Susan Frissell, Editor, WomenWithWheels.com

Many years ago when Hyundai began to have a much larger presence in the U.S. market, it wasn’t uncommon to recommend the Elantra to friends who inquired about what vehicle to buy. In the 1990s this writer was regularly driving the Hyundai models in the fleet and couldn’t believe how nice they were. Asked often about what car to buy, my response was always “I have two words for you: Hyundai and Elantra.”

Well, the Hyundai products have only gotten better.

This is especially true for the 2021 Hyundai Elantra. Of the four trim levels SE ($19,650), SEL ($20,900), N Line ($24,100) and Limited ($25,450). We spent a week in the SEL, FWD. Our Calypso Red 4-door Elantra felt like it was grown-up since its early days. This is one nice compact sedan that handles easily, quietly and nicer all-around than some of the other entry-level offerings on the market.

Much of the time when driving a press vehicle, we’re lucky enough to drive the top-of-the-line models. But in many of the automobile available, it’s nice to have the opportunity to test the entry-level offering or the next model up. Such was the case in the recent test drive of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra SEL. With a total price of $25,450, the SEL comes with plenty of goodies to meet most drivers’ needs.

The options on our test Elantra included the Convenience Package (Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist Pedestrian, Cyclist and Junction Turning Detection, Full 10 25-inch CO TFT cluster, Smart Cruise Control w/Stop and Go, Electronic parking brake w/automatic vehicle hold, Leather-wrapped steering wheel & shifter, Wireless Charging Pad, Heated front seats, and heated outside mirror, $950). The Calypso Red paint was extra at $300 and the Premium package (17-inch Alloy Wheels, 225/45R17 tires, LED Blub Taillights, Bose Premium Audio w/8 speakers, Side Mirror Turn Signal indicators, 60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seatback w/armrest, cup holders, Power Driver’s Seat with Lumbar, Hyundai Digital Key, Passenger Seatback Pocket, $2,100), and Carpeted Floor Mats ($155).

Unless you are familiar with the brand and/or model, you’ll be guessing with the 2021 redesigned Elantra. The 2021 version has no trim level identification. Its looks have changed for 2021-the jury is still out about the new rear design. The Elantra gets a new higher-tech infotainment system, the ride is measurably quieter and smoother, and it remains a top contender in the compact sedan class. Competition for the Elantra includes the Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and VW Jetta. A lot of popular compact sedans.

This year marks the seventh generation Elantra, which is lower, wider and longer than its predecessors. There are two engines available, including the 2.0-liter four-cylinder (147 horsepower and CVT transmission), and the 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder, as well as the all-new hybrid version boasting 54 mpg. rating.

There isn’t much to dislike about the Elantra. It’s competitively priced, comes equipped with lots of extras, and is a sensible purchase if you’re looking for a daily driver. The same can be said about its stablemate, the Sonata. No one beats the Hyundai warranty. A bit sleeker for 2021, the Elantra has more legroom and a new instrument panel design. The panel design is different and more upscale in its presentation than earlier models.

A new trim line debuts for 2021; the Elantra N. The most powerful of the group, the N is equipped with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with 276 hp. And 280 lb-ft. torque. In addition to the turbo engine, Hyundai added a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers. We hope to get a chance to try it out.

The N version offers adjustable drive modes, including Eco/Normal mode and Sport mode, and is another level up. We’re told this is when the driver grins as the exhaust throttle response give you quite a ride. For those who aren’t looking for a joy ride-on a daily basis-Hyundai offers a step down to the N Line trim level, equipped with a turbocharged 201-hp engine.

If you’re intent on saving your pennies and are looking to the future, you probably want to give the all-new 2021 Hyundai Elantra a closer look.

SPECS:

Pricing: $20,900 MSRP; 25,400 Total; Options
Engine: 2.0-liter 147 hp., four-cylinder engine, c
Transmission: 6-sp. Automatic Continuously Variable, front-wheel-drive
Wheelbase: 107.1 in.
Width: 71.9 in.
Height: 55.7 in.
Length: 184.1 in.
Seating: 5
Tires: 225/45 R17
Wheels: 17-in alloy
EPA Fuel Economy: 33/43 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 11-12.4 gal.
Warranty: 5 yr./60,000-mile new vehicle; 10 yr./100,000-mile powertrain; 7 yr./unltd. Mile Anti-perforation; 3 yr./36,000-mile complementary maintenance; 5 yr,/unltd. Mileage Roadside Assistance.