If you're not a fan of Audi's sharp headlights or Lexus' angularity (or Origami in any form, for that matter), you won't like the refreshed 2019 Hyundai Elantra sedan. But we just happen to think the aesthetic changes make the already handsome sedan even better than before. It manages to pull some styling cues from the two other brands without looking unoriginal, and that's something that's hard to pull off these days.
In the photo above, you can see the bottom edge and inner point of the headlights aligned with the top bar of the new cascading grille. There's also the more dramatic foglight housings that are full triangles like the Lexus RX crossover, and there's deep sculpting in the lower fascia outer edges. Audi-like hood sculpting also adds character and sportiness to the front end. We think it looks superb, especially in comparison to the previous year (below), even though that one still looks handsome.
The Elantra's rear has also been refreshed, but it's not as radical as the changes to the front. The taillights bear a more intricate pattern that replaces the three-cell appearance with more of a chevron/lightning-bolt look. It's very eye-catching and gives the car a wider-looking stance from the back. The change is interesting, considering the fact that the pricier and larger Sonata sedan just took on the 2018 Elantra's taillights in its own mid-cycle refresh.
We'd be interested to see if the redesigned Sonata adopts much of the new Elantra's look in a couple of years. The license plate housing has been moved to the bumper and the badging and name are now more visible across the trunklid like the current Sonata. Looks like they're sharing some design cues, and the results are very good, indeed. Both cars now look more upscale and more consistent in design language.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the changes to the interior, which consist of standard (from top trim all the way down to 2nd-tier SEL trim) camera-based forward collision prevention, lane-keep assist, and driver attention alert, key safety features that make the 2019 Elantra an even more attractive buy. The center stack's climate control buttons and knobs have also been reworked for improved ease-of-use, and the steering wheel has been redone to look like the Elantra GT's sporty version. Even the analog gauges backlighting and graphics are more dramatic. The small touches make a big difference.
All trims get a new 5-inch touchscreen standard, rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines for safer backing-up in tight spaces. The base trim (SE) with the 6-speed manual transmission now has Bluetooth and steering wheel controls, while the highest trim level (Limited) has an upgraded 8-speaker premium audio system and subwoofer, Qi wireless phone charging, and what's known as Safe Exit Assist that sends an audible warning if a car is approaching and your door is open. What will they think of next?
Power is the same for the Elantra in the form of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 147 horsepower or the 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 128 horsepower. The Elantra Sport gets the 201 hp turbo four actually doesn't get changed at all, even in terms of styling, unfortunately. It will get the new duds at the end of 2018 after the standard Elantra refresh shows up in dealerships this fall. Hyundai is making some really great cars, folks, and now the styling is starting to ramp up, as well. The Elantra sedan with its refreshed styling might just be the best-looking small mainstream sedan money can buy right now.