What better way is there to launch a new variant than to take it to the open roads of the country’s second most densely populated island, Cebu. Second only to Luzon in terms of strategic and economic importance, scenic roads, plus the island’s natural beauty, Cebu provides the perfect backdrop for Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc’s ride and drive event.
Dubbed as the “extreme boldness” media drive, members of the motoring press were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with the 2016 Hyundai Elantra. Known as the “Avante” in South Korea, this sixth generation Elantra looks like a baby Sonata. With its massive hexagonal grille design complimented wit slim and projection headlamps, the car is a looker with its sleek bodylines and dynamic stance plus an all new Nu 2.0 liter MPI engine.
Stepping back a bit to appreciate the exterior design features, you’ll notice that the roof flows back to the trunk almost seamlessly, with the sides left simple and unembellished, while with understated lines on the shoulders to create an elegant and smooth look. Distinctive, shining tail lights, equipped with Rear Combination Lamps are arranged in an attractive horizontal line, while the rear bumper completes the balanced design.
The cabin definitely has elements that were inherited from its more luxurious siblings, the Sonata and the Genesis. Dashboard buttons are grouped according to functions. The cockpit display is angled 6.9 degrees toward the driver, and soft-touch and high-quality materials are used across the surfaces for convenience. Passengers get to enjoy the premium value as well, as rear air conditioner vents are added in the newest model. The current generation is also 20mm longer and 25 mm wider than the previous generation and rolls on either 16” or 17” alloy wheels.
The new compact sedan from Hyundai is available in two levels of trim. The top-of-the-line GLS variant is powered by an Nu 2.0 MPi engine, has a maximum horsepower of 152ps and torque of 19.6 kg-m. The less expensive variant , the GL variant is equipped with a Gamma 1.6 MPi engine. Both variants are front-wheel drives with 6-speed automatic transmission.
With Hyundai’s dealership in Cebu as our jump-off point, the convoy of 10 brand spanking new Elantra’s snaked through the city’s horrendous traffic jam and drove 157 kilometers to our destination in Kandaya Resort. The route was scenic and was a series of uphill and downhill passes with a few straight aways along the Dalan Antonio y de Pio Highway.
The Elantra behaved quite well during fast corners and sudden stops when I had to blip the pedal to decelerate when negotiating a sweeping turn. Power of the 1600cc was a bit lacking during the uphill portions and when performing a passing maneuver, you really have to step on the accelerator to gain momentum. The 2.0 liter version was a different experience altogether. It gave power when needed and I enjoyed driving this variant on our way back to Cebu on the third day. The road ruts were gamely absorbed by the suspension and the climate control system provided comfort against the humidity.
True to its award-winning lineage, the all-new Elantra was recently crowned “Best New Small Sedan” at the prestigious Middle East Car of the Year (MECOTY) 2016. It is certainly out to conquer hearts once more with class-leading convenience features that take it a notch higher from the previous model.
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