Hyundai itself describes the design of the 2019 Hyundai Elantra Facelift as “intense”, which is saying what we want to say, in a nice way. Gone is the Audi-style face of the sixth-generation AD, and in comes a bold face with plenty of sharp edges and triangles. At the back, the number plate has moved down, and the spot it vacates now hosts a spaced out Elantra badge, as seen on the Sonata facelift.

“Refinements to both the interior and exterior were initiated on the 2019 Elantra to maintain its emotional design character. The hood, front fenders, fascia, grille and headlights as well as the rear fascia, trunk and taillights each have been redesigned to convey a catchy and confident image. On the rear, the license plate has been relocated to the lower fascia to further enhance the new body sculpture,” explains Scott Margason, director of product planning at Hyundai Motor America.

There are also new 16- and 17-inch wheel designs, and a new 15-inch alloy design on the Eco trim in the US. Those super sharp clusters house LED headlights on Limited and Sport trim levels. Pre-facelift or this new look for you?

New safety features is a main selling point for this facelift. Hyundai’s SmartSense suite has been added to the SEL trim level and above, meaning it’s now available on 75% of the Elantra’s US lineup. It includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (camera-only type), Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Alert. These are in addition to Blind-Spot Collision Warning with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.

The SmartSense features included on the top Elantra Limited with Ultimate Package include Safe Exit Assist and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection. The latter utilises a camera and radar for warning and auto braking, and it works with pedestrian too. Safe Exit Assist sounds an alert when a vehicle approaches from behind, letting passengers know it may not be safe to open the door to exit the car – this is a novel feature that’s rather useful.

The 2019 Elantra also debuts with Hyundai’s next generation AVN 5.0 infotainment system, which features an upgraded processor for better responsiveness, as well as an 8.0-inch screen (an inch up). Using presets is now easier because AM, FM and SiriusXM channels are now combined on one screen, and also feature HERE HD Traffic. A bird’s eye view has also been added to navigation maps and drivers can now get traffic flow and incident data without paying for a subscription via HD Radio. There’s also a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines.

The Elantra is also available with conveniences like Infinity Premium Audio with Clari-Fi and eight speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Qi wireless smartphone charging. The air con control panel design looks new too, along with the faces of the dials.

No changes in engine options, which includes a Nu 2.0 litre MPI Atkinson cycle unit with 147 hp, and a Kappa 1.4 litre Turbo-GDI with 128 hp. The facelifted Elantra Sport will debut later this year, Hyundai says. Mechanically, it will have the same level of differentiation as the pre-facelift, which means a 1.6 litre Turbo GDI engine paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. In Malaysia, the 7DCT Sport comes with 204 PS and 265 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm.

Powertrain aside, the Elantra Sport will sport a revised trim headliner, paddle shifters, sport front seats with leather, flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport instrument cluster and door trim garnish. The fastest Elantra comes with multi-link independent rear suspension instead of a torsion beam.

GALLERY: Pre-facelift Hyundai Elantra Sport