New Hyundai Elantra Previewed at South Korean Motor Show

Hyundai may have shown off its next-gen Accent at last week’s Beijing auto show, but the company unveiled its next-generation Elantra — also known as the Avante — today at the Busan motor show in South Korea.

“The new Avante encompasses Hyundai’s latest ambitions, featuring the best styling and performance in its class,” said Hyundai’s Steve S. Yang, president & CEO of the Global Business Division. “We’re confident that it will once again redefine the compact segment worldwide.”

Sporting Hyundai’s new “fluidic sculpture” design language, the next-gen Elantra/Avante/Verna is much more attractive than the current model. Foreign models will receive Hyundai’s new 1.6-liter direct injection I-4, which cranks out 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. Mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, Hyundai says the engine will surpass the competition’s fuel economy figures by ten percent.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Hyundai moves the Elantra further upmarket, but Korean models receive some rather spiffy content. Features like HID headlamps, LED taillights, and a LCD information display are available, as are puddle lamps and heated rear seats.

Hyundai has yet to launch the new Elantra here in the U.S., so we’re not entirely certain what features or engines are headed our way. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sonata’s direct-injection 2.0-liter I-4 work its way underhood. Look for more details to emerge later this year, as the new car may launch early next year as a 2012 model.