Korean entertainer

2014-07-26 00:00

I HAVE an acid test for a car’s ergonomic design — will the dash bash my shin as I get in?

The new Hyundai Elantra competes against the Toyota Corolla, which was the most recent car to have dented my shin as I swung my not exactly svelte self into the driver’s seat.

At the KZN launch of the new Hyundai Elantra on Thursday, marketing director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa, Stanley Anderson, got my hopes up. “The excellent ergonomics of its interior design and the roomy cabin makes it a perfect compact family sedan,” he said.

Anderson was at pains to point out the 2014 Elantra was not a mid-year facelift of the 2012 Elantra, but an “enhancement” of that Car Of The Year (Coty) winner. The new Elantra is about R3k dearer, which buys you 215 / 45 R17 alloy wheels and a radio with Bluetooth, which linked in three easy presses to my Android phone. If not a full-on facelift, the new Elantra did at least get a bum tuck and a nose job, viz. different lights and bumpers, a wider, lower grill and a horizontal highlight in the form of chrome trim along the window line.

drivE it like her water broke

Our Cape Town correspondent Dave Fall got to drive the Elantra first and reported he was thoroughly impressed with the Elantra’s coupled torsion beam in the rear. Now these twisted beams are a lot cheaper than a multi-link set up, but they can also cock a wheel when pushed into a corner.

Trying to do exactly that along the twisties near KwaMashu, I found neither Hyundai nor Fall exageratted when they said this front-wheel driven car will hunker down and maintain grip.

The Elantra is not, however, designed for such spirited driving, but to save fuel. The 96 kW/157 Nm engine delivers its peak Watts at a relatively low 4 850 rpm, thanks to variable valves, but the Newtons only peak at 6 300 rpm. This means the Elantra goes better when you wind up the first four gears.

But a rev limiter will break your speed and with two blokes in the front seat, I could not flick those four gears fast enough to get close to Hyundai’s claimed 10,1 seconds from zero to 100 km/h.

Hyundai also offers a six-speed automatic for the Elantra, which the giant Korean company builds inhouse. Both transmissions are geared for cruising and low fuel consumption and the 1,6 engine will crest even Umhlanga’s hills in fifth.

Packing stuff

Apart from all the cupholders and receptacles up front, the boot swallows 485 litres, second only to the Nissan Almera’s 490 litres.

Hyundai also provides a full-sized spare wheel, recognising the realities of South Africa’s roads — unlike the run-flats on German cars.

As for the dashboard, I am happy to say the new Elantra maintained the 2012 Coty’s recessed design, with no corner to slam into the average

biggish Seffrican’s left shin.

‘you pays your monies…’

The Elantra 1.6 Premium manual costs R247 900, the automatic R262 900. As reported in Wheels, the Corolla Quest and Nissan Almera are currently the two cheapest family luggers on sale in SA.

The Almera is some R77k cheaper than the new Elantra, but this only looks good on a spreadsheet. On tar, you will feel what your money did not buy.

When it comes to fixing things, Hyundai also includes a five year or 150 000 km warranty; five years or 150 000 km roadside assistance and a five year or 90 000 km service plan are standard. For comparison, the cheaper rivals offer three years or 60 000 km.

Elantra 1.6 Premium (manual): R247 900

Elantra 1.6 Premium (automatic): R262 900

A five year or 150 000 km warranty; five years or 150 000 km roadside assistance and a five year or 90 000 km service plan are standard package.

Service intervals are 15 000 km.

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