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Redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra delivers strong tech, fuel economy Featured

Posted On Sunday, 09 May 2021 19:18 Written by
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The 2021 Hyundai Elantra gets a complete redesign, with strong results. The 2021 Hyundai Elantra gets a complete redesign, with strong results. Photo courtesy of Hyundai

As other OEMs drop out of the compact sedan segment to focus more on larger vehicles like SUVs, Hyundai is re-upping its efforts, completely redesigning its long-trusted Elantra sedan for 2021 in hopes to gain market share in an area of the auto market that is shrinking but still has a significant amount of fans, both domestic and worldwide.

Hyundai has jazzed up the styling on the Elantra, ramped up the technology and safety features, and even offers a performance-level version this year. I recently spent time in a 2021 Elantra and I’m back with a full report.


The redesigned look of the Elantra for 2021 features a bold and futuristic appearance that stands out in a segment where many options are pretty ho-hum. The sprawling, in-your-face front grille in particular gets your attention quickly.

My test vehicle’s exterior featured a sharp blue paint scheme, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sun roof, LED headlights and heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators

Going into the Elantra, you’ll find a roomy vehicle in both front and back seats, so you’re not cramped even with a full load of people. That’s another thing you can’t say about every vehicle in this segment, but Hyundai clearly recognizes that compact doesn’t have to mean dreading getting into the back seat.

My test vehicle had leather-trimmed seating and heated front seats, and quality materials were used. Controls were also very well-designed and easy to use.

There are some odd design quirks which I didn’t quite understand, including a barrier separating the passenger seat from the center console, but nothing that I would consider disqualifying.


The 2021 Elantra lets drivers choose between Normal, Sport and Smart driving modes, and only comes in front-wheel drive.

My test vehicle featured a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine with totals of 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. (And for more adventurous types, there’s a special “Elantra N” edition featuring a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet; as well as another trim level that tops out at 201 horsepower. There’s even a hybrid Elantra option, so all bases are covered).

By no means does the standard Elantra engine offer a ride that you would call powerful. But compared to other smaller sedans that I have tested, it does tremendously well in terms of responsiveness to driver input, acceleration, speed and handling.

Overall I experienced a very smooth ride, and had a better time behind the wheel than I did with most of its competition (though some competitors, such as the Mazda3, are more performance-focused across all trim levels).


For a smaller vehicle, the 2021 Elantra delivers a whole lot of tech and safety features. 

The technology in the Elantra proves to be very intuitive, and voice commands work well for phone, radio and even checking your stocks by voice. My test vehicle featured a 10.25-inch navigation and infotainment system with a high-resolution touchscreen that really impressed me and matches up with the best in the industry right now. 

Other tech features include push button start, hands-free smart trunk release (the trunk will automatically open for you), dual automatic temperature control, a sharp and helpful rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, 12-volt outlet, USB ports, a wireless phone charging pad.

For sounds, the Elantra offers a Bose Premium audio with 8 speakers and subwoofer, a free trial of satellite radio, access to the Hyundai Blue Link connected car system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated for phone mirroring, and can be connected wirelessly.

Moving on to safety, Elantra offers many helpful systems not always found on its competitors. These include:
— Forward collision avoidance assistance with pedestrian detection
Parking distance warning reverse
Parking collision avoidance assistance reverse
Blindspot collision avoidance assist
Rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist
Smart cruise Control with stop and go
Lane keeping assist and lane following Assist
Highway driving assist

Fuel mileage is an area where the new Elantra shines. Its official numbers are 31 city/41 highway/35 combined. I averaged 33 mpg overall, and up to 37 mpg on some trips.

Even when placed against strong competitors like the Honda CIvic, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta, and Nissan Sentra, these numbers hold up very well. 

The 2021 Elantra that I tested was priced at $26,600; but base price starts under $20K, something few vehicles can claim. The more powerful Elantra N starts around $25K, and is a formidable opponent for buyers who might have been leaning toward a Honda Civic SI.

As a bonus, you get the very strong Hyundai warranties, including:
5-year/60K mile new vehicle warranty
10-year/100K mile powertrain warranty
3-year/36K mile complimentary maintenance
5-Year/unlimited mile roadside assistance


The latest version of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra offers one of the better driving experiences in its class, great fuel mileage, and stronger tech offerings you will generally find in a compact sedan. All of this comes at a reasonable price, too, making the Elantra a vehicle that belongs on the test drive list for compact sedan buyers.

--- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Hyundai Elantra
  • Price as tested: Price as tested: $26,600 (starts at $19,650)
  • Best feature: Driving experience, tech features, fuel mileage and price
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Compact sedan buyers seeking a vehicle that outpunches its weight class
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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