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Se vs. Sel Hyundai

1. Introduction

Se and SEL are the two models of Hyundai which have been introduced to improve the brand image and provide a greater choice to the customers. Just like new companies may introduce new products to penetrate a new market, Hyundai has also followed the same marketing strategy. The SE and SEL have been designed to cater to a different market audience. The SE model has been designed and introduced for the socially young age bracket. This can start from a student to a married couple who may or may not have kids. In a nutshell, this car has been designed for people who are looking for a car and at the same time looking at the prices and maintaining their lifestyle. These people may later upgrade to another car or may even take the same car but in a different or higher model. Keeping in mind these people, Hyundai has introduced the SE model with a standard transmission and 2-wheel drive. This will be more preferred by people who need to commute on the car to work or school and may periodically need to run some errands. The benefit of better fuel utilization and cheaper price compared to the SEL model are the biggest advantages this car offers to its customers. Although the car does not have as many features as the SEL model, there are packages offered with the car, for instance, the convenience package. This is to add a few features in the car without making the customer upgrade to the SEL model. Overall, the SE model has been priced for customers living an average life and needing a car to commute.

1.1. Overview of the SE model

Hyundai's Elantra has come a long way in the form of improvements and refinements. The results are in these two new models, the SE and the SEL. The Elantra SE is the most basic of the two. However, the term "basic" is somewhat misleading. In this case, basic should be interpreted as well refined with no frills for cost effectiveness. The car comes stock with a 2.0L, 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. This engine is less powerful than the 2.4L Turbo V6 that is available on the GT versions, but the fuel economy is hard to beat. With 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, a SE owner would be driving very cost effectively. This is a great thing for the commuter car that is trying to look and feel sporty. The money saved on gas turns into fewer dollars siphoned out of your wallet, and that feeling is very sporty for a college student on a tight budget. This could also be considered a "frill" in itself. No actual part on the car, but a distinct feeling that any cost-conscious consumer would appreciate and grow to love. This might make the SE somewhat favorable over the GT or the SEL models. The GT model averages 1-2 mpg more than the SE, therefore marginalizing the cost effectiveness of its "hotter" relative. The GT was also designed with performance in mind and less concern for cost. With a lighter wallet and slim to none savings for college, the SE would still win out here.

1.2. Overview of the SEL model

This is useful in certain conditions such as driving on a mountain road when you want to change to a lower gear for better acceleration or braking. Another advantage of the SEL compared to the SE is that the SEL only comes with one option, the panoramic sunroof, which for the SE is offered with a $1000 package consisting of a sunroof and many other features. A sunroof, of course, can add some more excitement when driving. It can improve the car's aesthetics and be useful to get more fresh air in the car. An opening can let hot air move out of the top of the car. This can be very useful when we park the car under the sun for a long time. Then the SEL has one grade higher interior color option, and the difference to its sibling is that the SEL is offered with some matte options for some wood trim and metallic grain. An 8-way power driver seat with power lumbar support also becomes the standard of this version. We can say the comfort level of the SEL has been increased compared to the SE. This is, of course, related to the luxurious image of the SEL itself. Then the SEL comes with an audio feature upgrade. It is equipped with a 4.3-inch touchscreen color audio display with a rearview camera, which is different from the SE. The SE is offered with a 4.3-inch audio display without a camera. A rearview camera system can be very useful for a car with a medium-sized body like Sonata. It can help the driver to park the car, especially in a tight parking area.

Although the main difference between these two models is their packaging of equipment, the SEL version is considered to be the improvement of the SE version, or the more luxurious version of Sonata. It uses the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine compared to the 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 which is going to be used in the high-performance version of Sonata. The SE can be perfect for those with a tight budget. This version is offered at $23k in the USA compared to the SEL which costs $25k. Many things can be seen differently from its older sibling. Unlike the SE, the SEL is equipped with a traditional six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic control. Shiftronic itself is a feature that can simulate manual shifting with an automatic transmission, allowing you to change gears with just the lever.

2. Exterior Features

The SEL has 8 different exterior color choices. When compared to the SE, the SEL offers the same Venetian Red, Quartz White, and Symphony Silver, but it also has Lakeside Blue whereas the SE has Electric Blue, and it also has Machine Gray, Phantom Black, and Scarlet Red for those who prefer darker looking vehicles. The Machine Gray option is particularly worth noting because it is Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) specific and only comes with the SEL with this option.

