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Hyundai Elantra: Mid-life tweaks for sedan

2014-07-23 08:15

REVISED AND REWARDING: Hyundai’s Elantra range just gets better and better. Small tweaks and a minor facelift for 2014 have simply enhanced an already rather good 1.6-litre package. Image: Hyundai / Quickpic


MELKBOSSTRAND, Western Cape – Every three years or so each and every model of coupe, sedan or sports car – no matter where it’s made or how successful or otherwise it might be – receives a nip and tuck.

By the same token the total lifespan of a car is usually only seven years before whatever brand feels another iteration is needed to make you buy another, newer, one.

A brief ride-and-drive of the 2014 Hyundai Elantra 1.6-litre coupe-styled sedan on Tuesday (July 22 2014) revealed the first facelift since the previous car was introduced to the South African market in 2011 so it’s pleasing to report that the changes the Korean automaker felt were necessary are minimal enough to not upset current owners.

Costs them on trade-in value, see.


Stanley Anderson, marketing director of Hyundai Automotive SA, wanted to remind Wheels24 readers: “The Hyundai Elantra was the first Korean car to win the South African Car of the Year competition, and deservedly so.

“In my opinion winning that Coty title back in 2012 also happened to be most recent time an ‘affordable’ car took top honours!” A Porsche product won in 2013 and 2014.)

Up front Hyundai Korea did deem it necessary to slightly alter the lines of the front bumper/radiator grille/fog lights and to adopt light-emitting diodes in place of conventional bulbs – a trend just about every other manufacturer has adopted.


A new and two-tone rear bumper along with more LED illumination have now been adopted, along with 17” alloy wheel rims to replace the previous 16” steel jobbies.

OK, this enhanced Elantra now sports an overall length of 4550mm, 20mm up on the previous car, but only due to chubbier front and rear bumpers. The wheelbase is unchanged.

The lively 96kW petrol engine is unchanged; it’s still a quiet unit and still generates 96kW at 6300rpm and 157Nm at 4850rpm, both sent through a six-speed manual gearbox. An auto is available as an option for an extra R15 000.

Fuel consumption appeared to be most favourable during the test drive around Cape Town; factory figures list 6.4 litres/100km in the combined cycle.

There’s an even more premium feel to the Elantra now, one that boasts a new audio system with Bluetooth, redesigned aircon control, a new ‘straight pull-back’ automatic transmission selector with a leather boot; higher centre armrest; repositioned air vents on the facia, power folding exterior mirrors and a one-touch button to close the driver’s window.


Despite all that, for me the most significant changes to the car involve the tweaked suspension. Over a gravel road north of Malmesbury on the test route the revised Macpherson strut front suspension proved almost superb … the coupled torsion beam set-up in the rear definitely aided steering response and gave reassuring amounts of feedback.

Could these improvements be directly linked to Hyundai’s World Rally success of late?  The company would like to think so, methinks.

In recent years passenger protection has become a huge concern for automakers. South Africa, with its ridiculously high road-death numbers, makes this very important.  The Elantra has anti-lock-brakes, two front air bags, side impact protection bars, impact-tensioning seat belts and a collapsible steering column.

This Elantra offering could well steal the hearts of affluent young buyers with young families who have a passion for individuality and originality. It certainly breaks the mould, no matter which way you look at it, and it will be interesting to watch the car's continued progress in South Africa’s increasingly competitive premium car market.


Included in the price of the 2014 Elantra is Hyundai’s five-year or 150 000km warranty with five years or 150 000km roadside assistance and a five-year or 90 000km service plan. Service intervals 15 000km.

There are only two 2014 Hyundai Elantra derivatives on offer though Anderson alluded to a 1.8 version being a serious consideration.

For now, the prices are:
Elantra 1.6 Premium - R247 900.
Elantra 1.6 Premium a/t - R262 900

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