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Sexy new Hyundai Elantra

All new Hyundai ElantraHyundai is the fastest growing automotive brand in the world, and have developed a strong brand amongst the Namibian motoring public.
In the September 2011 issue of Autonews, we only had a slight idea of how popular the new Hyundai Elantra was going to become. Only recently could I lay my hands on a demonstration model to drive and test.
Last week Tersius Annendale, Hyundai Windhoek`s sales manager, send me a mail and offered me his brand new demonstration model Elantra 1.8 GLS for a road test. For starters I have to say that the appearance of the Elantra already blew me away, and no matter your preference in styling, this is a very sexy car. The seating position, visibility, comfort, handling, performance, you name it the new Elantra has got it all.
Stanley Anderson, Hyundai Automotive SA’s director of marketing made the following statement: “I know this is only the fifth generation of Elantra, but it’s so far ahead of the previous one, it’s almost as though Hyundai skipped a version and this should actually be the sixth.”
After driving this vast improvement on a already well-established Elantra, I could not agree more.
The old 1600 cc Gamma engine has been revamped to increase maximum power from 89 to 96 kW and bump maximum torque up to 157 Nm from its previous best of 153 Nm. With the power increase comes an improvement in fuel economy to a claimed average of 6.1 l/100 km. Hyundai expects that the entry-level car with this engine, available only with a six-speed manual ‘box (also new by the way); will be bought mainly by fleet buyers and rental companies.
The two-litre engine available until recently has been dropped in favour of a completely new 1797 cc dual-CVVT DOHC four-cylinder unit developing 110 kW of power and 178 Nm of torque. It uses an aluminium block, 36% lighter than previously.
These and other innovations, including a maintenance-free silent timing chain, work together to reduce noise, vibration and harshness while improving fuel economy by up to 18% and reducing CO2 emissions.
Apart from the new six-speed manual transmission mentioned above, the 1800 is available with Hyundai’s latest in-house six-ratio automatic. This is a torque converter unit with three planet gears, two clutches and three brakes, making it smaller, more compact and lighter than others. A special locking mechanism reduces the traditional ten-percent rate of slippage to a mere 20 rpm per thousand. This improves response and fuel economy. Hyundai claims to be one of only three global car manufacturers producing its own six-speed automatic. This is part of the company culture of “do it yourself and get it right the first time.”
Dimensionally, the new car is 25mm longer on a wheelbase stretched 50mm to 2700mm, with overall height reduced by 35mm to 1445mm without sacrificing headroom. Width remains as was, at 1775mm. Boot space is given as 420 litres with the 60:40-split rear seatbacks up. Suspension and steering components have been upgraded and are anchored to a strong and rigid chassis that permits more precise tuning of final ride and handling settings.
Standard kit on the 1600 GLS model includes steel wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres, four-channel ABS with EBD, anti-submarining luxury cloth seats, two airbags, front fog lights, motion locking on doors, rain sensing wipers, dual channel automatic air conditioning, six-speaker radio and CD player with iPod, USB and auxiliary inputs, on-board computer with fuel usage readouts, electrically operated windows and mirrors, height and depth adjustable vinyl-covered steering wheel with audio controls and height-adjustable driver’s seat.
Opting for the bigger engine gains you higher capacity battery, alternator and starter, alloy wheels with 215/45 R17 tyres, a leather bound steering wheel, four more airbags, anti-jamming protection on the front power windows and rear parking assistance. Unfortunately no cruise control, but according to Tersius, a cruise control unit will soon be available and can then be installed at the Hyundai workshop.
The new Elantra comes with a five-year/150,000 km manufacturer’s warranty and a five-year /90 000 km service plan.
Pricing starts at N$197,000 for the 1.6 GLS. I drove the 1.8 GLS selling for N$225,000. There is also a 1.8 GLS Automatic at N$234,000. Prices include 15% Vat.
The Hyundai team can be contacted at 061-249341 Windhoek, and 064-406293 Swakopmund.

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