April 29, 2015 @ 03:12 PM

Review: Hyundai Elantra 1.6-litre Elegance

Hyundai registered the base-spec Elantra for any who would like to test drive the car, Jerrica Leong wants to know if this gamble would pay off.

 
Hyundai registered the base-spec Elantra for any who would like to test drive the car, Jerrica Leong wants to know if this gamble would pay off.
 
Hyundai Sime-Darby Malaysia (HSDM) has got a point to proof with their new and improved facelifted Elantra: you don’t need to spend more than RM100,000 for the range topping variant to afford a C-segment car and enjoy all the luxuries the manufacturer has to offer.
 
So with that hypothesis, HSDM has registered the base-spec Elantra Elegance and handed over the keys to me for the weekend. Hopefully my conclusion would proof them right.
Exterior (Score: 4/5)

The facelift was introduced not long ago but other than the wheel rims the Elantra looks very much like the outgoing pre-facelifted model. But in my opinion, the Elantra’s looks, be it whether the pre-facelift or the current model you see on this page, draws more feminine appreciation than masculine. With flowing lines like that, the car makes a statement with a more feminine look.

Now that it is longer at both ends than the pre-facelift model, I have a feeling that thanks to the longer front bumper, the Elantra is forced to crawl over those insanely high speed bumps we have in KL. But overall, it’s got a look that is understated but yet elegant, this perfectly fits in with the image of “luxury” Hyundai was trying for.

Interior (Score: 3/5)

This is after all the base spec, so don’t expect leather seats or rear air-vents to come with the car Elantra variants. The Elantra Elegance variant’s interior might lack the luxury finesse that Hyundai have pegged the Elantra for but it’s still a comfortable and extremely quiet interior.

And when I say extremely, I mean it. There is barely any noise coming through the sealed doors even when the car is left idling at a junction while waiting for the green wave to happen. The only times that tyre roar and wind could be heard is when I have the needle nearing 120kph. This reminds me of the times when I’ve sat in hybrid cars utilising their electric motors. Yes, it is that quiet!

Power and handling (Score: 4/5)

Let me start off by saying that the Elantra has got a very rigid body, and a rigid body meant that the car is weighing on the heavy side of a normal compact sedan. So do not expect the Gamma 1.6 Dual CVVT engine to bring the car up to speed with a feather of the throttle neither should you expect the Elantra to take on speeds nearing east of the speedo, so think twice before you want to pull off a high speed overtaking move.

That saying, while the engine might be a tad under power, it is not shy on showing just how smooth it is. Even the gearbox presented me with smooth effortless shifts whether I was driving on the highway or taking on ever congested roads of the city.

I can’t decide if I approve of the steering though, it is decidedly heavy. While most of the time the heavy steering gives you an illusion of a steady drive that returns plenty of feedback, it is still my worst nightmare when manoeuvring around a tightly packed parking lot or when  taking on the usual massive traffic in the city.

Tech and Safety (Score: 2/5)

Now this is where the Elantra miss out, being the base-spec Elegance variant, the car lacks even an auto power window that goes back up after you’ve winded it down. Of course, Bluetooth connection is non-existent but it’s something that I had expected, what I did not expect is that the radio mutes itself every time you turn on the car.

In terms of safety, with only two airbags installed for the front passengers, auto-lock is not allowed to be installed in the car. I wouldn’t say that the Elegance lost out, as the car still came with the standard two airbags that most of us that are driving older cars lives with but I do wish that there is just a little more tech in the car. Like auto up-down driver’s window instead of just auto down…

Summary

So what is the verdict? At RM85,928.47 on-the-road without insurance, you’re basically paying a B-segment price for a C-segment car. While the Elantra Elegance is not exactly on par with the luxury C-segment sedan that it was marketed to be, it is a practical car for the everyday city driver even though the steering is not the most suitable for the congested roads of the capital. I’ve drawn the conclusion that Hyundai’s hypothesis to pay less for a big car but we will still be able to enjoy the luxuries the car has to offer is proven true. Minus all the advanced technology that is.

Overall Score: 10/20

Hyundai Elantra Gamma 1.6-litre D-CVVT Elegance
Price
RM85, 928.47
Engine
1591cc, Gamma 1.6-litre Dual CVVT, 128bhp @ 6300rpm, 157Nm @ 4850rpm
Transmission
Six-speed Auto Transmission
Length/ width/ height
4550mm/ 1775mm/ 1445mm
 

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