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Old 5th June 2004, 00:52   #1
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Revvmaster and me reached rjkulkarni's place around 3.30 pm, to give the new Hyundai Elantra a little thrashing. rjkulkarni got the call, and we went down to be greated by a gleaming red Elantra. love at first sight? not one bit. the car came shod with alloys wrapped by Kumho radials. which we all agreed we couldn't trust one bit, and would probablyget them changed as soon as the car was bought. if we bought the car, the fate of which depended on the test drive to follow.
rj was the first to hit the wheel. with revv and me at the back, not very comfortable. why? there was another grumpy guy at the back, with his cellphone constantly buzzing, quite a nuisance, sequentially staring at each one of us with a certain degree of condemnation, but hell, who cares.
we slowly made our way to the eastern express highway, which may in future be regarded as the future TB test track. the dealer CSA instantly expressed his concern of the duration of the test drive, as he had another customer waiting for a drive. oh sure, that wasn't going to deter us now was it! what was immediately evident was that the elantra 4 pot engine was much quieter than the accent's 3 pot. vibration and harshness levels were quite low as well, which could well be due to the 3 pot engine config being unbalanced. the engine also seemed rev-happy, not the petrol kind, but far cry from the diesels we are used to. but closer the revs get to 3000 rpm, the more the engine whines. above that the engine note is similar to that of a wailing widow, with asthma.
but the fun lies in the lower rpm range. rj gave it a quick workout through the gears, instantly complained of the gearshift beng notchy. another hyundai trait. guess the standards have been set too high by the NHC. the brake pedal was spongy too, too much travel as i wuld later discover. but the ABS worked it's wonders as the 100-0 kpmh test by rj revealed, the car coming to a halt in a fairly short distance, with no drama whatsoever. all this while we checked out the rear to be full of shiny and nasty plastic bits subjected to cost-cutting. the cream cloth upholstery wasn't to my taste at all. the rear seats completely lacked lower back support and were uncomfortable, though it did offer more legroom than the octavia, i wouldn't pick this for long drives. revv took over the drive on the way back, and check this, the elantra was doing a 100 kmph in 5th gear at barely 2000 rpm. that's diesel power for you, rather torque. we headed back to powai, with the CSA not having much to add, as we compared the car to Octavia and the Palio D. the car did come with a tape-deck and a CD player, single slot, but left much to be desired, including new speakers and an amplifier. and how can we forget the fake wood, splattered all over the car. the environmentalist would definitely be rubbing their hands in glee.
now my part of the drive was a little more eventful. as revv and i switched places, the seating position was liked by me, the steering at just the right place and the seat big enough to accomodate my..err..extra flab. and i was off. i loved the torquey nature and the less frequent gearshifts. i was at home, considering that im fairly lazy. navigating through traffic, i happened to be in the first row at a stop light. very tempting to light the tyres up, but the bellied pandu at a distance meant that i needed to exercise restraint. quite a long stop later, i slotted to first, and off we went. when surprisingly at 2000 rpm the tyres lit up. a sustained wheelspin. it was totally unintentional. since i already indulged i held the wheelspin just before i shifted into second. the torque steer was immense and required quite a bit of corrective action to bring it to straight line. what irked me was, on a slight incline i need to downshift in traffic to first to actually get car moving, very weird i thought. maybe i hit a flat spot, or the car wasn't geared well enough. because i pretty darn well remember picking the octavia up from standstill in 3rd gear. as we chatted along, i braked a little late, looking for feedback from that attrociously spongy pedal, and stopped alarmingly close to a tata sumo, a little further and would have gone bang. and i remember banging the brake pedal really hard, and came to the conclusion that all hyundais had terrible brakes, whether ABS or not, discs all around or not. we all breathed a sigh of relief and as a last test of handling, took a nice even corner at close to 60 kmph. again torque steer spoiled the party a bit, and the car rolled quite bit, almost wallowed. handling dpesn't come quite close to that of the octavia then, koreans have a lot to learn from the germans.
all this while the dealership guy spoke not a word about the trip computer or the abs, ebd and bas(?) that came with the car. only later when we saw the brouchure did we realise that the the traction control wasn't switched on, hence the wheelspin.

