New styling, larger dimensions, more powerful engine, higher gas mileage. MINUSES:
Rear seat head and leg room. Rear seat backs not flat with cargo floor when lowered.
Once again the philosophy is simple.
Offer lots of content for a low price, and toss in great mileage for good measure.
That's the formula Hyundai
followed in bringing out Gen V of its compact Elantra
sedan for 2011, a vehicle that has both its U.S. and Japanese competition keeping tabs on it.Elantra
underwent a total remake for 2011. It's offered in base, GLS, and top of the line Limited versions. We tested the Elantra
The styling, which Hyundai
calls "fluidic sculpture" features fashionable creases and curves. A long hood, short deck sloping coupe style brings together the look of both high fashion and high performance to this 4-door sedan.Elantra
also sports larger dimensions--a 2.3 inch longer wheelbase, and 1.3 inch longer overall length for a larger footprint on the pavement. Yet, in keeping with the sedan featuring the slanted coupe body style, overall height is about 2 inches shorter, noticeable in the back seat where adult melons via for enough space without banging on the roof.
And also in keeping with the coupe slope, the roof line sinks low against the tops of the doors, forcing adults who venture into or out of the back seat to bow the head to avoid a run in with the roof. No problem up front, just in back.
Trunk space doesn't suffer, however, and there's ample room for gear or luggage, along with some added space in cubby holes under the floor. If you need to slip skis, a bike, or a mower inside, the rear seat backs fold to add more cargo room. But the release lever is in the trunk, not in the cabin. And the seat backs stand higher than the cargo floor rather than rest flat with the floor.
Up front there's ample room to stretch. And the perforated leather seats are well padded and offer lots of comfort for long distance travel. And both front and rear seats are heated, a luxury plus you don't normally find in a compact car, much less a compact economy car.
The perforated leather begs for cooling as well as heating, but only heat is offered for now. The front seats only offer manual adjustment, not power controls. Power and cooled seats should be on the to do list.
The cabin is well appointed and dash as well as door panels are grained and soft to the touch and suggest TLC rather than economy car cheapness. Doors have map pockets and bottle holders, the console cupholders and both power plug and USB/auxiliary input jacks. All controls are easy to see and use without need to first study a multi-step manual to master control over all hardware and software.
stands out, of course, is the switch to a new 1.8 liter, 148 h.p. four cylinder teamed with a new 6-speed automatic or manual (GLS, Limited automatic only), a departure from the previous 2 liter, 138 h.p. four with choice of either 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual).
Not only does the new 1.8 liter sprint quicker away from the light or into and out of the passing lane, it is rated at 29 m.p.g. city 40 m.p.g. highway with EITHER the automatic or manual. The old 2 liter was rated at 26/35 with manual, 26/34 with automatic. So better performance plus higher mileage. Nice work.
The 40 m.p.g. highway mark means Elantra
offers buyers an alternative to hybrid gas/battery vehicles that carry a premium price. And with its 13 gallon tank, Elantra
can deliver about 500 miles travel between fills, a range that allows long distance travel plans without frequent interruption.
Soft, well cushioned ride without annoying bouncing, and stable handling without lots of lean and sway rounds out the performance package complimented by stability control with traction control.Elantra
prices range from a low of $14,830 for the base model to a high of $19,980 for the Limited. On the Limited we tested, in addition to the items already noted it came with power sunroof, power locks, power and heated mirrors, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, tilt/telescopic steering column with audio controls, side curtain air bags front and rear, and Bluetooth hands free phone system to mention just a few of the goodies.
Unless you add a navi system with backup camera and pushbutton start in a $2,000 optional Premium package you can keep the base price of the top of the line model under $20,000---and still ejoy 40 m.p.g. mileage whether gas is $3, $4, or $5 a gallon.
Great looks, great mileage, and great amenities.
When next it is tweaked it needs some added rear seat head and leg room and some more space to navigate the melon in and out of the back seat below the roof line.
An added bonus would be if Hyundai
can raise the 29 m.p.g. city mileage to the 30 m.p.g. mark for a 30/40 city/highway rating.2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
178.3 inches Engine:
1.8 liter, 148 h.p. four cylinder.Transmission:
29 m.p.g. city/40 m.p.g. highway. Base price:
Price as tested:
Add $2,000 Premium package with navi system and backup
camera plus push button start, $95 carpeted floor mats, and $720