1 Oct 2001
An interesting failure, the offbeat – even avant-garde (Italian, by Pininfarina) – style of the FC Elantra LaVita was just one of its many likeable aspects.
Hyundai had missed its old Lantra Sportswagon since the XD Elantra wasn’t available in station wagon guise, so it pitched the mini-MPV-like Elantra in an embryonic market not yet ready for such vehicles.
Clever seating arrangements, abundant storage solutions and an airy, user-friendly interior failed to sway customers.
Dynamic abilities weren’t so good however (the XD Elantra base just doesn’t like to be pushed hard), the 90kW/161Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine (especially in four-speed auto mode) was certainly no performance fireball, and many important safety features like ABS and a passenger’s airbag were absent from the (initially hefty) base price.
Sales never took off despite heavy discounting, so Hyundai quietly withdrew the LaVita during 2004.