CarsDirect Review

2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Review

, Automotive Editor -

All-new look: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is an all-new model that moves away from the vanilla sedan and brings in a spicier note. Along with this new look comes an updated powertrain, new technology, a new cabin, and tons of other updates.

Find out below if this is enough to put the Elantra Hybrid atop the small collection of small hybrid sedans available.

Sharp redesign, but not everyone will love it: The big news for the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is its full redesign. This new look ushers in a wilder take on the otherwise timid family hybrid sedan design with its sloped nose, wide grille, angular headlights, bold body lines, coupe-like backside, full-width taillight bar, and more. This stylish hybrid sedan is a healthy dollop of rainbow sherbet in a class made of mostly vanilla.

While this is a breath of fresh air, the aggressive design won’t fit every buyer. Those who prefer a more toned-down look will find better options in the Toyota Corolla Hybrid or Honda Insight.

Loads of legroom and interior tech, but iffy interior design: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid offers plenty of legroom at 38 inches. The Honda Insight comes close with its 37.4 inches of rear legroom, but the Corolla Hybrid is way off with just 34.8 inches of rear legroom.

The Elantra Hybrid also has a spacious 14.1-cubic-foot trunk that beats the Corolla Hybrid by a full cubic foot. However, the Insight beats them all at 15.1 cubes.

The 2021 Elantra Hybrid is one of the best in the business in value. Its base SEL trim comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 16-inch wheels, satellite radio, automatic climate control, and more. Move up to the Limited trim, and you get a 10.3-inch touchscreen and gauge cluster, wireless smartphone charging, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, and more. Oddly enough, the Limited trim drops wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in favor of a USB-tethered system.

The Insight leaves us desiring a lot with its standard 5-inch display (not touchscreen), single USB port, Bluetooth, and adaptive cruise control. The base Insight also lacks standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is simply unacceptable today. The Corolla Hybrid gets close with its 8-inch touchscreen, tethered Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control, and adaptive cruise control.

The Elantra Hybrid’s biggest fault is its interior. For all the incredible design work on the outside, the interior feels like Hyundai tried too hard to be edgy initially but lost interest early on. The edginess comes with the unique four-post steering wheel, full-width air vent grille, and rising center console grab bar. Outside of that, the Elantra Hybrid’s cabin is boring stacked on boring.

Buyers seeking more refined cabin designs will find this in the Insight and Corolla. Neither is upscale by any stretch, but there is a lot more symmetry between the interior and exterior.

Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

Middle-of-the-pack power, stellar fuel economy: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a 1.3-kWh battery for 139 horsepower. This combination pairs with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, giving it a more natural feel than the CVTs we’re used to.

The Elantra’s 139 combined hp sits between the 121-hp Corolla and 151-hp Insight, so it’s nothing to write home about. However, what impresses us is its 53 miles per gallon city, 56 highway, and 54 combined. This easily beats the Corolla (53/52/52). The Insight’s 55 mpg city beats the Elantra, but its 49 mpg highway and 52 combined fall far short of the Elantra Hybrid.

Final thoughts: The 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid delivers a breath of fresh air with its daring exterior design that stands out in a crowd. Plus, it delivers excellent fuel economy and tops the charts in standard and optional features. However, that crummy interior design may cause some buyers to pause and look toward the Corolla Hybrid or Insight for a better option.

Check prices for the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid »