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2021 Hyundai Elantra Review- Changes, Expected Release Date, MPG Figures, Specs And Rivals

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Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist

July 09, 2020 at 08:21 AM

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra will introduce the seventh generation of the popular compact sedan. It will bring on some radical changes in terms of performance, styling, tech, and safety. The 2021 model will also give rise to the Hybrid Elantra. In an age where every potential buyer is dreaming of buying an SUV or Crossover, Hyundai is spending on its sedan fleet making it stronger than ever. Find out more about the much-awaited model.

For the 2021 model year, Hyundai has completely redesigned its best selling compact sedan- the Elantra. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra will bring in some radical changes both in design and on the spec sheet. The exterior has been redesigned to make it look more like its elder sibling- the Sonata. The all-new Elantra will be more edgy and futuristic looking than ever before.

The brand new 2021 Hyundai Elantra with its aggressive front fascia.

As for the specs part, Hyundai is planning on bringing an all-new hybrid variant later on which will make this the first generation of the Elantra offered as a hybrid and Hyundai is making bold claims about the fuel efficiency which could be close to the 50 MPG mark. At a time when every other manufacturer is moving away from the sedan segment, Hyundai has introduced a brand new model. In addition to that, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra will also be offered in an “N” trim. It is good to see a mass-market manufacturer like Hyundai invest so much time and effort into the sedan segment.

Which engine will power the 2021 Hyundai Elantra?

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra will offer both a normal gas-powered engine as well as a hybrid powertrain. The standard Elantra is expected to retain the 2.0L inline-4 unit with 147 hp power and 132 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the hybrid powertrain will sport a 1.6L gas engine with a 43 horsepower electric motor for a combined 139hp. Hyundai is doing away with the Eco and Sport trim that focused on fuel efficiency and performance respectively. This can be attributed to the low sales figures.

The 1.6L Turbo unit used in the 2020 Hyundai Elantra Sport. 

Having said that, the 2021 Elantra will probably come with an “N Line” trim as well. N is to Hyundai what M is to BMW. Close enough! So, Hyundai will also have the enthusiasts section covered with the new Elantra. Talking about enthusiasts, the N Line might also be offered with a manual transmission. Nothing has been said on the topic by Hyundai North American, however, the speculations are strong. What has been confirmed by the manufacturer is that the N-Line will feature a turbocharged engine.

The 2.0L naturally aspirated motor remains as the standard powerhouse for the 2021 Elantra.​​​​​

When it comes to engines and drivetrains as a whole, Hyundai has played a little Roulette. The standard 2.0 Naturally aspirated engine remains the same and is paired to the same CVT transmission. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged unit offered with the Sports trim is now given in the Hybrid model sans the turbocharger. It retains the DCT transmission. The 1.4L turbo offered in the Eco trim might be the one in the N-Line, in a different state of tune.

Models

2021 Hyundai Elantra (Expected)

2020 Toyota Corolla L Sedan

2020 Honda Civic LX Sedan

2020 Mazda 3 Sport

MSRP

$20,500

$19,500

$20,250

$20,240

Engine

2.0L Inline 4 Naturally Aspirated/ 1.6L Inline 4 Hybrid

1.8L Inline 4 Naturally Aspirated

2.0 L inline-four

2.0 L inline-four

Transmission

CVT/DCT

CVT

CVT

6-speed Auto

Horsepower

147hp @ 6200rpm/ 139hp

169hp @6600rpm

158hp @ 6500 rpm

155hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque

132 lbs.-ft. @ 4500rpm/ NA

151 lbs.-ft. @ 4800rpm

138 lb.-ft @ 4200 rpm

150 lb.-ft. @4000 rpm

2020 Figures used for comparison purposes only

When compared to the competitors, the Elantra falls behind in terms of power. However, if you take into account the price at which these cars are offered, the Hyundai makes more sense. For the 2021 model year, the prices of the competitors are also expected to rise. 

To add to that, the Elantra never feels underpowered as such. Yes, it could have been better in terms of the low-end torque which makes it slightly cumbersome to overtake large vehicles out on the highway. However, the Hybrid powertrain is expected to tackle that issue as well.

What MPG Figures to expect from the 2021 Hyundai Elantra?

As claimed by Hyundai, the 2021 Elantra Hybrid will return more than 50 MPG combined. It is to be seen what sort of economy figures can be expected in real-life usage. For the gasoline-powered 2.0L engine, Hyundai states that “Count on Elantra’s traditional gasoline powertrain to strike the right balance between power and MPG”. 

Since the standard Elantra will carry the same engine as the 2020 version, it is expected to dish out 31 mpg and 41 mpg for city and highway respectively. This results in a 35 mpg combined figure. As for the fuel tank, it will probably be the same as well as the 2020 model- a 14-gallon unit. This gives the Elantra decent fuel range which translates into fewer fuel stops along the way.

