It’s only been two years since Hyundai gave its Elantra compact a wheels-up redesign and the South Korean company has already refreshed the little sedan to give it a more distinctive look.
It’s not hard to see why: this generation of Elantra came along after Honda redesigned its Civic into the refined machine it is today, and Volkswagen’s Jetta sports a new design this year. Clearly, Hyundai felt the Elantra needed an update if it is going to compete against those well-known models.
Not only does the Elantra get new looks, but the entire line now comes standard with air conditioning, making it the least expensive car in Canada to come so equipped. It’s also now cheaper to get Elantra’s SmartSense active safety features and Hyundai has revised the Elantra’s trim structure, replacing L, GL, GLS, SE and Limited with Essential, Preferred, Luxury and Ultimate.
The only part of the car’s exterior carried over from the outgoing model are the front doors. Inside, there’s a revised interior with a new centre stack and gauge cluster. Other new tech adds are available wireless smartphone charging and a segment-first safety exit alarm that prevents the doors from being swung out into traffic when the car is stopped at the curb.
Where many of the Elantra’s competitors use continuously variable transmissions, Hyundai’s automatic is a six-speed; it’s standard in all trims but Essential and Preferred, which start with a six-speed stick. Both transmissions are bolted to a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque.
That engine’s horsepower looks fine next to its competitors’ base engines, but the new Jetta’s turbo four (it also makes 147 hp) boasts a lot more torque; the Honda Civic also uses a turbo motor that generates significantly more performance than the Elantra can muster. Notably, the turbocharged Elantra Sport that arrived in 2018 with its sport sedan-like chassis has yet to move into the new body.
Elantra starts out as a nicely equipped car, fitted with 15-inch steel wheels with covers, heated side mirrors, intermittent wipers, heated six-way manual front seats, six-speaker stereo with 5.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, manual A/C, tilt-and-telescopic steering column and power windows locks and mirrors.
Preferred adds 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, chrome exterior trim, a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control (Essential only gets it with the automatic) and blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert. Preferred trim can also be optioned with active safety kit like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and forward collision warning, a package that also brings passive keyless entry.
Luxury trim upgrades to 17-inch wheels, leather seating, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, BlueLink and adaptive cruise control.
Finally, Ultimate trim gets LED headlights and taillights, eight-way power driver’s seat adjustments, heated rear seats, Android Auto and Apple Carplay smartphone integration in an 8.0-inch touchscreen, auto-dimming rearview mirror and pedestrian detection for the automatic emergency braking system.
Hyundai has yet to publish fuel consumption estimates for the restyled Elantra, but the carried over powertrain suggests they will probably be similar to last year’s figures of 8.3/6.4 L/100 km (city/highway) with the automatic transmission, and 9.3/6.4 with the stickshift.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed