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Hyundai's new Elantra arrives in SA: Prices, specs and rivals

2017-06-05 09:35

2017 ELANTRA: Hyundai tapped into its 'fluidic design' philosophy for the styling of the new Elantra. Image: Supplied

Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - Hyundai has launched its new Elantra in South Africa. 

With more assertive styling and some punch under the bonnet, the automaker hopes its new sedan can be considered a serious contender in SA's hotly-contested "C" segment.

Four derivatives

The 2017 Elantra is available in four derivative; the Elantra 1.6-litre Executive manual and Executive automatic (both powered by a naturally aspirated petrol engine), the Elantra 2.0-litre Elite (naturally aspirated petrol) and the range-topping Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT Sport, with a powerful 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit.

Prices start from R299 900 for the Elite to R399 900 for the Elantra Sport which is more distinctive with several special design, trim and technical characteristics.

The three engine options have the following power figures: the 1.6-litre delivers 94kW/154Nm, the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine 150kW/265Nm, while the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine is good for 115kW/195Nm. 

The new Elantra is offered with either a manual, automatic or 7-speed DCT transmission depending on which model. The 2.0-litre is only offered with the six-speed automatic 'box. 

Hyundai SA says it sold 14 722 of the Elantras from 2011 to 2017.

Sales and Operations director Stanley Anderson claims the automaker was selling about 200 units per month on average and they're expecting the new model to perform the same, if not better.

So what's new?

The Elantra Sport looks completely different thanks to a more assertive-looking grille, new fog lights, along with auto projecting head lights and LED Daytime Running Lights.

The Elantra's rear now features a higher-placed brake light and a power tailgate, operated via the key fob (Elite models only). The Sport version has LED rear combination rear lights, sporty twin exhausts and a silver skid plate. The latter's interior is also in red leather. 

Niceties in the Elite model includes climate control, push Start button, rear armrest with dual cup holders and rear air vents, as well as rain sensors.

The Executive model also features a sliding centre console, electro-chromatic mirrors and rear park assist.


What's it like to drive?

the Elantra Sport is, er, surprisingly sporty; I hardly remember the Elantra every being this exciting to drive. Having only driven the Sport version on the launch around Villiersdorp, through Franschhoek and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, I can't attest to the other three versions in the range. 

The 1.6-turbo Elantra Sport offers a spirited drive, and it performs adequately through corners and sweeping mountain passes. It accelerates briskly and gear-shifting from its 7-speed DCT transmission is sleek. There's hardly any turbo lag. Paddle shifts are standard for an even more engaging drive. The route was unbelievably free from traffic and that meant we could really push the car through its paces  - at legal road speeds of course - that you're almost left double checking that you're actually driving an Elantra and not a competitive lukewarm hatch of sorts.

The red interior is something usually seen in exotic or luxury sports cars, and it might not be everyone's cup of tea but once you're used to it, it's easy to live with.

The cabin is spacious, it has a 60/40 rear splitting seats and the boot is big enough for three golf bags.

Safety features include rear park assist, six airbags, and when the vehicle is involved in a collision, the car doors will unlock automatically. 

Rivals 

The Hyundai Elantra goes up against the following cars: (from left to right)

Mazda3, Volkswagen Jetta, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Audi A3 and Honda Civic.

In other news, Stanley also told Wheels24: "Hyundai had a very good performance in passenger car sales for the month of May, in a new vehicle market that remains under pressure with total passenger car sales down 2.3% year on year.

"We sold a total of 2437 units, which places us third in the market behind Volkswagen and Toyota. Our star performer for the month is the Creta with 703 units retailed. Compared to the Ford Ecosport's 603, Honda BRV's 154, Mazda CX-3's 288, and Toyota CH-R's 189, it was a stand out performance.

"We are confident that Creta will lead the sales in its segment for the months to come."



Pricing 

1.6 Executive M/T - R299 900

1.6 Executive A/T - R314 900

2.0 Elite A/T - R349 900

1.6 Turbo GDI Elite DCT - R399 900

                                                                                  Image: Hyundai SA

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