At Rs 15.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the diesel automatic is the most expensive variant of the Elantra. But as our drive revealed, it’s also the best version of Hyundai’s swanky new executive express. Here’s why.
At the heart of the car is the 126bhp, 1.6-litre turbo-diesel from the Verna which, on the Elantra, is mated to a six-speed, torque-converter automatic gearbox. While both the power and torque are quite modest for this class of car, the real-world performance is actally quite good. Drive in an unhurried manner and the gearbox works well enough to keep you in the right gear at all speeds, and makes the Elantra feel quite peppy. Part-throttle responses are good and there’s little hesitation from either engine or gearbox in stop-start traffic. Out cruising on the highway too, you’ll have little to complain about with the powertrain.
It’s only when you mash the throttle down that you notice the power delivery isn’t very linear (there’s a noticeable step up after 2000rpm), and that the engine gets quite noisy as the revs rise. The gearbox also feels a bit indecisive when you want a sudden burst of power, and lacks the on-demand response we know from the dual-clutch gearboxes of the VW Jetta and Skoda Laura. You do have the option to shift gears manually in tiptronic mode for better control, but there are no paddle shifters. On the drag strip too, the Elantra will find it hard to keep up with its European rivals. To put things in perspective, its 10.92 second, 0-100kph time is a full 1.2 seconds off the Laura automatic’s benchmark time.
On all other counts, the diesel auto is the same as the other Elantras we’ve tested before. So you can expect a good low speed ride, a slightly bumpy ride at highway speeds and an overly-assisted power steering. You also get the same well-finished cabin and rear seats that lack sufficient thigh support. However, this car’s raison d’etre is to provide unstressed and relatively economical motoring, and that’s exactly where it shines. Good to drive in traffic, fairly fuel efficient (we got 11.2kpl in the city), and packed with features, this version of the Elantra meets the needs of most self-driven executive car buyers. Just don’t expect it to pull at your heartstrings.