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Hyundai Elantra review

We as automotive journalists try our very utmost to get everything right, but we are human after all, and sometimes, we do make errors of judgement. Take this 'new' Hyundai Elantra for example. I was under the mistaken impression that it had a new engine, as it sounded a bit coarser and louder than before. It also seemed to need more effort to move the car along, and felt not quite as smooth as I previously remembered.

Turns out I was wrong, and the Elantra's powerplant has actually been carried over unchanged. The uncouth nature of the engine could probably be put down to a lack of mileage, as the car appeared to have loosened up and reverted to type once I've added a couple of hundred of kilometres to it.

So what then is new on this Elantra? Well, the changes are actually fairly minor, but they've been done to make the car a slightly better proposition. For one, the interior's been slightly redesigned, and they mainly affect the air con vents, in that they have now been positioned higher up the dashboard for more efficient air distribution (instead of freezing your hands previously). Rear passengers too now get their own set of vents, which should ensure cool heads all around.

You'll also note that there are a fair few features that are no longer available, such as climate control, automatic rain-sensing wipers, and cruise control. According to a representative from local Hyundai dealer Komoco Motors, the omissions were a deliberate decision taken due to feedback from customers, who apparently claim that they see no need for such features. An interesting point really, and one that seemingly goes against our common understanding of Singaporean buyers wanting the best bang for their buck.

The net result is therefore a lower asking price, with the Elantra now retailing for $113,999, almost 20 grand below some of its key rivals such as the Kia Forte K3 and Toyota Corolla Altis. It is a tad surprising too, given that the overall reduction in Open Market Value (OMV) is only about a thousand dollars (the base model we have here has an OMV of around $11,000, compared to about $12,000 previously), so it makes the Elantra an even better bargain than before.

For that money you get a car that is still fairly good-looking (although the car's popularity has dulled its design impact somewhat), with additional enhancements such as new LED daytime running lights, a slightly revised chrome grille, and a rear fog lamp certainly not hampering it in any way. And it's the same with the drive too, with the Elantra still as decently competent as before. The facelifted version adds Hyundai's Flex Steer variable steering system as well, which does alleviate the previous version's overly-light steering feel, but does come across as a bit gimmicky. You'll do well to stick it in Normal mode most of the time, but ultra-light Comfort setting is useful in tight manoeuvres (like U-turns).

When you think about it, the updates on the facelifted Elantra may not seem like much, but they do add up to make the car a slightly better proposition, at a far more competitive price. Given that the Elantra was already a decently capable car in its own right previously, this only makes the 'new' version even more remarkable.

NEED TO KNOW

Engine 1,591cc, 16V, in-line 4
Power 130bhp at 6300rpm
Torque 157Nm at 4850rpm
Gearbox 6-speed automatic
Top Speed 195km/h
0-100kmh 11.6 seconds
Fuel efficiency 6.7L/100km
CO2 163g/km

Price $118,999 with COE
Availability Now

Also Consider: Kia Forte K3, Toyota Corolla Altis