Maybe you didn’t think the Hyundai Elantra needed an update. After all, the fully redesigned model just made its debut for the 2017 model year. Meanwhile, Elantra landed a top reliability rating and IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for 2018.
Nonetheless, Hyundai decided it was time for some upgrades two years later, and the new model emerged on August 22 with a completely different look and several changes to the safety and tech suite. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Elantra.
1. New safety features
In a press release for the new model, Hyundai stressed the SmartSense safety features that will now be available on lower trim levels. The list includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and Driver Attention Alert. These will come as options on the SEL trim and up.
For Limited trim buyers, the Ultimate package will include the Safe Exit Assist feature that first appeared in the 2019 Santa Fe. Collision avoidance with pedestrian detection also comes with this package. Blind-spot collision warning is another safety feature making it to the 2019 model.
2. Exterior changes
The most noticeable changes for the refreshed Elantra come in the exterior styling. Nearly everything is new here. The hood, front fenders and fascia, grille, and headlights all get a different look for 2019. LED headlights will go into the upper trims.
While the previous model looked like a smaller version of the midsize Sonata, this Elantra gains more of its own character. New 16-inch and 17-inch wheel designs contribute to that, and the Eco trim will get new 15-inch alloy wheels.
A new trunk, tail-lights, and rear fascia head to the back of the 2019 model as well. Instead of seeing the license plate right below the trunk lid, that drops down below the trunk and gets replaced by an Elantra emblem. These updates definitely give the back a sharper look.
3. Other tech upgrades
In the 2019 Elantra’s interior, shoppers will find a new center cluster and updated instrument cluster and housing. A 5-inch audio system and rear-view camera come standard. Limited models will get Infinity premium audio with eight speakers and subwoofer plus wireless charging as options.
Bluetooth and audio controls on the wheel will make it the SE manual trim for the first time. Meanwhile, the Value trim gets BlueLink’s connected car system with a three-year subscription included.
4. Powertrain and transmission holdovers
The 2019 Elantra will keep its 2.0-liter (147 horsepower) and 1.4-liter (128 horsepower) engines and choice of manual or automatic transmissions. Six trims will be available once again.
In terms of fuel economy, the base (SE) model with automatic transmission is a standout at 33 mpg combined. Manual models drop that to 29 mpg combined on a low (26 mpg) city rating. Eco models remain the most economical at 35 mpg combined.
5. Word on Elantra Sport and release dates
Later in 2018, Hyundai will unveil the refreshed Elantra Sport. The 1.6-liter turbo GDI engine (201 horsepower) and 6-speed manual transmission will return in this model. A 7-speed dual-clutch system will also be available.
With the safety upgrades still coming and the ’18 edition already at the top of the compact class in crash tests, another top IIHS award is likely for this model.
Hyundai says it will make it to dealerships in the fall, so 2019 model pricing should arrive before October.