Both the SE and SEL have 16-inch alloy wheels, but for the SE they are black with silver caps whereas the SEL offers more traditional looking silver alloy wheels.

The SE and SEL both come with features that are unique to their own trim level. The SE's bold front grille and the reshaped headlights and taillights that come with it are certainly much more eye-catching than the SEL's standard front grille and custom-designed chrome molding. Both the SE and SEL offer optional mudguards, rear bumper protectors, and spoiler, and the SEL also offers a chrome trim, but these features are most worth noting on the SEL.

2.1. Design differences

First, the different front end treatments and grille designs set the SEL apart from the SE. The more sophisticated finish of the SEL grille is complimented well with the chrome beltline which outlines the windows, stretching from the side mirrors to the rear glass. The addition of this particularly stylish feature is a rarity on vehicles in the same class as the SEL and it's definitely a touch of class that helps it stand out among its competitors. Although both models are equipped with specific and separate headlight combinations featuring projector bulbs, an automatic light control and LED accents, a further distinction arises with the choice of the SEL in terms of quality. Aesthetic over function, the most notable difference on the SEL is the halogen fog lamps and LED daytime running lights located on the lower front end. Where the SE employs the use of two circular lights built directly into the front bumper, the SEL houses the fog lamps and DRLs within the same body as the headlight – with the fog lamps directly under and adjacent to the headlight. While somewhat subtle, the replacement of these separate lights with their higher quality counterparts does further add an element of elegance to the SEL.

2.2. Wheel options

On the exterior side, both models have their separate identifications that can be distinguished by their wheel choices. The SE model takes note of 16-inch alloy wheels while the SEL possesses 17-inch alloy wheels. The 17-inch was made to make the car appear more high profile compared to the basic one with 16-inch. Although it is only 1 inch in difference, the visualization and aesthetics between those 2 are considered contrasting whereby the SEL is often viewed as the better version of SE because of the wheel size. Depending on the preference, the 16-inch alloy wheels may have benefits in terms of ride comfort. It does not have the firmness and hardness compared to the 17-inch because the tire at that size is thicker thus making it more comfortable on different types of road. The SEL model will have better visual appeal but may sacrifice a bit of ride comfort compared to the SE model. This may not be a very significant issue but for some people, it still plays a part in choosing the right wheels for their car. If ride comfort is a major issue, then sticking to the 16-inch alloy wheels is the best option.

2.3. Exterior color choices

The Kia Sorento has fewer color options compared to the Santa Fe, only 6 colors to pick from. These options include Silky Silver, Clear White, and Black. Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey, and Mineral Blue are only available in the Sport and GT-Line model, which could affect the customer's decision in picking a model. With the Santa Fe having 7 colors and almost each color available for each model, this gives the customer peace of mind in choosing what model they want without making a sacrifice in their exterior color choice.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has a good amount of features. The exterior color choice has 7 different options for the customer to pick from. These options include Calypso Red, Quartz White, Stormy Sea, Portofino Gray, and of course, no extra price for Black and White. Depending on the color chosen, it is going to affect what model you can get. For example, if you're interested in the Tomatillo Red or Rain Forest, these colors are only available in the Trend, Active, and the Elite model, while the base colors such as White, Silver, and Black are available in all models.

3. Interior Features

Cabin design and layout Both the SE and SEL models of the Hyundai Elantra come with a similar cabin design. The cabin layout of both models is practical and convenient. However, it is evident that there is an effort to make the cabin layout have a subtle touch of style. Those who have driven past the previous model Elantra will appreciate the ergonomic changes to the cabin layout. Though not significantly different, it is the better quality of materials used which speak volumes when it comes to the changes in the layout. Both models of the Elantra come with optional features such as Bluetooth and an auto-dimming rearview compass mirror with HomeLink. Furthermore, both models have a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls and a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, increasing practicality and convenience. The SEL model has an upgraded version of the cloth used in the SE model. It has a honeycomb pattern bolster to the cloth and an added metallic or wood grain trim compared to the SE model. Although the differences are minor, they do make appreciable changes to the overall aesthetics of the cabin. The SEL model marks the beginning of the available options for the Elantra with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. This model, in addition, has an available power tilt and slide sunroof and provides a significant difference compared to the SE model in terms of cabin design and layout.

