Its sparkling chassis and solid-handling demeanour was enjoyed by a bunch of motoring writers during a recent 180km drive from Malacca to Glenmarie, Shah Alam.
The drive was organised by Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors and involved a 360km round trip that started from Glenmarie, onwards past Senawang and Port Dickson, Kuala Sungai Baru and Tanjong Kling, before stopping for lunch at The Majestic Malacca Hotel.
It was aimed at showing off the 2017 sixth-generation upgraded Elantra which is offered in three variants, namely the 2.0-litre MPI Executive (RM116,388) and Dynamic (RM120,588), and the Elantra Sport (RM131,488).
Prices are on the road without insurance.
Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) offers a 5-year or 300,000km (whichever comes first) warranty on all its new passenger vehicles.
A 24-hour road assist service is also available.
To recap, standard kit on the upgraded Elantra MPI Executive includes a multimedia system with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, USB and Bluetooth, a 7-inch TFT touchscreen, steering wheel audio controls, driver's powered seat, rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, push-start ignition, rear air-conditioning vents, tyre pressure monitoring system, auto cruise control, and a segment-exclusive Hands-free Smart Trunk - the boot can be opened by just approaching the rear of the car with the key fob in a purse or pocket.
Safety kit includes six airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist, electronic stability control (ESC), hill-start assist control (HAC), and vehicle stability management (VSM).
The Elantra comes across as a well-equipped car.
Add RM4,200 for the Dynamic model, and you get daytime running lights, and a sporty body kit.
If you want a faster, more athletic machine, opt for the Elantra Sport and you also get High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights (instead of projector halogen headlamps), full leather seats (instead of mixed suede/leather), dual full automatic air-conditioning (instead of manual), rain sensing wipers, and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as well as three drive modes (Normal, Eco and Sport).
The upgraded Elantra also has a strengthened chassis with more Advanced High-Strength Steel (53 per cent, compared with 32 per cent previously) which improves vehicle ride and handling, quietness, durability and driving performance.
Hyundai Elantra MPI Executive
Three writers were grouped in each car, and on the way to Malacca, we drove the Elantra MPI (multi-point injection) Executive.
This 2.0-litre car has a Nu 4-cylinder engine delivering 152ps at 6,200 rpm and 192Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, paired with Hyundai’s 6-speed automatic transmission.
Power delivery is smooth and the throttle response has a nice feel.
The motor driven power steering is light and accurate, and the car runs on 225/45 tyres wrapped around 17-inch wheels.
The ride quality is supple and smooth, and the car soaks up most road irregularities quite well.
For the most part, we drove leisurely and noted that the tachometer needle hovered around 1,700rpm at 80kph.
There is no automatic air-conditioning here, but rear passengers get more comfort with rear air vents.
There is adequate head room and comfortable rear leg room for 1.7-metre adults.
The supervision cluster shows useful data like average fuel consumption and remaining travel range.
Cup holders and a deep storage box between the front seats are useful for storing small items like keys, mobile phones and water bottles.
The 7-inch TFT touchscreen's infotainment system supports Android Auto and Apple Carplay, for those who want to access apps without breaking traffic regulations on using the phone while driving.
Red stitching on the suede-leather seats and floor mats edged in red, lend a sporty look to the black-themed interior.
The Elantra MPI Executive is an easy-going creature that serves as a nice choice for the daily commute.
Hyundai Elantra Sport
The Elantra Sport shares its engine with the Hyundai Veloster Turbo 1.6L which costs RM23,000 more at RM154,488.
However, the 204ps Elantra Sport is more powerful as the engine on the Veloster Turbo was tuned with a lower 186ps power output for some European markets.
Both the Elantra Sport and Veloster Turbo output 265Nm of torque, and use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) which provides faster gear changes, improved acceleration and better fuel efficiency.
The DCT is smooth, and we didn't experience any jerkiness in stop/start and slow city traffic.
The full leather seats in red and black look good, and we get the convenience of dual full automatic air-conditioning.
Running on Hankook Ventus Prime2 tyres sized 225/45 R17, the Elantra Sport is sure-footed and poised when we did a bit of fun driving.
Put it in Sport mode, and it gets a bit more frenetic, and accelerates from a standstill with a nice aggressive growl.
The ride and handling is outstanding, and at higher speeds, the Elantra Sport is planted and stable on a straight line.
When tackling curvy roads with some dynamic driving, the Elantra Sport is impressively light and nimble through the corners, and we never felt the car being tossed around on road bends.
In summary, the Elantra Sport is a marvellously engineered athletic steed, and deserves more attention from car buyers who want an exciting drive.
Hyundai Elantra 2.0-litre MPI Executive
Engine: 1,999cc Nu MPi (multi port injection) petrol
Maximum power: 152ps at 6,200rpm
Maximum torque: 192Nm at 4,000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Acceleration (0-100kph): 9.9 seconds
Features: Six airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist, electronic stability control (ESC), hill-start assist control (HAC), vehicle stability management (VSM), 7-inch TFT touchscreen, driver's powered seat, rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, push-start ignition, rear air-conditioning vents, auto cruise control
Price: RM116,388 (on-the-road without insurance); five-year or 300,000km warranty; free 24-hours Roadside Assist
Hyundai Elantra 2-litre MPI Dynamic
Hyundai Elantra Sport
Engine: 1,591cc, Gamma turbocharged, petrol direct injection
Maximum power: 204ps at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 265Nm at 1,500 - 4,500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed Dual Clutch (DCT)
Acceleration (0-100kph): 7.7 seconds
Features: Six airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist, electronic stability control (ESC), hill-start assist control (HAC), vehicle stability management (VSM), 7-inch TFT touchscreen, driver's powered seat, rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, push-start ignition, rear air-conditioning vents, auto cruise control, rain sensing wipers, dual full automatic air-conditioning, HID headlamps, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Price: RM131,488 (on-the-road without insurance); five-year or 300,000km warranty; free 24-hours Roadside Assist