Hyundai has finally taken the covers off the seventh-generation Elantra via a live broadcast from Hollywood, and it's certainly looking mighty impressive thus far by the superficial standards of upmarket LA. Longer, wider but lower than before, the new Elantra follows in the footsteps of the eight-generation Sonata by adopting the Korean carmaker's brazenly angular "Sensuous Sportiness" design identity which makes it look like something of a futuristic four-door coupe instead of a conventional family saloon.
The 2021 Elantra also marks the nameplate's first foray into electrification, with the powertrain of note here being a 1.6-litre GDI Atkinson cycle four-banger paired to a 32kW electric motor and DCT for a combined output of 139bhp and 265Nm of torque. Hyundai claims the Elantra Hybrid will return 4.7l/100km by EPA standards. What we're most likely to get if and when the car arrives in Malaysia is a two-litre MPI Atkinson mill good for 147bhp and 180Nm instead. The naturally-aspirated mill channels its output to the front wheels using a CVT. Bummer.
Inside, you get what Hyundai describes as a "aircraft-cockpit-like-driver-oriented-layout". We'll leave that to you to decide. There's also customisable mood lighting with 64 colours, and a pair of 10.25-inch screens - one for the instrument display and a touch-sensitive unit for the infotainment - housed under a single piece of glass. The latter allows occupants to pair their phones via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto wirelessly like in newer BMW models; let's hope this head unit doesn't get watered down by local distributor Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors when it gets here. Also BMW-like is the NFC digital key which practically allows your smartphone to replace the physical key, freeing up room in your manbag for more important items.
On the safety front, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra packs the brand's SmartSense Safety suite, which consists of forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, high beam assist and driver attention warning. Blind-spot collision avoidance assist, smart cruise control, highway driving assist, safe exit warning and reverse parking collision avoidance assist are optional in the US, and we'll have to wait and see if these features will be packaged into the Malaysian-spec model if it does make its bow on our shores.