There were no teaser images, no leaks and no spy images. Hyundai surprised us by giving Elantra a thorough update inside and out for the 2019 model year without notice. The changes provide a much sharper design and more technical features to one of the company's most popular models.
This is not a small nip and tuck quickly ordered in response to increasing competition. It's a far-reaching update that brings brand new metal plates from the foreground to the front end. The stylists moved Elantra in a sharper direction by giving it a more chiseled version of Hyundai's ubiquitous cascading grid flanked by large triangular headlights with LED inserts. Triangular fog lights and ripples in the hood give a sporty touch to the design.
The middle part of the car stays the same, but the back comes with a new look light and a new designed pocket lid in bold under the Hyundai emblem. The drive plate therefore moves down from the boot lid to the bumper. Additional light metal wheel models and a wider paint paint palette round out the list of exterior updates.
Inside the tweaks are less obvious because they are mostly tech-related. Hyundai has fitted Elantra with the latest generation of its touchscreen AVN infotainment system. It's faster than before thanks to an upgraded processor, according to the company. Base cars show AVN on a five-inch touchscreen, while more expensive variants benefit from an eight-inch drive. Elantra also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a wireless charger. Even if you add them, you have to move up in the trim hierarchy because they are not available on the base, rental car specification model.
Most Elantra models will leave the factory with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. It makes 147 horsepower of 6,200 rpm and 132 lb with torque at 4500 rpm. The power moves to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission on base cars or a continuous variable gearbox (CVT) at almost every other level of fitness. Elantra Eco remains the economist of the lineup with a smaller, 1.4 liter four that makes 128 hp and 156 lb-ft. of torque. It changes through a seven-stage dual-clutch gearbox. Finally, Elantra Sport designed for drivers who want to spice up their commute, has a 1.6-liter engine of 1.6 liters and a six-step stick.
Hyundai Elantra 2019 will reach showrooms by the end of 2018. It will be offered in six trim levels called SE, SEL, Verdi Edition, Limited, Eco and Sport, respectively. The company will release full price information in the coming months. When it comes to showrooms, Elantra will compete against the widely-popular Toyota Corolla, the high-tech Honda Civic, the Mazda3 and the brand new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.