The compact sedan segment or the C-segment of the Pakistani automotive market has, for the longest time, been ruled by only two vehicles — the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic.
Nonetheless, vehicles like the Mitsubishi Lancer, the Nissan Sunny, the Kia Spectra, and the Chevrolet Optra among others have attempted to compete in this segment over the last two decades but failed to attract as much desirability as the veterans of the Pakistani automobile industry.
The C-segment finally has a third option — the 6th generation Hyundai Elantra that was unveiled for the first time at the PAPS auto show 2020 in February and received a positive reaction from the masses with its modern looks.
The Elantra was debuted on 21 March and was made available for booking on 22 March, but is it a strong enough player to compete with the established ones? Let us compare the trio and find out:
The 11th generation Toyota Corolla has been available in Pakistan for a fairly long time and has always been considered an average-looking car mainly because it is a common sight on the roads and has a relatively pedestrian design.
It is available with a pair of modern LED projector headlights which include DRLs that are highly effective in the dark. The front features a chrome grille that spans over the headlights and giving the car a stylish look. Other than that, the design is fairly simple.
On the sides are 16-inch alloy wheels, body-colored door hands, and smoothly-designed doors that contribute to a clean look.
The back also has a smooth design that adds to the subtle look, but the chrome trim piece on the trunk lid and the new taillight design make the rear pop.
The Corolla is offered with an ‘X’ appearance package whereby it is outfitted with bumper extensions and a few interior upgrades that add flair to the overall design. However, one might argue that the X package compromises its clean and subtle look and character.
Unlike its Japanese rival, Honda took the opposite direction with the design of the Civic, and the vehicle brims with sharp lines and sporty styling cues that are intended to appeal to a more enthusiastic crowd.
The front features a sharp pair of projector or LED headlights (depending on the variant), a bold front grille, and a distinctive bonnet design with sharp lines all across.
The sides have a sportback-like design with a swooping tail and sleek profile that look even more aggressive with the sharp line that cuts across them. The 16-inch alloy rims also add to the sportiness of the design.
The razor-sharp design continues at the back with a pair of sharply-designed taillights, an aggressive bumper design with a pair of reflectors and fake vents, and a short tail that gives the impression of a sporty 4-door coupe, while adding to the Civic’s sporty and cutting-edge look.
Hyundai seems to have attempted to strike a balance between sporty and elegant with the 6th generation Elantra. The car features wedge-like headlight, front bumper, front grille, and taillight designs that complement its smooth and round silhouette, making it look fairly handsome.
The headlamps are Dynamic LED Quad Projectors that include sharp, triangular Daytime Running Lights to enhance the front. Following the current trend among automakers these days, the Elantra features a huge hexagonal front grille that gives it some assertiveness.
While the sides feature side-mirrors with integrated turn signals, the most noticeable aesthetic element is the chrome door-handles that give the Elantra a regal look. Embedded in the door handles are lights that give the car a high-end feel while also being useful in the dark.
The back has a cutting-edge tail light design accompanied by neat, checkmark-shaped reflectors at the bottom of the bumper. The car also features a glass antenna on the roof to give it a classier look besides capturing better radio signals.
Overall, the 6th generation Hyundai Elantra is a robust-looking sedan that exudes a modern look despite being a generation old.
The interior is clean and attractively laid out, but considering its price point, it is filled with too much plastic. The silver and piano-black trim-pieces around the center control stack, on the steering wheel, and other places lend a slightly more stylish look to the interior.
The seats are dressed in leather, and the sitting position is angled sharply up. The cabin is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate either a young family of five (two adults and three children), or four adults, but passengers over six feet tall may struggle with the insufficient headroom in the rear seat.
The boot space is 470 liters, which is less than the Yaris’s boot capacity of 476 liters.
Here, the Civic remains on the ‘not-so-modern’ end of the spectrum. Although the quality of the build and the materials are put together reasonably well, the design of the interior comes off as a couple of generations old. The layout is simple and intuitive with all the pertinent elements in the driver’s and passenger’s direct lines of sight.
The back seats are roomy even in terms of headroom despite the vehicle having a downward-swooping design at the back. Since there is a hump in the middle of the floor in the back and the middle seat has been placed a bit higher, the middle passenger will not be comfortable on long journeys unless it is a little child.
The boot space is 355 liters, which seems tiny as the Civic is quite a big car.
Although it has many features, the design of the interior seems to be quite old, especially when compared to the 7th generation Elantra that has just been released worldwide.
Other than that, the Elantra has a roomy and modest interior with ample tech-features and clean aesthetics like a silver trim, a combination of cream and black leather, panels and seats, a smart instrument cluster, and a simple and user-friendly center control stack.
The Elantra is a moderately roomy car. However, as it is a compact sedan, it has plenty of room for two fully-grown adults in the back. It can also seat three passengers in the back, but only for short distances.
Its trunk capacity is 407 liters, which is also not too big considering the car’s overall size.