the car fully loaded is priced at 11.32 lakhs, ex-depot, thane.
and i think the guy said 15 kpl in city, please correct me if i'm wrong, but don't remember because i could have easily ignored him.

so what do i think? this car apart from the CRDi motor isn't a scratch on the Octavia. whther it's handling, or fuel efficiency or the pricing. and the looks, well i'd like not to comment anymore.
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Old 5th June 2004, 01:45   #2
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Ok, my part of the test drive.

RJ first popped in. Boy, for a moment i couldn't believe it was our good ol RJ going manic behind the wheel, but one thought of he being a team-bhpite... damn, i knew what was coursing through his veins.

After a rather tumultous yet exciting time with RJ behind the wheel, i grabbed the opportunity to get out of those hard rear seats (mind you its the usual Hyundai hardness, wears you out in short drives) and got in where i command the ship. Two things here, ignore the photographs in mags, the dash doesn't look all that bad. Yes they cud have done w/o placing so many buttons here and there, but it still looks decently classy. Of course, it still doesn't beat the Optra in sheer interior classiness. Also, its got a very lousy music system. If Rtech complained about his Octavia (which IMO is pretty decent, its a chalega types), this ain't. Serious audiophiles are requested to change this system.. its pretty flat at any volume and the music can get drowsy to listen to. Paul Van Dyke or Ravi Shankar its a serious saftey hazard when on.

So set my seat, felt the steering. Felt where all the buttons are. And in 2 mins we were off. If there is one reason, and only one to buy this car, its that engine. Revvs like a mad dog unleashed. We were doin 100 while the rev-counter was busy sleeping at 2000 rpm. But give her the rev job and boy does she wanna revv. 0-3000 rpm is easy, but beyond 2500 rpm she starts to whine and groan a bit and its gets even more painful beyond 3000 rpm.

Brakes are at best termed moody. Yup, switching b/w being grabby to being mushy. I hope its just a problem with our termer, since a car with such kinda brakes could lead many drivers into the false sense of belief that they can brake late (pssst.. Rehaan its for u 2).

Also what i didn't like was the gearbox. Though it slots in pretty well (not as good as the NHC though), it requires a heavy hand to push it into the slot. I can attribute this fact probably to it being a new car having run just 500 odd kms, but will need a long-term report to comment on the same.

During the whole time, the TC was off. *No doubt our friend, dear ported nearly became Revvmaster with his tyre burning antics at KanjurMarg signal.

Now for the good part. The car is reasonably comfortable. Slim bodied people who drive, please note. The front seat is a tad too wide and might lead you to move around a fair bit in the car. There is ample legroom at the rear. The AC is powerful. Overall fit and finish is decent, pretty much up there with the Corolla but the Octy still has its robustness medal for the nth time. Some cost-cutting was evident especially in the rear. But overall the car holds up well.

Handling is decent at mid-speeds but can get a little hairy at high speeds. Ride is good, handles the bumps rather well. But i attribute that to it being a new car. 20,000 kms would tell me how it truly holds up. The tyres are decent, but need to be changed if you are in the market for "a performance sedan". Grip levels are lower than comparable Michelins or Pirellis. Enthusiastic driving should see this rubber wear out really fast.

All in all. Octavia is at the top of the heap. The only place where the Elantra beats it is a slightly better performing engine and better leg-room as well as Hyundai's legendary A.S.S. But the remaning 97 points go in favour of the Octavia. The call is yours.

Keep Revvin ™ CRDi

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Old 5th June 2004, 01:45   #3
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Hey Ported_Head

Great first-hand review of the Elantra...and frankly is spot on with what I expected of the Elantra. The CRDi is the only saving grace of this new luxury car that looks more like an overgrown Accent. In fact, Revvmaster had called me this evening and said that not a single head turned wherever you went...Accent familiarity again!

