Our long-term Elantra is a car that’s proving to be increasingly addictive. The more I drive it, the more I appreciate what it has to offer; it gets so many of the basics right.
The convenience factor, for one, is huge. Everything works well, and because the controls are light and easy, and the car has a fair amount of power, driving it on a daily basis is near effortless. What takes this to the next level are the high levels of sophistication. The cabin has a real quality feel to it, the buttons and switches function in a slick manner and using that touchscreen is an absolute delight.
My morning ritual is pretty set. Drop the windows, switch on the cooled seats and put the air con on full. By the time I’m settled in the driver’s seat, my phone has synced with the car. I then go to the phone menu via the brilliant shortcut button on the dash and stack up my calls for the drive ahead. Earlier, I’d be driving in Normal or Sport mode, but I now use Eco. Now this comes as a bit of a surprise because Eco modes normally are extremely dull and frustrating. And this means they don’t work, at least for me, as I often tend to use more fuel stabbing the throttle in frustration. It’s quite the opposite here, though. The 2.0-litre petrol engine has so much torque, the Elantra just pulls seamlessly. Even the seats are supportive and pretty fantastic.
The LED tail-lights make the Elantra stand out.
However, there are a couple of things that spoil the driving experience for me. The gearbox slurs a bit too much on upshifts in Eco, and this is quite frustrating. You can speed it up by putting it in Sport, but then the throttle is overly aggressive and that makes it jerky to drive. So I often resort to using the Manual mode via the stick as there are no paddles here.
The other thing that gets my goat is the brakes. Sure, the Elantra has discs all round and if you slam the brakes they do sort of work effectively. But squeeze down just a little bit harder and the ramp-up in braking isn’t in line with the amount of pedal pressure you apply. This often results in a mini panic attack and a totally unnecessary emergency braking episode. Not nice; I’m going to have the brake pads looked at.
Other than that, I’m truly enjoying the Elantra’s space, comfort and the slick touchscreen system that makes staying connected when you are on the move a whole lot easier.