While the ‘warm hatch’ sub-category has become a fixture of the small car class, the same can’t be said of sedans. Something that Hyundai is looking to remedy with its all new Elantra range.
While the more pedestrian Elantra models feature a 112kW 2.0 litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder, the new Elantra SR, set to arrive in the middle of the year, will feature a heart-transplant from the Veloster SR Turbo.
That means a 150kW turbocharged 1.6 litre engine under the bonnet, and, like the Veloster, the Elantra SR will offer the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic driving its front wheels.
One of the biggest engineering changes compared to the Elantra Active and Elite, is a move away from the torsion beam rear suspension of those models, to an independent rear-suspension setup.
The information was presented by Hyundai Australia’s Assistant Product Manager, Jonathan Lam, who promised the Elantra SR would “deliver a truly engaging driving experience.”
In keeping with the Elantra SR’s sporting intent, a bespoke sports suspension tune will ensure precise handling.
Although the final look of the Elantra SR is yet to be revealed, Mr Lam promised the SR will feature “significant cosmetic changes,” including an exterior bodykit, flat-bottomed steering wheel, sports seats, coloured interior highlights, and upsized alloy wheels.
Key competitors in Australia include the 132kW 1.6 litre Cruze SRi-V, 140kW 1.6 litre Pulsar SSS, and 138kW 2.5 litre Mazda3 SP25, with the Elantra SR comfortably outpowering them all, without encroaching on the more powerful European hot hatches like the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI.
With the previous Elantra Premium range-topper not joining the new model line-up, the SR will take over the flagship role.
Australia is the first market in the Hyundai empire to offer this much information about the upcoming model, with no international equivalent yet revealed. As a result, it remains to be seen what levels of specification the new model will feature.
TMR's speculative rendering (top of page) gives an idea of some of Hyundai's SR styling themes might look on the Elantra, however the final version is likely to offer a few detail differences.
Overseas, Hyundai offers a high-end version of the Elantra with advanced safety features including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert. It remains to be seen if the SR will be made available with those added safety features.
With competitors priced keenly below the $30,000 mark, Hyundai could be forced to follow suit, unless it can clearly justify its additional performance and handling benefits compared to those more established models.
Hyundai’s Public Relations General Manager, Bill Thomas, promised the Elantra SR would be “a really exciting product.” With other members of Hyundai’s communications team excited about the debut of the first performance-skewed Elantra.
Let us know what you think of Hyundai’s plans for a more sporting Elantra in the comments below; would you be interested in a sporty small sedan, or would you be more likely to stick with a hatchback?
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