There's no doubt that Hyundai is a car brand to be reckoned with. The Getz and Tucson models are top-sellers in South Africa, and now the Korean carmaker is taking aim at the Toyota Corolla with a fresh offering.
The all-new Elantra is now available here and it is a complete different vehicle from its ugly predecessor.
This model has never been regarded as one of Hyundai's more exciting products, but it seems as if the Elantra's fortunes are about to change.
Although the Elantra still has a conservative and sober design, the newcomer follows the same chic styling as other Hyundais such as the Santa Fe and Sonata.
Typical Hyundai "value for money" is also the name of the game, with the entry-level model's price kicking off at R159 900.
Initially two petrol engine derivatives, a 1.6 and 2.0-litre, are available. Depending on market demand Hyundai will look at launching a diesel model too at a later stage.
The 1.6-litre 16 valve twin-cam engine gets CVVT (Constantly Variable Valve Timing) to optimise economy and cut emissions.
Power for this unit is 89 kW at 6 200 r/min and it provides an impressive torque figure of 153 Nm at 4 200 r/min.
This model is also available in both 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions.
The Elantra 2.0-litre, which only comes in manual guise, boasts maximum power of 105 kW and torque is 186 Nm.
As expected the Elantra is well-equipped and comes packed with comfort and safety features.
For example the car comes with a six-speaker audio system with steering mounted controls and fully automatic climate control. Leather-trimmed seats are an optional extra.
On the safety side there are dual airbags and ABS brakes with EBD.
Good quality materials
Styling looks good too while perceivable build quality is impressive with the interior fit and finish featuring niceties such as soft-touch plastics.
The dash looks attractive and at nighttime, with the headlights switched on, there is a classy blue illumination of the dials.
Although the new Corolla arrives here in September, the latest Elantra breaths fresh life into its segment.
The Elantra, especially the 1.6-litre version, makes a lot of sense as an alternative in the midsize sedan market.
It is a spacious family sedan with ample room for four adults and their luggage. Build quality is also competitive with Japanese or European products.
There is no doubt that the new Elantra is a far cry from its predecessors. It is crisp and more than able to be a force to be reckoned with.
Elantra 1.6 CVVT 5-spd manual: R159 900
Elantra 1.6 CVVT 4-spd automatic: R169 900
Elantra 2.0 CVVT 5-spd manual: R179 900
The Elantra range comes standard with a 3 year / 100 000 km full factory warranty and a 3 year / 60 000 km full maintenance plan.