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Elantra facelift gives it a fresh look and connected tech

S Muralidhar | Updated on October 31, 2019 Published on October 31, 2019

The facelift gives the Elantra a sharper, more focussed look at the front

The Blue Link tech also includes the SOS, auto crash notification and roadside assistance features

The centre console features a wireless smartphone charging tray

A new configuration for the tail-lamps with LED tubes for brake lights

The bonnet slab has ridges running down the centre creating the impression of a power bulge

Elantra’s cabin is brightly lit thanks to the predominantly beige interior theme

Hyundai’s premium family sedan gets sharper design, more app-based features and is now also BS-VI ready

A decade ago, when there were fewer alternatives like sports utility vehicles to choose from in the same price segment, premium family sedans continued to clock small numbers. The category leader was the Toyota Corolla and the others were in various states of success including the Honda Civic, the Hyundai Elantra and the Skoda Octavia. Back then, the Honda Civic’s prospects suffered for the want of a diesel engine. Cut to today, and the market hasn’t changed very much for cars in this segment, with the numbers still being underwhelming. But, also ironically, diesel seems to have already gone out of vogue.

Last week Hyundai launched the new facelifted 2020 model year Elantra with only a petrol engine; the reason being the share of diesel engine Elantras during the previous six months was only a little over 35 per cent of the model’s total. Hyundai officials claim that if the market for diesel recovers, the Elantra can be brought back with that powertrain too.

Design

In the meantime, the new Elantra has been brought to our shores quickly after its global launch. This is a facelift for the 2020 model year, that brings in some sharp new design changes to the premium sedan and a lot of new connected features. It also gets an upgrade in the engine department with the unit now being compliant to the more stringent BS-VI emission norms. The gearbox options though remains a 6-speed torque converter automatic (globally it is also available with a CVT) and the 6-speed manual transmission. Changes to the exterior design that the facelift has brought on gives the Elantra a sharper, more focussed look at the front.

Triangular elements dominate with what feels like a bit of a departure from fluidic design. The hexagonal grille now features sharper edges with slightly more spaced out slats. The headlamp’s sharp inner edge now cuts into the grille at the top, and fog lamps in the fender are also triangular in design. LED DRLs and four LED projector units in the headlamps give them a distinctive look even during daytime. The other design feature that is new is the bonnet slab which has ridges running down the centre creating the impression of a power bulge.

The new Elantra’s profile is near identical to the pre-facelift version, with the deeply creased waist-line and the side character nicely catching the light under the sun. The other striking feature of the Elantra has been the Hyundai design trademark window line which rises just past the rear quarter glass in many models. The 2020 Elantra also gets a new set of alloys. At the rear, the facelifted Elantra gets a new configuration for the tail-lamps with LED tubes for brake lights that form a ‘Z’ pattern. A rear spoiler integrated on the boot lip and an ‘Elantra’ spelt out in chrome capital lettering are the other new bits. The loading lip of the boot is a bit high, but the lid is wide and shoving in even big-sized luggage won't be a problem.

Cabin

The new Elantra’s cabin is brightly lit thanks to the predominantly beige interior theme and the sunroof that my test mule SX(O) trim variant came with. The seat upholstery was perforated leather in light beige, and ‘cooled-seats’ — the one feature that I loved most during last summer in the previous Elantra — has been carried forward into this one too. The dashboard layout is somewhat similar but small details have been added. Similarly, the knobs and controls are mostly identical, though they seem to be better finished and there are more textured surfaces. Auto air-conditioning gets an additional knob and the centre console also features a wireless smartphone charging tray. Features may vary based on trim variant, but my top-trim test mule also featured a tyre pressure monitoring system with a warning light on the newly developed instrument cluster MID.

The steering wheel is a slightly thinner, sleeker unit with cruise-control, voice command and infotainment controls. The big addition to the cabin is the Hyundai Blue Link connected tech that we have already seen in the Venue. Essentially, this allows a whole host of functions to be controlled or activated by just using an app on your smartphone. You can simply open the app and start the engine remotely or switch on the air-conditioner to pre-cool the car or find your car in a parking lot etc. Some of the features are available only in AT (automatic) variants. The Blue Link tech also includes the SOS, auto crash notification and roadside assistance features that rely on an embedded eSIM provided by Vodafone. There are a total of 34 different connected features including 10 that are India specific.

Performance

The new Elantra is being offered with the same 2.0-litre petrol engine and the choice of a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine has been tuned to meet the upcoming BS-VI emission norms. Earlier this week, I was behind the wheel of the automatic and driving in and around Mumbai, and its neighbouring towns. The 1,999cc engine generates an identical 152PS of peak power and about 192Nm of peak torque. This was already a quiet, refined mill and that means the cabin is inherently bereft of engine or transmission noise. Improved insulation keeps out noise until the revs build up past 4,000rpm. But there was quite a bit of tyre noise inside the cabin after I crossed into triple-digit speeds in some of the private roads in Nashik where I had driven up to. The engine’s power delivery and throttle response also feels a bit blunted, but that could well be the result of after treatment adjustments that would have been required to meet the new emission norms. This BS-VI Elantra has lost a bit of its low-end power, but it is still happy to sit for long stints in the top half of its rev range and that means overtakes and short bursts are easy to execute. Sports mode manages to coax the engine to stay a bit more on the boil and gear changes are also delayed. But all other modes are pretty much tuned with an efficiency bias.

Bottom line

The new Elantra doesn’t see any major changes in the driving dynamics department.

You tend to feel the speed in this car, and the steering is light and lacking in feel. But, the suspension setting is firm with the configuration involving a coupled torsion beam at the rear.

The ride quality is firm and confident even over rough road surfaces, though there is still a bit of up and down bobbing over mild undulations and a fair bit of body roll. But its good to know that the rated mileage for the BS-VI Elantra is still the same 14.6kmpl according to Hyundai.

It also gets a big jump in safety kit with six airbags being standard now across all four variants (two each of manual and AT). Prices for the 2020 Elantra start at ₹15.89 lakh for the ‘S’ manual and go up to ₹ 20.39 lakh for the SX(O). This is still the most VFM premium family sedan despite the slight increase in prices.

Published on October 31, 2019
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