Test Drives

Hyundai Avante 1.6 S review 2019: The People’s Choice

Top-spec Avante a bit too elitist for you? Never mind, Hyundai has a more populist alternative


So the Avante Elite sticks closely to the traditional Hyundai formula: maximum value for money.

Fact of the matter is though, a price difference is a price difference, no matter which way you cut it. And though the Avantes Elite’s spec seems to include everything including the kitchen sink, it’s still a sizeable $7,000 more than the next lower model, the ‘S’.

That’s by no means chump change, enough for a nice family holiday, so is it really worth the extra spend?

Singaporean car buyers have spoken with their wallets, and the answer seems to be “no”. Though the Elite is indeed terrific value, local Hyundai agent Komoco actually sold a lot more ‘S’s of the outgoing Elantra: in fact 65 percent of all Elantra sales were of the ‘S’.

Still, “most Singaporean car buyers” might not necessarily represent you, dear reader, so let’s see where the money goes.

If keeping up with the Joneses matters to you, then there’s no harm going for the ‘S’, as it looks virtually identical to the Elite.

Only the halogen headlights (above), as opposed to LEDs, and the badge at the bottom-right corner of the boot (below), give the game away. In all other aspects, both models look alike, down to the design of the 16-inch rims, body trim, and newly-found triangular styling theme.

You do lose out on some nifty features as you step down from the Elite, but frankly, there’s an easy fix to each one: No more auto wipers? Just nudge the wiper stalk when you see water on the windscreen. No more climate control? The aircon system can blow just as cold. Seat no longer moves electrically? Well what’s the matter with pulling a lever? Car no longer warns you if there’s a vehicle in your blind spot? Just turn your head to look – you should be doing that as a habit anyway. And finally, can’t get cool air wafting across your bum when you sit down?

Okay, we’ll admit we don’t have a solution for that, but chances are your current family car doesn’t have it either, so no skin off your back, correct?

On a more positive note, let’s keep in mind what you do still get in the ‘S’: the same smooth, refined 1.6-litre ‘Gamma’ engine, the same driving qualities, the touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto, rear aircon vents, wireless smartphone charger, cruise control, six airbags, reversing camera, and auto headlights.

By our reckoning, the only features we’d really miss from the Elite are the ventilated seats and blind spot detection. The ability to be cooled from both the front and the rear is a godsend on any of our sweltering days here (and things are heating up here faster than the rest of the world), and you can’t put a price on safety, especially if it helps you avoid the collision in the first place.

Are these two features, and the others mentioned earlier, worth the extra outlay for the Elite? If your budget allows, we say go for it, if mainly because of how nice it is not to have your butt scorched off after leaving the car in the sun.

Otherwise, no shame at all in plumping for the ‘S’. The toys may be fewer but the core Avante experience is still there – it’s still a grown up, sensible family car that’s spacious and comfortable, now just slightly lighter on the wallet.


Hyundai Avante 1.6 ‘S’

Engine 1,591cc, inline 4
Power 126hp at 6300rpm
Torque 155Nm at 4850rpm
Gearbox 6-speed automatic
0-100km/h 11.6 seconds
Top Speed 195km/h
Efficiency 6.7L/100km
VES / CO2 B / 166g/km CO2
Agent Komoco Motors
Price $79,999 with COE
Availability Now


about the author

Jon Lim
CarBuyer's latest addition is its fourth historical Jonathan. Old-fashioned in all but body, he thinks car design peaked in the '90s. He also strongly believes any car can be a race car if you have a sufficient lack of self-preservation, which explains why he nearly flipped a Chinese van while racing it.