PINEHURST, NC — December 30, 2020 — Every now and then one of the car manufactures serves me up a fast ball, right over the heart of the plate, and begs me to hit it out of the park.
Okay, let’s see, 2021, Calypso Red color, 31 and 41 mpg for an average of 35 mpg (anybody else notice gas prices jumping up?), the highest of the three levels of trim (SE, SEL, and Limited), 54% made in USA, and, wait for it …. At a loaded cost of $26,900 (call it $27K and it’s still a bargain.) Thank you, Hyundai.
Here are the basics, on several levels. Is this a luxury car? No, not really. Is it a comfortable car? You bet. Is it comfortable for four people? Yes, it is. Is it a sporty little red missile? Well, sort of. The 147-hp 2.0L 4-cylinder engine was peppy enough for around town and certainly interstate driving at speed. It also had three driving modes – Normal, Sporty, and Smart – and I ran the car in all three just to see if there was significant difference. I didn’t see any great difference, but I am not an engineer or a ‘gear head’. I am just your average ‘older’ driver (whose mind tells him he is still 35 mind you). I did notice that in Sport Mode, the engine revved at a higher rpm and the response on the gas was a little quicker. Since I averaged 35 mpg no matter what mode I was in, I think ‘driver’s choice’ is a real option on this fine, what I would call, mid-sized sedan.
As I mentioned, there are three levels of trim, SE, SEL, and Limited. The SE starts at $19.5K; the SEL at $20.9K and comes with the Convenience and Premium Packages as addons; and the Limited starts at $24,450 with both the Convenience and Premium Packages as Standard, and, therefore, included.
Okay, what are the Convenience and Premium Packages? Mostly these two packages had to do with safety, and, if you follow our column or Hyundai, you know the Hyundai vehicles are big on safety. Almost everything was on the SEL model, while anything you wanted was an option on the SE model. The only differences I could see on the Hyundai website, https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en/vehicles/elantra/compare-specs, was that the Limited offered Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian (FCA-Ped) , Cyclist and Junction-Turning Detection; Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC ); Parking Distance Warning – Reverse;Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist – Reverse (PCA-R); and Highway Drive Assist (HDA) as standard, while each was optional on the SEL. I suppose your needs as a driver would determine the importance of these additional safety features, but as an average driver, around town and on the road, I would jump on the Limited-edition model every time, unless the $4K difference was a deal killer. If you go to the website above you will see there are 16 safety features, and from a consumer standpoint, I want them all.
I found the ride to be smooth and the noise minimal, as it seems to be on almost all the Hyundai vehicles we have test driven.
How about the interior?
2021 Hyundai Elantra Limited – front seats interior view.
The Limited Edition also comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation, and while I think we could get by with a smaller screen, I like the big screen, especially in navigation mode as you see more of the roads and intersections as you drive.
Dynamic Voice Recognition and leather trimmed seating surfaces. The driver’s seat is power, with lumbar support, while the passenger seat is manual. Both of the front seats are heated, but not cooled, and there is no heated steering wheel, a feature I did miss on this past week’s frosty mornings.
2021 Hyundai Elantra Limited interior rear seats view.
We also had Bose premium sound, a power sun roof, 60/40 split-folding rear seatback with armrest and cupholders, and more; much more.
The trunk opened with a push of a button or on the key fob, but was manual for closing. Considering first and foremost, the price, and then all the safety features, and the best warranty out there, $27K for a comfortable, as safe as can be, stylish, roomy, and efficient sedan, seems like a small price to pay for a lot of car. Go Hyundai, go!
This is Laurie “speaking” now. Once again, Hyundai has delivered an amazing car for under $25k. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Limited delivers it all, as my dear husband Johnny has explained. It’s hard to be the Devil’s Advocate with this car or, for that matter, just about any model Hyundai. For a long time now, Hyundai has been—in our book—one of the most innovative automotive manufacturers and most certainly tops for delivering a bang for your buck—and this vehicle is no exception—and it strikes you, the minute you get behind the steering wheel. Its 10.25” touchscreen navigation, while at one with the dashboard, visually “pops” out visually, providing a large, expansive, easy-to-read screen. New (to us, at least) is the 10.25” fully digital gauge cluster. It’s unlike any I, for one, have seen before with illuminated dials that have a sort of neon glow and between the two spheres, an image of you in relationship to the road. The wireless device charging platform, which we are seeing increasingly in cars and trucks, is a real asset and what’s more, you can program a digital key on your cellphone, which you hold up against the driver’s side handle to open up the door.
