By on May 16, 2019

Image: Hyundai

Exactly a year ago, your suddenly fearful author found himself in the market for a new car. Hating the shopping experience, and with little free time, the choice soon boiled down to two scorching models: a base Chevy Cruze manual, or a similarly sparse Hyundai Elantra, also with a manual.

Twelve months later, neither vehicle exists in the United States. The Cruze is dead, and for the 2020 model year, Hyundai Motor America has decided to ditch the six-speed manual transmission, outfitting the recently updated sedan with a new continuously variable transmission.

The loss of both the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic might not please the small contingent of buyers who demand a third pedal, but it will bring a smile to the face of environmentalists and those with a deep dislike of slushboxes. Hyundai’s “Intelligent Variable Transmission” (IVT) utilizes a chain drive, improving efficiency and responsiveness over conventional CVTs. We’ll have to drive one before we can sing its praises, but the automatic Elantra offered a fast trip to Yawnville.

The difference at the pumps amounts to a 2 mpg boost, with the SE model returning 35 mpg combined. SEL, Value Edition, and Limited versions of the newest Elantra see a combined rating of 34 mpg.

Also boosted? The Elantra’s starting price. The model’s price floor rises $1,850 to a pre-destination MSRP of $18,950. Blame added standard content, which includes both the IVT and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Driver Attention Warning.

Engines remain the same, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 147 horsepower and a tepid 132 lb-ft of torque in entry-level guise. The Eco model remains, offering 128 horsepower and a healthier 156 lb-ft, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch. That tranny will also be your only choice in the Elantra Sport, Hyundai’s value-priced alternative to the Honda Civic Si. The Sport’s output remains the same.

You’ll notice we specified that the stick-shift Elantra is dead in the United States, not North America. That’s because the base 2020 Elantra continues to offer a six-speed manual in Canada, with IVT optional.

As well, the entry-level “Essential” model does not don the new safety content seen on the U.S. SE trim. These two factors mean the cheapest Canadian Elantra comes in at $1,851 less than the base American model (before destination and fees), rising only $100 over the refreshed 2019 model. Information on the Elantra Sport model is not yet available for the Canadian market.

[Images: Hyundai]

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24 Comments on “2020 Hyundai Elantra Ditches the Manual, Ups the Content...”

  • avatar

    mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch. That tranny will also be your only choice in the Elantra Sport, Hyundai’s value-priced alternative to the Honda Civic Si.

    Sigh… So no SPORT “N” with manual?

    • 0 avatar

      Looks like the Forte GT and the Elantra GT N-line are keeping a manual for 2020.
      If I was in the market for such things I’d just go full Veloster N, but I know you have high cargo needs.

      • 0 avatar

        So y’all know I’m car shopping, moving into a new domicile at the end of the month, AND found out on May 3rd that I’m being promoted to MIDDLE SCHOOL principal after 7 years as an Elementary Administrator. (Didn’t apply for the job BTW, the powers that be decided that I was the best man for the job.)

        Upshot is that my new commute will be 12 miles round trip compared to my current 60 mile a day commute.

        However I’m still in that “love to take long road trips” category and feel that Mamma’s Terrain is too small for family vacations.

        The plot thickens…

        • 0 avatar

          Congrats on the house and promotion PDan! A shorter commute is a godsend as well.

          We’ve got our newborn now and car-wise I’m in minivan nirvana, loving the T&C and its features. Baby hauling with the sun shades rolled up and a stroller fits upright un-folded with the third row seatbacks folded down, car full of 80 year old grandparents when they were in town, mobile office this morning with the laptop sitting on the center console, bluetooth audio, perfect. For my commuting I’ve taken over our ’12 85k mile Camry, it and its 33mpg in mixed driving have really grown on me.

          • 0 avatar

            If my wife didn’t care I’d even be trying to make a deal on a Pacifica (almost 300 hp, 19 gallon tank plus 28 mpg highway rating sounds heavenly to me) but she still shuns the minivan.

            Her personal ideal vehicle is a Tahoe/Yukon or Acadia class vehicle.

            When I want to have fun on my commute there is even a curvy little stretch of 2 lane that runs behind the municipal airport to tear up or the cloverleaf style interstate on ramps to hit at high speeds.

            But honestly I am more of a “quite cruiser” type of guy with an acceptable amount of handling prowess.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Congrats on the promotion. The shorter commute will also improve ‘work/life’ balance.

          Any chance of you bicycling to and from work in good weather?

