Hyundai produced the first Elantra in 1990, which has since then become one of its most enduring car brands going up to six generations.
The first two generations of the Elantra were marketed as the Hyundai Lantra because of some naming complications with Mitsubishi Motors, Lotus, and Kia.
By 2001, though, the car models that had similar names to the Elantra were discontinued, and Hyundai was free once more to market and sell the Hyundai Elantra under its original name.
We have dedicated a separate article for the Hyundai Lantra, so only the remaining four generations of the Elantra will be discussed here.
Third Generation (XD; 2000-2011)
The third generation of the Hyundai Elantra went by the Elantra brand name in most markets, including Australia. In South Korea and Russia, it was called the Hyundai Avante and the Hyundai Elantra XD, respectively.
For this generation, the Elantra retained the 4-door sedan body style but dropped the station wagon with a 5-door hatchback.
By 2001, all American models of the car regardless of trim levels had the same standard features, such as standard front and front-side airbags, air conditioning, power steering, power locks, and power windows.
Hyundai Elantra Facelift
By 2003, a facelift refreshed all the third-generation models and added some new features like new headlights and taillights, an updated hood and trunk, a new grille, new front and rear bumpers and a redesigned dashboard.
The top trim level (GT trim) came with a stiffer suspension, fog lights, alloy wheels, leather seats, lip spoiler and blue-lit instrument cluster. Leather and TCS were exclusive to the GT edition.
In Australia, the Elantra sedans and hatches came with 1.8L Beta II I4 petrol engine for the GL trim and 2.0L Beta II I4 petrol for the GLS, both with 5-speed manual and 4-speed auto transmission options. Here are the engine specs for the Hyundai Elantra 2000 through 2006:
- 1.8L DOHC (2000-2003) - 94 kW, 166 Nm
- 2.0L DOHC (2000-2003) - 100 kW, 181 Nm
- 1.8L DOHC (2004-2006) - 97 kW, 162 Nm
- 2.0L DOHC (2004-2006) - 103 kW, 185 Nm
Fourth Generation (HD; 2006-2009)
Unlike previous generations that had multiple body types, the fourth generation of the Elantra only had the sedan body style in most markets.
In Australia, the hatchback body style continued to be sold alongside the sedan until 2007, with one engine option – the same 2.0L Beta II I4 petrol engine (105 kW, 186 Nm).
From 2007 and henceforth, the Elantra hatchback has been wearing the Hyundai i30 nameplate in Australia, developing almost parallel to its sedan sibling.
The vehicle had its introduction at the New York International Auto Show, sporting a style reminiscent of the 1960s called the Coke bottle styling. Like before, the fourth generation went under the Avante brand name in South Korea.
The Elantra received an overall score of Marginal in the Side Impact Test and an overall score of Good in the Frontal Crash Test, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
All Hyundai Elantras produced after November 2009, fortunately, got an overall rating of Good in the Side Impact Test. The vehicle came with side airbags, rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted airbags.
Fifth Generation (MD/UD; 2010-2015)
Hyundai unveiled the fifth generation at the 2010 International Busan Motor Show in April 2010. Unlike the fourth generation, it had two body types which were the four-door sedan (codename MD but UD for the US market) and two-door coupe (codename JK). The design team retained the "fluidic sculpture" theme first seen on the Sonata.
In Australia, the fifth-gen Elantra only came as a sedan in three trims – SX, SLX, and Elite – all sporting the sole engine offering.
For the 2014 year, the Elantra sedan received significant updates. The trims were changed, and a brand-new Elantra Sport trim joined the range.
The facelifted models came with significant changes like L-shaped fog light housings and new front and rear styling with tinted taillights. All trims had new wheel designs available, including a driver blind-spot mirror as one of the updated features of the vehicle.
The Limited and Sport versions came with a new Driver Selectable Steering Mode. Some of the latest changes in the car's interior were 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen radio with backup camera and raised HVAC vent locations and new HVAC control design.
The SE preferred package, Limited and Sport models also had increased centre armrest location, straight pull gear selector with leather boot and an updated navigation system.
The Hyundai Elantra saw other changes, too, with a new SE style package offered for SE trims. The package included a sunroof, projector headlights with LED accents, aluminium door sill, chrome belt moulding, and leather steering wheel, and shifter.
Other markets saw the Hyundai Elantra coupe version but not in Australia. This generation ended with the Hyundai Elantra 2015 MY in Trophy, Premium, Elite, and Active trims, all powered by a 1.8L Nu MPi I4 (110 kW, 178 Nm) paired with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
This powertrain is significantly more fuel-efficient than previous generations at 6.6L/100km combined.
Sixth Generation (AD; 2015-2020)
For the sixth generation, the Elantra reverted to a more conservative design, abandoning the "fluidic sculpture" philosophy that was the defining design element of previous generations.
Hyundai Elantra 2015 now resembles a fastback with a sloped roofline from the windshield to the rear. Overall, the car sports fewer curves with pentagonal head and taillights, redesigned body panels, a hexagonal grille, and a bumper accentuating straight lines along the vehicle's body.
This generation came with several engine options, even including diesel options. In Australia, the following were the available powertrains:
- 1.6L Gamma II T-GDi (150 kW, 165 Nm) – paired with 6-speed MT or 7-speed AT
- 1.8L Nu MPi (110 kW, 178 Nm) – paired with 6-speed AT or 6-speed MT
- 2.0L Nu MPi (112 kW, 192 Nm) – paired with 6-speed AT or 6-speed MT
Seventh Generation – the Hyundai Elantra 2020 (CN7; 2020 – present)
In 2020, the Hyundai Elantra 2021 model year debuted in West Hollywood, bearing Hyundai’s new parametric dynamics styling.
The Elantra now adopts a fastback sedan body style. Its exterior is highlighted by a huge, eye-catching grille with a pattern called parametric jewel. You’ll notice an overall longer body, with a rear end that features a wing-like overhang for a sportier look.
The following are the engines on offer in Australia:
- 2.0L Smartstream G2.0 MPi I4 petrol (112 kW, 192 Nm), with 7.4L/100km fuel efficiency
- 1.6L Smartstream G1.6 TGDi I4 petrol (150 kW, 265 Nm), which is slightly thirstier at 7.8L/100km
For the 2.0L engine, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto transmissions are available, while the 1.6L engine could be paired with either 6-speed AT or 7-speed MT.
For the Australasian market, this generation is badged as the i30 sedan, although we still see some examples wearing their old nameplates.
Integrating the Elantra sedan with its sibling i30 hatch seems like a logical move, aside from the fact that it will result in higher sales figures come year end.
What’s the price for a Hyundai Elantra 2021?
The basic trim Elantra GO with 2.0L engine and manual gearbox goes for around $22,000. Dig $2,000 more if you prefer the AT version.
The range-topping Sport Premium (red) with the 1.6L engine fetches from $32,000-$35,000, depending on which transmission option you get. You’ll have a choice between a 6-speed manual and 7-speed automatic.
Upgrading Your Elantra?
The Hyundai Elantra has remained one of the most enduring car brands in existence to this day. Running for seven generations of excellence is no mean feat.
If you’re looking to upgrade your Elantra or any car brand at all, or searching for reasonably priced new parts, or even looking to sell them off, you need to look no farther. At CarPart AU, you can find a part online, request quotes for new or used car parts, and buy (or sell) auto parts online at the very best prices.
Hope you found this article useful. Keep on reading and learning about cars!