Hyundai has unveiled a major refresh of its best-selling Elantra compact sedan this year, bucking the industry’s trend of dropping cars in favor of crossovers and SUVs. It’s not that sport-utilities aren’t important to this automaker. In fact, Hyundai has half-a-dozen crossover SUVs in it stable. It’s just that with 3.4 million Elantras sold in the U.S. since the model’s introduction and its continuing popularity, there’s every reason for Hyundai to go all in with this compact sedan.
An extended hood and low roofline present a lower, wider, and more aggressive stance compared to the previous 6th generation Elantra. Design cues include a hard chiseled wind deflecting hood, a wide cascading grill, integrated turn signals, projector beam LED auto dim headlighting, and full width tail lights. Looking to Elantra’s grillwork, one is reminded of Hyundai Genesis design, quite intentionally. Gloss black and chrome body accents add nice touches. Elantra offers 15, 16 and 17 inch alloy wheel options to accentuate its appealing look.
Inside, Elantra buyers discover a driver-centric design delivering a much improved cockpit experience, with everything in easy reach and eyeshot. Among its features are an available side-by-side 10.2 inch digital instrument cluster, IMID display, and a 10.2 inch center dash navigation monitor. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability is standard. Smart steering wheel controls are intuitive. For audiophiles, Elantra is optioned with a Bose premium audio upgrade.
Hyundai’s comprehensive SmartSense active safety and driver assist technologies are standard equipment across the trim walk. An enhanced natural-language voice recognition system – a Hyundai first – features Speech-to-Meaning and Deep Meaning Understanding technologies. Buyers will discover yet another first for the segment, Hyundai Digital Key. With this feature the Elantra can be unlocked and started from a compatible smartphone or key-card, no key required. The electronic key application is shareable to other smartphone users.
The gasoline model is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft torque. Elantra Hybrid’s motivation comes straight from its Ionic cousin. It pairs a direct-injected 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with a 43 horsepower motor and lithium ion battery, delivering a combined 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque. Power is transferred to the front wheels via Hyundai’s 6-speed Shiftronic transmission with select drive modes. It features electric assist power steering, 4-wheel disk brakes, Macpherson struts up front, and multi-link rear suspension
Hyundai Elantra and Elantra Hybrid prices will be announced closer to when the models go on sale later in 2020. EPA fuel efficiency ratings have yet to be disclosed.
Hyundai's soon-to-come 2017 Ioniq comes in three flavors – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric. All use the same dedicated platform but with distinctly different electrified powertrains, styling cues, and characters.
The Ioniq Hybrid combines a new Kappa 1.6 liter, direct-injected, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a 43 horsepower electric motor and 1.56 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery. The engine, specifically designed for hybrid application, has an impressive 40 percent thermal efficiency and provides 104 horsepower. Engine and motor together produce a total of 139 horsepower. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid also uses the Kappa engine but substitutes a more powerful 60 horsepower electric motor and more substantial 8.9 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery, the latter to provide an all-electric range of over 25 miles.
Both hybrids use a six-speed double-clutch transmission. The highly-efficient DCT uses low-friction bearings and low-viscosity transmission oil to achieve both excellent performance and fuel efficiency. Enhancing efficiency and dynamic driving are selectable SPORT or ECO modes. SPORT holds lower gears longer and combines power from the engine and electric motor for maximum performance. In ECO mode, the DCT optimizes gear selection for efficiency, upshifting earlier to achieve fuel economy.
The battery electric variant features a 120 horsepower electric motor, 28 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery, and a single-speed transmission. This brings an estimated range of 110 miles and expected 125 MPGe rating. An integrated In-Cable Control Box allows charging from a household electric socket and quicker charging from a 220-volt wall charger is optional. If a public SAE Combo Level 3 DC 100 kilowatt fast-charger is available then battery charging up to 80 percent capacity takes only about 20 minutes.
The sporty hatchback's fluid exterior shape and natural air flow channels emphasize aerodynamic body lines that achieve a 0.24 coefficient of drag. Features like front wheel air curtains, a rear spoiler and diffuser, side sill moldings, floor undercover, and closed-wheel design all contribute to the model’s high aerodynamic efficiency. The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid have a three-stage active air flap in the front grille as well.
Unique details provide each of the three models with own identities. The Hybrid's Bi-Xenon HID headlights are surrounded by C-shaped LED positioning lamps that complement Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille and vertical C-shaped LED daytime running lights. The Plug-In also features low-beam LED headlamps and specially-designed 16-inch alloy wheels. Differentiating the Electric is a sleek, closed front fascia since it has no need for extensive powertrain cooling, plus unique eco-spoke alloy wheels and LED low-beam front headlamps/rear combination lamps sporting a unique pattern.
Weight reduction also contributes to low fuel usage and dynamic handling. The aluminum hood and tailgate reduce weight by 27 pound, lithium-ion polymer battery packs are 20 percent lighter than non-polymer lithium-ion variants. Eliminating the lead-acid auxiliary 12 volt battery in hybrid models saves about 26 pounds.
Placing the battery system beneath the Ioniq’s rear seats results in a low center of gravity and an uncompromised cargo area in the Hybrid. Even the Plug-In and Electric variants, despite larger batteries, offer generous interior volumes. All three use permanent magnet synchronous motors optimized by reducing the thickness of core components up to 10 percent and adopting rectangular-section copper wire to decrease core and copper loss.
Ioniq’s light-yet-rigid body features 53 percent advanced high strength steel. The chassis benefits from superior rigidity for responsive handling and safety, with high impact-energy absorption and minimized cabin distortion to protect passengers in the event of a collision. This rigid structure also includes 475 feet of advanced structural adhesives, which provide both light weight and rigidity benefits.
The hybrid and plug-in use a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension system with dual lower control arms that minimize ride and handling compromises often associated with less sophisticated geometry. Extensive use of aluminum in front and rear suspensions saves about 26 pounds. The Electric uses a torsion-beam rear axle to provide more space for the larger batteries, again placed below the rear seats.
Recycled or ecologically-sensitive materials are used in the Ioniq for less reliance on oil-based products. For instance, interior door covers are made of plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone, headliner and carpets feature raw materials extracted from sugar cane, and paint uses renewable ingredients extracted from soybean oil.
Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system provides enhanced safety, diagnostics, remote, and guidance services. Blue Link connectivity includes remote start with climate control, destination search powered by Google, remote door lock/unlock, car finder, enhanced roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com website, or Hyundai’s Blue Link smartphone app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatch apps. Plug-In and Electric Ioniq drivers will also be able manage and monitor charging schedules remotely via the Blue Link smartphone app.
Innovative active and passive safety features help protect drivers and passengers. These include blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and a lane departure warning system. The Ioniq is also fitted with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Smart cruise control allows a constant speed and following distance to be maintained from the vehicle ahead without depressing the accelerator or brake pedals. It’s automatically cancelled when speed drops to 5 mph or below. The electric Ioniq takes it a step further by providing advanced smart cruise control offering fully automatic stop/start function as well.