Avante(Elantra) has various stories. This is not only important in Korean automobile history, but also has clear product awareness; Released in 1990 as Korea’s first semi-midsize sedan, the Avante has been loved by many and has established itself as a major model of Hyundai Motor Company, and has been the most sold domestic car for 33 years through seven generations (marked over 14 million global cumulative sales, by 2022).
Going through a generation change here, it has built up its competitiveness in design, powertrain, driving performance, safety, and convenience specifications. So, despite the market’s preference for SUVs, the Avante is attracting domestic and foreign consumers with the value and marketability that only sedans can show. In addition, it has won various awards in major markets around the world, and is improving its reputation by getting praised by leading global automobile media and consumers.
As such, Avante, which has global influence, has become more notable after the recent facelift. Then, three automobile columnists looked into why Avante is so loved and what consumers who are considering Avante should know about. Columnist Suh In-soo, who has been obsessed with sedans, columnist Park Ho-joon of the MZ generation, who has a son, and columnist Kim Ki-beom, who has extensive experience in automotive journalism, talked about the Avante.
Four out of the top 10 domestic cars sold in Korea last year were SUVs. Two of the remaining six cars were small commercial trucks, so half of them were SUVs, and this proves the popularity of SUVs. However, Hyundai Motor Company’s trio sedans, the Grandeur, Avante, and Sonata, are also in the rankings. This means that even in the midst of the popularity of SUVs, the popularity of sedans is still the same. When SUV popularity skyrocketed, people said sedans were in crisis. But the Hyundai sedan trio has never been hit with one; And maybe it’s because there are still many people like me.
My first car was a compact sedan, then a semi-midsize sedan. Now I ride a semi-large sedan. So, I am a ‘sedan-person’ who has owned only sedans for nearly 20 years. The biggest reason for sticking to the sedan is the quiet cabin and comfortable ride. Unless you put a diesel engine on it or focus on sporty driving performance, the sedan is generally quiet and comfortable.
Today’s test drive, The New Avante, demonstrated the advantages of such a sedan. Even when going over 100 km/h on the highway, floor noise or driving noise does not significantly penetrate the first row. Also, the ride is comfortable and smooth like a sedan. I was also impressed with the way it went over speed bumps. If you slow down enough, you can pass gracefully without hearing the accusations of the passengers in the back seat. The steering wheel feels a little light, but not uneasy. For female drivers like me, it’s nice to be able to easily control it.
Then maybe someone will say something like this. “These days, urban SUVs show a comfortable ride as much as a sedan.” That’s right. However, if you consider the price of Avante, where the best trim full of convenience specifications does not exceed 30 million won, you will agree with me. So far, I have tested many SUVs, but I have not met an SUV that costs less than 30 million won that has a comfortable and smooth ride as much as the Avante.
Another advantage of the sedan is stable handling. A sedan with a relatively low center of gravity reassures the driver even when going around corners at high speeds. Compared to SUVs, getting on and off is also an advantage of sedans. In particular, when riding in a large SUV, it is hard enough to describe it as ‘climbing up’. Of course, the Avante basically has a low seat position, and the sides of the seat are bulging, so some people may feel uncomfortable. However, in the modern trim or higher, the seat can be automatically pulled back when the door is opened, making it easier to get in and out.
Many people point out that the downside of sedans is that they have poorer visibility than SUVs. As mentioned earlier, the Avante has a low basic seat position. However, the driver can adjust the height, so if you raise it as high as possible, the view is quite high. In addition, the dashboard is low and the windshield is wide, making it very comfortable. As someone who is used to sedans, it doesn’t feel frustrating at all. Personally, I think the visibility is better than the semi-large sedan I own now.
Another drawback of the sedan is the inefficient trunk. In an SUV, if you fold all the rear seats down, the trunk space is ample. However, the sedan has a limitation in the trunk because the interior and trunk are basically divided. But I rather see this as an advantage. Luggage in the trunk won’t go into the cabin, and you won’t have to worry about the sound coming from the trunk. It is better to separate the trunk and cabin when carrying food with a strong smell, such as kimchi or soy sauce crab.