As Johnny explained, the Hyundai Elantra has all the safety features we look for in a car, such as a 180-degree parking collision-avoidance assist/reverse that not only tells you what’s behind you, but what’s on either side of the rear of the car. In fact, Hyundai delivers one of the best designed, most effective, most comprehensive safety feature platform of any vehicle on the road. Dynamic Voice Recognition, which we generally see in most high-end cars, is in this incredibly well-priced car—one that I would go so far as to say incorporates a great many features you would only see in premium car. The Smart Cruise Control with stop and go on the steering wheels is easy to engage and I cannot say that about many cars we’ve tested. The auto dimming rearview mirror, which has HomeLink® is a real plus when the car behind you is rude enough not to turn down their high-beams. As for the Bose® Premium Audio, what can you say? It is, I believe, the best audio system made. (Many years ago, I had the honor of meeting Dr. Bose and it was one of the few occasions in my life when I can honestly say I felt I was in the presence of genius.) Other perks, such as the leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, heated front row seats, power tilt and slide sunroof, stylish and rather unique grill, and heated side mirrors are just a few of the many fine touches Hyundai has included. I especially appreciated the very easy-to-open rear trunk which, when you put down the second-row seats, gives you tremendous rear storage capacity.
Of course, I sound like a cheerleader, so I should mention that I was surprised the front passenger seat is manually adjustable. With all the bells and whistles that’s included in this car, I assumed it would be electronic. However, the underseat bar and back adjustments are easy to access and adjust. Also, the rear seat legroom, while ample, is not generous. That’s okay when you consider this as a family-of-four car, a suburban runabout car, a perfect car for a retired couple or one whose chicks have flown the nest and yes, a comfortable car for a long-distance drive—even though none of us are driving long distances in these COVID days.
Why, then, am I so excited about the Hyundai Elantra Limited? Is it because it gets 41 highway/31 city? Of course! But everything Johnny and I have discussed with the exception of carpeted floor mats ($155), which has become a long-running joke with us, is absolutely included in the MSRP of $25,450. (There is one other “extra,” the Calypso Red paint ($300) which, I guarantee you, Johnny would not hesitate a second to order. But there is one other thing I must mention that really excites me and that’s the way Hyundai describes the exterior and interior colors available in this car. Unlike some, which have names akin to “Dawn on a Cloudy Day Grey” or “Whimsical Sheer White Glaze,” Hyundai has named their exterior colors “Silver,” for silver; “Red,” for red, “Black,” for black, “Grey,” for grey, “White,” for white, “Blue,” for blue, and “Orange” for orange and the more mercurial interior color, black, is called “Black.” It’s this sort of clarity that we see in every aspect of a Hyundai. More impressive, however, is when you consider Hyundai’s early beginnings (founded in 1947 in South Korea, established in conjunction with Ford as a car manufacturer in 1968, and truly launched in 1974 by George Turnbull of Austin Morris/British Leland) and how it has evolved into a leader in innovation and an advocate of affordable pricing for consumers worldwide.
This is our final column for 2020 so before closing, Johnny and I wish to thank you, our readers, and listeners on Westchester on the Level’s “Driving Me Crazy” show, which airs every Thursday from 10:00 to 10:30, for spending time with us. It is entirely because of our editor and radio host, Hezi Aris, that we come to you at all and I would be remiss if I did not mention that his enthusiasm, intelligence, and outright charm has been a source of inspiration and support for Johnny and me in the many years of our affiliation. Each week we aim to deliver our somewhat unique “take” on the cars we drive. You may not be in the market for a new car, but we hope we give you some insight into the market and, specifically, makers and models. When we think about the cars we first drove, with rolldown windows, smoker’s windows, ashtrays, and cigarette lighters, to the innovations that have catapulted across the years to provide us with the vehicles we drive today, it’s absolutely mesmerizing.
We live in troubled times, Lord knows, and yet we all, each and every one of us, must continue to keep the faith, stay positive, and fight to remain strong. May 2021 bring you the courage and fortitude you need to move forward in the new year.
With our best wishes to you and yours for health, happiness, and joy.
# # #
HYUNDAI DEALERS in the environs of Pinehurst, NC, and Westchester County, NY:
10732 US Hwy 15-501
Southern Pines, NC 28387
# # #
Central Avenue Hyundai
111 South Central Avenue
Hartsdale, NY 10530