I have heard that the rear seat is horrible. Typically korean traits in terms of handling and braking also come up. What most surprises me is the poor interior design of this car. Koreans are known to make up in the inside, what they lack under the hood.

And whats up with the pricing? I mean, who in his right mind will pay a premium price for a not so premium brand. Isnt the far more luxurious Sonata within a whiskers range of 11.32 lacs too? Plus with the Corolla, Octavia and Optra in the same range...its anyones guess how this car is expected to perform.

Its great to hear of other members test-driving new cars the Team-BHP way. Yet another deserving of the "Ripped by Team-BHP sticker"!!

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Old 5th June 2004, 02:02   #4
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Wouldn't be surprised if Elantra goes neck to neck (or #1) with Corolla.

Reason? ###.
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Old 5th June 2004, 03:21   #5
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well..ported & revv have written pretty much everything...so i've nothing new to write..i'm not complaining though !

My impressions:

On starting the car...didn't vibrate as much as the accent CRDi which does like a tempo !NVH levels were pretty decent...it gets noisy post 3000rpm when the engine starts to scream for mercy..

Pick up of the car is good..shift is much better than any hyundai that is available in india but still a bit heavy...doesn't even come close to the NHC's which i believe has set new standards...even better than my older city..

Braking as with most of hyundai's...horrible..only panic stops with the ABS kicking in was good that i tested in 100-0kph test..other than taht..just useless..

we didn't have an opportunity to test the cornering of the car as pretty much a straight highway except the one where was ported was on fire

interiors are just okay...front seats are good as me & ported found out...both being big framed..rear seats are just horrible...very low & very firm.At one point of time i was sitting in the middle of the rear seat & the mid section was so firm that i felt i was sitting on a stone! no underthigh support whatsoever...the only thing is better legroom than the octavia...thats about it..

Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]RJ first popped in. Boy, for a moment i couldn't believe it was our good ol RJ going manic behind the wheel, but one thought of he being a team-bhpite... damn, i knew what was coursing through his veins.
well revv that side of me comes out only at late nights in my honda & any time in a test drive car !
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Old 5th June 2004, 04:33   #6
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Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (ported_head @ June 05 2004,09:22)]only later when we saw the brouchure did we realise that the the traction control wasn't switched on, hence the wheelspin.
just wondering, does TCS work while launching the car? I thought that was called launch control.

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Old 5th June 2004, 11:42   #7
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A very good first hand review... keep it up guys

Elatnra - Well..... i too had a test ride few days back, in those days the CRDi wasn`t available in the showroom so we had a qick test ride of petrol one.

After taking the ride my first question with the sales person was - wht more does it offer from NHC and Optra - He was stunned at my ques, but handling the situation he started speaking blah, blah.... Hyundai network, new kind of styling and all that ...... In all it didn`t left me with an impression except it`s jazzy headlights.... *

Jokes apart I too admit that Apart from higher power engine and more rear space it dosn`t offer much from accent. It`s a hard fact but ths is what i believe.. Correct me if i am wrong....

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Old 6th June 2005, 22:03   #8
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i liked the look of the car, except the front. Interiors are pretty OK but the ride felt good. One small thing that really made the interiors look flashy were the blue lights in the rpm/speedo meters, one thing i really liked. Was not fond of the music sys tho',nutin much to say abt it. Well with ABS, TCS, EBD..its a good package if ur looking for safety.
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Old 2nd July 2005, 01:45   #9
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I am not fond of its looks but irony is I am driving a petrol Elantra right now for the last week !
Yeah its a rental car (in the US) and I will give my impressions once I have driven a few more days....well its certainly better than the Chevy Cavalier I had for a day (thats not saying much) but it has the goodies -
ABS, TC, power mirrors etc....doesnt look very frugal on the fuel front and prices here jumped up a lot, power wise decent from what I have seen till now but its very hot here right now and its a/c hardly cools on lower fan speeds .....heck my Indica's a/c is much better !
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