2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2019 Buick Regal Sportback

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

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 Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.

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 Regal Sportback’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 Buick covers the Regal Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Regal Sportback ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Regal Sportback’s (7 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Elantra Sedan’s reliability 18 points higher than the Regal Sportback.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Elantra Sedan second among compact cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback 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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 9 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Elantra Sedan

FWD

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

Regal Sportback

FWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

GS 3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Elantra Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Regal Sportback with the 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. engine 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Elantra Sedan stops shorter than the Regal Sportback:

Elantra Sedan

Regal Sportback

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Elantra Sedan Limited handles at .84 G’s, while the Regal Sportback GS pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Elantra Sedan’s turning circle is 4.2 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (34.8 feet vs. 39 feet). The Elantra Sedan’s turning circle is 6.2 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (34.8 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1150 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.

The Elantra Sedan is 11 inches shorter than the Regal Sportback, making the Elantra Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Elantra Sedan has 1.5 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more front legroom than the Regal Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Regal Sportback’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Elantra Sedan Limited’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited has standard extendable sun visors. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback.

The Elantra Sedan has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Regal Sportback.

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 Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

The Elantra Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Elantra Sedan will retain 45.03% to 46.12% of its original price after five years, while the Regal Sportback only retains 41.25% to 43.07%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback because it costs $273 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the Regal Sportback, including $561 less for a water pump, $774 less for a muffler, $183 less for front brake pads, $295 less for a starter, $109 less for fuel injection, $103 less for a fuel pump, $89 less for front struts, $22 less for a timing belt/chain and $240 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 $9501 to $12013 less than for the Buick Regal Sportback.

Recommendations

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

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Buick Regal by over 14 to one during 2018.

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

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