The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata get some snazzy design updates | Top Gear
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The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata get some snazzy design updates

There’s an all-wheel-drive option for the Sonata, as well

Published: 31 Aug 2023

The compact Elantra and midsize Sonata were already two of Hyundai’s best designs, but wow, these updated versions are even sharper. Making their US-spec debut this week, Hyundai’s sleek sedans get a few little nips and tucks that keep ‘em fresh-faced and modern, while a few mechanical tweaks should make these four-doors even better to drive. Good things, all around.

Starting with the smaller Elantra, the biggest change is found up front, where the previously oh-god-it’s-gonna-eat-me gaping fascia has been redesigned to be quite a bit cleaner, with slimmer headlamps and more handsomely styled air intakes. There’s a new diffuser around the back, as well, in addition to restyled 15-, 16-, 17-, and 18-inch wheel designs, depending on the model.

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The Elantra is still available with 2.0-liter naturally aspirated or 1.6-liter turbo engines, in addition to a gasoline-electric hybrid setup. The feisty Elantra N carries over, too, with its potent 2.0-liter turbo I4, and Hyundai says the N has an improved steering tune and some small suspension enhancements, none of which should change this car's firecracker demeanor. At least, we hope.

The larger Sonata's styling changes are more obvious. The new front end has a completely different lighting design and a larger grille opening, and it sort of looks like what we've seen on the refreshed Kona SUV.

The back end is better, too, and the whole car generally looks more futuristic, which is high praise considering the current Sonata already looks out of this world. Hyundai's designers definitely know what they're doing.

Hyundai no longer offers the 1.6-liter turbo engine in the Sonata, but the base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I4 with 191hp gains an all-wheel-drive option, which ought to make it a bit more surefooted while cornering, and more adept to horrible winter weather. Should you upgrade to the turbo 290hp, 2.5-liter engine in the Sonata N-Line, however, you're stuck with a hilariously torque-steer-prone front-wheel-drive setup. The 192hp Sonata Hybrid keeps on keepin’ on, too.

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All Sonata sedans come with a pair of 12.3-inch screens housed in one curved display, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly. Other cabin changes include a gearshift that protrudes from the steering column, and a long air vent stretches across most of the dashboard. Overall, it's a good look.

Hyundai says the updated Elantra will hit dealers this fall, while the restyled Sonata will go on sale this winter. Pricing shouldn’t change too much, but we’ll have final numbers in the coming months.

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