Hyundai’s Elantra has come a long way since the first-gen model launched in 1991. Back then, the South Korean brand was far from the global household name it’s become today, and many consumers eyed it with a degree of suspicion. The original Elantra was a cheap and cheerful offering, finding a foothold in the ultra-competitive C-segment primarily via bargain-basement pricing and an industry-leading 10-year warranty (in some markets).

The company has made giant strides since then, and today’s Elantra is a smooth, capable saloon with a Tardis-like cabin that comfortably accommodates four adults and fair swag of luggage. It’s only been two years since the current (sixth-gen) model debuted, but Hyundai has already taken the wraps off a facelifted version that will see it through until an all-new replacement lands in another two years or so.

The highlights with the 2019 Elantra are sharper front and rear styling and an upgraded equipment list that should keep it at the pointy end of its segment. The face has more than a hint of VW/Audi about it, which is hardly a surprise given that Peter Schreyer and Luc Donckerwolke (both ex-VW Group) call the shots in Hyundai’s design department.

The sharp-edged headlights comprise LED daytime-running lights, and lower down sits a more aggressively profiled grille and bumper/spoiler assembly. The bonnet has also been reworked for a more streamlined look and there’s a new range of alloy wheels that can be had in sizes up to 18 inches.

The profile hasn’t been tampered with, but the crayon wielders have gone to town on the rump, which scores boomerang-shaped taillights and sharply contoured bootlid with a pronounced lip. The license plate housing also migrates from the boot to the rear bumper for a cleaner look.

There’s substance to the update too, as the 2019 Elantra gets active safety features such as a blind-spot monitoring system, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with active lane control and a rear-view camera with a cross-traffic alert system. Also new for the 2019 Elantra is an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in higher-spec trims. Lower variants make do existing 7.0in unit.

Buyers in some markets are offered 1.4- and 1.6-litre turbo motors, but UAE-bound cars are expected to retain the existing naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-pot that ekes out 126bhp and 155Nm.