3.1. Cabin design and layout

Riding in the vehicle, occupants will find an abundance of everyday storage. The center console is sized competitively compared with the superfluous space given in some modern vehicles, and the front-door pockets are more than enough to grip maps, books, or even a 20 oz. beverage. Overhead sunglass storage is available at the front of the headlining. A feature that often goes unnoticed is the visibility granted by the optional electric tilt-and-slide glass sunroof. In the segment, sunroofs are often overlooked in favor of cost savings. But in certain glaring conditions, a sunroof can be regarded as the safety device that it is, giving headway riders the way to escape from their moonroof-ready brethren in the event of a death spiral. Both the thrifty and the luxurious are sure to appreciate the catalyst of Hyundai's intention to equip its entire line with higher safety vehicle (HSV) systems such as this and other infotainment features.

By examination, you may find the cabin of the SEL slightly more comfortable with a default perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, but the differences are negligible. At this stage, the lineup of interior quality does not sway the genuinely cost-conscious budget-minded client that the base model is insufficient.

The SE and SEL models of the Hyundai's mid-size sedan boast high-quality, comfy cabins with convenient layouts. For a relatively budget-minded associates automobile, its interior packaging is particularly strong. With a streamlined yet functional blueprint of the dash, controls are accessible and easy to use. An added bonus is seen in the model specific to SE with the six-way adjustable driver seat with power lumbar and the tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel that brings a level of comfort unmatched in its class. For each model, the fans are able to control the housing system output, highlighting an important function where many autos in the segment do not allow for accessory level models to configure fan speed.

3.2. Comfort and convenience features

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra SE and 2020 Hyundai Elantra SEL also have differences in their features, but they are more similar to each other. The SE model comes equipped with a 6-way adjustable driver's seat and a 60/40 split folding rear seat. The SEL provides a little extra on top of what the SE offers. In addition to what the SE model offers, the SEL brings a power driver seat with power lumbar support and heated front seats. Both Elantra models (SE and SEL) are roomy in the front seats but lack the spaciousness in the rear. Physical space in the SEL's rear seat isn't too much larger than the coupe-like space its exterior design suggests, though adults can fit comfortably enough in the rear of this car. The cloth seats that come with both models are comfortable and suitable. The SEL model, being more equipped has an upgraded cloth seat, compared to the base model Elantra. SE model Elantras do not include adaptive cruise control or automatic climate control. Both of these features are available on the SEL model and are a big plus to some. The SE model will come equipped with a standard AM/FM Radio Audio System with 6 speakers and a 7" touch-screen infotainment system. There are also steering-wheel-mounted controls. Android Auto/Apple Carplay are supported to connect your smartphone and use apps directly through the vehicle's touchscreen. Blue-Link connected services are also offered in the SE. The SE model is also Sirius XM Radio capable, with an option to include it before purchase. Comparatively, the SEL offers an upgrade on the SE. The SEL's audio system would be an AM/FM Radio/HD Radio Audio System with 6 speakers and an 8" touch-screen. This is around the same steering-wheel-mounted controls will remain the same. The 8" touch screen and available Sirius XM Radio and HD Radio offer an extra room for audio entertainment in this model. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are still supported here, but the SEL model also includes a free 3-year trial for the Connected Care, Remote and Guidance package. This package will be very desirable for someone with more interest in technology. On top of all of this, the SEL model offers an automatic temperature control system, a big upgrade from the manual system in the SE model.

3.3. Technology and infotainment options

All Sonatas offer a long list of standard features, but major SE V6 add-ons for more important content not found standard on GLS V6 starts with electronic stability control with a traction control system. This alone may make SE V6 worth the added cost. Then there is the ABS with brake force distribution and brake assist, and it offers curtain airbags, noticeable in protection value when comparing to seat-mounted side airbags. Step up of the line is the sunroof, and the most significant SE-only feature is the tire pressure monitoring system. A top-line V6 can add optional leather seating surfaces. All in the SE V6 is only a few thousand more than the similarly equipped GLS, putting it in direct competition with SEL V6 and Toyota Camry XLE V6. So in the end, a buyer will have to decide if the steering and suspension enhancements of the SE are worth having lesser, but yet still important seat safety and convenience enhancements when compared to the top-line models.

