HYUNDAI’S sixth-generation Elantra sedan has arrived on Australian shores with
a trimmed-down line-up and new powertrains, but expected supply constraints
could hamper its sales this year.
The popularity of the Elantra in other markets could hinder its growth in
Australia, according to Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) chief operating
officer Scott Grant.
“We expect that this year we will be supply limited,” he told journalists at
the Elantra media launch in Tasmania this week. “We don’t really have a firm
plan at the moment. It’s in its early stages. They sell in excess of 220,000 to
250,000 Elantras in the US. It’s considerable in Korea as well.
“So in year one we expect the car will be quite popular we think, but how many
we can get to I am not quite sure. We have about 1000 right now on launch
stock; where we go from there I am not sure.”
Mr Grant said he did not think the Elantra could match or exceed its record
2015 haul of 8346 sales, based on the compact sedan’s early global demand.
“I don’t think so, no. It is launching right now all over the globe. We expect
the car to be in demand. There are quite a lot of pre-sales, particularly in
the United States.”
The new Elantra will be offered in two specifications – base Active and
mid-spec Elite – while the previous range-topping Platinum has been dropped.
It will, however, get a flagship SR variant later this year, powered by Hyundai’
s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine matched with a seven-speed dual-clutch
transmission (see separate story).
A new 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘Nu’ naturally aspirated petrol engine delivering
112kW/192Nm replaces the previous 110kW/178Nm 1.8-litre MPi unit, matched with
either a six-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission in the Active, or
just the auto in the Elite.
HMCA says just 15 per cent of sales are expected to swing to the manual, with
the Active capturing 70 per cent of all Elantra sales.
Pricing has marginally increased for the entry Active, which is offered from
$21,490 plus on-road costs in manual guise, or $23,790 for the auto,
representing a $500 lift over the outgoing model.
The Elite starts at $26,490, which is a $400 drop compared with the old model.
Metallic paint is a $495 option but there is only one non-metallic colour
As with most recent Hyundais, the Elantra has benefited from intensive ride and
handling testing and tuning conducted in Australia.
“Our aim with the car was to develop exceptional ride comfort first and
foremost, and we tested across every road surface we could find,” said HMCA
senior manager product planning Andrew Tuitahi.
“Damper testing alone was a month-long process involving short-test urban loops
with potholes, speed bumps and other everyday driving challenges. We also
carried out extensive testing on twisty mountain roads, often involving
mid-corner bumps, course-chip routes, freeway and highway work, and on country
roads, including gravel roads.”
The company says the chassis development team conducted 48 drive tests as it
analysed 15 different sets of front dampers and 34 sets of rear dampers, the
results of which were processed by motorsport suspension guru David Potter.
The latest-generation Elantra has a new suspension design, with the front strut
including a new subframe with improved geometry for better noise, vibration and
harshness (NVH) levels.
New bushings on the front subframe and bigger bushes on the lower control arm
also help NVH, according to HMCA.
At the rear is a redesigned torsion beam set-up with upright, longer dampers –
compared with the previous model’s diagonally mounted dampers – and
repositioned coil springs.
Hyundai says the Elantra chassis is made from 53 per cent ultra-high-tensile
steel – up from 21 per cent on the outgoing model – ensuring 29.5 per cent
stiffer torsional rigidity and 25.3 per cent better bending strength.
Interestingly, the larger engine has meant an increase in official fuel
consumption, up from 6.6 litres per 100km in manual guise to 7.1L/10km, while
the auto lifts from 7.1L/100km to 7.2L/100km.
The new model is 20mm longer, 25mm wider and 5mm taller than the model it
replaces, but the 2700mm wheelbase carries over despite it being a completely
Boot space, however, has dropped from 485 litres to 458L – a consequence of the
rear suspension changes – but it can still swallow 50 litres more than the
As we reported when the new model was revealed last September, the Elantra now
carries the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, falling into line with its
Tucson, Santa Fe, i30 and Genesis stablemates.
The Elantra is yet to be tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program;
HMCA says it will undergo testing in the second quarter of the year.
In terms of safety gear, the Elantra is fitted standard with six airbags, ESC,
ABS, brake assist, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, hill-start assist,
LED daytime running lights and automatic dusk-sensing headlights.
Autonomous emergency braking is, according to HMCA, not yet available on
right-hand-drive production models, but the company is hoping to introduce the
safety technology down the track.
Other standard equipment includes front foglights, 7.0-inch touchscreen with a
six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay connectivity (Andriod
Auto is coming in the third quarter), MP3, auxiliary and USB jacks, steering
wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, power windows, cloth trim, manual
air-conditioning and 16-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare.
Stepping up from Active to Elite adds LED tail-lights, chrome-trimmed grille
and chrome belt-line moulding, electric-folding exterior mirrors, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, Proximity Smart Key with automatic boot-opening function,
push-button start, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, a cargo net, dual-zone
climate-control air-conditioning, leather-appointed interior, ‘premium’
gearknob and steering wheel, rear seat air vents, 3.5-inch TFT LCD display,
illuminated front doorhandles and sun-visors and 17-inch alloys.