There’s a fine line that divides my feelings for the all-new Elantra, which swing from sheer delight to mild disappointment, depending on how and where I drive it. The day this automatic sedan entered our long-term fleet, it made a fantastic first impression. And it only got better the more I drove it in and around the city. It feels completely at home in the thick of Mumbai traffic and I honestly can’t think of a better executive sedan for city duties.
But on the customary first trip to Mahabaleshwar, which is a nice shakedown for any long-termer, the pendulum kept swinging across that fine line which borders the Elantra’s comfort zone. Drive it briskly without asking too much of it and the Elantra will richly reward you with a smooth and effortless ride, but push it hard on a twisty road or on the highway and it quickly feels out of its depth. Maybe expectations were set too high after the astonishing ease with which the Elantra slipped into heavy traffic. The crackerjack throttle response of the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol motor that’s further sharpened by the equally responsive six-speed auto ’box is what makes the Elantra a rush-hour hero. There’s no lag or delay, and the tiniest flex of the right foot gets the Elantra lunging forward like a scalded cat. It’s this instant and linear power delivery that’s one of the best bits of the car, which apart from making light work of stop-go traffic, gives the driver a fantastic sense of control.
The more I drove the Elantra the more it endeared itself to me with its utter user-friendliness. It’s not just the brilliant engine-gearbox combo, but the well-weighted steering, the progressive brakes and good outside visibility that all add up to make the Elantra easier to drive than even many hatchbacks.
Our editor has been writing about cars for over 30 years. He has driven everything on wheels from a 65-ton battle tank to a Formula 1 car and still can’t get enough. His dream is to drive from the Autocar UK office to Autocar India HQ.
Send a message to Hormazd Sorabjee
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Issue: 211 | Autocar India: March 2017
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