Refreshed for 2019
New exterior appearance
More standard technology features and new infotainment system
Active safety features standard on more trim levels
Part of the sixth Elantra generation introduced for 2017
Variety and value are the main ingredients in the 2019 Hyundai Elantra’s appeal. Three available engines and six configurations mean it’s easy to find an Elantra to suit your needs, whether that’s you’re focused on fuel economy or just something fun to drive. As for value, the Elantra doesn’t deal in subtlety. The aptly named Value Edition, for example, comes standard with several desirable features, including a sunroof, keyless touch entry, hands-free trunk release, heated seats, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
For 2019, the Elantra gets a significant new exterior look, with a reshaped hood, front end, fenders, rear bumper, and even a new wheel design. Interior changes are less drastic, but they include a revised center console with new controls, vents, storage tray and updated gauges. These changes come after a complete redesign two years earlier, an indication of just how quickly the compact sedan class evolves.
The new Elantra also comes with expanded convenience and safety tech, including a standard rearview camera with guidelines, a larger infotainment display and Bluetooth phone connectivity on base models. Moving up the trim ladder brings features such as wireless device charging and an 8-inch infotainment display. All trims except the SE base model receive driver aids including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, and a drowsy driver warning system.
Despite extensive changes, the Elantra remains the same under the hood. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder base engine carries over with its underwhelming 147 horsepower, but it returns a respectable 32 mpg combined. The turbocharged four-cylinder engines in the Eco and Sport trims are more satisfying but come saddled with clunky-shifting seven-speed automatic transmissions.
Ultimately, the Elantra’s value isn’t enough to vault it to a podium finish in its class. Alternatives such as the Honda Civic, Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf simply drive better and offer nice interiors. But the Elantra remains a solid pick behind the front-runners, offering a lot of features for less money. If you’re open to getting a hatchback, the Elantra GT (reviewed separately) is worth consideration. Essentially the European version of the Elantra, the GT is livelier than its sedan counterpart.
2019 Hyundai Elantra configurations
The 2019 Hyundai Elantra comes in six trim levels, with three engines and three transmissions shared among them. The base SE offers a pretty limited feature set, but moving up to the SEL, the Value Edition and finally the Limited nets many improvements. The Eco offers a more fuel-efficient engine with midlevel equipment, and the Sport comes with a strong turbocharged engine.
The base engine, and the only option for the SE, SEL, Value Edition and Limited trims, is a 2.0-liter four cylinder (147 horsepower, 132 pound-feet of torque). The SE trim comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but an upgrade to a six-speed automatic is offered.
The SE trim is somewhat minimally equipped, with 15-inch steel wheels, front disc and rear drum brakes, power mirrors, a rearview camera, height-adjustable front seats, air conditioning, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch display and a USB port. Adding the optional automatic transmission also adds cruise control and a selectable Sport driving mode.
Stepping up to the SEL trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, automatic headlights and heated side mirrors. Rounding out the SEL’s upgrades are a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and satellite radio. You also get a suite of driver safety aids including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and a drowsy driver alert system.
From there, the Value Edition adds a sunroof, LED daytime running lights, door-handle approach lights, keyless entry with push-button start, and hands-free trunk release. Inside are heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rear-seat cupholders and — a special treasure for those who live in sunny climates — sun visor extensions.
Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car system is also included, and it offers the ability to start the car, set the climate control, lock and unlock the doors, and perform several other functions from a smartphone app.
As its name suggests, the Eco gets a more fuel-efficient engine: a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder (128 hp, 156 lb-ft of torque) paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. It’s equipped similarly to the Value Edition and adds dual USB ports, but it doesn’t get the sunroof. It also rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels.
Compared to the Value Edition, the Elantra Limited upgrades include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and automatic high beams. The cabin gets leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a sliding armrest, adjustable rear headrests, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual USB ports, a wireless charging pad, and an eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system.
The optional Limited Ultimate package adds further refinements with the sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, driver-seat memory settings, and additional safety features such as adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and Safe Exit Assist, which alerts exiting passengers of potential oncoming cars before they open the doors.
The Elantra Sport, whether you get it with an automatic or a manual, is equipped largely like the Limited. It loses the dual-zone automatic climate control, includes the sunroof, and offers several sport-oriented changes such as a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, with either the six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic), a more sophisticated rear suspension with firmer tuning, 18-inch alloy wheels with grippier tires, stronger brakes, and chrome exterior accents.
The sporty theme continues inside with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, unique gauge cluster, leather-upholstered front sport seats with heating, and a black headliner.
The optional Sport Premium package offers an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, the Infinity audio system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, and Blue Link Connected Car services.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Hyundai Elantra Limited (2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).