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2019 Hyundai Elantra

Starting Price: $17,985 | Price yours

Above Average: Great warranty; lots of luxury; packed with technology; everything from a sport model to the fuel-efficient Eco; Qi wireless phone charging in upper-level trim; roomy

Below Average: Not as fun to drive as some others in its class; some models lack driver-assist features

Consensus: After a redesign a scant two years ago, the 2019 Hyundai Elantra gets an extensive makeover, and continues to improve. It’s comfortable, luxurious, a great value, and extremely roomy inside, with sophisticated features and lots of tech. The Elantra is offered in a variety of trim levels and packages, from sporty to fuel-efficient Eco, and its legendary 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty remains the standard-bearer in its class.
 

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2019 Chevrolet Cruze

Starting Price: $18,870 | Price yours

Above Average: Optional 48 mpg diesel engine with decent torque, small car but feels bigger, comfortable ride

Below Average: Performance is not exciting, options add up quickly, some safety features not available on base model, substandard resale value

Consensus: The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze has a very comfortable and refined ride and a well-done interior. It’s the only member of its class with a diesel engine, which earns 48 mpg and has respectable oomph.

In the crowded compact sedan segment, it pays to stay alert, and both Chevy and Hyundai have updated their models for 2019, Hyundai providing an extensive makeover to the Elantra and Chevy offering tweaks and styling updates to the Cruze. Both of these compacts feel like bigger cars inside, with comfortable rides and refined city and highway manners. They’re not the road burners of the segment, but they focus their energies on providing luxury, a refined cabin, and respectable value.

Similarities

Both feel bigger than they are inside; comfortable and refined ride; good fuel mileage; hatchback option

Chevrolet Cruze Advantages

Optional diesel engine; significantly more torque and better fuel economy

Hyundai Elantra Advantages

More active safety features at lower trim levels; a little sportier in the curves; longer, more comprehensive warranty

Final Recommendation

Relative newcomers in a class where the Civic and Corolla have reigned supreme, Hyundai and Chevy have worked hard and are constantly striving to improve their offerings. Both the Elantra and Cruze feel much bigger than they are, with the EPA classifying the Elantra as technically a midsize and the Cruze following its bigger brothers and feeling more like a smaller Impala or Malibu. Each provides a certain amount of luxury and refinement inside, with comfortable seating and ample cargo space. While performance is not a specialty of each, the Elantra has an active rear suspension that keeps it fun in the curves. Chevy has an optional RS package for the Cruze, but it’s mostly aesthetic upgrades, including bigger wheels and some blacked-out window trim. In general, the Elantra looks sharper and more modern.

These two do many things very well and our expert review earns the Elantra a 9 versus the Cruze’s 8.5, so your choice really comes down to a question of priorities. Both provide a comfortable ride, but while the Cruze is more of a cruiser, the Elantra is a little more fun and sporty when it counts. If fuel mileage is a concern, the Elantra has an Eco model, but the Cruze diesel is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient. And if you’re thinking long-term, neither car is class-leading in resale value, but the Elantra has a 10 year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Overall, given that it’s a bit less expensive at all levels as well, we give this one to the Elantra.

  2019 Hyundai Elantra 2019 Chevrolet Cruze
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 1.4-liter I4, turbocharged
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 153 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 177 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-Spd Automatic, 6-Spd
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (26 city, 36 hwy) 33 mpg (28 city, 38 hwy)
Also Available 1.4-liter I4, turbo; 2.0-liter I4 (GT); 1.6-liter I4, turbo, 6-speed automatic, 7-speed automatic 1.6-liter diesel I4, turbocharged with 9-speed automatic
Specs    
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 181.9 inches 183.7 inches
Width 70.9 inches (w/ mirrors) 70.5 inches
Height 56.5 inches 57.4 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 38.7 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 38.9 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.3 inches 37.3 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 42.0 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 36.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.2 inches 54.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 53.2 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 95.8 cu. ft. n/a
EPA Cargo Volume 14.4 cu. ft. 14.8 cu. ft.
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