With the C-segment sedan market struggling, Hyundai launches a face-lifted Elantra to see if it can help the segment gather some steam.
It’s no secret that the automotive tastes of the Indian consumer – and even worldwide for that matter – are changing constantly. And, for the past few years, the current trend in consumer interest is growing more and more towards SUV’s. This is true in our market too, seeing the number of SUV’s being lined up for launch – and seeing how Indian consumers are lining up to buy them in place of sedans.
This is especially evident in the C-segment of the sedan market, which has been hit quite hard when it comes to sales volumes. So, it’s interesting to note that before the eventual launch of its new SUV in the coming months, Hyundai has introduced a face-lifted version of its Elantra sedan.
When the current Elantra was first launched in 2012, it generated a fair amount of interest due to its fluidic design – which made it look rather upmarket – its premium interiors, and high levels of standard equipment. What also contributed to its appeal was the fact that, after years of giving us cars that were too softly sprung, the Elantra featured a very well tuned suspension that added to its driving appeal.
So, what’s changed in the Elantra now? Well, the changes are mainly cosmetic – with upgrades to the front and rear lights, as well as upgrades to the interior. A particularly pleasing visual detail is the LED daytime running lamps, which are beautifully integrated into the headlights. Their design, which makes them look like they’re suspended in mid-air, and their frosted lighting effect makes them a stand-out attribute of the car. The interiors have now changed from the black-and-beige combination to an all-black, which at least to me looks much nicer and feels more premium.
The engine and transmission line-up remains the same, with minor improvements. So, you get the option of either the 1.8-litre petrol or the 1.6-litre diesel engine, as well as a choice between the six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. The engines have received minor upgrades, and both units are quite a pleasure to drive – offering refined performance. But, at the same time, they’re tuned more for efficiency and smoothness rather than outright sportiness. The suspension and ride setup of the Elantra remains as good as ever, and it’s a pleasure to drive – albeit it won’t exactly set your pants on fire.
The amount of room available in the cabin is quite ample, which makes it a good car to be chauffeured around in. Adding to that is a particularly effective air-conditioning system. In fact, an excellent feature is the standard fit ventilated seats up front – which makes them an excellent place to be in our sizzling summers.
So, if you look at it objectively, the Elantra has a lot of positives going for it – it’s good looking, refined, quite nice to drive and a comfortable place to spend time in. However, with customer interest gradually dwindling in the sedan space, one wonders if the Elantra brings enough to table to sway customer interest back in its favour. In all probability, most customers will probably still keep a keen eye out for the crossover space. But, if I were you, I would take a good look at the Elantra once again.
- Hyundai Elantra
Engine: 1,582 cc / 4 Cylinders / 16 Valves / dohc / Turbocharged
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic / 6-Speed Manual / Front-wheel drive
Power: 126bhp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 260Nm @ 1,900 - 2,750rpm