DETROIT – It was tough to compare the sweeping curved dash of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra and its $26K sticker. It seemed like the front-wheel drive sedan should have cost a lot more.
The interior was just that nice. What’s more, it had a joker-like trait. Half of the interior was dark, while the driver’s side was light gray. We know, this sounds crazy, but they should give the interior designers a raise or a vacation or both.
This combination worked and it was so subtle that we barely noticed until we did a relatively hard inventory of the Elantra interior.
We found that it had digital instruments which were set off nicely. The odometer and speedometer were a light gray and there was a TFT screen between them.
But it seemed like there was a one continuous piece because all three elements were reversed out of black. The infotainment screen was joined with the instruments at the three o’clock position.
This joining was not big or cumbersome. It was smooth and minimal. The Elantra’s interior was clear; we just do not know any other way to say it. There were a couple of climate control dials and one for the audio volume. That was it.
Those controls were arranged in two slender bands under the infotainment touch screen.
The engine was a spunky 2.0-liter four cylinder that made 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a continuously variable transmission. Hyundai branded it a Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission.
This engine moved the Elantra with some authority. Acceleration was good and cruising at high speed was to be appreciated. The sedan handled nicely on the expressways here and on city streets.
We climbed into the back seats and found the space comfortable. There was plenty of legroom and headroom was ample.
It had a premium audio system, satellite radio and a connected suite of apps for Internet connections. There was also voice controls, LED headlights, heated seats, keyless operation, a navigation system, and Bluetooth.
Safety features included forward collision assist with pedestrian protection, blind spot collision assistance, rear cross traffic collision avoidance assistance, smart cruise control with stop and go, lane keeping assist and lane follow assist.
The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Limited was a very appealing package, and for $26,960 as tested, it was an affordable one too.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.