Christopher Little

Quick Spin: 2020 Hyundai Elantra

It’s been nearly four years to the day we first drove the then-new 2017 Hyundai Elantra. We walked away impressed by the long list of standard features and technology, but somewhat disappointed by the nondescript styling. It only took until 2019 for Hyundai to address that feedback, completely reworking the Elantra’s visage to enhance its looks. 2020 has also brought some technical changes both inside and out. We jumped back behind the wheel of Hyundai’s #1 seller to see how things have changed.

2020 Hyundai Elantra 1

When new, the Elantra displayed a mature, restrained design compared to its former generation. The large headlights and split grille were replaced with a new corporate facade. But now an even newer corporate grille shape is making its way across Hyundai’s lineup. 2019 brought this new grille and a new hood to the Elantra’s front end, At the same time, a set of comically large, triangular headlights have been reintroduced. The Elantra now appears as if someone has pulled a stocking over it’s head. The sharp lines of the headlight and fog light housings seem to clash with the rest of the Elantra’s softer lines. LED headlights with a jewel-like pattern illuminate the road head. An improvement? It certainly tries to make a statement.

2020 Hyundai Elantra 3

Inside, the story is different. The Elantra’s smartly-designed cabin is enhanced with a new 8″ touchscreen, an inch larger than it was before. A updated infotainment software and upgraded onboard processor bring new features and snappier response. The larger screen can be interacted with just as a smartphone, including pinching to zoom and reordering the menu options to suit your preference of layout. Hyundai’s suite of driver aids that debuted on the Ultimate Edition have become standard on almost all trim levels, meaning more drivers will have the safety of forward collision alert, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring. Our Limited tester also included the Infinity Premium Audio system.

While the 2.0L, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine producing 147 hp and 132 lb-ft hasn’t changed, 2020 introduces a new “intelligent variable transmission” to improve fuel economy. This CVT “provides superior efficiency and simulates gear shifts from an automatic transmission that customers like.” Driven normally, the new transmission does a pretty decent impression of a real gearbox. When you summon the full 147 hp however, the illusion fails. But whether or not future Elantra owners will notice or care that their “gearbox” is actually gearless, the Elantra’s EPA consumption improves over last year. We netted a combined 34.4 mpg over our week of testing.

2020 Hyundai Elantra 6

Starting February 1st, all new 2020 Hyundai vehicles come with 3-year/30,000-mile complementary service. That means free oil and filter changes plus tire rotation on top of the Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty for the powertrain and 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty. So whether or not you’re impressed with the Elantra’s new face and whether or not you’ll use the new infotainment screen to its full potential, Hyundai has further improved the value proposition of their entire 2020 lineup. For many, that’ll be enough to put many drivers behind the wheel of a new Hyundai Elantra.

-Christopher Little

2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited
$23,000
Ultimate Package $3,350

Carpeted Floor Mats

$135

Destination Charges

$955
As Tested MSRP $27,440

Related:

First Drive: 2017 Hyundai Elantra

Quick Spin: 2017 Hyundai Elantra

Fully Independent: 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

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