The fifth-generation Avante debuted at the 2010 Busan International Motor Show in April 2010. It was codenamed "MD" for the sedan, "UD" for sedans manufactured in the US, and "JK" for the coupe. It featured a 1. 6-L gasoline direct-injection engine, producing 103 kW (138 hp) and 167 Nm (123 lb-ft) torque, mated to a new 6-speed automatic or manual transmission. For markets such as the Middle East, the 1. 6-L engine was a MPI version that delivers 128 hp. The Israeli market received the Elantra, with a 1. 6 GDI 132 hp coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission only. The design continued Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" styling theme first seen in the 2011 Sonata. The new model went on sale in August 2010 in South Korea, and began selling between end of 2010 and early 2011 as a 2011 model. The US version of the fifth-generation Elantra debuted at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. It is powered by a new 1. 8-L Nu engine producing 148 hp (145 hp-PZEV) and 131 lb-ft (130 lb-ft-PZEV). The fuel economy was aided by a low drag coefficient of just 0. 28. The Nu engine block is made of aluminum instead of the previous cast iron.
The Elantra now receives the top ranking, Good, from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in both frontal and side crash tests. It rates Acceptable, the second-best score, in rear tests. Hyundai altered the structure of the doors, so side crash-test scores improved. The Elantra comes with six airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags for the front seats. Safety equipment like stability control and traction control aren't offered on the lowest trim levels, though they're standard on the SE.