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2021 Hyundai Elantra Review

The fully redesigned 2021 Hyundai Elantra has a user-friendly infotainment system, lots of cargo space, and terrific fuel economy estimates, but several rivals have nicer cabins.

Pros & Cons

  • Lengthy standard features list
  • Roomy cabin
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Gentle ride
  • Limited steering feedback
  • Cabin not as upscale as rivals'

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Hyundai Elantra has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 10 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.0

out of 10

Overall Rating

Critics' Rating: 8.3/10
Performance: 7.6/10
Interior: 6.6/10
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.2 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD/10
Quality & Reliability: 87/100 J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Hyundai Elantra?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Hyundai Elantra a Good Car?

Yes, the 2021 Elantra is a good compact car. There's plenty of space in the front row, and most adults should feel comfortable sitting in the rear. A wealth of technology features are standard, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The redesigned Elantra also boasts excellent fuel economy figures and a comfortable ride. However, this sedan's cabin isn't as refined and its ride isn’t as engaging as some classmates.

Why You Can Trust Us: 10 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 10 Hyundai Elantra reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Hyundai Elantra?

The Elantra's low base price, lengthy list of standard features, and long warranty make it a good value. However, we recommend shopping around before going with the Elantra. The Honda Civic has a more athletic ride, while the Kia Forte is even more affordable than the Elantra, and it has a more upscale cabin.

Find a 2021 Hyundai Elantra for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Hyundai Elantra: What's the Difference?

The Hyundai Elantra is completely redesigned for the 2021 model year and now has a lower, longer, and wider body that gives it a four-door coupe look. It also gains several standard features, including an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD Radio, an additional USB port, and voice recognition. A 10.25-inch touch screen and a hands-free liftgate are now available. Hyundai also reduces the main trims, leaving just the SE, SEL, and Limited. In replace of the previously available GT hatchback trims, two performance-oriented sedan trims (N Line and N) join the lineup. Additionally, Hyundai introduces the brand-new Elantra Hybrid, which we review separately.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Elantra »

Here are the key changes for the Hyundai Elantra over the last few years:

  • 2017: fully redesigned sedan; Eco trim debuted; Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and several advanced safety features became available
  • 2018: fully redesigned GT hatchback; some feature shuffling between trims
  • 2019: interior and exterior styling updated; a 5-inch display and a rearview camera added to standard features list; shuffled feature availability between trims
  • 2020: continuously variable automatic transmission made standard with base engine; manual transmission discontinued in sedan models; forward collision warning with brake assist, a driver attention monitor, and dual-zone automatic climate control made standard
  • 2021: fully redesigned; GT hatchback discontinued

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Elantra, 2019 Elantra, and 2020 Elantra reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Hyundai Elantra Cost?

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra has one of the lowest starting prices in the compact car class, at $19,650. The sporty Elantra N Line retails for $24,100, and the top-of-the-line Limited trim starts at $25,450. Pricing information is not yet available for the performance-oriented – and all-new – Elantra N.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Elantra Versus the Competition

Hyundai Elantra vs. Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a more well-rounded vehicle than the Elantra. The Civic delivers one of the most engaging rides in the compact car class, boasting lively handling and responsive steering. The Civic also has a stronger engine lineup, which includes a range-topping 306-horsepower turbo-four. Beyond that, you’ll get a more upscale cabin with the Honda compared to the Hyundai. And unlike the new Elantra, the Civic is available as a hatchback that gives you a larger cargo area.

Compare the Elantra and Civic »

Hyundai Elantra vs. Kia Forte

The Kia Forte has a lot in common with its corporate cousin the Elantra. Both models have a long list of standard features, user-friendly infotainment controls, and good gas mileage estimates. The Elantra is slightly more comfortable to drive, but both vehicles could use additional steering feedback. While the Hyundai’s infotainment system is more up to date, the Forte is the winner due to higher-quality cabin materials and a tad more cargo space.

Compare the Elantra and Forte »

Compare the Elantra, Civic, and Forte »

Elantra Interior: Full of Features and Space but Lacks Refinement

Elantra Cargo Space

The Elantra's trunk capacity of 14.2 cubic feet is above the class average. Unlike the prior generation, a hatchback variant is not available.

How Many People Does the Elantra Seat?

Up to five people can sit inside the Elantra, and there's plenty of room for adults in both rows thanks to larger interior dimensions for the 2021 model year. The seats are also fairly comfortable and supportive.

Elantra and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Elantra Interior Quality

The Elantra's cabin is mostly attractive, but it features an excessive amount of hard plastics. Its simple styling also pales in comparison to rivals like the Honda Civic and Mazda3.

