Hyundai Elantra – Does the 2019 facelift make it better?

There’s no denying the fact that what you see is a proper facelift, but apart from the new bits you see on the outside and inside, the 6th-generation model gets a petrol engine that complies with the new BS6 emission norms and features Hyundai’s Blue Link software, meaning it is now a ‘connected’ car. There won’t be a diesel engine anymore, and while Hyundai hasn’t completely ruled out production of diesel engines, for the time being, the new Elantra will come with a petrol engine only since the demand for executive sedans isn’t much these days. And diesels don’t do just in this segment.

Sharper than before

Looking at it from the front, the new Hyundai Elantra shows off a sharp-looking hexagonal grille with a dimple atop the sharp-looking headlights, featuring four projector lights in each. The LED DRLs are found lower in the bumper and all of these angular lines are found as part of the fog lights and the bumper. The bonnet too, looks sharper with a mild power bulge in the middle. Along the sides, the Hyundai Elantra is the same, barring the new alloy wheels. Move to the rear and you will see an all-new tail section with LED tail lights that look equally sharp along with the lighting signature. The number plate has now been placed on the restyled rear bumper, and on the lower half of the bumper, you’ll notice some black treatment, giving it the look of a diffuser.

A new look

Even on the inside, Hyundai Cars have updated the new Elantra with some noticeable changes and of course, more features. The steering wheel is new but it doesn’t feel solid to grip. What’s also new is the HVAC console, along with three dial controls. The ambience is so much better and the updated materials and colours look great with the carbon-fibre-like finish atop the instrument panel. However, there are still some bits we found a bit too plasticky. As far as the features are concerned, the Hyundai Elantra packs in a premium 8-speaker Infinity music system, front parking sensors and a tyre pressure monitoring system, wireless charging, 6 airbags etc. The seats are comfortable. However, ingress and egress are a bit of an issue, particularly for the elders. You also get cooled front seats and powered driver’s seat.

Petrol only, please

There are loads of BS6-compliant cars plying on our roads, with a major lot of them coming with lower fuel efficiency figures and a difference in throttle response. This is mostly down to the fact the petrol is being utilized for exhaust after-treatment. Performance too has taken a mild hit because of tinkering with the engine. But you’d be surprised to know Hyundai Cars have managed to achieve a mileage of 14.6kpl for the automatic and manual versions, the very same figure of the pre-facelift model. The 2.0-litre engine produces 149bhp and 192Nm of torque. The new Elantra is not as responsive as the BS4 model, but power delivery is more linear now. Acceleration-wise, the facelift Elantra is not as quick as the older car. But let’s not write it off immediately, because the new engine is so much more refined even if revved all the way to its redline, and it’ll willing do so. The Elantra is so much more driveable, so it can be used on a regular basis. Apart from drive modes like Normal, Eco and Sport, you also get Smart mode, which is said to alter the car’s driving characteristics as per your style. However, the car felt like it was functioning on Normal mode at this point. Behind the wheel, the Elantra is no different. The steering continues to be lifeless; we wish Hyundai can address steering feel on its cars quickly. The suspension may be firm, but the springs absorb bumps without a tantrum. Body roll, on the other hand, is apparent.

So, should you?

The new Elantra brings with it increased prices for obvious reasons, and you get variants ranging from 15.89 lakh to 20.39 lakh rupees (ex-showroom). This makes it the most affordable car in the segment, and after Honda having pulled the plug on the Civic and Skoda with the Octavia, the Elantra is only car in its class, apart from Toyota’s Corolla Altis. Also, it offers lots of features that make it that bit more attractive. The updated engine is so much more refined, making it the cherry on the cake. And until the new Skoda Octavia is launched, the Elantra is perhaps the best buy in its segment. Also, grab the latest info on the upcoming cars, only at autoX.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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