Thanks: Hyundai Uçar Otomotiv
2021 Hyundai Elantra
Starting at: $20,655
Highs Bold exterior styling, compelling value, perky turbocharged N Line model.
Lows Sluggish acceleration with nonturbo engine, best infotainment features aren’t standard, a few cliche design flourishes.
Verdict Wild styling aside, the latest Elantra sedan wows with its features, performance, and value.
Hyundai is becoming increasingly known for daring designs, and the company’s compact sedan, the 2021 Elantra, is the latest to receive a bold new look. The new Elantra sports angular exterior details and an upscale cabin, both of which are intended to pull focus away from the segment’s heavy hitters—namely the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Sentra. The standard powertrain is a 147-hp four-cylinder but Hyundai also offers a 201-hp turbocharged N Line model and an available hybrid powertrain. A host of driver-assistance features are standard, with even more advanced tech offered as options. We’re so impressed with the new 2021 Elantra that we put it on our Editors’ Choice list.
What’s New for 2021?
Hyundai went for a clean-sheet redesign of the Elantra for 2021, complete with modern exterior and interior styling and more advanced technology features. The Elantra is offered as a hybrid for the first time and it earned an EPA rating as high as 56 mpg highway. A performance N Line variant is also be part of the 2021 Elantra lineup and goes toe-to-toe with the Honda Civic Si sedan and the Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Blue Hybrid: $24,555
Limited Hybrid: $29,105
The mid-range SEL model offers the best balance of price and features. We’d opt for the available SEL Convenience package, which adds a 10.3-inch digital gauge display, adaptive cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift know, a wireless smartphone charging pad, and heated front seats.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The standard nonhybrid powertrain is a carryover from the previous generation. These Elantras will be powered by a 147-hp four-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive is the only option here, as is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The hybrid model uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor to make 139 horsepower. Gearchanges are handled by a six-speed automatic. Neither of these options offer thrilling acceleration, but in our test drive of a nonhybrid model we noted good ride quality and enough pep for normal city and highway driving. The Elantra we’re most excited about is the performance-oriented N Line model, which is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and mated to either a six-speed manual or a a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. After a brief test drive, we came away impressed with the N Line’s perkier acceleration and its adept handling, which ups the athleticism without compromising on a too-stiff ride.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 Elantra with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder will earn up to 33 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. Models with the turbocharged 1.6-liter four have estimates as high as 28 mpg city and 36 highway. The thriftiest hybrid Elantra is rated at 53 mpg city and 56 highway. Once we have the chance to test any of these powertrains on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate the Elantra’s real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Like its dramatically restyled exterior, the cabin of the Elantra receives a bold update for 2021. The dashboard and center console wrap around the driver while the passenger’s side takes a more minimalist approach. A single LED strip follows the dashboard-spanning air vent across the width of the car from the steering column to the passenger’s-side door panel. Passenger volume is expected to grow slightly in the 2021 model, particularly in the rear seat, to help the Elantra compete with roomier rivals such as the Sentra and the Volkswagen Jetta. In our testing, the Elantra fit six carry-on suitcases inside its trunk.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An optional 10.3-inch digital gauge display rubs elbows with a second 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen that sprouts from the top of the Elantra’s dashboard. The standard infotainment setup is an 8.0-inch center display and analog gauges for the instrument cluster. Hyundai’s latest infotainment interface takes center stage here. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, as is a Wi-Fi connection. A voice-recognition feature allows the driver to adjust things such as the climate control or the heated seats by uttering specific phrases.
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