QOTD: Refresh, or Revolt?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd refresh or revolt

A change is gonna come, the song goes, and it may as well be playing for all cars popular enough to avoid an abrupt discontinuation two or three years after their launch. Those sorry rides never got a chance to spawn a second generation or undergo a styling change. For the vast majority of car models, however, a design refresh halfway through a development cycle is the norm.

Be it a barely noticeable tweak or a full-on face transplant, rare is the OEM that doesn’t toss out a few bucks to make an older car look newer (or at least different). Different, it should be noted, does not always mean better. Sometimes the operation fails. Unlike a face transplant, in this scenario it’s other people who reject the new tissue.

It might not shock you to learn the inspiration for this QOTD: the 2019 Hyundai Elantra — the worked-over, triangle-obsessed successor to what was, in my jaundiced view, a very handsome model. You might have seen it in our Ace of Base post yesterday.

When the sixth-generation Elantra appeared for the 2016 model year, applause greeted Hyundai’s decision to ditch the soft-serve styling of the fifth-gen for a wider, meaner look. Suddenly, the Elantra was a serious car. The broad grille, thin vertical vents, and narrow headlights gave the model an aura of menace that its low-torque 2.0-liter couldn’t hope to back up. Hell, I stopped on the street the other night to admire a black model with fresh snows and steelies.

A carriage for economy-minded mobsters, bless its little heart.

Then came the 2019 model, which looks like it accidentally ran through a series of mirrors and plate glass windows. Someone put pressure on those wounds! It’s quite the opposite of the 2018 Sonata, which vastly improved upon the deadly dull countenance of the new-for-2016 seventh-gen sedan.

Yes, eye of the beholder, and all that. I’m the guy who thinks the bland-as-boiled-potatoes 2016-2018 Lexus ES wears its massive spindle grille well, so there’s no telling where personal opinion might fall on a particular model. Take a shot, B&B.

Which mid-cycle refresh turned a looker into a homely dog?

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 01, 2018

    Did anyone noticed that Fusion was also updated for 2017 and a bit more in 2019?

  • Dan Dan on Nov 01, 2018

    A couple of standout uglies in my book: 2004-ish GMT800 Silverado, wherein GM took their excellent evolution of the GMT400 and went for angry instead (why?) but actually hit squinty. 2013-ish Grand Cherokee, wherein Chrysler finally addressed the godawful gearing, and also addressed that their bold American truck (SUV, whatever) looked like a bold American truck instead of an Audi. 2015-ish Chrysler 300, wherein Chrysler looked at what BHPH owners were doing to make their cars worse and made most of them factory standard. The 2011 was a classy car. This wasn't.

    • MLS MLS on Nov 06, 2018

      I typically hate mid-cycle facelifts, but found the Grand Cherokee and 300 updates to be big improvements.

  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.