2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid debuts: 50 mpg or more promised from new compact sedan

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Even as electrified crossovers trickle into the market, automakers such as Hyundai increasingly turn to sedans to deliver high efficiency without high price tags. Case in point: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid that made its first appearance Tuesday in Hollywood, California.

The 2021 Elantra Hybrid rides on a new platform shared with the gas-powered Elantra. The K3 platform underneath the Elantra Hybrid is longer and wider but also lighter, which improves fuel economy. Hyundai didn\’t say how much lighter the new Elantra would be compared to the outgoing model, but said that the new chassis would be stronger as well.

A familiar powertrain powers the new Elantra Hybrid. Hyundai confirmed it would use a nearly identical powertrain used in the Ioniq Hybrid for the Elantra Hybrid: a 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4 and electric motor combo that makes 139 combined horsepower. The Elantra Hybrid will use a 1.3-kwh lithium-ion battery positioned under the rear seat to supply power to the electric motor and the system will mate to a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Hyundai says the Elantra Hybrid can travel a limited distance on electric power alone—and will have an electric-only driving mode, too.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

The car will manage 50 mpg or more on the EPA cycle, Hyundai claims. That kind of efficiency is currently available from the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, a direct rival to the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, but also from the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid already available, which is rated by the EPA at up to 58 mpg combined. A spokesman for Hyundai didn\’t immediately answer questions about the Ioniq.

Hyundai didn\’t enumerate many differences between the Elantra and Elantra Hybrid other than to specify that hybrid models will ride on 16-inch wheels and a four-wheel independent suspension. It\’s likely that the gas-powered Elantra rides on a similar suspension setup, although Hyundai sometimes offers base versions of its cars with a rear torsion beam suspension to keep costs lower.

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Other than what\’s under the hood, the Elantra Hybrid doesn\’t stray far from the path that the 2021 Elantra sets ahead of it. The new sedan borrows heavily from the Sonata (and related Sonata Hybrid) with a sleeker shape and lower, longer nose. Inside, the Elantra offers twin 10.3-inch screens for driver information and infotainment (an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard) and seating for up to five. The Elantra also offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a smartphone-based key that can start and unlock the car.

The rear seats offer more leg room in the 2021 Elantra compared to the outgoing model, Hyundai says rear-seat riders get 38 inches of stretch-out space. Hyundai says the 2021 Elantra will offer up to 14.2 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, which is down slightly compared to the 14.4 cubic feet available in the 2020 Elantra. Hyundai didn\’t yet clarify if that\’s any different in the Hybrid.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid will go on sale in late 2020.

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