2019 Hyundai Elantra Facelift: Review
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The Hyundai Elantra has undergone some rather sharp changes for the facelift, including an update to the engine. But can these additions up its game to match the rivals?
The Elantra is Hyundai’s flagship sedan in the country. And that gives it the responsibility to lead the lineup. With the 2019 update, the Elantra is packing a radical new look, more features and only a BS6 petrol engine. Can these changes help it lead the charge? We put the flagship petrol-automatic through a road test to find out the same.
Car Tested: Hyundai Elantra SX(O) AT
Price: Rs 20.39 Lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)
The 2012 Elantra is arguably the most beautiful Hyundai, if not of all executive sedans, to grace Indian roads. Its evolution in 2016, and now in 2019 have been more controversial. The new design uses sharp lines to form triangles in the headlamps and turn indicators at the front. Just the front.
However it might look, the details in the design are still painstaking. The quad LED projector headlamps are neatly aligned below an angular streak of LED DRLs which extend all the way into the grille. These look particularly good at night, especially in a parking lot.
Move to the side, and the Elantra shows class. Itis 50mm longer than before. And for a mere facelift, that’s quite a bit. Given that the other dimensions have remained the same, the Elantra looks more elegant. The smooth tuck of the bonnet and the swooping roofline gives it a well rounded stance. The 16-inch wheels are new as well but we would have better appreciated a dual-tone design because…
The new rear bumper features a gloss black finish for the registration plate, which extends all the way to the reflectors. Similar elements in the wheel would have given it even more attitude. The attention to details continues in the taillamps, with sharp LED elements forming an intricate design. The rest, however, is quite plain and classy, apart from that camera placement that sticks out like a sore thumb. Overall, the front of the Elantra might divide opinions but the rest of the car is easy on the eyes.
Like the front and rear of the car, there is a divide between the exterior and the interior of the Elantra as well. Stepping in it immediately takes you 10 years back to an era when luxury cars packed charm and class, not just screens and gadgets. This doesn’t mean you are deprived of the latter but rather that they are well blended.
The dashboard layout is pretty old-school with a black top and a beige bottom, a change from the all-black dashboard of the pre-facelift car. The car doesn’t shy away from quality materials as well, with the black plastic offering a soft touch and well finished silver accents on the vents and dashboard. However, the bottom half leaves a bit to be desired in terms of premiumness.
The steering wheel is new as well and looks quite handsome with tactile controls. The new MID packs a colour display and offers a plethora of easy to digest information. My favourite is the parking sensor display whose output is synced with the speakers. When the front left sensor fires up, the output is via the front left speaker alone. Neat! It also has a cool display for the SMART drive mode that lets you know which mode you are currently driving in. The screen also has a display for the tyre pressure monitoring system, a new addition in the 2019 facelift.
The seating is relatively low, like a sedan should be. But you always have the option to increase the height of the seat by the push, or rather pull of a button. The driver gets a 10-way adjustment including lumbar as well. The passenger, however, gets no such option. The seats are dressed in perforated leather to allow the ventilated seats to work, a godsend in the Indian summer.
Also, you now get a wireless phone charger which can hold the biggest of phablets you can throw at it, dual-zone climate control, a 12V socket along with a USB charger, sunroof and a pleasing Infinity sound system. The touchscreen too is very Hyundai-like, in a good way, and offers connected car tech as well.
But, there are a few missing features which hold back the overall charming experience of the cabin -- like a manual day/night IRVM, manual toggled for the boot and fuel cap, and no one-touch windows for the passengers. Silly misses.
Passengers at the back will appreciate the Elantra for its focus on the things which matter. The seats offer good cushioning and the backrest angle makes for a relaxed rear seat drive. Under-thigh support is plenty and you can happily spend long hours in this seat. Seating three abreast is relatively comfortable as well. Its shortcoming lies in the limited headroom for taller passengers and the lack of rear-seat features. You only get rear AC vents and armrest with cupholders. No charging ports, no reading lights, no one-touch windows, nothing.
A big boost to the 2019 Elantra’s lineup has been the safety kit. 6 airbags are now offered as standard. You also get ABS with EBD, front and rear parking sensors, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and ISOFIX child seat mounts. The India-specific car is yet to be tested by the NCAP for a crash test score.
420 litres is ample space for the biggest of your airport bags. In our test, the Elantra managed to engulf all three of our suitcases plus two carry bags, with still space for more. Check!
Engine and performance
The Elantra’s 2.0-litre petrol engine has been a delight to drive in the past. This time though, lab coats have fiddled with the setup to make it BS6-compliant. Naturally, the question arises: has the experience or performance been downgraded?
The answer is a loud and resounding no. In fact, in our test numbers, the 2019 Elantra is faster than the 2016 Elantra by a very short margin. Not just that, it has proven to be more frugal as well. The engine takes on city duties with enthusiasm as there is loads of torque in the mid range. Go past 2000rpm and the engine comes alive. Not in a stain-your-pants way, but rather in a linear and controlled fashion. There is always enough power to fight for gaps or quick overtakes in the city.
The drive modes further help your driving mannerisms by changing the throttle response, steering weight and the way the gearbox behaves. While Eco, Normal and Smart offer a pleasant drive, even while going a little hard on the paddle, Sport feels too jerky and enthusiastic between bumpers. Drive sensibly and you too can manage 11.17kmpl in the city.
The transmission offers quick and smooth gear changes, even when you are a little heavy on the gas paddle. It shoots from 0-100kmph in 10.66s, which is impressive. Kickdown from 20-80kmph too takes just 6.21s. Both these numbers are better than the Civic and Corolla Altis, but nowhere close to the Octavia.
Get on a highway and the Elantra comes into its element. The engine rests at just 2200rpm at 100kmph in the 6th cog and offers a relaxed, sound-free drive. This is the reason it could deliver an impressive 16.28kmpl. There is plenty of juice left to go beyond 100kmph as well and the Elantra can manage much higher speeds all day with ease.
Ride and handling
If the Elantra had to show off one of its strengths, it would easily be the ride quality. Poised, silent and superbly comfortable. Inside the city, the Elantra makes work of the speed breakers and potholes. In fact, it gives you the confidence to take them head-on, even at higher speeds. The suspension is quick to settle after a bump and all of this happens without making a sound. If it’s ride comfort you are looking for, the Elantra scores highly. Even on highways, the ride remains planted and lets you carry triple-digit speeds with confidence. It comes very close to the CIvic, which is high praise.
In the handling department as well, the Elantra impresses. It darts into corners and the chassis is well balanced to carry decent speeds as well. Body roll is well controlled and hardly bothers you, or the passengers. The limiting factor, however, is the steering feedback. It weighs up nicely at speed but there is a disconnect from the tyres. This holds you back from exploiting the true potential of the chassis and suspension.
The Elantra has a tough set of rivals, but it always had price on its side to add to its case. The Rs 1.5 lakh hike in the asking price has reduced that affect. Still, at Rs 20.39 lakh, it offers a good blend of quality, comfort, features, sportiness and, well… looks. But to strike this delicate mechanical balance, it fails to please your heart in ways the Octavia and the Civic do.
However, if your car-buying decisions are not made by your heart, but higher up in your body, things become much simpler. Despite the minor missing features, the Elantra delivers great value. It will keep the family safe and comfortable, keep you engaged in features and offers a comfortable daily drive. So if you are looking for an executive sedan, the Elantra deserves to be checked out.