Hyundai’s Elantra has undergone a nip and tuck job as a part of its mid-cycle update and brings with new technology, aside from a wardrobe change. Along the way, it has also dropped the diesel engine while the 2.0-litre petrol engine is now BS-VI compliant. We sample the changes over a short First Drive.
Change is the only constant, this saying couldn’t be more apt in the case of technology. You go to bed thinking you’ve just bought yourself the latest smartphone, only to wake up and realise that an updated model has hit the market.
As you are aware, this tech craze has also had its effect in the automotive market. So we have here, one such example – the updated Hyundai Elantra. This is a mid-cycle update that has given the car a completely revised front and rear end design along with an updated interior that brings with it - new technology!
The technological highlight here is Hyundai’s Bluelink app that makes the Elantra a connected car of sorts and the system can be used to remotely start the engine and cool the cabin. Well, that is when it works. For during the time I had the car, the app refused to load and I got a notification saying that the app failed to register my device on the server.
Anyway, this is a car after all so let’s get on with the actual review!
As mentioned above, for the 2019 model year Hyundai has given the Elantra a once over with completely redesigned front and rear-end styling. Consequently, the front bumper is a new unit featuring some rather sharp design lines, a large grille, an air splitter, along with triangular full-LED headlamps and indicator lamps. The bonnet has also been re-contoured with a mild power dome. It’s the same story around the back where the car gets a new bumper housing the licence plate and reverse lamps, while the tail lights are new and the boot lid is also new with the car’s name splattered across it in big bold alphabets. That pretty much rounds up the exterior styling updates along with a set of new alloy wheels.
Hyundai has revised the interiors of the car by introducing beige upholstery and a dual-tone colour theme for the dashboard and door pads. The dashboard, in fact, has mock carbon fibre styling on the instrument cluster cowl and at the centre of the speedometer and rev counter. This aside, the HVAC panel is new to accommodate a fan speed knob for the dual-zone climate control while the infotainment system features Bluelink connectivity and is hooked up to an eight-speaker Infinity sound system. Some of the handy features worth noting here include the new rearview mirror with emergency call buttons (it isn’t auto-dimming though), the electric driver’s seat with bolster adjust, front-seat ventilation, front parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system and wireless phone charging.
And that rounds up the aesthetic and feature updates for the new Elantra.
Under the skin
Under its new skin, the 2019 Hyundai Elantra is identical to the car it replaces. It has the same underpinnings, suspension setup and powertrain options, apart from the fact that the diesel model has been axed from the India model line-up. Hyundai states that this has been done as demand for petrol was far higher. And with good reason, for the Elantra’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine has always offered good driveability. The only change here is that the engine is now BS-VI compliant. Power and torque output for the engine continue to remain the same at 150bhp @ 6,200rpm of max power and 192Nm @ 4,000rpm of peak torque. And Hyundai continues to offer the petrol Elantra with the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic.
The car we have here is the automatic model. Like earlier, the powertrain feels very refined at city speeds and it is rather quiet too. The torque converter automatic has very smooth shifts and for the most part, gear shifts are absolutely seamless under urban driving conditions. Factor in the light steering and the Elantra automatic truly is a breeze to drive in the city.
The engine has enough power for high runs as well and delivers strong acceleration whenever you need. The car comes with switchable drive modes as earlier and Sport mode is the one you need for highways. There is now a new drive mode called ‘Smart’, this mode cleverly balances between Eco and Sport mode actively based on throttle inputs. It’s actually quite useful in the way it holds gears and manages the revs for a more economical drive even when you are on the highway. Like any automatic gearbox, there is a delay in kickdown acceleration even in Sport mode, but it’s not all that slow. While there is adequate power across the rev range, under kickdown acceleration the engine will start pulling from 4,000 and go all the way to 6,500rpm where a smooth and quick upshift is made. The engine note isn’t too bad either. Overall, thanks to the rev happy engine and smooth shifting gearbox, this is a car that you will enjoy driving both in the city and out on the highway. High speed stability is good too, although high speed braking can make the front end a little nervous and need you to take corrective steering action. Still, the car handles decently and the only complaint here is that the light steering tends to feel numb around high speeds. A better steering setup like more modern Hyundais would definitely make the Elantra more fun to drive.
As is though, the Elantra is a car that’s been set up with all-round comfort in mind. The suspension setup feels firm at high speeds but absorbs bumps fairly well. This combined with the light steering and effortless powertrain makes this a D-segment sedan worth considering. It is fairly practical with a decent amount of ground clearance, it has a big boot and the rear seat offers just about the right amount space as well. So all in all, the Elantra is just as capable in the city as it is out on the highway and over long distance trips.
- Hyundai Elantra
Engine: 1,999cc / 4-Cylinders / DOHC / 16 valves / VTVT
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 150bhp @ 6,200rpm
Torque: 192Nm @ 4,000rpm
Price: Rs. 20.39 (ex-showroom Delhi)
X-factor: A good all-rounder, loaded with equipment, is comfortable and drives well.
Also read - Skoda Octavia vs Hyundai Elantra: Comparison