of 10.25-inch screens handing the infotainment and gauge cluster information. The touchscreen is angled towards the driver, giving them easier access to one of the best infotainment systems in the business. Hyundai has even made wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available for the first time in this segment.
The seventh-generation Elantra measures 184.1 inches long with a 107.1-inch wheelbase, making it longer overall but with a shorter front overhang and a longer rear overhang. Hyundai has also lowered the height by 0.8 inches overall. Inside, these changes translate to a lower seating position yielding greater passenger volume including legroom, headroom, and shoulder room. It also has eight percent more cargo volume (14.2 cubic feet) than the Toyota Corolla.
Powering the non-hybrid Elantra is a 2.0-liter MPI Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque going out to the front wheels through an Intelligent Variable Transmission. This is the same drivetrain first used on the Kia Forte, where it produces 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. Hyundai hasn't released fuel economy figures yet but expects the numbers to be best-in-class. Numerous other handling improvements have been made including a weight reduction, fully independent multilink rear suspension, and standard 16-inch wheels (17-inch wheels are optional).
Hyundai will also pack in a ton of standard safety features including forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keep assist, lane following assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, and a rearview camera. Optional safety technology includes blind-spot collision avoidance, smart cruise control, highway driving assistant, safe exit warning, and reverse parking collision avoidance. Sadly, it doesn't look like Smart Park is on the available features list.
Hyundai says production of the 2021 Elantra starts in the fall at the company's plants in Ulsan, Korea and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Sales begin in the fourth quarter of 2020, meaning it won't be too long until the seventh-generation Elantra arrives at US dealerships. No announcement was made but we expect sportier N and N-Line variants to be revealed later this year.