2020 Elantra New Car Test Drive
Compact sedans are a shrinking breed, but the 2020 Hyundai Elantra endures, with the best qualities: affordability, gas mileage, and safety. The fact that it also comes as a hatchback helps. The sedan is more popular because the hatchback, called the GT, is higher performance and costs more.
The Elantra was refreshed for 2019 with a more angular face, so the changes for 2020 are small, but significant. There's a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) that improves gas mileage by 2 mpg, and active safety equipment becomes standard on all models. Also, the GT hatchback gets a name change to its sportier model, now called the N Line, to sound more like the pocket-rocket Veloster N.
Four of the six Elantra sedans use a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, mated to the new continuously variable transmission (CVT), with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive isn't available.
There's also a 128-hp 1.4-liter turbo-4 exclusive to the Eco sedan. It's paired to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and offers all the fun you might expect from a small turbo with a dual-clutch. That transmission is also used on both the GT hatchbacks.
The sixth sedan is the Sport. It's powered by a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 with the 7-speed dual clutch programmed to upshift at higher rpm.
The sedan might be more popular, but the hatchback has an upscale cabin, more interior space, and handles better.
The new CVT that replaces the 6-speed automatic in the 2.0-liter inline-4 boosts the 2020 Elantra to an average of 30 mpg city, 40 highway, 34 combined in SEL, Value Edition, and Limited models, while the base SE gets 31/41/35 mpg.
The Eco sedan with the 1.4-liter turbo-4 lives up to its name, being the most fuel efficient at 33/41/36 mpg, which matches the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
The gas mileage of the sporty Elantra GT hatchback with a 6-speed automatic transmission instead of the CVT suffers a bit, at 25/27/32 mpg.
The Elantra sedan and hatchback earned the best 'Good'? ratings on all six crash tests from the IIHS, in 2019. The Limited model with its LED projector headlights earned a Top Safety Pick+ award. The halogen lights on other models were rated at 'Poor.'? The NHTSA rates the Elantra at four stars due to weak side barrier protection.
The biggest safety change to the 2020 Elantra is automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and a driver-attention warning, all standard in every model.
The 2020 Elantra sedan comes in SE, SEL, Value Edition, Limited, Eco, and Sport trims, while the GT hatchback comes in base and N Line trim.
At $19,880 (including $920 destination), the 2020 Elantra SE comes with power doors and locks, six-way manual adjustable front seats, cloth seats, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry, a USB, a tiny 5.0-inch touchscreen, dual climate control, 3.5-inch digital vehicle info display, 60/40 split folding rear seats, and 15-inch wheels.
The $20,620 SEL adds a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, voice recognition, Sirius XM Radio (with subscription after the first 3 months), heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, and 16-inch alloy wheels. It's a no-brainer, given the small difference in price over the SE.
For another small jump up to $21,520, the Value Edition adds approach lights that illuminate when the key fob is near, a sunroof, one-touch driver's window, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The $24,720 Limited trim adds leather upholstery, an 8-way power driver's seat, an Infinity sound system, the safer LED headlights and taillights, some more chrome trim pieces, and 17-inch alloy wheels. A $3,350 Ultimate Package for Limited includes adaptive cruise control, and an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation.
The $22,170 Eco brings the 1.4-liter turbo-4 with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission, and adds LED daytime running lights and a second USB port to the equipment in the base SE.
Starting at $21,570, the GT hatchback is equipped much like the sedan.
For $23,720, the Sport gets the most powerful 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4, an independent rear suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, sleeker styling in the front and rear, more bolstering in the seats, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
The $24,420 GT N Line hatchback gets 18-inch alloy wheels with Pilot Sport 4 tires and an independent rear suspension. It uses the same engine as the Sport sedan.