Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) have brought in a partner variant to the South Korean automaker’s 7th-generation Elantra. Prior to this, the C-segment contender was available as a sole high-spec 1.6 Premium.
The new 1.6 Executive, which is also fully imported, brings plenty of the niceties from its spec-brimmed sibling, albeit with some omissions, to sharpen the barrier of entry to an introductory price of RM139,888.
To an onlooker, unaware of the nearly RM20k price gulf, he or she will be hard pressed to spot any obvious differences to split these two variants as their exteriors are nearly identical. Both share the flashy 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, angular design, and even the same exterior colours: Polar White, Amazon Grey, Electric Shadow, and Intense Blue.
In terms of performance, here again, both variants are impossible to tell apart. Both use Hyundai’s new 1.6-litre Smartstream naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine for 123PS and 154Nm mated to the company’s in-house intelligent variable transmission (IVT) with 8 preset override ratios.
The real meat of the omissions is found on the Elantra’s interior. Here, the lower-rung Executive has swapped out the plush leather seats with power adjustment for those with fabric upholstery and manual adjustment. The wireless smartphone charging pad and electrochromic rear-view mirror have also been axed, so you’re more prone to being dazzled by someone’s shoddily installed headlights.
Ahead of the driver, the fully digital instrument cluster has been replaced with a more traditional analogue gauge, though they still managed to squeeze in a 4.2-inch multi-info display. Luckily, both share the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system above the centre stack, supporting both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Obviously, the Elantra 1.6 Premium’s suite of active safety (Hyundai SmartSense) features could not have been retained in full, so the Executive manages with the included 6 airbags, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and a conventional passive Cruise Control system.
Higher grade features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist, Automatic High Beam, and Adaptive Cruise Control are only accessible via the range-topping Elantra.
“We have received a significant number of interest from customers on the new Elantra and also a preference for lower pricing. As with all fully imported cars, the exchange rate is one of the determining factors for the price of the car,” said Mr. Low Yuan Lung, Managing Director of HSDM.
“The Elantra is a completely built-up unit that is fully imported from Korea, therefore the exchange rate does affect how we price the car. Having said that, we would still like to make the Elantra accessible to all our customers with the introduction of this new variant,” he added.