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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Hyundai has completely refreshed the Santa Fe for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Santa Fe is getting more than just a traditional mid-cycle update for the 2021 model year. It's closer to a generational shift with new powertrains, a new platform, and more premium features.

If you're saying to yourself, "Didn't they just change it?" to yourself right now, you're not wrong. The current Santa Fe shifted generations just about two years ago as the company prepared to introduce the three-row Palisade. When the Palisade arrived, the Santa Fe was relegated to the new two-row Santa Fe and a holdover three-row Santa Fe for a year before going to just a two-row model for 2020.

The SUV has a fresh grille and headlamp design as well as new front and rear fascia.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has a face that looks like a blend of the Palisade and the Vision T concept car, which was first shown at last year's LA Auto Show. Its headlights carry over the Spartan helmet-like design that first appeared on the Kona. T-shaped LED daytime running lights flow from the headlights to the sides of the grill. The lower grille eschews the crucible-shape that is on the Palisade and offers a new, sophisticated look.

Hyundai has made the car beefier looking but also gentler with posterior that's sophisticated with arrow-like taillights that are connected through the center of the tailgate by a light bar.

Twenty-inch wheels are available as part of a Luxury Package that includes front and back lower bumpers and side cladding that match the body paint color, rather than the traditional matte black.

Hyundai has already revealed that the 2021 Santa Fe will come with hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants in Europe. They have not confirmed which, if either of those powertrains is coming to the U.S. More information is expected to be revealed soon.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai aimed for a premium SUV with the Palisade, to thunderous applause from industry experts and buyers, and it looks like that design mantra is holding true in the New Santa Fe. The company promotes the model as having more "space, comfort, and convenience" than the outgoing model. That's thanks in large part to the new platform the SUV is riding on.

The new third-gen Hyundai platform allows for improvements inn performance, handling, fuel efficiency, and safety. Additionally, it features more crash resistance. With the SUV market growing increasingly competitive, it's understandable that Hyundai would want to shift the model to the new underpinnings ASAP.

The lower half of the dashboard has been redesigned for 2021 and the cabin has been outfitted with soft-touch materials. The center console has also been redesigned and now floats and features similar instrumentation to the Hyundai Nexo and Palisade. This leaves a good amount of space between driver and front passenger for storage.

A new 10.25-inch infotainment screen floats on the dashboard.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The new 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen appears to float above the dashboard. A new 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster sits in front of the driver.

The new Santa Fe will be available in Europe starting September 2020. There is not yet confirmation as to when it comes to the U.S. or what it will cost.

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The 1 millionth vehicle off the line was a red Passat.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant is celebrating the 1 millionth vehicle to roll off its assembly line - Aurora Red Metallic 2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line. The milestone was reached later than initially anticipated due to production shutdowns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's gratifying to me that our team is back to work and able to mark yet another key milestone since the opening of VW's Chattanooga plant," said Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. "Part of us getting back to normal is taking time to recognize these important achievements which are only possible because of the hard work and commitment of our exceptional team here in Chattanooga."

2020 Volkswagen Passat Volkswagen's plant employs approximately 3,800 people.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Before the Chattanooga plant opened, Volkswagen hadn't made a vehicle in the U.S. in 22 years following the closing of the Westmoreland facility in Pennsylvania.

The Passat got its start as a vehicle designed specifically for the North American market.

Ground was broken on the Tennessee plant in 2009 and in 2011 it began producing Passats. It currently employees approximately 3,800 people. In the last nine years, the plant has produced more than 700,000 Passats and 100,000 Atlas SUVs. The new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport and the refreshed 2021 Atlas recently began production.

The Chattanooga facility doesn't just produce vehicles for domestic sale. Chattanooga-assembled vehicles have been exported to Canada, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the Middle East.

Volkswagen has announced that the plant will be the company's North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles including the ID.4, representing an approximately $800 million investment, starting in 2022. The expansion to enable U.S. production of long-range EVs began in November 2019.

Volksagen Chattanooga line The Chattanooga plant produces a number of vehicles.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen isn't just committed to the cars it produces in Chattanooga. The company has invested in its community too. Late last year, Volkswagen donated $1.25 million to The Conservation Fund to purchase land near the plant so it could be donated to the U.S. Forest Service.

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