What is it?
This is the Hyundai Elantra facelift, and as part of the update, the car gets a few styling changes, a refurbished interior and a little more equipment. But, to spot the exterior changes on the 2015 Elantra, you would need to look really hard. The most prominent new bits are the headlamps, which now have a blacked-out housing, incorporated projector elements, and a really cool looking LED-illuminated strip. There are new L-shaped fog lamps that sit inside deeper enclosures in a front bumper that is more contoured. The only change you’ll see on the sides are the new 16-inch alloy wheels, but move to the back and you’ll find a new rear bumper with a blacked-out lower section, new chrome exhaust bracket and new tail-lamps, which look like LEDs, but aren’t. These changes help the Elantra look even more upmarket than what it already was, but don’t really transform its appearance.
But it’s on the inside where there are more significant changes. Hyundai has swapped the beige and grey two-tone colour scheme for an black-and-grey one. The dashboard has been changed slightly too, with a new audio system and the welcome addition of a 4.3-inch colour touchscreen in place of the dated monochrome screen. This now also acts as the display for the rear-view camera, rather than the small rear-view mirror-mounted one before. The tiny central air-con vents have also been replaced by larger ones that now sit higher up on the dashboard, on either side of the infotainment screen. The air-con display, much like many new Hyundais, gets a more upmarket-looking blue-on- black monochrome display instead of the black-on-blue colour. Even the small air-con control buttons have been replaced by larger ones, which are much easier to operate. Hyundai has also given the Elantra metal-finish pedals.
Thanks to this car’s large exterior dimensions, there’s a lot of space on the inside. There’s plenty of legroom for rear-seat passengers and the rear bench itself is comfortable, with good thigh support and a flattish floor. However, the seatback is a bit too reclined and the swooping roofline eats into headroom. Also, the rising shoulder line impedes visibility from the back seat. The rear armrest, however, is missing the audio controls that used to be available on the previous car. The front seats are supportive and wide, making even long journeys comfortable. As ever with Hyundai, the Elantra is still very well equipped, and apart from the new colour touchscreen, you’ll find things like auto headlamps, keyless entry and go, cruise control, electric front seats with ventilation, six airbags, ESC and of course, Bluetooth.
What is it like to drive?
The engines remain unchanged, and that means a 1.8-litre petrol engine that produces 148bhp and 18.1kgm, and a 1.6-litre diesel engine with 126bhp and 26.5kgm of torque. We drove the diesel manual variant of the car, and as before, driving it in traffic necessitates a bit of gear shifting, because the engine falls off boost below 2,000rpm; but there is good punch and more than enough power for stress-free overtaking and cruising. The engine is also one of the smoothest and quietest in its class, but the clutch is on the heavier side and which can be tiresome over long journeys.
Like before, the Elantra is excellent at ironing out bumps at low speeds. Even high-speed stability is very good, though the softly-sprung Elantra does tend to bounce, and also to roll a fair bit when driven fast. What's nice is that, save for some tyre noise, the cabin is well insulated from the happenings outside, and this (combined with the refined engine) really helps make this Hyundai a soothing cruiser.
Should I buy one?
With the Elantra, Hyundai has gone further to cement its core strengths. It looks even better than before, has a plush, new-look cabin and, as with every Hyundai, it also sports a lengthy features list. The Elantra may not be as sophisticated as its European rivals or exceptional in any one area, but it remains a very well-rounded car that’s easy to live with. The Elantra's top SX diesel manual variant is priced at Rs 16.68 lakh, and it still undercuts many of its rivals by some margin, which makes it a great value too.