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Hyundai Elantra: Korean’s finest really rather good


WHILE I wasn’t a part of the 2012 Car of the Year judging process I can’t say that the judges got it wrong with the Hyundai Elantra. I’ve been driving around in the updated version of the car and I now see why the judges made such a fuss about it some two years ago.

The updates made to the Elantra are minor and consist of new front and rear bumpers, some detail changes like new radiator grilles, chrome lining beneath the passenger windows, different fog lamps, LED lights and projection headlamps. The wheels are also an improvement with the new 17-inch alloys really setting the facelift apart from the older model. Overall the Elantra looks great; there are no rental car-esque finishes that spoil its unique exterior which is now more in tune with the ever-updating market.

Inside, the car is typically Hyundai; nothing outlandish but enough flair to leave the driver happy to inhabit the space on a daily basis. There are new niceties such as Bluetooth, a redesigned climate control system, USB/iPod compatibility, multi-function steering wheel and a decent array of storage areas and cup holders.

The funky seat design also helps bring up the mood of the interior, but I do feel that cruise control would be a welcome addition to the package. In terms of space, there’s a large boot for those family holidays and enough space in the rear to accommodate three children or two adults, comfortably.

Driving the Elantra is truly a fuss-free experience. The 96kW/157Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder Gamma petrol engine, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, makes for a fantastic combination! The gear ratios and engine mapping are matched well as the car always has a reasonable amount of torque available. As a result, I managed to achieve a fuel consumption figure of 6.7 litres/100km which is just shy of the claimed 6.4-litre figure.

From an outright performance perspective it isn’t going to blow your hair back with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 10.1 seconds and a top speed of 200km/h but that being said, it is more than acceptable for a family car.

At R247 900 for the unit that I had on test, the Elantra finds itself against the likes of the new Corolla, the Volkswagen Jetta, the Chevrolet Cruze, its Korean cousin the Kia Cerato as well as left-field competition like the Honda Civic Tourer and the Ford Focus sedan.

Overall, the Elantra is truly a worthy competitor in this segment and with its simple mechanicals and lengthy warranty, the buyer has peace of mind knowing that the car will last long enough so as to avoid the recent spate of nasty depreciation knocks consumers have felt as a result of trading their car in too soon.

The Elantra comes with a five-year/150 000km warranty along with and a five-year/90 000km service plan.


Article written by Sean Nurse
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