The 2020 Hyundai Elantra Drops Its Manual Transmission and Gets a CVT for Better MPG

Joey Capparella
Photo credit: Hyundai

From Car and Driver

  • The Hyundai Elantra sedan is getting a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for 2020, according to the EPA.
  • Elantra models with the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder now hit up to 41 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg combined, improvements of two to three mpg compared to the 2019 Elantra and its six-speed automatic transmission.
  • The 2020 Hyundai Elantra goes on sale soon and also offers several new standard features.

UPDATE 5/14/19: Hyundai has released full information about the 2020 Elantra, confirming that a CVT will replace the previous six-speed automatic transmission on most trim levels. The six-speed manual transmission previously available on the base SE model is canceled, resulting in a base price increase of $1750, to $19,870. That's offset somewhat by several newly standard features, including dual-zone automatic climate control and active-safety features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist. The 2020 Elantra Sport sedan also drops its standard six-speed manual transmission and is now only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, while the Elantra Eco model, which continues to use a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four and dual-clutch automatic transmission, gains engine start-stop.

Just a few years ago, the fifth-generation Hyundai Elantra was embroiled in a fuel-economy scandal with the eventual result that Hyundai and Kia had to pay a settlement of $41.2 million to 33 states for falsifying EPA ratings claiming that the compact sedan got 40 mpg on the highway. Ratings for 2011 through 2013 model year Elantras were revised to a decidedly less advertising-friendly 38 mpg highway.

When Hyundai first introduced the sixth generation of its compact sedan for the 2017 model year, it added an Eco trim level with a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four and a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Again, Hyundai claimed a 40-mpg EPA highway rating-but for real this time. And now, for 2020, there will be even more Elantra models that hit that vaunted EPA highway rating, thanks to a new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for the car's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

The EPA's website shows two 2020 Hyundai Elantra models with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. These models previously used a six-speed automatic transmission and earned EPA ratings of up to 33 mpg combined, 38 highway, and 29 mpg city, while the new transmission bumps those numbers up to 35 mpg combined, 41 mpg highway, and 31 mpg city in the base Elantra SE model. The 2020 Elantra's numbers match the related 2019 Kia Forte's EPA ratings, which also uses a CVT: Hyundai and Kia's first use of this transmission type.

Hyundai confirmed to C/D that the CVT is joining the 2020 Elantra lineup, but couldn't share any other details about the rest of the Elantra's powertrains yet. We don't expect any other significant changes, as the six-speed manual is likely to continue on in the value-priced base model, as is the more powerful Elantra Sport with its turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four. We might expect the Elantra Eco, which uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four, to be in jeopardy now that the base 2.0-liter car beats it in EPA fuel-economy ratings, but we won't know for sure until Hyundai releases full information.

('You Might Also Like',)