The first step up for Sonata SE V6 buyers is the popular equipment package, new for 2006. It includes a power glass moonroof with tilt and slide function, an 8-way power driver's seat, and steering wheel audio controls. A Sonata SE buyer can then add in the premium package that includes heated front seats and a premium AM/FM/MP3/6CD changer in-dash audio system. Step-up features are the 17-inch alloy wheels and 235/45VR17 tires for handling enchanted all-season tires and a traction control system. At the top of the line is the ultimate package that adds leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass. At a price under our long-term V6 LX.

Se model: The 2007 Hyundai Sonata SE comes to the battle with what many will consider more important than the steering - equal or better shelter, safety, and convenience features for all outboard seats. This higher level of convenience and protection can be obtained in Sonata GLS via the option package that includes an automatic transmission, and Sonata SE not only adds V6 power to the mix.

3.4. Interior color and trim choices

The Sonata SE is available with gray (cloth) or beige (cloth) interiors. The gray interior can be equipped with cloth or leather, while the beige is only available with cloth. Key features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and woodgrain or metal grain accents can be added for extra style. The Sonata SEL comes with one of two options, beige with cloth or a light or dark gray with cloth. The gray interior can be equipped with cloth or leather, and a panoramic sunroof is available with either option. The Limited model comes with a sportier interior that features a leather-clad steering wheel and shift knob with contrast stitching, aluminum pedals, carbon fiber or piano black accents, and rear side sunshades. Optional features for all trims include carpeted floor mats and a cargo net. White Pearl and Phantom Black exterior colors are matched with a beige interior, while all other exterior colors are matched with a gray interior. The beige interior is cloth only, the gray interior accommodates leather.

4. Performance and Safety

4.3.2 In terms of safety ratings, both the SE and SEL have been awarded the 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick, and both received 5-star ratings by the NHTSA. These achievements are a result of the Santa Fe's strong vehicle structure and excellence in protecting occupants during collision situations. These positive recommendations and awards exhibit the Santa Fe's high performance in vehicle safety, which is present in both the SE and SEL models.

4.3.1 Both the SE and SEL are equipped with similar safety features such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, and Lane Keeping Assist. The SEL, however, comes with additional features such as Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and Highway Driving Assist. These extra features make the SEL more desirable and safe for users who intend to drive their vehicle frequently.

Safety Features and Ratings

4.2.1 The SE and SEL have a similar fuel economy usage under FWD conditions with an estimated 25 MPG for city, 28 MPG for highway, and 26 MPG combined. A difference occurs when comparing the AWD fuel usage, since the SE has an estimated 21 MPG for city, 28 MPG for highway, and 24 MPG combined while the SEL has 23 MPG for city, 28 MPG for highway, and 25 MPG combined. The SEL uses fuel more efficiently than the SE due to the difference in powertrain and AWD, with only 1 MPG less overall.

Fuel Efficiency and MPG Ratings

4.1.1 The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe SE is equipped with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that produces 191 horsepower at 6100 rpm. This is slightly different from the powertrain in the Santa Fe SEL, which features the same 2.5L engine but with 277 horsepower due to the hybrid system found within it. Overall, the SEL powertrain produces more power and performance when compared to the SE's.

Engines and Powertrain Differences

4.1. Engine and powertrain differences

The Elantra SE comes with a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine, either with a 6-speed automatic transmission with an Active ECO system or a 6-speed manual transmission. The Elantra Limited comes with the 1.8L engine and an automatic with Shiftronic. The 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic is a different engine but produces no more than the 6-speed automatic for the SE model. The 6-speed automatic is an extra $1000 to spend over the manual transmission for an Elantra SE. The Limited has no manual transmission available. The Elantra SE with the 6-speed automatic transmission has an estimated 28 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. This will be compared to the Limited's 28 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway as well. The reason behind the estimated MPG ratings for both SE and Limited automatic models is because they both have the same engine. The Elantra SE transmission will vary in terms of fuel efficiency with the Active ECO system. This system modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy. When ECO is active, it increases the time for transmission upshifting, relative to normal mode, at any given accelerator pedal position.

