The level of detailing for the Elantra's exterior is particularly noteworthy. Up close, the front marker lights extend to a point almost directly over the front wheel center—and to the front of the cowl—and the windshield that looks like it might possibly be the steepest of any small car. Take another step back and there's an entirely new dimension—as the deep crease from beside the headlamps softens as it continues all the way to the C-pillar and that prominent, rising shoulder line emerges from smooth sheetmetal just inches behind the lipped wheelwells.
Hyundai's design direction with these sedans makes them standouts, but the down side, to these eyes, is that it risks looking dated sooner than more conservative models.
Inside, the Elantra combines traditional Hyundai swoopiness with some interesting new cues—specifically, the pinch point where the center console meets the rest of the dash. In person, the new interior impresses as a little odd at first, but the more we pored over the details, like the nice hooded gauge cluster and well coordinated two-tone themes, the better we liked it—and the more the entire design seemed to 'pop,' and make sense.