Over the years, the Hyundai Elantra has remained a top-selling compact car. To help prevent this small sedan from falling behind the pack, Hyundai decided to give it a complete redesign. Fortunately, prices have only slightly increased. Buyers will also still receive Hyundai’s class-leading warranty package. Here’s what car shoppers need to know about the 2021 Hyundai Elantra.
2020 vs 2021: What’s the Difference?
Big changes are found on the redesigned 2021 model. Not only does the redesigned Elantra have a roomier interior, but it also has an especially edgy appearance. A new infotainment system further differentiates the new Elantra from last year's model.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
Hyundai offers the latest Elantra in four main trims: SE, SEL, Limited, and N Line. Every trim deserves some serious consideration.
Priced at less than $20,000, the base Elantra SE is the lineup’s top value. Like most trims, it receives a new Atkinson-cycle engine with 147 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. Attractive 15-inch alloy wheels enhance the Elantra SE’s exterior styling. On the inside, there’s an updated 8.0-inch color touchscreen with wireless smartphone integration and a four-speaker stereo.
Drivers seeking more amenities should step up to the SEL trim. Highlights include a hands-free Smart Trunk, automatic climate control, and a six-speaker stereo. Push-button start is another convenience. While the SEL trim's exterior styling is similar, it does add larger 16-inch alloy wheels.
Folks who crave a more luxurious ride will be interested in the leather-appointed Limited trim. It features a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation. Voice recognition technology, a wireless charging pad, and a digital gauge cluster also highlight the list of upgraded electronics. LED lighting and 17-inch alloy wheels are found on the exterior.
The most fun-to-drive model is the Elantra N Line. It comes equipped with a stronger turbocharged engine, which develops 201 horsepower. Hyundai also outfits the N Line model with an upgraded suspension for tighter handling. You can choose between a dual-clutch automatic transmission and a six-speed manual transmission. Sport seats and race-style gauges help give the Elantra N Line’s cabin a more exciting atmosphere. Racy exterior enhancements include exclusive 18-inch wheels, a sport grille, and a sleek trunk spoiler.
Which Trim Is Right For You?
The Elantra SE is not the typical base model. Attractive exterior styling and an impressive list of standard equipment make it a wonderful value. This trim is highly recommended for drivers who don’t have a big budget. Although the SE trim is roughly $1,300 more expensive, it also proves to be a good pick.
Drivers who desire a borderline luxury sedan should choose the Limited model, which has a starting MSRP of around $25,450. Meanwhile, car shoppers seeking more driving fun will enjoy the more powerful N-Line trim. Hyundai lists this sporty model with an MSRP of $24,100.
What Kind of Technology Does It Have?
An updated Blue Link infotainment system is found on the new 2021 Hyundai Elantra. Aside from providing wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, this interface also has sharper graphics than before. While the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen performs flawlessly, the larger 10.25-inch display allows you to perform more than one function at once.
Hyundai’s Digital Key is another nice convenience. It enables drivers to remotely lock/unlock the doors and start the engine using their smartphone. New for 2021 is the car’s fully digital instrument closer, which replaces the traditional guages with a 10.25-inch screen.
How Does It Perform?
The Elantra’s standard powertrain is designed for efficiency. It’s rated to return up to a thrifty 33 mpg town/43 mpg freeway. Many drivers will be pleasantly surprised by this car's spry performance. A lower stance also helps improve handling. All-wheel drive is not an option.
Drivers who demand more excitement on the road will love the sportier Elantra N Line. It’s remarkably quick and athletic for a commuter car. Both of the manual and dual-clutch automatic transmission perform well. While fuel economy is not as strong, most drivers won’t complain about getting 22 mpg town/29 mpg freeway using regular gasoline.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has yet to crash test the new 2021 Hyundai Elantra. However, some appealing safety innovations come standard. Highlights include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian alert, blind-spot assistance, lane keeping technology, and a driver attention monitor. Rear automated braking is offered on the Limited model.
The new Elantra’s long-term reliability has yet to be evaluated. However, Hyundai has earned a reputation for developing vehicles that are affordable to maintain. A 100,000-mile powertrain also gives owners more security.
What’s the Interior Like?
There’s noticeably more rear legroom in the 2021 Hyundai Elantra. This means adult-sized passengers now have more space to spread out. Drivers will also appreciate the Elantra’s more modern interior design.
Sports car lovers will favor the N Line model. Its interior has a few special touches, such as a black headliner and red accent stitching. The performance seats also have a nice feel.
What Are the Alternatives?
The 2021 Honda Civic sedan remains a top competitor. It matches the 2021 Hyundai Elantra in terms of overall comfort. However, Honda no longer offers the Civic's fun Si model. A less desirable infotainment system also comes standard on the base Civic. Hyundai’s lengthier warranty gives the Elantra yet another edge.
The 2021 Kia Forte is another great alternative. While the Forte has some great qualities, it lacks the new Elantra’s rear legroom. There’s also more technology available for the Elantra.
An available AWD system makes the 2021 Mazda3 sedan a superior choice for snowy weather. Drivers also rave about the Mazda3’s slick handling and newly available turbocharged engine. However, families will find the Elantra to be more spacious.
Note: All Hyundai Elantra MSRP, Lease Payments and down paymnet figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.