Models

2021 Hyundai Elantra Sedan (Expected)

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2020 Honda Civic Sedan

2020 Mazda 3 Sedan

MPG (city)

31*

30

32

27

MPG (highway)

41*

38

42

36

MPG (combined)

35*/50

33

36

30

Fuel Tank Capacity(Gal.)

14*

13.2

12.39

13.2

2020 Figures used for reference

When placed against the competition in terms of fuel economy, the 2020 Hyundai Elantra performs pretty well. With the changes introduced for the 2021 model year, the fuel economy will probably increase a slight bit. As for the N Line trim with the performance engine, the figures can be expected to drop. Moving on to the hybrid Elantra, competitors such as Honda Insight and Toyota Corolla offer a tad bit more economy. However, the difference is not as significant to be a deal-breaker.

How comfortable will the 2021 Hyundai Elantra be?

One of the main reasons why the Hyundai Elantra is so popular is the level of comfort on offer. Hyundai is known all over the world to spoil its customers by offering a high level of comfort for a lower price. The Elantra is no stranger to this and things are only expected to get better with the 2021 model. Hyundai is introducing a few changes that will totally transform how comfortable the Elantra is.

The front seats of the Hyundai Elantra are spacious

In terms of space, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is expected to be better than the 2020 model. This is mainly due to the minor increase in the exterior dimensions of the car. By making the car a bit longer and wider, it is to be seen whether these changes alter the interior dimensions as well. The wheelbase has also been increased ever so slightly which will, in turn, increase the legroom.

At this price point, you don't expect the rear seats to offer all that much. 

One of the biggest complaints with the rear seats in the Elantra was the headroom. While it was not cramped, it wasn't really suitable for taller passengers especially if the car bounced out of a pothole or speed bump. While it is not clear if the headroom has been altered in any way, we hope that Hyundai has taken care of it since the seat appear to be slightly different from the once found in the outgoing model.

Models

2021 Hyundai Elantra Sedan (Expected)

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2020 Honda Civic Sedan

2020 Mazda 3 Sedan

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

40.3/56.2/42.2*

38.3/54.8/42.3

39.3/57.0/37.1

38.3/54.8/42.3

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

37.3/55.3/35.7*

37.1/54.8/41.4

37.1/55.0/37.4

37.6/54.4/35.8

2020 Figures used for reference

The Elantra has always been pretty generous when it comes to interior space. Even when it comes to interior quality and design, it has only improved over the years. Judging from the limited interior photos released by Hyundai, the dashboard looks more sophisticated than before. The center console is a little more angled towards the driver. The passenger now gets a grab handle on the center console.

The dashboard of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is a mix of class and modern design.

Based on just the looks and the design language, the dashboard of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra seems like a mix of the C7 Corvette and the previous generations of Mercedes Benz vehicles. The steering wheel mimics the look of a dual spoke unit. But Hyundai hasn’t stopped at just Corvette and Mercedes Benz. You guessed it right. There’s some Audi as well. The passenger-side air vent runs all across the dashboard mimicking Audi’s design.

2021 Elantra's gear lever with the Corvette style grab handle.

While some may think that Hyundai has made the most of its modern design cues by borrowing the design elements from various manufacturers, it fails to look original. One with the slightest knowledge of cars would instantly recognize the design language. On the other hand, kudos to Hyundai for making a cabin look so classy and opulent at this price point. One really cannot complain as the cabin feels miles ahead of the competition in terms of equipment, quality and overall ambiance.

What is there to keep you entertained?

One of the biggest changes in the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is the infotainment system. The car features an all-new center screen as well as a brand new digital driver’s display as well. The driver’s display is a paid option while there’s no word on the center screen. But the images show a couple of sizes of the screen. If you opt for both of then, both the units are placed under a single piece glass much like what we have seen in Mercedes. 

As soon as you step inside the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, you are welcomed with the new design language.

Be that as it may, this setup definitely improves how the cabin looks and feels. It gives a more expensive vibe to the Elantra’s interior. The digital driver’s display displays a speedometer, a tachometer, gear position, driving mode, odometer, and other generic information. The screen can also be expected to display active safety features such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. The screen might also display the blind spots much like Honda and Kia cars.

Much in accordance with more premium brands like Mercedes Benz, the 2021 Elantra is offered with two huge displays housed under the same piece of glass. 

As for the central infotainment screen it is offered in two different sizes. There is no official word on the size of these screens. However, the larger one is a complete touch unit whereas the smaller one has physical buttons and knobs on either side. Even though there are volume buttons on the steering wheel, it is always better to have a physical volume button. It would be interesting to see how these units perform.

As for the exact specification changes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will now be offered as standard as opposed to the 2020 Elantra in which the base model missed out on these. In addition to that, both these systems can be used wirelessly which makes using them easier than ever before. The spec sheet has definitely improved when compared to the 2020 model.

Hyundai's all the steering wheel design.