In addition, the Avante with Comfort I or Inspiration trim can fold the rear seats in a 6:4 ratio, so the trunk can be used more comfortably. Aside from non-folding bicycles, it can house long items such as skis and snowboards. For my lifestyle, where I don’t enjoy auto camping and don’t ride a bike, the trunk of a sedan is enough. Moreover, the Avante has quite a lot of trunk space even without folding the rear seats. No worries about hobbies like golf.
Even while SUVs are trending, sedans are still popular because there are consumers who prefer the advantages of sedans. Avante has all the advantages these people want. It can be anything - the first car in your life, second car, and even the first car. These qualities must have been the key to Avante’s evolution over the past 30 years. Sedans - Avantes - do not disappear. It just evolves.
Written by In-su Seo (Automobile columnist)
Have you ever heard of the term ‘after-card paycheck’? Similar to how office workers often ask, “Before tax or after tax?” when talking about salary, it is a new word that refers to “the remaining salary after paying a credit card bill.” Because of skyrocketing market prices, this means that there is really little left over after paying all the bills. When you have to take care of your wife and children with a small and precious salary even for yourself, it is fortunate if the balance of the ‘after-card paycheck’ does not become a negative number. The reason why I brought up the salary issue out of nowhere is to explain why I bought The New Avante.
When you get married, you make different choices as a married person. When single, I valued style and athletic performance; But after marriage, you look at safety, ride comfort, space size, and convenience specifications. To begin with, as a family man in my 30s, there is no car like the Avante. Not just for practical reasons. I remember what an automotive YouTube channel said; “The car that Hyundai makes best is the Avante.” I agree. The car that I like the most among Hyundai Motor Company’s models right now is the Avante.
Personally, the part where I think the charm of this Avante is concentrated is the face. The ‘parametric dynamics’ design on the front, which has been emphasized since the 7th generation Avante first appeared, has matured in The New Avante. The raised eyeline spreads horizontally, making the car look lower and wider. It has a more calm and firm appearance. The sharp roof line and the clear rear view are also impressive. It is also possible to look stylish by adding ‘Intense Blue Pearl’ color, which is not found in upper class models.
This would be enough luxury for me. Now let’s take a look at the Avante in the ‘daddy mode.’ First of all, the space in the second row is sufficient. There is enough headroom and legroom for an adult male to sit in, so even a seven-year-old son can stretch his legs out. Because of the sharp roofline leading to the trunk, the size of the second-row windows is somewhat small, but to me this is rather an advantage. A 7-year-old creature with no desire to stay still often rolls down the window and sticks out its hand or head. Of course, the child lock prevents the operation of the window, but when I have to travel long distances, I have no choice but to open the window to calm my child. In this case, smaller windows are better.
For the same reason, it’s also satisfying that all trims house rear-seat side airbags, a first in its class. If you can protect your child more from unexpected accidents, that’s enough. If you are a father who is thinking about which trim to buy, I recommend the inspiration trim. Aside from various intelligent safety technologies and full LED headlamps, it uses double-glazed sound insulation glass. It is effective enough even though it is only used on the windshield. The door trim sound-absorbing material is also a hidden key to blocking noise generated while driving.
To this, I strongly recommend adding the Hyundai SmartSense I. Only then can you enjoy ‘Smart Cruise Control’ that includes stop and restart. This feature shines when you need to urgently look after your child while driving (such misfortunes happen more often than you might think). Of course, the smart cruise control does its job even when your legs are weak after playing with a kid with full of energy all day.
A car with an overly heavy steering wheel or an uncomfortable seating position won’t get good grades, in case my wife drives it from time to time. This is why Avante’s speed-sensitive steering wheel is nice. When parking or driving at low speeds, the steering wheel is light enough to be controlled with one finger. On the contrary, when the speed is increased, it presents a fairly stable weight to the driver. It is equipped with a CVT that does not feel the shock of changing gears, so it is much more comfortable in downtown Seoul where you have to go and stop repeatedly.
Avante clearly penetrates a certain point between a car for me and a car for my family. Of course, if it’s just for me, a two-door sports car or convertible might be better. However, I get a lot of warm emotions and memories from my family that can’t even compare to the pleasure that such a car gives. We call it the driving force of life; And Avante is a reasonable choice to keep the driving force alive.
