There are many automotive awards around the world up for the taking every year, but only a select few vehicles have what it takes to clinch the sought after Car of the Year title. The new Hyundai Elantra is a proud member of this elite group, having claimed this accolade not just on local South African soil, but also in the international arena. At the beginning of this year the Elantra was named 2012 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show after facing strong competition from the VW Passat and Ford Focus. Only two months later the Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS clinched the South African Car of the Year for 2012 title.
More than simple good looks
But this is far from being just the automotive industry’s equivalent of a beauty pageant. The Hyundai Elantra wasn’t just judged on its appearance, but had to beat the competition in a range of stringent pre-set criteria in order to be voted the most outstanding new vehicle of the year. Factors taken into account include comfort, handling, design, safety, driver satisfaction, innovation and of course, value for money. By the end of 2011, a total of 10 finalists were selected and announced in the media. And earlier this year these top vehicles were subjected to a thorough 2-day evaluation at the Gerotek test facility near Pretoria. The Car of the Year Jury, made up of the country’s top full time motoring journalists, each received 25 points in total to allocate to no less than 3, or more than 5 of the finalists. The end result? A landslide win for Hyundai with the Elantra’s final score totaling 230 points compared to the runner-up Kia Picanto’s 155 points and 3rd place VW Jetta’s 141 points.
A showroom favourite
Though even prior to its South African Car of the Year announcement, the Hyundai Elantra already proved to be a showroom favourite. Besides its striking appearance echoed by the brand’s trademark fluidic sculpture design language, it also boasts a host of luxurious features and finishes throughout. The range offers a choice between a manual 1.6 GLS as well as a 1.8 GLS with manual and automatic transmission options. Both petrol-driven engines offer exceptional power along with surprisingly low fuel consumption figures. Top-end safety measures along with a long list of convenience features come standard and with a price tag starting at the mere R200k mark, you’re assured of a great value buy. After all, the Elantra has the title to prove it.