Everything about the advanced and economical new Hyundai Elantra compact sedan seems to be a step above its competition.
The best cars and trucks have always resulted from the intersection of inspired design and advanced technology. That was true when a hand-crank was cutting edge engineering, when tailfins were the height of style, and it’s never been truer than today. The best cars, trucks and SUVs introduced this year demonstrate the peak of modern design and engineering.
Buyers’ traditional desires — dependability, capability, value — were amplified by economic and health concerns in 2020. At the same time, features to make cars safer than ever — for people and the planet — became an attainable reality for more drivers.
The 2021 Free Press vehicles of the year exemplify that.
Everything about the new Hyundai Elantra seems to be a step above its competition.
The new compact sedan makes a strong first impression with what may be the richest and most detailed video display of instruments and gauges on any vehicle. Glancing at the new Elantra’s gauges is like the first time you watched hockey on a high-def screen: Who knew you could see the puck? The Elantra’s simple, crystal clear gauges make you wonder why any automaker bothers with physical gauges any more.
Equally advanced and upscale, the Elantra is the first compact car to offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features some new luxury vehicles can’t match.
That attention to design and detail is apparent throughout the Elantra. The body’s crisp lines create a distinctive, modern and upscale look.
Design overcomes budget-conscious materials in the cockpit. Ergonomically located controls, including a 10.25-inch touch screen and classic dials and buttons for the controls where drivers want ’em — volume, tuning, temperature and fan — complete the roomy interior’s amenities.
Prices start at $19,650, and $25K gets you 16-inch aluminum wheels; pedestrian and cyclist detection; wireless charging, adaptive cruise control and more — value and safety other automakers should envy.
In addition to the thrifty 147-horsepower 2.0L-powered base model, the N-Line performance version arriving in dealerships now offers 201 hp and 18-inch wheels for $24,100. A hybrid arriving in spring delivers an EPA-estimated 54 mpg in combined city/highway EPA rating above 50 mpg. Hybrid prices will start at $23,550. All prices exclude destination charges.
The 2021 Hyundai Elantra also gets my vote for North American Car of the Year.
2021 Hyundai Elantra at a glance
- Five-passenger compact sedan
- Three models: Base, sporty N Line and hybrid
- Price range: $19,650-$28,100
- Base model EPA estimated mpg: 31 mpg city/41 highway/35 combined
- Available safety/assist features: Forward collision alert/braking with pedestrian detection; forward junction/turning collision assist with pedestrian/cyclist alert; adaptive cruise control with stop and go; blind spot and cross traffic alert/assist; lane keeping and following assist; highway drive assist; driver attention warning; automatic high beams; safe exit warning; parking alerts; rear occupant alert.