Kia Cerato 2019 review
The Kia Cerato is the car that keeps the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Ford Focus awake at night. Here's why.
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Hyundai’s Elantra sedan hardly carries the same glory as its hatchback stablemate, the i30.
Maybe its because the Elantra has existed in some shape or form since Hyundai’s budget days in the ‘90s, whereas the i30 had the pleasure of starting life as the shining example of Hyundai’s new golden age, complete with European design and styling.
But as overlooked as it may be, the Elantra now has all those things which make Hyundai’s current range so appealing.
So, what are those things? And, why do I think the steel-wheeled Go might actually be the pick of the range despite it actually costing more than the sticker price? Read on to find out.
|Hyundai Elantra 2019: GO Smartsense|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
Okay so here it is. The Go is the pick of the Elantra range. The catch? It doesn’t actually cost $23,790.
No, to unlock true ‘value’ for the Elantra you absolutely must have the optional $1700 ‘Safety Sense’ pack.
I’ll explore more about what the pack contains in the safety section of this review, but suffice it to say with the pack equipped this is one of the few cars on the market that has such advanced refinements as lane keep assist and blind-spot monitoring alongside steel wheels and an acrylic steering wheel.
If you look past the fact that this car misses out on those essential safety items as standard, the equipment list is otherwise great. The Elantra Go has a bright, clear, high-resolution 7.0-inch touchscreen supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You also miss out on some minor oddities around the cabin like vanity mirror lights.
The Go also gains power folding wing-mirrors with LED indicators provided the SmartSense safety box is ticked.
Total price for our car as tested with the $495 ‘intense blue’ paint option was $25,985. For that money, its closest competitors include the Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium, Honda Civic VTi-L and Kia Cerato Sport.
Hyundai has pulled a high g-force 90-degree turn with the Elantra’s styling, straying away from the curvy sporty look of the previous car and straight into lines and angles for this new-generation.
It’s much more like business attire than jeans and sneakers this time around. I predict it will divide Elantra fans (do those even exist?).
Dominating the front is a collection of triangular shapes, and hard lines streak down the sides. The roofline swoops round the back for more of a squared-off boot than the curvy compact rear angles of the previous car.
Oddly, this new Elantra is missing many of the design queues invested in by Hyundai across its range although, I do like how it yells E-L-A-N-T-R-A across the boot like big-name Japanese sedans of the early ‘00s.
Inside, the Go is absolutely no-nonsense. In the cockpit there’s a rather drab, but user-friendly acrylic steering wheel dropped straight out of the i30, paired with a simple four-dial instrument cluster and centre dot-matrix screen that hosts trip computer readouts.
The media screen is expertly placed within easy touch distance for the driver, it’s fast and responsive and seemingly never subject to glare.
Letdowns on the inside include the monotone grey trim and lack of soft surfaces around the cabin. That second one gets tiresome on long trips for your right elbow and left knee…
Don’t let people sell you the furphy that SUVs are so much more practical than sedans. Apart from higher clearance, it’s usually not true.
Take our Elantra here for example. Bigger boot than most small and even medium SUVs? At 458 litres, that’s a resounding yes.
Great cabin storage with deep trenches, generous bottle holders in the doors and a decent centre console box? Yep, got all that too. It even has plentiful legroom and headroom for every occupant despite its slick roofline.
The seats are comfortable and finished in a hardwearing cloth trim. My partner drives an ’08 i30 with basically the same seat trim. It still looks brand new.
Up front there are two power outlets one 12-volt and one USB.
There’s a drop-down armrest with a set of cupholders in the second-row, but it’s also lacking air vents and a power outlet.
While the boot is deep, it is pipped on volume by sedan versions of the Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic and Kia Cerato. Strangely, there’s also no way to open the boot without use of the remote or the latch next to the driver’s seat.
If you drive long-distance often, 2.0-litre variants of the Elantra have you covered with a full-size matching spare wheel under the boot floor.
The Elantra powers on with a carryover 2.0-litre petrol engine from the last generation car.
It’s a little old now, but still manages to kick out the right amount of power at reasonable refinement levels for this class.
