What Does SE Stand For On Hyundai Cars (SE vs SEL)

What Does SE Stand For On Hyundai Cars

Have you ever asked yourself or your friend what does the SE stands for on Hyundai cars? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Though Hyundai corporation was founded in 1947, its car manufacturing branch was founded in 1967, and they are the makers of the first truly South Korean car.

Today, they are operating three brands of vehicles. The main Hyundai, but also the luxury brand Genesis and the electric vehicle marque Ioniq.

Besides these in-house brands, the company also very closely cooperates with KIA Motors Company.

So, what does SE stand for on Hyundai cars? SE stands for “Standard Equipment” and represents the basic trim level many Hyundai vehicles can have. It is the most basic offerings of individual models from this company. Devoid of all the things that many people may find unnecessary or not needed. However, SE is part of the name of almost all Hyundai models, only very few of them do not have it.

While it may sound as if SE trim level makes a bad car, in reality, those are still excellent, just without various bells and whistles available on higher trims.

What you can expect from them is to have the lowest MSRP in the model’s range

What Does The SE Bring To Hyundai Cars?

First and foremost, the SE trim level is not available on hybrid and electric, or N Line badged models, with exception of the IONIQ.

All of the other Hyundai models come with the SE trim as the base level, while IONIQ has another trim level, the Blue, below it.

Depending on the exact model, the SE trim level entails various pieces of equipment beyond the seats and wheels every car has. In other words, SE trim is much more than a bare bone.

For example, the cheapest Accent with $15,395 MSRP in SE trim comes with:

  • Rear View Monitor (RVM) with dynamic guidelines;
  • Bluetooth handsfree system;
  • Splitting and folding rear seats;
  • Tire pressure monitoring;
  • Driving aids, like ESC, traction control, ABS with EBD on all four brakes;
  • Keyless entry;
  • Rear window defroster.

This is quite a lot of quality of life characteristics that will certainly make your life easier, driving safer, and owning a Hyundai a much more enjoyable experience.

Other models in their SE trim have various additional options on top of these, so Elantra for example, has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionalities, forward collision and rear cross-traffic avoidance system with autonomous braking, blind-spot warning, an 8-inch infotainment system, LED daylights, and high beam assist.

A bit bigger sedan, Sonata, on top of these also includes driver fatigue monitor, lane keep assist, and lane follow assist which makes it semi-autonomous driving, smart cruise control with autonomous braking and accelerating, full LED headlights, and several driving modes.

The SUVs follow the same pattern, smaller and cheaper models have less equipment than bigger and more expensive ones.

The smallest SUV, Venue has the similarly equipped SE trim level to that of Elantra, though without the blind spot warning.

While the largest and most expensive comes choke-full of bells and whistles.

Read also: Can a Hyundai Tucson Tow a Pop-up Camper? (Explained)

Is The SE Trim Level Worth The Price Tag?

There are two ways to look at this question, in comparison with other trim levels, or in comparison with the competitors.

When comparing various trim levels of various models, you can notice a pattern that the SE trim has exactly those options that are essential for a vehicle in its class and most common way of use.

For example, a small compact sedan that is not really expected to be driven for hours on the interstate, Accent, has a backing camera with dynamic guidelines, which is very useful for backing in a tight parking spot, but doesn’t have a line keep assist.

Higher trim levels have options that are simply nice to have, while SE has must-have options.

When you start comparing Hyundai models with other car manufacturers, you will slowly start understanding why they have been outselling the majority of other makers.

Hyundai as a rule in their SE trim level offers much more of a car than other companies, they do not omit important options and do so very often at a lower price.

Read also: What Does S Line Mean On Audi A6? (A3, A4, A5 – Explained)

SE vs SEL – What’s The Difference Between (Other Trim Levels)

In the simplest terms, it’s the various options depending on the exact model. Though you can freely say that higher trim levels have options that can be nice to have but are not a must.

For example, the compact SUV, Venue in SEL trim also includes:

  • Blind-spot monitoring system;
  • 6-speakers audio setup;
  • Automatic climate control;
  • And leather steering wheel.

It also gives you the opportunity to select an optional Premium package, which includes:

  • Powered sunroof;
  • Front seat heating;
  • LED tail, head, and daytime lights;
  • Keyless entry with START/STOP engine button;
  • 8-inch infotainment system.

The highest trim level of this model, Denim entails all of the options from the optional Premium package, except the sunroof.

Some other models have different additional options or a different number of higher trims, for example, Santa Cruz SUV has also SEL, SEL Premium, and Limited trim levels.

The SEL trim, in this case, has an optional Activity package, which is very different from Venue’s Premium package but is similarly included as standard equipment of the next higher package.

The exact content of all trim level differences for all Hyundai models is beyond the scope of this article, but they all follow the same logic, the SE trim level has all options that every buyer of some model must-have, while the higher trims those that can be useful for some.

Read also: What Does SXT Mean For a Dodge Caravan? (Explained)

Do All Hyundai Cars Have The SE Trim Level?

You could say that all Hyundai car models have SE trim levels, but that wouldn’t be completely accurate.

The problem is that Hyundai is marketing the hybrid and electric vehicle models as separate ones from their gas and diesel guzzling counterparts.

But, I have to point out that these alternative fuel vehicles do not have SE trim, with one exception.

There are three variants of the Ioniq model, a gasoline hybrid, plug-in, and fully electric variant. This model shouldn’t be confused with the future models from Hyundai’s Ioniq division, such as Ioniq 5.

Ioniq is the only alternative fuel model which has the SE trim level, on the gasoline hybrid variant it is the second-lowest trim level, with the Blue being the base level, while on the other two SE is the base trim level.

All Things Considered

There is no denying that Hyundai has a wide range of models, and when you add that on top of that that all of them have 3, and some even 4 or 5 trim levels, you get a very complicated choice from any prospective owner of their cars.

The SE trim levels bring the essential level of equipment for any of those models. For example, a small city sedan will have parking aids, to help you safely navigate tight parking spots.

A full-size executive sedan on the other hand will have a lane-keeping assist, and lane follows assist, options that are very useful when driving for hours on a highway.

A large SUV that can be expected to get very often in slow-moving traffic may have the smart cruize control with autonomous braking and accelerating.

In other words, for every Hyundai model, you can imagine its typical owner and the typical way it is used. And the SE trim has the options which make their life easier, while higher trims contain options some buyers may want to have.

Here are some of my favorite tools & equipment´s

Thank you for reading this article. I hope it helps you find the most recent and accurate technical and repair information for your car. Here are some tools that I use as an automotive technician and hope you´ll also find helpful.

There are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I´ll earn a small commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family. (NO CRAP)

To see all my of most up-to-date recommendations, check out this resource that I made for you!




Jeff is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Reatta. Jeff has been creating written and video content about transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used for more than 18 years. Jeff is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Recent Posts

error: Content is protected !!