          As for your wife’s shunning of the minivan, may I suggest doing what a relative did. Rented one for a weekend. Didn’t tell his partner what it was. After driving it for 2 days, she was sold on getting one.

          • 0 avatar

            My wife was only very slightly hesitant on the stigma, jokingly said “oh you’re sticking ME with the van?” when we first were shopping and decided it made sense for me to commute in the Camry. Then she tried out the heated seats and steering wheel…then she saw how awesome and easy loading/hauling people+baby+baby stuff was, I get constant compliments on my research and family vehicle selection now anytime we drive anywhere in it with the kiddo loaded up.

          • 0 avatar
            cimarron typeR

            Congrats on the promotion! More importantly, congrats on the shortened commute.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            To demonstrate the difference between ‘need and want’, this weekend is the first long weekend of the summer in Canada. Something we have all been looking forward to. A couple of months in advance, I reserved a rental vehicle. To be used to carry family around on visits, move furniture, bring in gardening supplies, etc.

            Even that far in advance many of the rental agencies had already pre-booked all their minivans. At rates ranging from $450 to $550 for the weekend.

            So instead I booked an F-150 (full sized pick-up) which was readily available, for $275 for the weekend.

            That demonstrates the demand for minivans, when people are ‘purchasing’ based solely on need/practicality.

          • 0 avatar

            My wife used to abhor minivans, but after a couple long road trips in a CUV and having a loaner Pacifica for a few days, a Pacifica is now on the list to buy once we have enough down payment saved up. They are tough to beat for room, mileage and comfort.

        • 0 avatar

          Congratulations to you for the promotion. Happy trails.

          My commute shortened last year, not near as much as yours (48 miles RT to 16) but I no longer get up at 4:30 to avoid traffic.

        • 0 avatar

          Dan, you must seriously be taking names at work if you got promoted without applying. Congrats on that and the truncated commute. In some ways, that’s the bigger win. Less time commuting is a beautiful thing.

          Is it time for a Miata?

          • 0 avatar

            What’s hilarious (sarcasm) is I work for the type of leaders that would sooner fall on their own swords than tell someone they’re doing a good job. I almost did a Sally Field “You LIKE me, you really LIKE me!” when I was told.

            I do really prefer to have something quiet inside but also engaging (at least more engaging than my Toyota.) I also prefer to have a dealer to service the vehicle in my city regardless of where I purchase it. That does limit me a little on choice but other brands would be a two hour drive away.

  • avatar

    TTAC story or 2 or 3 per day on H K products.
    NO other manufacturer gets as many stories.
    (Oh- Oh wait. Tesla may get as many)

    • 0 avatar

      Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah, HK products are a minor player. A week or so ago it was several glowing Mazda reviews/reports in a seven day period. Mazda – the unofficial(?) sponsor of TTAC (TTAM?). Tesla is being kicked around to help keep its sales volume lower than that of the Stars of Hiroshima.

  • avatar

    All the other manufacturers must be thanking Ford and GM for bringing supply and demand into balance again in the small car market – pricing power returns! (At least temporarily)

  • avatar

    Discouraging, but not surprising. We have two of the previous generation Elantras in our house, both with the 6-speed manual. My husband has the coupe base model with no options, but I was happy to pick up the hatchback with the Style Package for myself. Both good cars.

    • 0 avatar


      I hold this in so much affection it isn’t even funny! When I look outside and see a PT, Ram, Journey, Commander, Compass and Stratus– my heart is so full.

      It’s not terribly common to have a 1-brand driveway! I always look for it!

      • 0 avatar

        Even when there are substantial changes from generation to generation it freaks me out a little when I see multiples of the same vehicle in a driveway or garage.

        There was massive change between the 1st gen Acadia and 2nd gen Acadia and my father test drove a 2nd gen after his truck was totaled out. He came very close to pulling the trigger on a fairly base Acadia but ultimately bought a nicely optioned Terrain. My MIL has a 1st gen Acadia SLT Limited.

        Seeing the two of them constantly parked side by side would have been really odd to me.

      • 0 avatar

        Mine is currently a 2 Mazda driveway. Just mad the other one is a real color whereas mine is black. The other one a Mazda3 Sport is kind of a medium denim.

  • avatar

    FU Hyundai, you will never see my business

  • avatar

    This article seriously lacks important product information. For example, what is the recharging time, how much is range reduced by cold weather and using the heater, and how often does this model spontaneously explode in parking garages?

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