2015 Hyundai Elantra Facelift Review
To think of it, there aren’t enough reasons to justify Hyundai Elantra’s discouraging sales. Undoubtedly, it is the most beautiful car in its range and does come with impressive features. In fact, it was the Elantra which brought in a class of aspiration among its generation.
Over the years, Hyundai’s prowess in making hatchbacks and mid-sized sedans has been well proven but then when it comes to their expensive offerings, the response is less enthusiastic. Hyundai wishes to change this perception and therefore has updated the Elantra with design tweaks on the outside as well as on the inside. We take a detailed look.
The Hyundai Elantra is unarguably the best looking sedan in its class. There were some instances where we found its overall design even better than the Mercedes-Benz CLA –Class, without any exaggeration. The Fluidic Sculpture is best seen on the Elantra as its generous proportions of metal justify the modern design philosophy.
In the list of updates, most importantly, the headlights feature projector lamps as standard across all variants. What make these amazing headlights a lot cooler than normal are the LED guide lights, which surround the projector lamp from all sides forming a radiant arch. The front bumper has a bolder design with striking contours. It also gets subtle chrome inserts. The fog lamps too have got a new shape and positioning on the front bumper.
Flowing roofline of the Elantra makes it look like a one piece design with an integrated beltline. The old school alloy design has been replaced by more modern 16 inch 10-spoke alloy wheels. The door handles are treated in chrome. Even the beltline now sports chrome lining to make it look more elegant than before. The long flowing contour of the Elantra with flared wheel arches makes it second to none in terms of design appeal.
It gets new combination tail lamps on the rear which has an LED effect, similar to the one seen on the 4S Fluidic Verna, except for this one being more upmarket and stylish than the mid-sized offering. The two tone finish on the rear bumper gives it a wider stance than before. The under section of the new bumper is finished in mate plastic and this time the exhaust pipe on the right is exposed with a pentagonal opening done in an aluminium finish.
When it comes to making interiors which can impress Indian consumers, there is no beating Hyundai. They have a keen ear to hear the increasing demands and also make sure they fulfil them. Be it the range starter Hyundai Eon or even their flagship, every car has features which its immediate rivals and above don’t have. Over the years, they have also improved greatly on the quality of finish, plastics and the trim levels.
To begin with, Hyundai has swapped its beige and ebony colours with an all black interior. The advantage of this is that it now feels more upmarket and sophisticated. Not that I had any disliking for the beige as brighter shades make the cabin feel larger but the only disadvantage was about it having a tendency to attract dirt very easily. Also, the new all black trims have been finished very well.
Pay a more detailed attention and you would find a subtle difference on the dashboard layout. The central air-con vents which were placed below have been moved up to a more central location to make sure the unit displaces air evenly. The other minor yet extremely effective change is an introduction of a 4.3 inch touchscreen unit, which replaces the dated click and rotate system. The screen still doesn’t offer navigation but has convenient options to choose from. It also doubles up as a rear-view camera, a far better option than the eye stressing one on the rear view mirror.
It gets a dual zone fully automatic climate control system which helps set individual temperatures. The AC unit with cluster ionizer is really effective and was at its best even as the sun kept blazing on the roof. Rear passengers get individual AC vents. The other feature of Elantra, which none in its class offer is a seat cooler. It totally takes the comfort level a notch higher and so do the cushioning of reclined rear seats. The under thigh support, lumbar support is very much in its place to comfort the rear passengers on long trips.
It looks like a dream and feels comforting inside, wondering if the same is felt on the tarmac as well. Hyundai cars have never disappointed me in terms of performance, ride and handling. No, I am not saying they are the best in the business as the Europeans know a bit more but if you are not straining your eyes and hands to test the performance of a car only, Hyundais do a good job.
The New Elantra runs on the same mechanical setup as earlier. We drove the 1.6 SX MT variant. It has a 1582cc diesel mill making 128PS of power and 260Nm of torque and comes equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. Before pushing it away for the VW Jetta or the Skoda Octavia, the latter options have a bigger engine and are also heavier than the Elantra.
They didn’t make the Elantra to manoeuvre tight turns and short corners with the greatest of agility instead it is for those who enjoy spirited style of driving occasionally. The soft on tarmac suspensions swallow potholes and undulations with great ease. The cabin is so well insulated from outside ambience that even a sudden shudder on speed breakers doesn’t create any difference inside the cabin.
One has to keep tapping the clutch and shifting through the entire range in a typically traffic clad area as the motor feels exhausted at low range. It is only when the tacho needle crosses along the end of low rev range; there is sufficient torque to push the car into a high speed zone. It is definitely lighter than most other popular cars but that doesn’t affect its straight line stability which is very impressive.
While cornering at a high speed, the Elantra doesn’t feel as confidence inspiring as its rivals. The soft setup and overall dimensions of this sedan make is less agile around corners. While exiting a turn, it needs a stronger push and if too hard on the throttle, then there is a marginal body roll felt.
The diesel motor is one of the quietest in its range. The auto shift can be a good option for the city crawler. It is not less of a fun creature itself but not as much as the classic stick shift, where the driver can belt out the ideal outright performance according to his own whims.
|Variant||1.6 SX MT|
|Power in PS/RPM||126 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||260 / 1900|
|Gears||6 - MT|
|Wheel base mm||2700|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1329|
|Ground clearance mm||NA|
|Fuel tank capacity L||56|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 60 R16|
|Electronic Stability Program (ESP)||No||No||Yes|
|Dual Front Airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS & EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Disc brakes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Projector Headlamps with LED Guide Light||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Body Coloured Outside Rearview Mirror with Turn Indicators||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Chrome Radiator Grille||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pure Leather Seats and Trim||No||No||Yes|
|10-way adjustable Power driver seat w/ electric Lumber support||No||No||Yes|
|Driver Seat height Adjustment||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Tilt and Telescopic Steering||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual Zone Fully Automatic Temperature Control||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear AC Vents||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2 Din Audio with Radio,CD & MP3 Player||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USB, AUX-in, iPod cable & Bluetooth connectivity||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|4.3” Touch Screen Audio||No||No||Yes|
|4 Speakers with 2 Tweeters System||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Cruise control||No||No||Yes|
|Smart key with push button start||No||Yes||Yes|
|Folding key with keyless function and burglar alarm||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||1.6 SX MT||Highline TDI||Ambition 2.0 TDI CR|
|Power in PS/RPM||126 / 4000||138 / 4200||141 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||260 / 1900||320 / 1750||320 / 1750|
|Gears||6 - MT||6 - MT||6 - MT|
|Wheel base mm||2700||2648||2688|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1329||1401||1340|
|Ground clearance mm||NA||159||155|
|Fuel tank capacity L||56||55||50|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 60 R16||205 / 55 R16||205 / 55 R16|
It might sound a bit repetitive but the design of Hyundai Elantra plays a single highly influential reason on why one must just get this car without caring about anything at all. The Elantra’s premium appeal scores a lot more than its understated rivals. Surely, it might not feel as sophisticated but not all enjoy subtle things in life. It is definitely a head turner and scores more points over the Skoda Octavia and even the VW Jetta.
The new Elantra shows a strong dedication by Hyundai to break in the premium class. The results won’t be seen immediately as it takes time for the mindsets to change. Over a period, it will happen. Till then if you want a premium and unique offering which is not seen in many numbers, the new Elantra is a great choice.