The 2013 and 2014 Hyundai Elantra SE and Hyundai Elantra Limited are both a new generation of fuel-efficient, well-equipped cars. The Elantra SE and Limited are available with 6-speed automatic or manual transmissions. They are powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine with an estimated 38 MPG on the highway. Pricing for the Elantra SE starts at $17,760, and the Elantra Limited starts at $21,115. The major difference between these two models, besides the price, is the fact that the 2013 Elantra Limited is available with a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic. This automatic with Shiftronic is a different engine than what is in the Elantra SE, and the Limited is slightly more expensive. This review will compare the 2013 Elantra SE with the 2013 Elantra Limited in terms of performance, safety, interior and exterior features, and value.

4.2. Fuel efficiency and MPG ratings

This high fuel efficiency will save customers a lot of money in the long run and requires fewer fill-ups of the gas tank, which can be very convenient. Step up from 29/33, it is the hatchback version of the Accent giving you 33/41 which is the most economical choice. Gas money is the last thing anyone wants to spend their hard-earned cash on, and going with 29/33 or 33/41 will allow you to spend less and save more. Overall, this is one of the strong points of the vehicles. Accent owners will gladly tell you the money they save on gas in their Accents really does add up in the long run.

Moving to fuel efficiency, there really is no difference between the two models. The SE and SEL both get the same miles per gallon, getting 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway despite the different powertrain. The overall judgment of the MPG for the Hyundai Accent when compared to other vehicles, I would consider it to be very fuel efficient. This would be a huge advantage for a consumer in the sedan market looking for a cheap and reliable vehicle for transportation to and from work. With the seat capacity and MPG, this is a good family car as well. There are not many sedans with this price that would offer that seat capacity and fuel efficiency.

4.3. Safety features and ratings

Both models provide front, side, roof and driver knee airbags which combine for excellent protection in a collision. As tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), models have received four out of five stars overall in crash test rating. Included are also results for test on front crash into a fixed barrier and the overall pole test; both models achieved four stars in these tests which indicates good protection for the driver and passenger. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) the Elantra models have received a Top Safety Pick. This means that it has received good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and no less than acceptable in the small overlap front test. This is a great result for a small-medium sized sedan, and it proves that the safety features of both models are of high quality.

Hyundai’s commitment to providing high quality safety features is seen in both of these models, with many features being standard in both models, and likewise the same for optional safety features. SE and SEL models include standard dual front and side airbags, available traction control, four-wheel disc brakes, and antilock brakes. These features are catered to the average buyer who is a parent and safety for their children is paramount. Both models also provide optional Electronic Stability Control which enables the vehicle to go the way in which the driver wishes it to go, in short it will prevent slides and spins. It becomes apparent that there are only a few differences in the standard safety features in both models. SEL models include a security system standard while it is optional for SE models. Both models provide a tire pressure monitoring system, although on the SE model it will inform the driver which specific tire is low while the SEL model can only inform the driver low pressure in a tire.

4.4. Driving experience and handling

Driving experience and handling for the Elantra SE and SEL are primarily defined by their suspension setups. The SE employs a rear torsion beam, while the SEL upgrades to an independent multi-link design. A comparison of spring and damper rates between the two cars showed no difference, meaning that the lighter engine of the SEL has not warranted firmer suspension tuning. Front-drive dynamic behavior is nearly identical between the SE and SEL, with the former's controllability and mild understeer being a pleasant surprise compared to Elantra's of old. Rapid steering inputs induce predictable cornering characteristics, and both ESC calibrations are well sorted, particularly in the sport mode of the 6-speed automatic transmission. Step-off oversteer (which ESC can't prevent) is more difficult to induce on the SEL due to the limitations of a torsion beam rear end, but it's still conducted in a low-risk and easily controlled manner. Brake pedal feel and stopping power were particularly impressive in both models, with zero fade after extended use on downhill sections. A full ABS stop on gravel from 60km/h was repeated several times and yielded a straight and consistent result. These are the positives. The bottom line and area requiring improvement is road noise isolation. Tire roar from the Kumho Solus TA31 is very high in a variety of conditions and could serve as a repellent to potential buyers. Insulation from small to moderate impacts has been well addressed, but a coarse chip road at speeds of 60km/h or greater still generates significant intrusion of noise into the cabin. Overall, though, these are two well-sorted packages with suspension design and calibration now a strength of Elantra rather than a weakness.

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