[Review] “Facelifted” Hyundai Elantra 2014

There has recently been a flurry of talk and activities online about upcoming car launches next year, and one of the anticipated ones is the facelifted 2014 Hyundai Elantra. Unfortunately, the car in question has received perhaps a mix of criticism and praises – so I made an “impromptu visit” to Komoco to take a look for myself without a review invite.

Before I even bring you on a photo tour of the Elantra, here is a YouTube clip featuring the Elantra at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The international version of the Elantra reportedly packs a wide variety of technology and feature in an attempt to outdo it’s immediate rivals, such as the Kia K3. Unfortunately, this battle is rather lacking here in Singapore, with Komoco opting to bring in a mediocre facelift instead of one that could have been of much competition to others in it’s class.

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If there’s anything significant to the exterior of the new “facelifted” Elantra, it would be the headlight assembly and fog lamps. When it was launched earlier this year, the new Elantra banked on it’s unique daytime running lights on both the headlight and fog lamps to gain attention to the otherwise similar chassis.

LED headlamps and running lights of the new Elantra

LED headlamps and running lights of the new Elantra – Photo courtesy of Hyundai Korea

Komoco saw this in a different light – and as they always say that you’ll never get the car in it’s original launch specs (especially for Singapore cars), the halogen version lamps less the DRLs were brought in.

The new Elantra's lamps turned on.

The new Elantra’s lamps turned on.

In a bid to perhaps maintain the DRL image, Komoco claims that it now has a small bulb just at the tip of the fog lamp, serving as the daytime running light that was supposed to be otherwise an LED strip running the length of the fog lamp assembly.

Note the "daytime running light" or "down light" at the tip of the fog lamp

Note the “daytime running light” or “down light” at the tip of the fog lamp. This only lights up when you switch it to “small beam” mode.

In what I deem as one of the few thumbs up of this variant, the facelifted Elantra comes with new rims – much sportier and nicer compared to what the old one rides on.

IMG_20131230_123328Step into the cabin and observant drivers/passengers will probably realise a few changes (not major ones though). The centre console has been replaced with what I felt was a little more “plasticky” than it’s predecessor, and with it’s radio unit replaced by what it seems to be a mixture of that from the i30 and i40.

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This honestly looks like an attempt to be more sophisticated. Good effort but still a long way to go.

This honestly looks like an attempt to be more sophisticated. Good effort but still a long way to go.

The dashboard sees a revamp of it’s digital displays, tapping on what I thought was on the i30. The fuel gauges and indicators are now more refined, though it still lacks colour to it’s otherwise plain background.

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Similar to that of other newer Japanese/Korean cars, the signal indicator now lies to the left of the steering, a very visible attempt to turn over to the continental style. The headlamp controls (together with the signal) feels weird to be operated via your left hand, although this could be just a matter of personal preference.

And if the salesman attending to me did not get his facts wrong, this Elantra has yet to be approved by LTA, so I didn’t get the opportunity to drive it. However, from what I understand, it houses the exact same 1,591 cc, 130 bhp engine – no refinements, no tuning, no upgrades. That being said, I gather the ride should feelย exactly the same as the current Elantras on the road.

All in all, if you’re a current Elantra owner looking at possible changes/upgrades, you might perhaps be better off looking at the Kia K3 or perhaps even a lower end continental. It simply is not worth the $119,000 price tag, given that an additional 10 grand could probably get you a much more responsive and better quality Volkswagen Golf.

However, this might just be a good option for current Avante owners looking at changing their close-to-10-years cars. It does lack the very telling and distinguished features, but I must say it still captures attention, thanks to it’s ever sleek design and curves.

For me, the word “disappointment” might just be an understatement when describing this car. I’ve expected better from Hyundai, but it doesn’t look like my expectations will be met anytime soon.

So my question is, why call this a facelift when all that was changed was the headlamps, the console, and… nothing else?

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The facelifted Hyundai Elantra is now retailing in two variants – the base model (S variant) at approximately $113,888 and the Elite variant at approximately $119,888. Prices are correct at the time of publication of this review.

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