Can The Hyundai Elantra Resurrect The Midsize Sedan Segment In India?

Can Hyundai manage another hit with the new Elantra and kickstart the dormant midsize sedan segment or will it be a great product with no takers? Here is what we think.

By Cyrus Dhabhar


1 mins read


Published on August 23, 2016

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  • Hyundai is the second largest manufacturer of cars in India
  • Neither the 3rd nor the 5th gen Elantra achieved much in terms of sales
  • The new-gen Hyundai Elantra could change that
Hyundai is comfortably the second largest manufacturer of cars in India. But though it has always had brisk sales, the Korean manufacturer never really had cars that were truly desirable. Of course, as we all know, all of that changed with the mega salvo from Hyundai that started with the Grand i10, the new i20 and of course, the Creta. And in each of these segments, they have grown to be benchmarks (or near benchmarks) offering phenomenal value for money with a healthy dose of performance along with a palatable design.

The i20 resurrected the slow moving premium hatchback segment that already had a bunch of competent cars. The Creta repeated the process by showcasing how the Indian audience did not mind paying a premium for a compact SUV that was high on quality and gadgetry but was not typically butch and in-your-face in terms of design. So, can it do the same with the slow-moving midsize sedan segment? India did get the third generation as well as the fifth generation Elantra but neither could really do much in terms of sales despite being extremely capable cars in their own right.

New Hyundai Elantra
New-Gen Hyundai Elantra

In fact, the last gen (or fifth gen) Elantra was head and shoulders above the competition when it came to gadgetry and the fact that it had cooled seats was enough to get us to recommend one to buyers. But, with its Fluidic 1.0 design out of sync with the likes of the Elite i20 and the Grand i10 (and later the Creta), it was always left out of the running when it came to actual buying decisions. The new one looks much smarter with the Fluidic 2.0 design, has a whole bunch of gadgets that really set the benchmark in the segment and is well built. So what really seems to be the problem with the segment as a whole?

Well, the answer is quite obvious. For the average Indian who is upgrading from the likes of a premium hatchback or a family sedan (like the Honda City), bigger is better! And this is why an overwhelming majority will choose to buy an SUV instead of the conventional sedan (which was the norm about 10 or so years ago). But, we do think that the Hyundai Elantra could change this and swing the popularity pendulum back into the sedan's favour. For starters, the uncertainty of whether or not large diesel engines (or diesel engines in general) will be allowed in major metros has shown a huge shift towards petrol engines (and more importantly, petrol automatics).

Conventionally, SUVs have never been seen as petrol powered vehicles and thus there are a number of people who will want to shift to a more conventional solution like the petrol sedan. The Elantra, then, is the right car for the right time. With prices similar (broadly) to the likes of the top of the line Creta, we predict a shift towards people re-considering these sedans once again. Yes, it will have stiff competition from the likes of the evergreen Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta and Skoda Octavia but we think its biggest rival will be the soon to be launched Honda Civic. And since it will soon be exactly three years since the latest Honda City was launched, the Hyundai Elantra is in the best position to get a jumpstart over the Civic and capitalise on buyers who are now looking for an upgrade.

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