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First look: Hyundai hurls next Elantra

Next: Hyundai is set to rev up the small sedan market with its new direct-injection Elantra, known as Avante in South Korea.

Redesigned Hyundai small sedan surfaces as next Elantra takes a bow at Busan

30 Apr 2010

NOT content with replacing its unloved Sonata with the sleek new i45 medium sedan in Australia next month and augmenting its old but popular Getz with the new light-sized i20 hatchback soon after that, Hyundai has now revealed a redesigned Elantra to slot between the two.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has confirmed the Korean giant's newest small sedan - known in its domestic market as the Avante - will go on sale here in 2011, following the all-new Elantra's global debut at yesterday’s 2010 Busan International Motor Show opening in that nation’s second largest city.

Codenamed MD, Hyundai's fifth-generation small sedan will be released in Korea first, in the second half of this year.

Australia specifications remain unknown, but Hyundai's global best-seller is headlined by a new level of style, a new 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol four and a new six-speed automatic transmission, plus an abundance of high-end equipment.

The existing Elantra/Avante - model names that have attracted more than six million sales worldwide since 1990 - was released Down Under in October 2006 and is the only current Hyundai model to decline in sales this year.

While Elantra sales in Australia are down 18 per cent so far this year, the newer i30 hatchback - on sale here since October 2007 - doubled its sales in 2009 and has logged a 135 per cent sales boom so far in 2010.

1 center imageTogether, the Elantra and i30 outsold Toyota's once-dominant Corolla in the first quarter of this year, with a 16.5 per cent share of the small-car segment - less than 800 sales beind Mazda's top-selling Mazda3.

The i30's was just one the massive sales gains made in recent times by most new models from Hyundai, which has posted an incredible 66 per cent sales surge so far in 2010 – on top of its 39 per cent increase in 2009.

Beneath the 2011 model's crisper new body styling, based on the larger i45 sedan's fresh ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language, is the first application of Hyundai’s latest 1.6-litre Gamma GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to the company’s own new six-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai says the Elantra's 1.6 GDI – revealed a week ago at the Beijing show – is about 10 per cent more fuel efficient than its closest competitors, thanks to direct-injection, the new self-shifting transmission and other fuel economy enhancements.

The new Gamma GDI mill features dual continuously variable valve timing (DCVVT), a variable induction system and cutting-edge internal component treatments to reduce friction, such as CrN Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) and Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coatings.

Delivering 103kW and 167Nm of torque, it easily eclipses Hyundai’s multi-point fuel-injected Gamma 1.6, which delivers 78kW/144Nm in the Getz and 89kW/153Nm in the i30, and almost matches the 105kW/186Nm outputs of the 2.0-litre engine that powers the i30 and, exclusively, the outgoing Elantra.

Of course, Hyundai’s smallest GDI engine is more advanced than the 1.6-litre Gamma engine that powers upstream versions of the Getz and, from this week, a new entry-level version of the i30 hatch - which like the outgoing Elantra sedan is now priced from under $20,000.

Hyundai says the new Elantra will also be fitted with equipment not found on other small sedans, including high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, LED tail-lights, heated rear seats, puddle lamps and a colour TFT LCD information screen within the instrument panel.

“The new Avante encompasses Hyundai’s latest ambitions, featuring the best styling and performance in its class,” said the president and CEO of Hyundai’s Global Business Division, Steve Yang, at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center.

“We’re confident that it will once again redefine the compact segment worldwide.”

Hyundai also used the Busan show to display a hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus and a Universe Limousine luxury coach, while ‘Blue Drive’ models reappearing yesterday included the i10 EV and the LPG-electric small sedan based on the current Elantra, the Avante LPi Hybrid.

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