The new Hyundai Elantra has been named as the 2021 North American Car of the Year. The win secured by the CN7, which made its debut last March, makes it the second time the nameplate has won the North American COTY award, the first being with the fifth-gen in 2012. It is also the automaker’s third COTY title.

The 50-strong jury picked the seventh-gen Elantra ahead of the two other finalists, the Nissan Sentra and Genesis G80. Judging was based on points such as segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for money.

In the US, the Elantra is available in both petrol and hybrid guise. Petrol models are powered by a 2.0L MPI Atkinson Cycle engine with 147 hp at 6,200 rpm and 179 Nm of torque at 4,500 RPM. The mill is paired with the company’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), its in-house developed and produced CVT with eight virtual speeds.

Meanwhile, the Elantra Hybrid features a smaller 1.6 litre GDI Atkinson-cycle four-pot, which works with a permanent-magnet electric motor delivering 43 hp (32 kW). Combined system output is 139 hp and up to 264 Nm of torque, with drive sent to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Elantra is also available here in Malaysia. The car made its official debut last month, arriving here in a single high-spec 1.6 litre variant form. The fully-imported model is priced at RM158,888 on-the-road without insurance but with sales tax exemption.

The sharp-looking parametric design offering is powered by a Smartstream G1.6 naturally-aspirated MPI mill, which puts out 123 PS at 6,300 rpm and 154 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm, and this is mated to an IVT.

Kit in the local specification includes bi-LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch two-tone alloys wrapped with 225/45 Kumho Ecsta PS71 tyres, a 10.25-inch Supervision LCD colour display and an 8.0-inch unit touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Also on, leather upholstery and mod-cons such as wireless smartphone charging.

Safety-wise, the Elantra comes loaded with a raft of driver assist features, grouped under its SmartSense suite. Items include Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) and Forward Collision Assist Junction.

Also to be found are Blind Spot Collision with Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision (RCCA) with Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Warning, Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA) and Rear Occupant Alert.

GALLERY: 2021 Hyundai Elantra 1.6L IVT, Malaysia-spec

GALLERY: Hyundai Elantra official images, US-spec