2021 Hyundai Elantra debuts: More tech, hybrid powertrain, roomier interior

March 17, 2020

The glitzy 2021 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan unveiled Tuesday in Hollywood, California, strayed further from its economy car roots and followed closer the star Sonata mid-size sedan that was unveiled last year.

The updated Elantra, which is lower, longer, and wider than before, now measures more than 184 inches long, which is more than 2 inches longer than the outgoing 2020 Elantra. Inside, the Elantra offers twin 10.3-inch screens for information and infotainment, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a wireless smartphone charger, and lets drivers use their smartphones as keys.

Hyundai didn't say how much the Elantra would cost when it goes on sale later this year, although it's likely to cost about $20,000 in base versions, including mandatory destination charges. The Elantra will be available in SE, SEL, and Limited trim levels, but Hyundai didn't say what trims will be offered for the Elantra Hybrid.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The new 2021 Elantra sedan borrows heavily from from the Sonata, including a sleeker roof line that's nearly 1 inch lower than the 2020 Elantra. The 2021 Elantra also has a shorter front overhang between the front wheel and front bumper but a longer rear overhang behind the back wheels and the back bumper. Hyundai will offer the Elantra with 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheel options.

The Elantra's long hood is lower than before, and the body sides are more deeply creased. Around back, the Elantra's tail features a long, wide horizontal line that spans the trunk, and distinctive H-shaped taillights.

Not much on the new 2021 Elantra is carried over from the 2020 Elantra. The new sedan rides on a new skeleton underneath that's longer and wider than before, with more space for passengers. According to Hyundai, the 2021 Elantra will have 38 inches of rear-seat leg room—among tops in its class and more than the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Jetta—and a trunk with 14.2 cubic feet of space.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The interior is dominated by the available twin 10.3-inch screens for driver information and infotainment, although Hyundai didn't say in which trim levels those would be available. In addition to the large screens, Hyundai offers interior ambient lighting, natural-language voice recognition, and a driver-centric cockpit. Every Elantra will be equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with smartphone software and Bluetooth connectivity.

So far Hyundai has detailed a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that makes 147 horsepower mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the front wheels only. Hyundai promises the best combined fuel economy for its non-hybrid class, a title that is currently shared by the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla Hatchback at 35 mpg combined, in certain configurations.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The Elantra Hybrid will be powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 and electric motors that combine to make 139 hp and drive a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. Hyundai said the 1.3-kwh hybrid battery can power the Elantra Hybrid on electricity alone for short distances, and can help the car net more than 50 mpg combined.

The 2021 Elantra will come equipped with a suite of standard safety features that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and rear automatic emergency braking are available as options.

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