Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Elantra garnering respect among compact cars

Published:Sunday | April 9, 2017 | 4:00 AMJason Lawson
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In earlier years of production, Hyundai compact cars were playing catch-up to the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. This is not so anymore. With comparable quality, standard features, and one of the best warranties available, the Elantra has become a viable choice in the compact car class.

The Marina Blue 2017 Elantra GLS test car showed signs of the trending-fast back style we have become accustomed to seeing on larger cars and sport SUVs. The large front grille complements its LED-clad projector head lights, which are aligned to its body lines along its sides. This vehicle is equipped with attractive and functional wheel air curtains to cool the brakes.

In addition, it is finished with 16-inch alloy wheels, which give it a cool, confident appearance.

 

Touch Screen Control Display

 

What draws most of the attention within its interior is the five-inch touch screen control display. Navigating through its system and learning its features was relatively simple, as with the corresponding steering wheel controls.

It is complemented with a six-speaker stereo system that delivers good mid- and high-range sound. Bluetooth connectivity is available for popular phones, with hands-free audio microphones positioned near the sunglass holder and the front overhead map lights. It has two USB ports, one for charging purposes and the other for data and phone connectivity, in addition to an auxiliary port and cd player. An effective and clear rear parking assist system is also accessed through the display.

 

Feature Filled Ergonomic Interior

 

The interior of the Elantra is a sober black cloth and vinyl combination with a silver trim border running throughout. Its touch-screen display and air conditioning controls are aggressively angled towards the driver, allowing easier access to dials and buttons. The steering wheel has a telescoping feature in addition to the regular tilt so that one can easily find a preferred position.

The controls on the steering wheel easily navigate through options such as customisable indicator light executions and door-locking options, which are all displayed on its 4.2-inch colour LCD screen located in the gauge cluster.

Cup and bottle-holders are abundant as well, having space for two cups in the centre console, two in the back seat armrest, and single bottle-holder slots in each of the four doors.

Its driver-side vanity mirror is a unique feature for drivers who usually have to adjust and readjust the rear view mirror to view themselves before meetings and other engagements.

Rear headroom and passenger space is surprisingly plentiful, and with the rear air ventilation system, rear passengers also control their own air flow from the air conditioning system.

 

Practical Engine and Transmission

 

While seated in the Elantra, driving around in everyday traffic was quite comfortable. Its quick steering ratio, aided by electric power steering, allows the driver to manoeuvre rough roads and surprise potholes without breaking a sweat. The overall ride was pretty solid, with little road noise creeping through the interior.

Its 1.6 litre engine, though not a powerhouse, did not feel underpowered. However, it is definitely tuned for practical, economical purposes. Its six-speed transmission is smooth under normal operation. When overtaking or accelerating rapidly at higher speeds at times, an abrupt low-gear change is selected to perform the task. Though a bit loud and unexpected, it gets the job done.

The Shifttronic manual mode is available for those who require more control and may be a better option in cases that require a heavier foot. The brakes were also effective enough under regular and heavy usage.

Its above-average industry safety rating and six airbags should also elevate the driver's and passengers' sense of security.

Overall, the Hyundai Elantra brings much to the table. Its five- year transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, high safety rating, and safety features are a bonus to an already solid car with many features . On paper and in reality, the Elantra seems to be a worthy competitor to the likes of Japan's best auto manufacturers.