New Model News

Goodbye mundane commuter car; hello redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra and new Elantra Hybrid

Hyundai has revealed a new Elantra, the seventh-generation of the model.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai's Elantra isn't known for being anything more than a competent commuter car. The Korean automaker wants to change that. Enter the completely redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra. It's dynamic, fuel-efficient, and takes the connectivity to a new level.

The seventh-generation Elantra is built on a new vehicle platform with a longer wheelbase, wider stance, and lower roofline than the sixth-generation model. It's the second Hyundai model that features the company's Sensuous Sportiness design identity - the first was the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

Designers have make the Elantra look like a fastback car.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Elantra slots between the larger Sonata and smaller Accent in Hyundai's lineup. It sees direct competition from the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

It's a sedan with a fastback-like roofline, holding true to modern design trends. It has a cascading, jewel-patterned grille; bold fascia; gem-like shapes on the side panels; and available 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheels.

At the rear, there's a wide horizontal line that goes the width of the car. Its "H-Tail Lamp" design creates a Hyundai lying H logo-like shape, which should make the model instantly recognizable at night. Black accents edge the rear glass while the lower bumper has gotten a wing-type treatment.

Hyundai's PR team is using the words "nimble" and "respond quickly" to describe the Elantra's driving dynamics and powertrain. Those aren't two words that would have been associated with the Elantra in the past so it's a clear push in a more engaging direction.

The car has a wing-like rear.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

However, the model comes with the same engine as the last generation and it has the same output. Buyers of the Elantra SE, SEL, and Limited get a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with Hyundai's version of a continuously variable transmission.

Hyundai has added an Elantra Hybrid to its lineup for the 2021 model year. It has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and a 32 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery to generate 139 horsepower and up to 195 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. All in all, that model may be the most efficient and most fun to drive of the lot and Hyundai says that it will get over 50 mpg.

Designers have made the new Elantra what they're calling an "immersive cocoon". It's made to have an airline cockpit-like aesthetic with low, wide structures that span the width of the car and give the feeling of spaciousness.

The design of the car's cabin emphasizes its width.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The tech innovations start right up front where a single interface houses two 10.25-inch screens, one for driver information and the other for traditional infotainment functionality in higher trim levels. Standard equipment includes an 8.0-inch infotainment display, HD radio, and Bluetooth. Drivers can opt for 64 mood lighting color options, a sunroof, Blue Link connected services, wireless charging, voice recognition services, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system.

There's also smartphone as a key functionality, something the Sonata has and one of the features that shown off during the company's Super Bowl "Smaht Pahk" commercial. It does not have the vehicle movability (sans driver) that the Sonata does. Users are able to remote start, unlock, lock, and find their car using the Blue Link app.

The cloud-based navigation system includes a bird's-eye view in navigation maps, and drivers get connected routing. Connected routing provides multiple navigation options and real-time route updates. Server-based routing makes the onboard navigation experience similar to current smartphone navigation apps. Three years of navigation system updates are included.

2021 Hyundai Elantra driver infromation screen Hyundai has made the Elantra available with twin screens that are over 10 inches corner-to-corner.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available through wireless connectivity. Dual Bluetooth support is also available, so two devices can be paired at the same time.

Buyers will get the Elantra with a good list of standard safety technologies including forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, and rearview camera with guidelines.

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is slated to begin production in Ulsan, Korea and at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama this autumn. Sales will begin in the fourth quarter. Pricing will be announced closer to the car's on-sale date.

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New compact pickup truck

Hyundai announces pricing for Santa Cruz pickup

It's small, but the Santa Cruz can do plenty of truck stuff like the big guys.

Hyundai

Looking at American trucks over the years, it's hard to ignore their growing size and price, but 2021 might just be the year that bucks that trend. Earlier in the year, Ford announced the compact Maverick pickup truck, and after months of rumors, Hyundai did the same. The Santa Cruz will be a small unibody pickup designed in California and built in Alabama. Today, the automaker announced pricing for the upcoming vehicle.

Pricing for the Santa Cruz starts at $23,990, which after the $1,185 destination charge comes to $25,175. That reasonable sum buys the base SE trim, which comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Hyundai estimates that the base engine produces 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, while the available turbocharged 2.5-liter engine makes 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

Other standard features include:


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz The Santa Cruz rides on a unibody frame, which gives it a better ride than most trucks.Hyundai


  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • LED taillights
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Driver attention warnings
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Speed limit warnings
  • Leading vehicle departure alerts

Despite its size and unibody construction, the Santa Cruz does offer traditional truck capabilities. With the base engine on board, the vehicle is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, and with the turbocharged engine that number increases to 5,000 pounds. The unibody setup also gives the Santa Cruz a more car-like ride and handling, which improves comfort. It's a configuration that is also used by the Honda Ridgeline and the upcoming Ford Maverick pickups.


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz The Santa Cruz has a useful bed that can be configured a few ways.Hyundai


Hyundai started building the Santa Cruz at its Montgomery, Alabama factory in June. The automaker says that its production will eventually add 1,200 jobs to the facility, and notes that the vehicle will go on sale sometime later this summer. We're heading out to drive the new Santa Cruz in early August, so stay tuned for a first-drive review in a few weeks.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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