Saturday, 27 September 2008

Driven: Hyundai Elantra X20 CVVT

Click on all images to enlarge

Korean automotive brands have alway played the value-card for their competitive existence. The new Elanta 2.0 CVVT - from Kah Bintang - is no exception. Targeted at the Nissan Sylphy, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Lancer GT and Toyota Corolla Altis' C-segment, this CKD Hyundai at RM93,888 is just a few grand more than a B-segment Toyota Vios 1.5S or the Suzuki SX4 Sedan. Contrastingly, under its bonnet beats a 2.0L 4-pot with VVT (not a 1.5L or 1.6L lump) and is claimed to be much frugal than what Korean cars are (or were) notorious for.

The following post would be in a pictorial synopsis presentation, for most of you would have been familiar with the Elantra by now. Here's hoping you'd find this test review still relevant and helpful should you decide to shop for one!

Some said the sideline apts a lumbering dolphin somewhat. I'd say it isn't bad looking if you have been observant of the Elantra/Accent's design language lineage. It's somewhat refreshing in the sea of taller and angular Japanese sedans.

Vestigial remnant of Oriental Assemblers/Kah Motors' "Honda era" radio antenna at the left boot shoulder mounting point. Albeit now replaced by a non-extending-and-non-retractable, fixed length and non-chromed type for the new millenium.

Proof that the E90 3-series can do better at the butt section. Bravo Hyundai!

Further proof that you don't have to be German to make rear lamps with clean-cut lines, neat shape and contours. 'X' prefix not for denoting AWD. Thank goodness no more "200i" or "RX-S" badges of yesteryears!

Errr...kind of reminds you of 'M'

Simple dash is functional and relatively well made. Dash top of soft-touch material. Two-tone trim brightens up interior and creates airier ambience. Beige-coloured seats only leather in the centre section, the rest are of less-supple PVC, including the stitched door trim.

Rear seat pocket and base plate suspiciously Conti in design and execution. VAG-esque perhaps?

Boot capacious enough for most families.

Gated gearshift reminds one of some previous Nissan/Infiniti models. Ditto for A/C switches. Both looked good actually. Korean automakers' proven formula at work here!

Integrated CD-Radio switches tactile and firm to operate. Way better than Mitsubishi Lancer's.

Likewise, on-steering controls firm and tactile as well. Much like Suzuki SX4's.

Engine block large-ish for a 2.0L 4-pot. Lump appears suspiciously an old school Mitsu-design, cam cover with CVVT is likely new though - probably an add-on in course of engineering updates. Engine not to be mistaken with 4B11 from Mitsubishi Lancer GT or even the Hyundai Sonata 2.0.

Typical Kia-Hyundai wing mirror nicked from some common parts bin.

Nice interface of 3 different surfaces of the door, dash and glove box. Pity that the sloping part of door trim (incorporating power window switch) isn't soft in continuation from dsah top.

The Elantra takes corner predictably but not meant to be sporty. Ride comfort level good for its class. Picks up speed quite effortlessly. However, torque and powerband feels more like a Japanese 1.8L sedan.

NVH refinements surprisingly good for its class. Cruising stability likewise.

In conclusion, it will take more pursuasion to get more regular Joes (and Janes?) to park this in their garages, basement or car porch. It's a decent family sedan nevertheless but the ever-bugging resale value question mark hovers over most of those in the market for a Toyota, Honda or Nissan. On the flipside, it is worth remembering this though, the initial outlay to hire-purchase (downpayment, monthly repayment et al) an Elantra is hardly near a Civic, Altis, Lancer or even the new Slyphy. Now, that's some food for thought.


BMW.Toyota said...

How was the FC, drlong? That, I believe is THE MOST IMPORTANT question that needs to be answered when buying a Korean make.

drlong said...

I was getting about 280km with the fuel tank at the half-way mark. To be fair, I was pushing the drivetrain hard more than half the time.
Though not a very accurate assessment of things, I reckoned the new Elantra isn't that much of a guzzler for a 2.0L sedan.

Jason Tong said...

The FC is decent for a 2.0l car. However, I think Hyundai cut cost on the NVH. It gets pretty noisy (engine, tyre, wind).

gsk said...

Have owned this X20 for quite many months....
No regret for buying at near 90K for 2.0L engine....
Comments as below
1. the FC for city drive
can reach 480-540KM/43-
45L (when low fuel
warning light turns on).
Highway can reach over
600KM/L, considered
OK for 2.0L car
2. stock tyres which were
Goodyear NCT 5 quite
noisy, could replace
them with quiter one..
3. Suspension is comfort,
family members easily
get asleep on the car.
3. could easily drive up
160KM/H on highway but
still stable. wind noise
is acceptable at
high speed, better than
Civic and Lancer
4. sound proof is not bad,
better than Vios, City,
but worse than Altis,
5. Stock audio player
could display chinese
6. radio reception not so
clear, but can replace
antenna with better one
7. Found that Hyundai
Service Charges at
quite good at
reasonable price, eg.
oil filter, brake oil,
ATF, wheel alighment,
air con service, etc,
all charges are
lower than many japs
cars services.