Hyundai unveiled the 2021 Elantra sedan live on YouTube late Tuesday night. The Korean automaker shows off its new coupe-like proportions and confirming an available hybrid powertrain.
The 2020 model is widely regarded as a downgrade in the looks department. So in some ways, Hyundai restores what once was with the new Elantra. Removing the pointy, stubby looks of the current car, Hyundai replaces them with a more flowing, elegant design partially inspired by the Sonata.
This is doable thanks in-part to a new platform underpinning the Elantra, which stretches the wheelbase nearly an inch, and adds 2 inches in overall length. The new Elantra gets wider and lower, with a shorter front overhang to help transform its look. Hyundai says the new car achieves a “four-door coupe aesthetic,” which is a vague term, but speaks to its sleeker look. Regardless, we call the new body lines and revised lighting design a big improvement.
Even with its lower coupe-like roof, the new Elantra matches the front and rear headroom of the current car by lowering its seating position. Legroom stays class-competitive with 42.3 inches in the front and 38 inches in the rear.
The 2021 Elantra will come in two flavors at launch: gasoline-only and hybrid. The former gets a carry-over 2.0-liter inline-four making 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. Nothing exciting, to be sure, but it’s pretty typical for the compact segment. This engine will be paired to Hyundai’s revised CVT.
The more interesting variant is the hybrid. Hyundai is going after the Corolla Hybrid and Honda Insight with this new option, which is powered by a 1.6-liter ICE mated to a 1.32-kWh battery pack and a 32-kW (~43-horsepower) electric motor. Total output is 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, and it’s mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Elantra offers a host of new features. Base models come equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with standard wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto – a first for the segment. Upgraded models get a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen that pairs with an identically sized digital gauge cluster. The two displays sit under one piece of glass, feature multiple configurations, and support connecting two phones at once via Bluetooth.
As expected, Hyundai has given the 2021 Elantra a ton of standard safety features. These include forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keep assist, driver attention warning, and a rearview camera.
A few optional safety items include blind-spot collision avoidance, smart cruise control, highway driving assistant, and reverse parking collision avoidance. For now, the automaker’s cool new Smart Park system is not offered although this could change going forward.