South Africans were less than enthusiastic when the Koreans brought Hyundai to South Africa in 2000. In fact, we were downright suspicious of the brand that was ‘attempting’ to compete with our established German and Japanese manufacturers.
Now, 12-years down the line, the Koreans have not only succeeded in creating reliable vehicles that offer more for your money but their ‘silver bullet’ — the Hyundai Elantra — has finally taken out the competition.
Judged Car of The Year for 2012, the Elantra, a four door sedan, is a handsome car — it’s not pretty, but handsome! Hyundai designers have taken great care in the proportions and fine lines; and it shows.
Judged Car of The Year for 2012, the Elantra, a four door sedan, is a handsome car.
The interior is tastefully appointed and is definitely made of quality materials. The spacious cabin seats five in comfort and one passenger actually compared it very favourably to the interior of a BMW 3 Series, which obviously competes in a completely different price category.
It’s fitted with all the necessary luxuries, such as electric windows and side mirrors, climate control with dual controls and even a semi-decent sound system with auxiliary inputs for your IPod or MP3 player and with controls on the steering wheel.
The boot is also large and I was very impressed that nine kilogram gas cylinders stood upright in the boot when I took them for refilling — alleviating any ‘time bombs’ rolling around in the back. Also the boot boasts some clever design thinking as you can fold the rear seats down without having to open the back doors to release the seat latches. You can do this from the boot of the vehicle — which is simple yet highly effective.
Look it’s no ‘street racer’, but the 1 800 engine pushes a respectable 110 kilowatt and 178 Newton meters of torque, so it’s perky and pulls nicely even in the Highveld where we typically lose a lot of power. It also easily beats the competition’s 1 600’s on offer. The Elantra handles well and for what it’s intended for I believe it does a good job.
However, as we all know, nothing in life is perfect and there are a few things that need re-thinking —— none of them are deal breakers: the handbrake isn’t positioned well and was a little uncomfortable when operating; the centre air-conditioner vents are mounted low and can lead to frozen knee syndrome, and not the best air distribution to the rear of the vehicle; the remote unlocked all four doors on the first press of the button, and we’re not sure if this is the safest thing, but it could possibly be changed by your Hyundai dealer.
As the car of the year 2012 award would indicate, the competition is in a bit of trouble! The quality and added extras of the Hyundai Elantra 1,8 GLS Manual are both overwhelming and at a very well priced R234,900, we simply cannot understand why currently you would buy anything else in this price range.