Elantra gets some zest

Having just had a drive, albeit brief, in the all-new Hyundai Elantra Sport, it seems incongruous the company has taken several iterations of the nameplate to come up with a derivative that is a zesty challenge to some other ‘hot’ cars on the market.

To be fair. My first encounter with Hyundai came way back in the Billy Rautenbach days and a visit to Seoul to gain insight to the, then, fledgling company just beginning to dip into export markets that revealed a very clear five, 10 and 20 year plan committed to gaining market share and recognition.

Sporty performance was simply not a requirement.

Even the ill-fated Daewoo answered the call locally from a performance and motor sport driven country when it entered, and, won the Castrol Rally – such a turn up it surprised everyone including, possibly, overall winner Sarel van der Merwe who thanked Hyundai in his speech.

A slip of the tongue or wishful thinking – we will never know. However, Hyundai has made the leap and is successfully campaigning in the World Rally Championship.

So, to the new Elantra Sport. Well, new Elantra, since the entire range has been significantly updated with a completely new look and underpinnings.

The 2017 Elantra enters the South African market in four derivatives: The Elantra 1.6 Executive manual and Elantra 1.6 Executive automatic (both driven by a 1,6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine); the Elantra 2.0 Elite, with a naturally aspirated 2,0-litre petrol engine and the range-topping Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT Sport, with a 1,6-litre turbo-charged petrol engine.

Both specification levels – Executive and Elite – offer comprehensive features, which are all included in the recommended retail prices, starting at R299 900 and ending at R399 900 for the Elantra Sport with several special design, trim and technical characteristics.

“First-time drivers of the new Elantra will be pleasantly surprised to see standard features such as an 8-inch hi-resolution infotainment system, rear park assist, six air bags, Isofix latching points for child seats, cruise control and alloy wheels on all the derivatives,” says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.

“We are confident we are bringing a very attractive and well-rounded package to an important segment in our market. The new Elantra will again fill an important slot in our model line-up for car buyers who are looking for a bigger or a family sedan.”

 Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille gives the Elantra a strong presence from the front, with automatic projection headlamps including LED Daytime Running lights as part of the cluster. The Elantra’s sporty lower front fascia integrates functional front wheel air curtains that help manage air flow from the front of the vehicle and around the wheels to minimize turbulence and wind resistance.

In addition, underbody covers, an aerodynamic rear bumper bottom spoiler and rear deck lid designed with an expanded trunk edge contribute to the Elantra’s 0,27 coefficient of drag.

Model-exclusive front and rear fascias give the Sport crucial visual differentiation from the rest of the Elantra lineup.

The rear light cluster of the new Elantra with its bright LED display is also distinctive of the Hyundai range. For the Elantra Sport, a different bottom half of the rear bumper reiterates its sporty nature, with a unique skid plate and visible chrome-plated dual exhaust pipes.

The Executive derivatives are kitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, whereas the Elite trim level get 17-inch alloy wheels.

All four derivatives’ gain leather seats with model-specific interior appointments such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel, red sport seats and red contrast stitching for the Sport.

The standard 8-inch infotainment system, which includes satellite navigation, provides a USB Mirror Link for Android cell phones, HDMI connectivity for iPhones to view the iPhone screen on the head unit, hands-free Bluetooth telephone link with remote controls on the steering wheel, Bluetooth music streaming and AUX and USB input ports. It also features a CD player.

Electrically operated side mirrors and windows, cruise control and rear park assist are also standard convenience features across the range. The Elite derivatives have an automatic air-conditioner, rain sensors for the windscreen wipers, and a smart key push-button to start the engine.

 The new Elantra is available with three petrol engines: A 1 591 cm3 four-cylinder engine that produces 94 kW at 6 300 r/min and 154 Nm at 4 850 r/min in the Elantra 1.6 Executive manual and 1.6 Executive Elite automatic.

Then there is the 1 999 cm3 Nu MPI Atkinson four-cylinder engine producing a peak 115 kW at 6 200 r/min and 195 Nm of torque at 4 500 r/min in the Elantra 2.0 Elite automatic and the turbo-charged 1 591 cm3 four-cylinder engine in the Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT Sport producing 150 kW at 6 000 r/min and 265 Nm torque from 1 500 r/min to 4 500 r/min.

The Elantra 1.6 Executive comes with a choice between a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, while the Elantra 2.0 Elite is available only with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite Sport has a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters, and the driver can choose between a Normal, Eco or Sport driving mode with the press of a button.

Fuel economy ranges from 6,5 l/100 km (manual) and 6,9 l/100 km (auto) in the two Executive derivatives, to 8,3 l/100 km and 7,9 l/100 km in the Elantra 2.0 Elite auto and the Elantra 1.6 TGDI DCT Sport respectively.

The 2017 Elantra is lighter than the outgoing model and its rigid chassis is now reinforced with 53% advanced high-strength steel, providing improved stiffness at a lower body weight. This increased usage results in a 29,5% stiffer torsional rigidity and 25,3% greater bending strength, which bring improvements in vehicle ride and handling, quietness, durability and driving performance.

Improved ride comfort, handling and stability are achieved through Elantra’s redesigned rear suspension geometry that modifies the angle of the rear shock absorbers and changed the position of the coil springs on the coupled torsion beam axle. Additionally, an increase in rear bushing diameter helps to improve long term durability.

