Hyundai's design sketch for the new Elantra depicts an aspirational small four-door.
We’re watching what Hyundai is doing with design these days like we’re at the movies: Mouths slightly open, occasionally tossing back popcorn, transfixed. Most manufacturers invest countless hours, tons of clay, and a lot of cash into establishing a cohesive and easily recognizable design language. Lately, Hyundai has put its efforts into diversifying its designs, and this preview of the new 2021 Elantra sedan proves it.
The compact four-door is about to get a lot pointier, at least based on a single design sketch Hyundai released today, and visually diverges from most of Hyundai’s lineup. The automaker’s exterior designs of late are all over the place, ranging from the swoopy, elegant, and strikingly attractive Sonata to the funky-fresh Kona, and from the adorably boxy Venue to the upscale Palisade three-row crossover. A loosely similar grille shape kinda sorta ties them all together, but for the most part, Hyundai is refreshingly adventurous with its individual designs. It’s letting Audi keep its same-car-in-different-sizes approach.
From what we can make out from Hyundai’s teaser, the 2021 Elantra will wear knife-edged creases running along its side, intersecting at a point so recessed it looks like it could poke the driver’s elbow inside the cabin. The main character line cuts over the rear wheel arch in a manner similar to what’s seen on the side of the new Sonata. Aggressive angularity is clearly a theme, and appears to have been hinted at by the current Elantra’s mid-cycle refresh, which included boldly triangular headlights.
In a quick video Hyundai released, you can just catch a fleeting look at the new Elantra’s grille, which is filled with faceted panels and spans the width of the car between the headlights. The look appears inspired by the Vision T Concept displayed at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. In back, a wide, narrow light bar connects the taillights, vaguely mimicking the larger Sonata’s similar treatment. This is a modish detail also found on vehicles costing exponentially more than whatever the 2021 Elantra will sticker for.
The Elantra’s sharp theme continues inside—Hyundai also released an image of the interior design—and the cabin is dominated by horizontal lines, an elegant infotainment display that flows into the gauge cluster, and a color-keyed wrap-around trim effect that envelops the driver’s area.
Typically, we don’t devote this many words to a teaser image dropped by an automaker in advance of a new car’s reveal, but we’re pretty excited by what we see here. Luckily we won’t need to wait long to see the rest of the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, because it makes its world debut at an event in Hollywood, California on March 17. Hopefully Hyundai can come through with the event, given recent cancellations of international auto shows over Coronavirus concerns. Hey, Hyundai could always just repeat this digital photo drop with actual photos of the new sedan. We’ll be waiting.