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2019 Hyundai Elantra Review

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra may be the biggest small car you’ll ever see, with interior and cargo volumes to rival some midsize cars. Along with its stylish exterior and well-appointed interior, the Elantra continues to do what it has always done so well: offer value and features uncommon to the class, at a price that seems almost impossible. From its modern connectivity features to its advanced driver assist systems, the Elantra continues to put pressure on the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, the Chevrolet Cruze and the Nissan Sentra.

With the Elantra, even basic models are well-equipped, and upscale versions are positively luxurious. Plus, every Elantra comes standard with Hyundai’s excellent warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and 10 years/100,000 miles of powertrain protection.

Regrettably, with its latest redesign, the Elantra is no longer the price leader of the segment, which means you may pay a little more to get the Elantra’s excellent upgrades. More importantly, it competes in a segment with a number of well-established challengers, meaning you’ll want to shop the competition before signing the papers, no matter how much you like the Elantra.

What’s New for 2019?

For 2019, the Elantra gets a mild refresh, touting a new front grille, trunk lid, wheel designs, taillights and front fenders. SEL and higher trims gain new driver-assist systems, while base cars get a 5-in color audio screen, a rearview camera and steering wheel controls for Bluetooth and audio on the SE manual. Limited models gain an Infinity audio system and Qi wireless charging. See the 2019 Hyundai Elantra models for sale near you

What We Like

High-end grown-up cabin; comfortable seats; smooth driving experience; long list of features

What We Don’t

Styling not as radical as some; certain safety features not standard on base car

How Much?

$18,020-$27,000

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra is offered with three engine options. Base-level SE, SEL, Value and upscale Limited models come with the sedan’s 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which is offered with a 6-speed manual (SE only) or a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with the stick shift, or up to 29 mpg city/38 mpg hwy with the automatic.

Meanwhile, the fuel-efficient Elantra Eco touts a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 128 hp. This model, which is only offered with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, gets 32 mpg city/40 mpg hwy.

The Sport trim is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy with the 6-speed manual is rated at 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, while the 7-speed automatic attains 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The latest Hyundai Elantra is offered in six trim levels: SE, SEL, Value, fuel-efficient Eco, Sport and upscale Limited.

The base-level SE ($18,020) comes standard with air conditioning, a 6-speaker sound system, power accessories (windows, mirrors and locks), a 60/40 split-folding back seat, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, a 5-in color touchscreen radio with rear backup camera and six speakers.

If you opt for the automatic transmission ($1,000) it will get you cruise control.

The SEL ($20,320) adds 16-in alloy wheels, a 7-in touchscreen radio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, cruise control, 4-wheel disc brakes, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Value ($21,320) adds a power sunroof, LED daytime running lights, a hands-free power trunk opener, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated front seats, proximity key with push-button start and dual illuminated vanity mirrors.

The Eco ($21,870) builds on the Value but substitutes a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, unique 15-in alloy wheels and a unique 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Sport ($23,520) gains a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, 18-in alloy wheels, multi-link rear suspension, sport tuned suspension, a sport front grille, a sport rear diffuser, a power sunroof, LED headlights, leather sport front seats, sport instrument gauge cluster, a hands-free smart trunk release and a black headliner. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional.

Topping the range is the Limited ($26,879), which adds 17-in alloy wheels, leather seats, a 7-in touchscreen audio system, a Qi wireless charging pad, an 8-speaker Infinity sound system, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, auto high-beam assist and dual-zone climate controls.

Optional on the Sport is the Premium package ($2,250) that adds navigation with an 8-in touchscreen, an 8-speaker Infinity audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, the full Blue Link suite of service for three years and dual automatic temperature control.

Optional on the Limited is the Ultimate Package ($3,350), which adds a power sunroof, an 8-in center touchscreen, navigation, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and driver memory settings.

Safety

Standard safety features on all models are anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags and traction control with stability control and a backup camera, while SEL and higher trims gain rear cross-traffic alert system and blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning.

In government crash test, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Elantra 4 stars overall, but with a safety concern warning for the rear-seat passenger in the side impact test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Elantra excellent marks in all crash tests and awarded it a Top Safety Pick+ award.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, the Elantra with the base 2.0-liter engine is a mixed bag. Acceleration is only mediocre, as some rivals offer up to 40 more hp. While ride quality, handling and steering are all good, they’re not great, and the Elantra lags behind some more engaging rivals such as the Mazda3 and the latest Honda Civic. Things improve greatly with the 201-hp Sport trim, but that requires an additional couple thousand dollars over the SEL and Value trims.

Overall, however, the Elantra feels a lot more substantial than it really is, mating more mature road manners with its more mature design. It also touts well-shaped seats, predictable handling and a soft, comfortable ride. But it doesn’t stand out as especially fun or exciting to drive. Then again, we suspect most compact car shoppers aren’t looking for a lot of excitement behind the wheel.

As for equipment, we found everything to be well-labeled, easy-to-use and appropriately laid out. The infotainment system is easy-to-use and quick to respond, and we like the fact that it’s easy to get the Elantra with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Our only gripe was that we found the Elantra’s optional lane-keeping assist system to be a little aggressive compared to other systems.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Honda Civic — The Honda Civic is the gold standard for this class, offering an excellent interior, a lot of new equipment, fuel-efficient engines and passenger room galore.

2019 Mazda3 — The Mazda3 is among our favorite compact cars, as it offers sharp handling, sharp styling, excellent fuel economy and a lot of the Elantra’s gadgets, plus available AWD.

2019 Toyota Corolla — The Corolla is not especially sporty or loaded with features, but it gets the job done, touting a comfortable ride and long-lasting durability. Every Corolla also comes standard with a pre-collision system, lane-departure warning, auto high beams and adaptive cruise control.

Used Hyundai Sonata — If you like the Elantra’s equipment and styling but need more space, you should consider a used version of the brand’s midsize Sonata sedan, which feels like a larger version of the Elantra.

Autotrader’s Advice

Picking the best Elantra is hard, but we’d go with the Elantra SEL or Value. Affordable and well-equipped, they are the best values in this lineup. Find a Hyundai Elantra for sale

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