Park Ho-joon (Editor of Esquire magazine)
Avante has sold more than 14 million units worldwide since its debut in 1990. This record is the best among models since Hyundai Motor Company was established. Among the cumulative sales of 15 million units that Hyundai Motor Company achieved in the US market last year, Avante (local name Elantra) marked first place with 3.53 million units.
In fact, Avante was closely chasing Toyota Corolla, the strong player in the segment. However, through steady evolution, it has now become a global bestseller. The result is the Avante (code name CN7) released in 2020. The 7th generation Avante is recognized around the world enough to be selected as the ‘North American Car of the Year’ in 2021. This is the second award after Avante (code name MD) in 2012.
This test drive is The New Avante, which has recently undergone a facelift. It just refined its appearance, but when placed side by side with the current Avante, the difference is clear. The key is a low and wide sense of proportion. The top of the eyes and grill are lowered to give a sharp impression. The rear bumper also widened the lower part, giving it a raised tail shape.
Avante is a pioneer who created the ‘semi-midsize’ genre, which means ‘close to the mid-size car class’. All car classes are steadily growing in size, so you may not be aware of it, but now it is bigger than the Sonata of the past. Compared to the Sonata II (code name Y3) in 1995, when the second-generation Avante (code name J2) debuted, the length, width, and height as well as the wheelbase have increased. If you get out of the segment table, ‘Avante is a small car’ would be only a prejudice.
In fact, Avante has plenty of space. In particular, the back seat is enough to take care of your beloved family. It is on a different level from its competitors, who regard both rear seat space and convenience features as extras only because they are used less often. Furthermore, by tilting the backrest slightly back, headroom was secured while the roof was made as smooth as that of the coupe.
Avante, which blurs the boundaries of ‘semi-midsize’, is consistent even in the chassis. Based on the Hyundai Motor Group’s 3rd-generation platform, it can digest up to the high-performance version, Avante N. The chassis, which generously exceeds the powertrain, leads to a relaxed driving feeling throughout. The light and solid body gives comfort to the suspension, and the lowered center of gravity leads to neat and stable behavior.
A chassis with plenty of power is comfort, not just stimulation. It’s been a long time since I’ve waited for a semi-midsize sedan that neighbors can easily buy and ride to develop to a certain level. In addition, the test drive was a 1.6L Smartstream engine, so it was even more impressive. Expectations for the Avante N, which has not yet been experienced, have grown.
In fact, semi-mid-sized cars were created by the pattern of consumers buying larger cars in line with the increase in income. However, in the 7th generation, the Avante took a step forward in the class of’semi-midsize car’ created by itself. In other words, it shows off its presence in itself, not as a stepping stone connecting small and medium-sized cars. Avante has developed its own value; Like the record of cumulative sales of 14 million units.
As we have seen so far, Avante contains rich and colorful stories. Columnist SIn-soo Seo said, “Avante has a distinct charm unique to sedans,” from a personal point of view of preferring sedans, and columnist Park Ho-joon, a young father in his 30s, said, “Avante has excellent value as a family car.” In addition, columnist Kim Ki-beom introduced Avante’s reputation and marketability in the global market; This is the reason why Avante has been constantly loved by domestic and foreign consumers for the past 33 years. Everyone in Avante hopes that the location will continue unchanging in the future.
In-su Seo (Automobile columnist)
He has been an editor for the Korean version of 〈Motor Trend〉 for over 10 years, and is currently working as an automotive columnist.
Hojun Park (Editor of Esquire magazine)
After working as an editor for the Korean version of 〈CAR〉 and the Korean version of 〈Motor Trend〉, he is now creating content for men in the Korean version of 〈Esquire〉.
Kibeom Kim (Editor-in-Chief of Road Test)
Starting with the editor of 〈Car Life〉 in 2000, he worked at 〈Strata〉 and is currently the editor-in-chief of 〈Road Test〉. He is also a member of the jury for the ‘Car Design Awards’ and ‘Future Mobility of the Year’.
Edited by Injoo Lee
Photography by Jinho Choi
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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