Having driven the i30 I was very keen to see what the differences were when I picked up the keys to the Elantra which uses the same underpinnings as the i30 so it could be considered the sedan version of the i30.
But almost from the start the Elantra seemed to me to be more up market the leather seats were extremely comfortable, supportive and with electric adjustment extremely easy to find your ideal driving position.
The inside offers a decent amount of head and legroom for both front and back seat passengers and my kids never complained about the lack of room during the week, the boot space was adequate with 400L.
The steering wheel is comfortable to hold and has buttons for the cruise control, audio system and voice recognition.
The instrument panel is a similar set up as the i30 a LCD screen in the middle flanked by a speedo and rev tacho which are easy to see in all light conditions.
I like the look and shape of the dash and the softish covering added to the appeal, the centre stack is home to the multimedia system which had decent enough sound and included such features as 7″ touch screen audio and satellite navigation system with 4 speakers, 2 tweeters, comprehensive POI database & DVD player, Bluetooth® Handsfree & media streaming, USB audio input with digital iPod® compatibility, voice recognition.
The bluetooth was easy to connect my phone up to and the system was easy to use although not quite as good as Chryslers UConnect or Holden’s Mylink systems.
The climate control air conditioning worked extremely well and didn’t take long to cool the car down on a hot day.
On the outside the Elantra has sleek swooping almost coupe like shape that I really liked, the rear hip line runs from the rear quarter to the front door, The guards have a muscular pumped look to them, it was also set off by the blue paint job and the attractive factory alloy rims.
Under the bonnet the Elantra is powered by a 1.8L naturally-aspirated 4 cylinder developing 110kW and 178Nm or torque.
The engine felt a touch spritely off the mark and is tractable to keep up will keep up with traffic, but I did find it a touch sluggish up some hills.
Fuel economy wasn’t too bad during the week I had it I managed to return in the 9’s for my week of city driving I didn’t get to try it out on the freeway so I wasn’t able to get a economy reading for that.
Backing the 1.8 4 cylinder is a 6 speed auto transmission that I found smooth and It seemed to find the right gear 99% of the time so it’s well matched to engine.
On the road Hyundai have spent a great amount time tuning the Elantra’s suspension to suit local conditions and I have found they have done great job.
I found the ride compliant and comfortable and never felt unsettled by bumps, the Elantra is fitted with Huyndai’s Flex steer system which offers you the choice of comfort, normal and sport settings but be honest I left it in normal most of the week because I thought it offered the best amount of weight.
Safety wise the Elantra has received a 5 star ANCAP safety rating and as you would expect is full of safety features including 6 airbags, abs brakes, stability control, rear parking sensors and I gave it bonus marks for having a rear view camera.
After a week I was somewhat impressed with the Elantra, the top of range premium model I tested here came with a massive amount of features including Auto dusk sensing headlamps, rain sensing wipers, Dual zone auto climate control, Proximity smart key & push button start, Electric folding side mirrors, Rear view camera, 7″ Satellite Navigation with SUNA live traffic & 3 year MapCare, 17″ alloy wheels with full size spare, electric Sunroof,
Projector beam HID Xenon headlamps just to name a few.
It was reasonable on fuel, the ride was smooth and compliant and I thought it would it make a decent comfortable car to drive around the suburbs however I would of liked the engine to have a bit more power.
If your after a safe small sedan that offers a comfortable ride with reasonable economy check out the Elantra.
For more info on the Elantra or Hyunadia’s range of vehicles check out their website http://www.hyundai.com.au