Had anyone dared to pronounce 10 years ago that Hyundai would be anything more than a cheap Korean import, no doubt a fair bit of ridicule and scorn would have followed. Today, however, Hyundai is one of the hottest brands in the global car market.
With more than respectable alternatives to the previously considered “big guns” in most classes and price tags to suit a recovering global economy, Hyundai has proved it is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Having had two of its vehicles in the Car of the Year finalists’ list in 2010 and 2011, it was only a matter of time before Hyundai received the top accolade. This year, the Elantra ensured the top spot would not elude Hyundai again.
This exquisite SA Car of the Year is one of those masterpieces that can steal a fair amount of time, simply sitting still and being admired. Very seldom do you come across a man-made composition that appears as if it were made solely by Mother Nature herself. The texture and fluidity of the exterior lends itself to the idea that it was inadvertently carved directly by wind and water. There is no mistaking why the Elantra caught the eye of the voters at this year’s competition.
If one can steal oneself away from admiring the exterior long enough to enter the cabin, it comes as no surprise to note that Hyundai’s modern, luxurious design spills over into the interior. The layered waves of dash that curve around and cradle the driver’s and front passenger seats far out-designs even its closest rivals.
As for the features that come standard, such as Bluetooth, iPod/USB, auto-locking doors and audible park sensors, this excessively spacious car completely defies stripped-down compact and sneaks itself over into a far more luxurious class.
Aside from the visible, the tipping point for the consumer and no doubt the panellists must be the economic nature of the Elantra. Both the purchase price and the 7.8L/100km fuel consumption are far beyond what a package like this under any other brand name can offer.
In fact, an independent, real-world fuel test estimated a tank range of 621km and noted an open road consumption of 7.2L/100km, beating even the manufacturer’s estimation! What’s more, the 1.8L petrol engine does not at all compromise its power for the low fuel consumption. It was rated one of the most powerful in the 1.8L to 2.0L segment. Saying that this is a lot of car and mileage for your money is an understatement.
Hyundai has met and surpassed its motto of “New thinking, new possibilities” by a long stretch. If this is what the Korean manufacturer is capable of 10 years into its SA import market, auto giants everywhere must be feeling a little nervous.
From price to pump, the Hyundai Elantra is a true masterpiece. – Lara Kurik