At 112kW/192Nm it sits around the same outputs as competitors like the Civic VTi (104kW/174Nm) and Subaru Impreza (115kW/196Nm). It shares the same engine with the current-generation Kia Cerato sedan.
The Elantra Go can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed traditional torque converter auto, but only the auto can be fitted with the $1700 Safety Pack (our car was an auto with safety fitted.)
The Elantra has a claimed/combined fuel consumption figure of 7.4L/100km against which I scored 8.1L/100km over a week of mixed (freeway/suburban) usage.
I scored 8.0 on my recent test of the Elantra Active proving it is the more realistic number to expect for your regular commute.
Both the 2.0-litre Elantra variants happily drink 91 RON standard unleaded to fill their 50-litre fuel tanks.
Despite its less sporty looks this time around, the Elantra is still great to drive.
Hyundai’s local suspension work is – as always – excellent, sporting a good balance of tight in the corners and forgiving over rough surfaces and potholes.
The ride comfort is improved further over higher grades due to the larger tyres and small 15-inch steel wheels. The same can be said for road noise north of 80km/h which worsens as wheel size increases further up the range.
The steering has loads of feel and is nice and direct, making even this base Elantra engaging and rewarding in the corners.
The performance from the carryover engine is adequate, but nothing special. Available torque from take-off is good making the lack of performance largely unnoticeable during every-day commuting, but it feels weak in the mid-range, so don’t expect to be spinning wheels.
The six-speed torque converter auto streams through the gears with ease. It’s a much better experience than lacklustre CVTs in some competitors and doesn’t come with the question mark over reliability that comes with newer dual-clutches.
It’s a simple but rewarding drive experience which makes the Elantra one of the best base-model sedans in this segment to be behind the wheel of.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Although its most recent Elantra assessment was conducted in early 2016, ANCAP still rates it a maximum five-stars (classifying the 2018 update model as a facelift rather than all-new car).
For this car to be 8/10 - like our test car here - it must have the 'Safety Sense' pack. The $1700 kit is worth every cent and leaves you with the rather bizarre scenario of having steel wheels alongside lane keep assist.
It’s a shame none of these come as standard, but with the pack fitted the active safety list includes auto emergency braking (AEB) which works up to freeway speeds, blind spot monitoring (BSM), rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), active cruise, lane departure warning (LDW), and the aforementioned lane keep assist (LKAS).
The pack also brings with it auto-folding wing-mirrors with LED indicators.
Still, even at $25,985 it’s a solid active safety offering compared to most competitors.
Included as standard is a very good reversing camera and the full-size matching steel wheel under the boot floor.
Passively, the Elantra scores front and curtain airbags, electronic stability controls, three top-tether child-seat mounting points across the rear row and two ISOFIX points on the outer seats.
One of the benefits of the Elantra’s tried and tested engine and transmission combination is the cheap capped price servicing. Hyundai factory-back the Elantra’s servicing all the way to 168 months/210,000km, and optionally beyond that.
For the life of the five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, the Elantra costs a very reasonable average of $283.20 per year.
The Elantra only requires servicing once a year or every 15,000km.
This entry-level Elantra might just be the most appealing value proposition in the range – on the condition you tick that optional SafetySense box.
Sure, steel wheels and plastic touch-points start to become a tall order at $26k, and competitors will offer alloy wheels and some extra bells and whistles at the resulting price.
But, for those who can look past that, the Elantra Go has everything you should realistically expect from a car in 2019 with a rewarding drive experience to boot.
|Active||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$16,300 – 22,660||2019 Hyundai Elantra 2019 Active Pricing and Specs|
|Active 2.0 MPi||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||No recent listings||2019 Hyundai Elantra 2019 Active 2.0 MPi Pricing and Specs|
|Active Smartsense||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$17,400 – 24,200||2019 Hyundai Elantra 2019 Active Smartsense Pricing and Specs|
|Elite 2.0 MPi||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||No recent listings||2019 Hyundai Elantra 2019 Elite 2.0 MPi Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||7|