Are you in the market for a compact sedan that’s packed with features with an easy to swallow price tag? While the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla continue to battle for the top selling title, there are plenty of other good options, like the Hyundai Elantra. The current Hyundai Elantra debuted in 2016 and following a big refresh last year, Hyundai has given the 2020 Elantra even more updates to help it compete with its Japanese rivals.
Last year the Hyundai Elantra received a big styling refresh that included new front and rear fascias. So for the 2020 model year, there aren’t any styling changes, but under the skin there are still some significant upgrades. For starters the Elantra’s six-speed automatic has been thrown out the window and replaced with a new continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Instead of just simply calling it a CVT, Hyundai decided to brand the transmission as an Intelligent Variable Transmission. While we generally loathe CVT transmissions, we can’t ignore the fuel economy improvements that the new transmission provides for the Elantra. The city and combined ratings have improved by 2 mpg and the highway rating has improved by 3 mpg. The Elantra SE is rated at 31/41 mpg, but if you want something even more fuel efficient, the Elantra Eco is rated at 33/41 mpg.
The only downside is that with the arrival of the new CVT, Hyundai has also removed a manual transmission from the options list.
The 2020 Elantra comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque.The Elantra Eco is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 128 horsepower and 156 pound-feet. If you want something a bit sportier, there’s also the Elantra Sport, with its turbocharged 1.6-liter that generates 201 horsepower and 195 pound feet.
Most buyers will likely go with the 2.0-liter engine and that’s not a bad thing. Around town the engine packs enough power to get the Elantra moving down the road, but it’s pretty uninspiring. Push it hard and the engine runs out of steam fast. The good news is that the new CVT does a good job of not acting or sounding like a CVT. The transmission doesn’t have the typical drone that we hear with other CVTs, which makes it easy to forget that it’s not a traditional geared transmission.
If you still want gears, the Eco and Sport models come with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Elantra’s suspension is tuned more for comfort than sport, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The suspension does a good job of quieting bumps in the road without being too overly soft. Driving it around town, the Elantra is an easy, drama free companion that doesn’t really excite, but at the same time it does everything that it’s supposed to do. You’ll rarely complain about too much body roll and the steering provides good feedback with quick responses.
Inside the Elantra’s interior is roomy and stylish. The dashboard is handsome with everything placed where you need it. Given its role as a value conscious compact sedan, it’s not surprising that there are some hard plastic materials, but the materials could be improved a bit.
You can easily fit give adults in the Elantra, since there’s plenty of legroom for both front and rear passengers, but the sloping roofline does cut into the amount of headroom in the back a bit.
On the tech front, the Elantra comes standard with a 5.0-inch display, but the upper trim levels get a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8.0-inch touchscreen with a navigation system is optional. Wireless charging for your phone and an Infinity audio system with eight speakers is available.
The Elantra now comes standard with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and a Driver Attention Warning system. If you want adaptive cruise control you’ll need to go with the Elantra Limited with the Ultimate Package.
The 2020 Hyundai Elantra is offered in six trim levels: SE, SEL, Value Edition, Eco, Limited, and Sport. The 2020 Elantra starts at $20,105.