Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is an award-winning and affordable compact sedan with many features for the price—rather impressive considering the inauspicious start to its production life in the early 1990s. The Elantra had a bad reputation and sold poorly. Its many problems included its overall shoddiness and unreliability.

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About the Hyundai Elantra

Over its life, this unremarkable vehicle morphed into a car of the year winner by greatly improving reliability and production quality. It boasts an impressive list of standard features for the price. Performance and styling gain recognition, and it responds and handles well. It provides a comfortable, smooth ride and roomy cabin, especially given its class.

Small complaints include high road noise and the impression that the small engine whines and works rather hard. Older versions do not have anti-lock brakes, despite their popularity as a standard feature at the time. Compared to the long list of positives, though, it’s easy to see how this vehicle wins awards.

For buyers who need a great car on a tight budget, it’s hard to beat the Elantra. Not bad for a compact that many thought wouldn’t survive its bumpy start.

About the Hyundai Elantra

The distinctive and sporty shape of the Elantra alludes to a coupe even though it classifies as a sedan. The exterior styling has won much praise. The Elantra Touring represents the related four-door hatchback, while the standard Elantra is a compact sedan.

The two trims include the GLS and Limited. The rather basic GLS comes with 15-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, and little else of note on the outside. The Limited upgrades to 17-inch alloy wheels and adds a power sunroof. A rearview camera can be added as an option, along with automatic headlights.

Hyundai Elantra Features

Both trims contain a 1.8-liter, inline-four engine rated at 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque. GLS models have a six-speed manual transmission with a six-speed automatic as an option. The automatic transmission comes standard on the Limited. All Elantras have front drive only.

Anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability control system add to the surprising amount of bang for your buck the Elantra has to offer. For a car in this price category, Hyundai has put just about everything it reasonably can into this model.

On the inside, the Elantra once again exceeds expectations for an economically priced compact sedan. The look, feel, and quality of the materials may not be the absolute best in the class, but they are impressive for the cost. The base package GLS still has power accessories and a six-speaker audio system with an iPod/USB interface. Options include air-conditioning, cruise control, and Bluetooth. The Limited adds leather upholstery and heated front and rear seats as standard equipment, with optional keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, and a premium audio system.

As mentioned earlier, the cabin lets in enough road noise to remind the buyer of its budget compact classification. Other than that small point, the interior is rather nice with 60/40-split folding seats and plenty of room with comfortable seating. Standard equipment also includes a trip computer and 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space. A tire pressure monitoring system also provides an unexpected luxury at this price point.

Certainly the Elantra does not focus on performance. Compact sedans aim to get a driver and passengers around with some comfort and economy. The model handles well enough for easy and safe driving. The list of safety components makes anyone inside this car feel like he doesn’t have anything out of the ordinary to worry about.

The acceleration and power are not that impressive, but they remain adequate and comparable to the competition. This vehicle’s willingness to handle curves and provide some bit of handling also pleases buyers.

The Elantra excels in terms of fuel economy, with impressive ratings for a five-passenger non-hybrid. Rated at 28/40 mpg city/highway, these numbers add to the cost-conscious nature of this affordable compact sedan.

2012 automatic transmission models have a new Active Eco System designed to improve gas mileage by up to seven percent by smoothing throttle response. The horn has an improved sound and the new steering calibration creates a better straight-line feel. The 2012 model also offers a roadside assistance kit as an option.

Hyundai Elantra Evolution

The first model of the Hyundai Elantra saw production from 1992 to 1995. The early Elantras are poorly made and should probably be avoided, despite their low price. The second generation, from 1996 to 2000, doesn’t improve much, but it does see an increase in power with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine capable of 130 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. The third generation, from 2001 to 2006, takes a considerable step up from previous models. It offers more interior space, and a new design gives it a more upscale look. Reliability and quality also improve greatly.

In 2007, Hyundai offered two main trim levels: GLS and SE. The GLS comes reasonably well-equipped. The SE has some additional features and a sport-tuned suspension. The fourth generation Elantra, produced from 2007 to 2010, establishes the Elantra as a legitimate contender in its class with improved styling, handling, and ride quality. The fifth generation debuted in the 2011 model year with only minor changes.

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