Elantra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Elantra's infotainment system is easy to use, with logically arranged menus and several ways to operate it, including touch, physical, and voice controls. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are newly standard, though only in models with the smaller touch screen. Models with the upgraded 10.25-inch touch screen require a cable to utilize these smartphone integration apps.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a four-speaker stereo, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and voice recognition
  • Available infotainment features: a 10.25-inch touch screen with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, navigation, an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system, and wireless device charging
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry
  • Other available features: ambient interior lighting and a sunroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Elantra Performance: Gets the Job Done

Elantra Engine

A modest 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in the SE, SEL, and Limited trims. It's paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). With this powertrain, the Elantra takes a while to accelerate, but there's enough power under the hood for your daily travels. The base model’s transmission makes good use of the available power and doesn't create loud droning noises like other CVTs often do.

If you're looking for more power from the Elantra, you have two options. The N Line trim comes with a 201-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The N trim features an even more potent 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Elantra Gas Mileage

The base Elantra returns an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, which is great for a compact car. SEL and Limited trims get 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, while the N Line returns 25/34 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 28/36 mpg with the automatic.

Elantra Ride and Handling

The Elantra delivers a comfort-focused ride that smooths out most bumps in the road. The Elantra N Line and N models have sportier handling. Front-wheel drive is standard in every Elantra.

Read more about performance »

Elantra Reliability

Is the Hyundai Elantra Reliable?

The 2021 Elantra has a predicted reliability score of 87 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

Hyundai Elantra Warranty

The Elantra comes with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Elantra Safety

Elantra Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Elantra.

Elantra Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane follow assist
  • Driver attention warning
  • High-beam assist
  • Safe exit warning

Available advanced safety features:

  • Cyclist detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Park distance warning
  • Collision avoidance assist
  • Highway driving assist

Read more about safety »

Elantra Dimensions and Weight

The Elantra is about 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,725 to 3,020 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is 3,858 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Built?

Hyundai builds the 2021 Elantra in South Korea and Alabama.

Which Hyundai Elantra Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra comes in three main trims: SE, SEL, and Limited. Each comes standard with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Two performance variants, N Line and N, as well as the separately reviewed Elantra Hybrid, are available.

The base SE trim is a solid choice for most shoppers. It comes with a lot of standard tech features, like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as driver aids such as pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking.

Hyundai Elantra SE

The base SE (MSRP: $19,650) comes standard with an infotainment system that includes an 8-inch touch screen, a four-speaker stereo, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and voice recognition. Other standard features include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, and remote keyless entry. Several active safety features are also standard, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, driver attention warning, high-beam assist, and safe exit warning.

Hyundai Elantra SEL

The SEL trim starts at $20,900 and adds two additional speakers, satellite radio, and push-button start. The SEL trim is available with a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system, wireless device charging, cyclist detection, and adaptive cruise control.

Hyundai Elantra Limited

The Limited trim has a starting price of $25,450. It gains cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, park distance warning, collision avoidance assist, and highway driving assist. It also comes with traditional (wired) Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a 10.25-inch touch screen, navigation, an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system, wireless device charging, ambient interior lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and leather upholstery.

Hyundai Elantra N Line

The N Line is a performance-tuned trim. It comes with a 201-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This trim also includes most of the base SE trim's features as well as N Line interior and exterior styling, a sporty suspension system, combination leather and cloth sport seats, and a six-speaker stereo. The Elantra N Line starts at $24,100.

Hyundai Elantra N

The Elantra N is another performance-focused trim, and it comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 275 horsepower. It's paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Pricing is not yet available.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

See 2021 Hyundai Elantra specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Hyundai Elantra is a solid compact car. It's comfortable to drive, it comes with ample standard features, and it has a respectable amount of interior room. However, several rivals offer more engaging rides and nicer cabins.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "With the 2021 Elantra's new eye-catching wrapper, impressive feature count, and solid dynamics, Hyundai has smartly followed the playbook used by Honda when it introduced the current Civic–the most successful Civic generation on record and consistently Honda's best-selling car. Whether that formula works as well for the Elantra has yet to be seen, but it does make Hyundai's compact sedan more compelling than ever." -- Car and Driver
  • "Although the compact sedan segment is shrinking, it's still quite popular and competitive. Hyundai has been in the segment long enough to understand it, and the new Elantra is not looking back–its striking design, modern technology, and superb interior space will move it forward." -- Motor Trend
  • "It might not be the sportiest, but it's definitely one of the quietest and most tech-laden offerings in its class." -- CNET
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2021 Hyundai Elantra

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