Is new Hyundai Elantra a Kryptonite for Honda Civic?

Overview:

Hyundai along with Kia secured the third position in the list of largest producers of cars sold worldwide in the year 2017 at a figure of 5.8 million vehicles. This makes one remember how much the general public used to loathe Korean cars and their lackluster, boring and run-of-the-mill people carriers which were as charismatic as a bowl of dry Weetabix. Of course, the 2010s have changed the reputation of Hyundai massively due to its new design language and quality that matches if not surpasses that of their Japanese rivals.

This Elantra also had a sports model and gave the base for the new generation Elantra sedan to impress buyers with new performance models and impressive tech features you wouldn’t normally associate with a Hyundai. Of course, the last gen car was introduced in 2017 and gained great reviews and even better sales but there’s a refreshed model out for 2019 hoping to do all the same things. Let’s see if it’s capable of just that…

Performance and Styling:

Under the hood of the brand new Elantra is the same 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged unit used in the 2017 model but they’ve tuned it just a little bit to boost the power to
147 hp and the net torque to 132 lb.-ft. but in comparison, it just doesn’t match the Civic’s 158 hp figure. The things don’t look that great in the acceleration department either because 0-60 mph takes 9 seconds making it almost a second less quick than the brand new Civic.

Forgetting the numbers for a while, the drive of the Hyundai Elantra proves something new- it’s precise steering and an excellent lane-keeping system. Well, other than that, there’s nothing really unique about driving this Hyundai and it feels just as decent as all the other cars in this segment with a good level of refinement and stability. 2019 Hyundai Elantra MSRP starts at $17,100.

Generally, the cars in this segment are not dynamic driver’s cars either so that’s a forgivable flaw if we’re being honest. However, if you fancy a better driving experience, there’s always the new Sports model to go for with 192 bhp and better handling to match at just $18,200, not too far away from the base car’s $17,100 price tag. Problem solved more or less.

Elantra’s interior is truly a masterpiece as you wouldn’t expect just how much it has improved in cabin aesthetics compared to older models. The dash has got a subtle yet classier redesign from the shape of the air vents on the dash to the better-looking climate control pad used below the infotainment screen.

The new driver side display has manual gauges that are simple yet elegant for those who are sick of digital displays. Though the quality of hard plastics has not been improved greatly, the design is clever enough to hide this weakness by distracting you with carbon fiber-like accents and beige colors. In terms of space, front passengers get almost all of it while taller rear passengers will have to suffer due to the hard plastics that in behind the front seats that take up some much-needed legroom.

The infotainment screen has been revised with a new 7-inch display compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with Bluetooth connectivity. Rear parking camera is also available along with satellite navigation.

Safety:

In the safety arena, the Elantra is locked and loaded to go head to head with the Civic with a complete package for better driver alertness called the ‘SmartSense’. On scrutiny, you’ll find that it is a combination of several driver assistance systems like Forwarding collision warning, Blind Spot Detection, Lane keeps assist and warning system, Driver Attention Warning or DAW to keep you interested on the road ahead than in your daydreams. To be frank, we’ve all seen these features in other cars in this segment but there’s one safety feature in this new Hyundai that’s nothing short of genius- the safe exit assist that helps the driver to get out of the car safely when parked in heavy traffic areas.

Verdict:

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra is a solid sedan with more than enough luxury and tech for a car of its price and status. The safety systems used are brilliant and the build quality has gone up significantly as well making it on par with cars like the new Corolla. However, on direct comparison with the all-new Civic, the car does lack some serious performance and rear legroom.

At the end of the day, though the Elantra is not exactly better than the 2019 Civic, it does match up with Honda’s level of quality and refinement. There is no doubt that the Civic is and forever will be the king of the entry-level sedan segment but the Elantra does come a close second with decent value for money. And that’s not shabby at all…

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