Hyundai's Lantra replacement makes its world debut in Turin before going on sale across Europe in the summer. The car will be called Elantra throughout Europe and Avante in South Korea.
It's the second time in recent years that Hyundai has chosen Turin to introduce a mainstream model. The Sonata was launched at Turin in 1998.
Korean marques have been rapidly gaining market share in Italy by undercutting Fiat, particularly in the small-car segment.
The new Elantra will offer a choice of two 1.5-liter, double overhead camshaft, 16-valve engines. The entry-level unit produces 95hp at 5500 rpm and a more powerful version produces 108hp at 5800 rpm.
A 2.0-liter, 147hp engine will power the top-of-the-range model. A turbodiesel is expected to follow late in 2001.
Styled in-house by Hyundai, the Elantra's design is based closely on the larger Sonata.