The 2021 Elantra will also feature a digital key. What it is, is a phone-based application that will allow you to use your phone as a key fob. You’ll be able to lock, unlock, and start the car. The application will also display the car’s statistics and other data. The digital key, somehow, is also transferable to other people’s mobile devices as well.

If all of this was not enough, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra will also feature Bose Premium Audio. This will be a paid extra that would exponentially increase your musical experience. This same 360-degree sound system has also been featured in more expensive cars as well. This goes on to show how much Hyundai has paid attention to making the 2021 Elantra a complete experience for the passengers.

Other Interior features include

  • Bluetooth Telephony with Voice Recognition
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
  • 8 Speaker HD audio system with Sub-woofer in the Top Trim
  • Rearview Camera with Dynamic guidelines
  • Dual Automatic Temperature Control with Auto Defogging System
  • Qi Wireless Charging Pad for compatible Phones
  • Available Bose Premium Audio System
  • Available digital driver’s display

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra?

WIth the 2021 model year, Hyundai is introducing the seventh generation of the Elantra sedan. The Elantra has always been known to be subtle and simple. However, things changed with the sixth-generation Elantra that was launched in 2017- it was more angular and looked sportier than before. The 2021 model is taking that design language to the next level altogether.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra features an even larger and more aggressive grille design. The front bumper is more aggressive than ever. It has folds and creases all over with the headlight looking very sleek. The headlight assembly starts in the bumper area but stretches on to the side fender where the turn signal is placed. The DRLs too have a very sleek and stylish look. They run across the width of the headlight assembly.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra offers a more futuristic and sportier design than ever before. 

Moving on the side of the car, much like the 2020 model, there is a very strong character line. In addition to that, there are other lines as well. One line runs along with the footboard. And then there’s another line that connects the two. Some might feel that the side profile of the 2021 Elantra is more cluttered than stylish. Hyundai could have definitely done with a more subtle side profile. Talking about the side profile, the alloy design has been updated as well.

Hyundai's designers have finally answered our prayers and given the Elantra a full-sized light bar.

Keeping in line with the whole design of the car, the alloys are edgy and angular as well. Based on the images released by Hyundai, the alloys seem to be a combination of machined silver color with black accents. A similar design can be seen on the Honda Civic.

One of our major complaints with the 2020 Hyundai Elantra’s styling was that the rear end looked unfinished- it seemed like the taillights were incomplete. Well, Hyundai has listened to our prayers and now equips the Elantra with a lightbar that goes across the width of the car and connects the two tail lights. It gives a very modern and sleek look to the rear end. 

Model

2021 Hyundai Elantra Sedan (Expected)

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2020 Honda Civic Sedan

2020 Mazda 3 Sedan

Curb weight (lbs.)

2844

2840

2724

2899

Length(in)

181.9

183.1

182.3

180.3

Width(in)

70.9

69.9

70.8

70.7

Height(in)

56.5

57.3

55.7

57.3

Ground clearance (in)

5.3

6.7

6.3

6.1

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

106.3

106.3

106.3

As for the exact dimensions, Hyundai has announced that the 2021 Elantra is longer and wider than before by a small margin. The wheelbase has also been increased slightly which as discussed can, in turn, lead to an improvement in the rear legroom. We have used the 2020 figures in the table since all the measurements of the car haven’t been released.

The all-new alloy design. It adds to the whole design theme of the car.

The increase in the dimensions will not only result in better interior dimensions but will also result in making the car more stable at higher speeds. The weight is also expected to increase with it. The hybrid version will see a more drastic increase in the weight due to the battery pack.

Exterior Features

  • Sharp, Triangle Design LED Headlamps
  • LED Tail Lamps
  • Redesigned Front Grill
  • Hands-Free Smart Trunk Release
  • New 17” Alloy Wheels
  • LED Daytime Running Lamps
  • Redesigned Rear Trunk
  • Shark Fin Antenna for Radio Connectivity
  • Triangular Design Front Fog Lamps
  • Rear Lightbar

 

Will the 2021 Hyundai Elantra be any good?

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra consists of some drastic changes that have been introduced over the 2020 model year. In terms of styling, technology, dimensions, and driving dynamics (we hope), the 2021 Elantra will be miles ahead of the previous generation. So, if you have the time to wait till the end of 2020, and have the extra cash as well, it might all be worth it.

Also Read:

2020 Hyundai Elantra: Read our in-depth review

Is the Honda Civic a worthy opponent to the Elantra?

FAQs

When will the 2021 Hyundai Elantra launch?

According to Hyundai North America, the 2021 Elantra will hit the floors in the 4th quarter of 2020. However, the ongoing COVID19 pandemic might upset the schedule.

Will the 2021 Hyundai Elantra be a Hybrid?

Yes, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra will be available as a hybrid as well. A 1.6 liter naturally aspirated engine will accompany the electric powertrain. The 2021 Elantra will be available as a standard gas-powered car as well.

 

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