Weight and Dimensions
Given that all three vehicles are C-Segment compact sedans, they have certain similar proportions. Here is what is known about their proportions:
|Measurements||Toyota Corolla||Honda Civic||Hyundai Elantra|
|Wheel Base||2,700 mm||2,700 mm||2,700 mm|
|Overall Width||1,775 mm||1,799 mm||1,800 mm|
|Overall Length||4,620 mm||4,630 mm||4,620 mm|
|Overall Height||1,475 mm||1,433 mm||1,450 mm|
|Ground Clearance (Unladen)||140 mm||153 mm||167 mm|
|Kerb Weight (Top-Trim)||1,275 kg||1,282 kg||1,255 kg|
The Corolla can be had with one of two engine options – the base 1.6 litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 120 hp and 154 Nm of torque, or a bigger 1.8 litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 138 hp, and 173 Nm of torque. The former can be mated to a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic, and the latter can be mated to a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed CVT automatic transmission.
The suspension setup consists of MacPherson struts in the front and a Torsion Bar Coil-Spring suspension at the back. The front also has ventilated disc brakes with an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) technology, and solid discs at the back.
The claimed fuel economy of the 1.6 is between 12 km/liter and 14 km/liter, and that of the 1.8 is claimed to be between 9 km/liter and 13 km/liter, which can vary depending on the manner in which the Corolla is driven.
The Civic can also be had with one of two engine options – the base 1.8-liter, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 138 hp and 169 Nm of torque, or a more powerful 1.5-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes a healthy 173 hp and 220 Nm of torque. Both the engines are mated to a 7-speed CVT Automatic Transmission.
The car’s suspension setup consists of MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link Coil-Spring suspension at the back. The Civic also has ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels with Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) technology.
The claimed fuel economy of the 1.8 is between 12 km/liter and 14 km/liter, and that of the 1.5 Turbo is claimed to be between 9 km/liter and 13 km/liter.
The vehicle can be had with only one engine option — a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder gasoline-powered engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that is capable of generating about 154 hp and 195 Nm of torque which is quite impressive for a naturally-aspirated engine.
The Elantra has ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), an Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist (BA) technology. Regarding the suspension setup, it has McPherson Struts in the front and a Torsion bar coil-spring suspension at the back.
Its fuel economy is claimed to be between 12 km/liter to 15 km/liter which is arguably an optimistic figure with its naturally-aspirated 2000cc engine.
Specs and Features
This comparison between the top variants is only to determine the complete range of features that they offer. The following are the specs and features of all three:
|Specs and Features||Toyota Corolla Altis Grande||Honda Civic RS Turbo||Hyundai Elantra GLS|
|Central Power Door Locks||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Immobilizer System and Burglar Alarm||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Daytime Running Lights||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced Gauge Cluster with a Digital Screen||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|12 Volt Socket||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Outside Rear View Mirror Electric Folding||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Keyless Entry and Push Start||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Steering Wheel Multimedia-Control Switches||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adjustable Steering Wheel||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ISO Fix Child Seat Anchors||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Climate Control||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear AC Vents||No||Yes||Yes|
Although all the competitors are quite evenly matched, the Elantra has a massive disadvantage on account of having only one trim level. The following are the prices of all the trim-levels of the three cars:
- Toyota Corolla
- 1.6 Altis X M/T: PKR. 3,219,000
- 1.6 Altis X A/T: PKR 3,369,000
- 1.8 Altis X M/T: PKR 3,555,000
- 1.8 Altis X CVT: PKR 3,705,000
- 1.8 Altis Grande X CVT Beige Interior: PKR 3,985,000
- 1.8 Altis Grande X CVT Black Interior: PKR 4,005,000
- Honda Civic
- 1.8 i-VTEC CVT: PKR 3,729,000
- 1.8 Oriel i-VTEC CVT: PKR 3,979,000
- 1.5 VTEC Turbo Oriel: PKR 4,449,000
- 1.5 VTEC Turbo RS: PKR 4,699,000
- Hyundai Elantra
- 2.0 GLS: PKR 4,049,000
All three cars are closely matched in terms of their specs, features, and performances, which implies that they offer similar values. Hyundai owners can benefit just a little bit more from a better warranty than the others, but apart from that, the decision of making a choice boils down to which car a potential buyer likes the most despite the similarities.
This should also be a matter of concern for the Hyundai Nishat because the new product does not provide enough reason to disregard the established products in the market for a completely new and untested one.
The new cars that preceded the Elantra were either much cheaper than their alternatives or were better equipped, which made them massively popular upon being launched. The Elantra seems to have none of their appeal other than the fact that it looks different.
As long as the Elantra does not get more variants that are cheaper than its rivals or offer significantly better value, its fate remains uncertain in the local market that is dominated by Japanese compact sedans that offer almost the same value, have large dealership networks, are easy to maintain, and are instantly liquifiable due to their much stronger resale values.