2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2019 Acura ILX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Elantra Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The ILX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Acura ILX:

Elantra Sedan

ILX

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

182/35 lbs.

768/623 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Acura ILX:

Elantra Sedan

ILX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

454 lbs.

487 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

683 lbs.

945 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Elantra Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ILX was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Elantra Sedan comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The ILX’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Elantra Sedan 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Acura covers the ILX. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the ILX ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the ILX’s (7 vs. 5 years).

There are over 3 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Elantra Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Elantra Sedan second among compact cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The ILX isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 47 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 3 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Elantra Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the ILX:

MPG

Elantra Sedan

Eco 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

33 city/41 hwy

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/41 hwy

SEL/Value/Limited 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Sport 1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/33 hwy

ILX

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/34 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Elantra Sedan Eco’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Elantra Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline. The ILX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Elantra Sedan has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The ILX doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Elantra Sedan stops much shorter than the ILX:

Elantra Sedan

ILX

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Elantra Sedan offers an available space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Elantra Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the ILX (106.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra Sedan is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ILX.

The Elantra Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (61.1% to 38.9%) than the ILX’s (63% to 37%). This gives the Elantra Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The Elantra Sedan Limited handles at .84 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Elantra Sedan’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the ILX’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Chassis

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Acura ILX.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Elantra Sedan has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The ILX uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Elantra Sedan a Mid-size car, while the ILX is rated a Compact.

The Elantra Sedan has 6.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (95.8 vs. 89.3).

The Elantra Sedan has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom, .2 inches more rear hip room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

The Elantra Sedan has a much larger trunk than the ILX (14.4 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Elantra Sedan easier. The Elantra Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the ILX’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

The Elantra Sedan’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The ILX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional Seat Easy Access glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The ILX doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Elantra Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the ILX’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Elantra Sedan Sport/Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ILX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Elantra Sedan Limited has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The ILX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the ILX offer available heated front seats. The Elantra Sedan Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ILX.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Elantra Limited has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The ILX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The Hyundai Elantra comes in sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Acura ILX isn’t available as a station wagon.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Elantra Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the ILX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the ILX because typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the ILX, including $114 less for a water pump, $41 less for front brake pads, $271 less for a starter, $273 less for fuel injection, $242 less for a fuel pump, $159 less for front struts and $108 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Elantra Sedan will be $8747 to $9433 less than for the Acura ILX.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Acura ILX by almost 18 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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