In the Elantra Sport an exclusive rear multi-link independent suspension helps deliver outstanding dynamics.

The Elantra’s front suspension uses a McPherson strut with coil springs and gas shock absorbers along with a front stabiliser bar to help reduce body roll when cornering.

An anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) is standard on all derivatives for active safety, with the addition of an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) in the Elantra Sport.

Passive safety is taken care of by driver, front passenger, side and curtain air bags in all the derivatives.

Pricing

The recommended retail prices of the new Elantra range are:

  • Elantra 1.6 Executive (manual)      R299 900
  • Elantra 1.6 Executive (auto)  R314 900
  • Elantra 2.0 Elite (auto)            R349 900
  • Elantra 1.6 TGDI Elite DCT    R399 900

Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000 km warranty and additional 2-year/500 powertrain warranty is part of the standard package, which also includes 5-year/150 000 km roadside assistance and a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.

Service intervals are 15 000 km for all derivatives, with an additional initial service after 5 000 km for the Elantra Sport.

Clarity still lacking

As certain as death, the Gauteng tolls will become a reality (as will similar schemes in other major cities) and, while the SA Narional Roads Agency (SANRAL) is eager to start raking in the loot, the current pause in implementation has allowed further questions to be asked.

We spoke to SANRAL’s chief financial officer, Inge Mulder to find out more.

1.       How does SANRAL intend its systems to work for companies?

a)      Is there a corporate account system?

[Inge Mulder]  Yes, you can have multiple tags allocated to a single account.

b)      Will companies be able to get a consolidated Tax Invoice for each of their vehicles at the end of every day (without having to manually search themselves)?

[Inge Mulder]  All the transactions will be available per tag/vehicle on the following morning, but a consolidated Tax Invoice is only generated at account level and every 15 days. This is accessible via the web, customer care centres and can be faxed or mailed to you at an additional cost.

c)       Is there provision for a monthly consolidated Tax Invoice?

[Inge Mulder]  Yes, as previously stated, a consolidated Tax invoice is generated every 15 days or twice a month.

d)      Can company accounts be paid on presentation of the billing?

[Inge Mulder]  You only need your reference number to ensure that your payment is allocated to the correct account, no bill is required. The running balance will also be available on the web.

[Fleet]  They do not say if payments are required in advance or if there are payment terms even 15 days as per invoice.

e)      Fleets,  particularly truckers will want to allocate costs to a vehicle, cost centres and maybe trips, for this you require an electronic download but many smaller operations do not have quality internet. How do you resolve this?

[Inge Mulder]  The Customer Care Centres or kiosks in the various malls can assist in providing you with your statement/tax invoice or transaction records. The detailed transaction report can also be emailed to the Customer in a generic format that will allow import into Excel (or similar program) and further manipulation.

[Fleet]  SANRAL did not provide us with a copy of the report structure and we believe asking for reports through a retail consumer network will not work for Corporates. The process to get these reports needs to be understood.

2.       You have created a massive infrastructure of administrators and sales – how much of toll fees is given over to admin costs?

[Inge Mulder]  The Transaction Clearing House (TCH) is a national based system and would therefore be shared across the country once it is rolled out. It allows for total interoperability across all toll plazas and therefore the cost of administration is shared throughout all the SANRAL toll routes.

[Fleet]  TCH belongs to SANRAL as do three other companies involved in the administration of tolls. We feel SANRAL has created an admin monster and of course there is the involvement of Kapsch the Austrian technology company so this does not answer the question.

 

3.       Are you geared to handle admin volumes and queries? Your numbers (300 000 – 600 000 vehicles each rush hour) let’s say 500 000 x 2 times per day X 30 days X 2 (non rush hour traffic ) X  4 transactions per vehicle per day  = 240 million transactions a month. Think of a 100 vehicle WORKING fleet ( ldv’s not trucks) = 100 X 25 days a month x 10 transaction per day X R4,00 per transaction = R100 000 pm = R1,2-million a year.

[Inge Mulder] Yes, we are well aware of the volumes and values and have planned as such.

[Fleet] We do not believe SANRAL has properley addressed the issue of such high transaction volumes and again query how it is going to handle a single enquiry from a fleet manager.

4.       If, for example, on a Friday afternoon a couple of company drivers ‘borrowed’ their e-tags and went home by taxi would all the tags present in that vehicle be recorded? If so, how are you going to provide for the checks fleet managers need to do to ensure drivers were legally on the job when the toll was recorded and that, in fact, the recorded toll was for a VEHICLE passing through?

[Inge Mulder]  Our system matches the tag to the number plate, if these are not as per the registration it logs an exception and the account holder will receive a warning the incorrect vehicle has used a TAG registered to his account. A picture of the vehicle will be available on request from the account holder should the company require it for action against the driver.

[Fleet] Again, we do not believe SANRAL has properley considered the implications of the volumes or the type of queries it will have to deal with. Matching a tag to a vehicle also does not necessarily take into account drivers that move from pool vehicle to pool vehicle. Of the total vehicle parque, the majority are company controlled cars, commercials and trucks. The fleet is the second biggest company cost after salaries and no company can afford to have volumes of money tied up in  query situations with SANRAL.

While we appreciate the fact it answered our questions, we also feel the lack of depth within those answers simply highlights the fact the entire project has not been thought through and certainly has not been geared in any way for corporate users.

Courtesy: Fleet Magazine