This Is the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, Revealed to the World in Los Angeles via Livestream
Hyundai unveiled the 2021 Elantra today at The Lot Studios in Hollywood, in front of cameras and pretty much nothing or no one else. It’s the seventh generation of the Korean automaker’s small sedan, and the designers went bold with the look of the car. Taking advantage of a new platform, the 2021 Elantra is 2.2 inches longer, 1 inch wider and 0.8 inch lower than the outgoing model. This allowed for a more “four-door coupe” look while still maintaining a bit of civility inside the cabin in terms of headroom and other space constraints.
You immediately notice the 2021 Elantra’s sloping hood and the big, heavily patterned front grille. Hyundai calls it a “parametric-jewel-pattern wide and cascading grille.” We’ll call it, let’s say, polarizing. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone to call it subtle, of that I’m confident. Looking at the 2021 Elantra in profile, you do notice a strong sweeping roofline, as well as four strong lines carved into the front-quarter panels and front and rear doors, three of which come to a point in the upper-half of the center of the front doors. Again, not subtle.
In back, 2021 Elantra designers keep your eye busy with a long rear window, vertical lines carved into the trunk, a horizontal light bar stretching across the rear, strong lines forming a hexagon in the rear bumper and a faux dual exhaust baked into the bottom. All that is further complicated by a V shape in the rear, giving the upper portion of the rear a spoiler-type quality. I promise this is the last time I’ll write this, but not at all subtle.
Moving away from the look, the 2021 Elantra rides on a new platform Hyundai calls K3. K3 is credited for added strength, reduced weight and improved fuel economy compared to the 2020 Elantra, not to mention a lower center of gravity. Expect ride and handling to improve, as well, due to improved suspension mount points and a lower seating position. Though, the coming Elantra hybrid also benefits from an independent rear suspension and standard 16-inch wheels. Nonhybrid standard wheel size is 15 inches, with 17-inch wheels available.
The engine for the 2021 Elantra carries over from the 2020 model: a 2.0-liter inline-four running the Atkinson cycle and delivering a peak 147 hp at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The transmission, too, remains a continuously variable transmission that mimics gear changes but overall offers a wider ratio range than a torque-converter automatic typically achieves. Power does go the front wheels only.
The hybrid Elantra powertrain goes a different route with a 1.6-liter inline-four, still running the Atkinson cycle, but with the help of a 43-hp electric motor getting juice from a 1.32-kWh battery pack. Total output sums to 139 hp and a stout 195 lb-ft of torque. No less important, that power then channels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission before getting to the front wheels. Hyundai claims that combination will be good for a combined fuel-economy rating of more than 50 miles per gallon. But the hybrid might also be the car enthusiast choice when you consider the dual-clutch box, the independent rear suspension and the 16-inch tires. We shall see.
Inside, you see a whole lot of screens. Standard with the car is an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless access to both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, as well as Bluetooth access for two devices at once. That can be upgraded to a 10.25-inch screen with more features still, like navigation and Qi wireless charging. The instrument cluster is another 10.25-inch screen.
Hyundai also jumped on the voice recognition bandwagon with functionality to simply tell the 2021 Elantra to do things like turn on and off HVAC controls. Unlike the other brands, this feature starts with a push-to-talk button, which has the comfort of fewer unwanted activations like the “Hey, Brand Xs” of the world. If you have the correct Android phone, you can use it as a digital key, in lieu of a physical key, to lock/unlock the doors, start the car, etc. And, of course, Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics is available, as well.
The 2021 Hyundai Elantra will come standard with several safety features like forward-collision avoidance assist, lane-keep assist, lane following assist (to stay in the center of the lane), high-beam assist and driver attention warning. Optionally available are things like blind spot collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control and reverse parking collision avoidance assist.
Expect the 2021 Elantra parked on showroom floors in the fourth quarter of this year, though that schedule is subject to the whims of COVID-19. Hyundai will build Elantras in both South Korea and Alabama. Once we find out, we’ll let you know how much the Elantra costs and how it drives.
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