A long convoy of all-new Hyundai Elantras enthralled residents of the Queen City of the South, when Hyundai Automotive Resources Inc. (HARI), the exclusive distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, held a 300-kilometer ride and drive event of the of the new models in the island of Cebu.
Motoring journalists from Manila and Cebu trooped to the newly inaugurated Hyundai Cebu South dealership at the reclamation area for the flag off of the 300-kilometer drive from the metropolis up toward the northernmost tip of the Island in Daanbantayan and back, using 12 all-new Hyundai Elantra GLS Nu 2.0 and the Elantra GL Gamma 1.6 units.
Fresh from the flight from Manila to Cebu, the motoring journalist shuttled to the Hyundai Cebu dealership where HARI president Fe Perez-Agudo and dealer principal Edward Onglatco gave the participants a warm Cebu welcome. A very sumptuous “lechon Cebu” together with the performance of the Sinulog dancers made for a truly genuine Cebu welcome.
Following the hearty lunch, the participants were divided into teams and were assigned specific Elantra models to drive. The first day would entail a 150-kilometer drive from the Hyundai dealership driving westward across the boonies of Balamban, toward the coastline of Santa Cruz – Santo Niño, then northward along the coastal road leading to Daanbantayan.
The first car assigned to us was the top-of-the-line Elantra GLS. The Elantra is quite handsome having balanced proportions and bodywork. From the outside, it looks sensibly sized (for its segment) and the inside as well is sensibly proportioned. After getting through traffic of the Cebu City metropolis, the route became free flowing with lots twists and turns as it carved up through the mountains of Palompon. It was the perfect route to squeeze out the performance out of the all-new Elantra’s 2.0 MPi engine, which has a maximum power output of 152 ps (150 hp) and 19.6 kg-m (192 Newton-meters) of torque. The Elantra’s pulling power was quite impressive as it gave the car more than enough overtaking power to dash from 40-70 kilometers per hour, and while powering out of tight and uphill corners. What was more remarkable was the Elantra’s handling. Thanks to the improved suspension as well as the Advance High Steel-strength (AHS) that the all-new Elantra in now built with, the car is 52-percent more stronger than the previous model giving it a more sportier feel. Taking the zig-zagged roads up the boonies, the Elantra flows with controlled roll from corner to corner, while steering feedback is adequate all throughout the undulating roads. The thing I like most about the Elantra is its brake system. It works extremely well and can stop the car on a dime.
Inside, the instrument panel layout is done pretty well, uncluttered and very intuitive. There are lots of storage spaces under the armrest and in front of the shifter.
The back seat has good legroom, the trunk is spacious, and the new styling, with its fluidic sculpture, looks swift.
After a four-hour drive, we finally reached our destination in Daanbantayan, which is the Kandaya resort. Hyundai prepared a very relaxing day of R&R (rest and relaxation) for the group with entertainment from local bands, to boot.
During our return to Cebu City, we drove the Elantra GL Gamma 1.6 unit that handled just like the 2.0-liter variant except for the less-powerful power train it had. But even with the smaller displacement engine, we were still able to keep up with the GLS models, although we needed a little bit more time to do so.
The Elantra is a good ride and good buy. You actually get more car and performance for its price.