The new Elantra comes fully loaded with features, sporting Hyundai’s fluidic design and is powered by a diesel and petrol engine.

The biggest selling points of the Hyundai Verna were its stunning looks, abundance of features and its pricing. From what we can see of the new Elantra, we can safely say that it is going the same way. Once in the car you are going to forget all about the two-generation old Elantra and if priced attractively this car will shake up the competition.

Like all recent Hyundais, the new Elantra follows the fluidic design theme. The swoops and flowing lines are easy on the eye, the elongated body gives it an extra dash of elegance, and when viewed from certain angles, it looks like a stretched Verna. Still there’s no doubt, this is probably Hyundai’s best-looking three-box yet. It is bigger than the Verna of course, and is 4.53 metres long, making it about the size of a Skoda Laura.

The wheelbase however is much longer at 2.7 metres and that, of course, means there is plenty of space in the cabin, even in the back. The rear seat is very supportive, the floor is flat and levels of comfort are high, but the swooping roof indicates that headroom could be an issue for taller passengers. And you do feel a bit hemmed-in on the back seat due to the high waistline of the car and the low roof. Quality levels however are higher than those of the Verna, especially on the dash, and as expected there’s more equipment here than on many luxury cars. On the top-end version you get ESP, six airbags, powered and ventilated seats, dual-zone air-conditioning, audio control for rear seat passengers, cruise control and even heated mirrors.

The fifth-generation Elantra (codename: MD) comes powered by a 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel and a 146bhp 1.8 petrol. The diesel is the same as on the Verna and feels just as smooth and refined. Overall performance is quite strong and it pulls well once on the move. There is a bit of turbo lag however and this could be mildly irritating in traffic. The Elantra also does not feel as quick as something like a VW Jetta, despite also having a six-speed gearbox.

The petrol motor has decent performance but when worked hard, it sounds gruff and feels a bit strained. We drove the 6-speed automatic car and found the gearbox a bit slow to respond. Also, it hangs on to higher gears a lot. The petrol Elantra is fairly quick, but it doesn’t feel exciting.

The new Elantra is not as agile or as confidence-inspiring a handler either, and the steering, like on the Verna, feels light and disconnected. The rear is softly sprung and this is soon pretty clear, this car is better suited to being driven at a more relaxed pace. The flipside however is that the Elantra rides pretty well on its 205/60 R16 tyres.

So with stunning looks, high levels of refinement, comfort, packed with features and with an expected price between Rs. 13 lakh andRs. 16 lakh, we believe Hyundai has another strong seller in its hands.