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2021 Hyundai Elantra. Photo: Hyundai

This week I'm driving the 2021 Hyundai Elantra, a sharp-looking compact that's now available in a 50-mpg hybrid, too.

The big picture: This is the seventh-generation Elantra, and it raises the bar not just with its sporty design. It's also the first in the segment to offer wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and to let drivers unlock, start and drive the car using their (Android-only) smartphone instead of a physical key.

  • The $25,450 Limited edition even comes with natural language voice commands, something more typical for luxury cars.

Driver-assistance technology: Carmakers are rightly making safety and assisted-driving features standard on even their least expensive models.

  • The Elantra has forward-collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and driver-attention monitor as standard equipment.
  • Hyundai's Safe Exit Alert — which prevents occupants from opening a door into a cyclist's path when parallel parked — is also standard.
  • Adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and a highway drive assist feature are available in higher trim levels.

The bottom line: As small cars go, the Hyundai Elantra has always been one of my favorites. And that's still true with the 2021 model.

Sign up here for my weekly transportation newsletter, Axios Navigate.

Go deeper

Jan 8, 2021 - Economy & Business

What we're driving: 2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Cadillac Escalade's curved OLED screens. Photo: Cadillac

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is by far GM's best, boasting a stunning interior and impressive features that are worthy of a flagship luxury SUV.

The big picture: The Escalade, now in its fifth-generation, has long been popular with athletes and celebrities. But the 2021 model steps up its luxury game, big-time.

32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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