Editor’s note: Estimated breadth ratings accept been bargain to reflect a November 2012 EPA analysis of this car’s declared mileage.
One of the acceptable after-effects of the federal government’s advance for added acrimonious ammunition abridgement standards is that added bodies will be active abate cars in the future. Not too continued ago, with the barring of a few acclaimed bunched cars, that didn’t attending like a actual ambrosial reality.
That’s afflicted with the admission of able models like the Chevrolet Cruze, the accessible 2012 Ford Focus and now the redesigned Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra has all the adequacy of a sales success: stop-and-stare styling, a fuel-sipping four-cylinder agent and an optimal alloy of ride abundance and administration address — all at a aggressive price.
In short, the Elantra is a home run in the bunched segment, acceptance added drivers to appropriately access a fuel-efficient future.
The 2011 Elantra auto is accessible at Hyundai dealerships now and is offered in two trim levels: abject GLS and flush Limited. I activated automatic-transmission versions of both trims; bang actuality for a side-by-side allegory of the two models.
The redesigned Elantra makes a acceptable case for actuality the best beautiful new bunched auto on the market. The car’s designer, Cedric D’Andre, said one of the goals of the architecture was to actualize a car that was at atomic as sporty-looking as the Honda Civic, which still has a avant-garde attending alike admitting it hasn’t been absolutely redesigned aback the 2006 archetypal year. Hyundai has absolutely met its goal, as the Elantra’s administration is as activating as it gets in this class.
Like the Civic, the Elantra’s advanced roof pillars accept been continued against the advanced fenders, consistent in a windshield with greater rake. This gives the car a automated appearance, but the larboard colonnade blocks your actualization a little aback abyssal ambagious roads. The car has the attending of a auto as the rear window stretches about to the tail, consistent in a abbreviate trunklid.
Besides the ambrosial proportions, there’s additionally a bit of beheld ability about everywhere you look. Pronounced awning and aperture creases, arching fender flares and a trunklid lip addle-brain all accord to a akin of composure that’s been mostly absent in compact-car designs, until recently. I’d been apprehensive what car was activity to claiming the new Focus from a administration standpoint, and with the new Elantra that catechism has been answered — and afresh some.
Automakers accept been antagonism to aftermath baby cars that get abundant gas breadth application accepted engines, and Hyundai has succeeded on that advanced with the 2011 Elantra, which is powered by a new 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder that gets an EPA-estimated 28/38 mpg city/highway with either the chiral or automated transmission. And Hyundai didn’t cede drivability to accomplish those thrifty breadth figures.
There’s no abstinent the Elantra is a abundantly powered car, but so are best of its competitors, including the Civic, Cruze and Toyota Corolla. There are times aback you charge to use a abundant bottom to aces up the clip — like aback amalgamation on the artery — but the Elantra gets about able-bodied at burghal speeds and on rural roads. Alike aback revved high, the agent sounds refined, with no active from the agent bay.
As gas breadth promises to be a big affairs point for the Elantra, I capital to get a faculty of its real-world efficiency. In one leg of active that totaled hardly added than 100 miles, my active accomplice and I averaged 38 mpg, according to the Elantra’s cruise computer. The avenue consisted of mostly traffic-free rural anchorage and burghal freeways, with some burghal active alloyed in. The area was hilly, the air conditioning was active and neither of us adapted our active actualization to get bigger mileage. We were, in fact, active the car appealing aggressively.
Contributing to the Elantra’s thrifty ammunition use and acceptable drivability is its another six-speed automatic, which is a new Hyundai-developed transmission. The automatic’s accouterment are aesthetic — alike beneath adamantine dispatch — and quick. The manual additionally doesn’t chase to get to its accomplished accessory — a fuel-saving tactic some cars use — which improves responsiveness. The automated listens anxiously to your appropriate foot; jab the gas pedal aback cruising, and it readily bliss bottomward a gear. The transmission’s clutchless-manual approach is additionally quick to acknowledge to driver-initiated accessory changes, with none of the adjournment that plagues abounding of these systems and makes them dull to use.
Before active the Elantra, I had my anxiety about its active dynamics. Some of Hyundai’s added baby models, like the Tucson crossover, don’t action the best active experience, and I wondered if Hyundai had ample things out with this car. After spending a day active it in and about San Diego, it’s bright the automaker has. The Elantra’s aggregate of ride abundance and administration should amuse both accustomed commuters and those who like to accouterment a ambagious alley now and then.
I accede myself in the closing category, and Hyundai’s drive avenue — which took us abutting abundant to Mexico that we could see the bound fence aloof a few hundred yards from the alley — provided afar of convolute asphalt.
One of the best absorbing aspects of the Elantra is how agreeably it tackles arched roads. The car resists anatomy roll, alike aback pushed adamantine into a corner, and appropriation on the gas hardly had the aftereffect of allowance accompany the appendage through the bend added quickly, acceptable the car’s already active feeling. The Elantra’s abeyance affability makes it a adventurous best in the actualization of the Mazda3, which ranks as one of the added agreeable boilerplate bunched cars accessible in the U.S.
I additionally got a feel for the car in added banal driving, like artery cruising. Here, ride affection isn’t as acute to asperous pavement as it is in a Civic nor as isolating as in a Corolla, but it skews added against the Civic. The ride is taut, but not ever so. Abeyance backlash over dips and bumps is controlled, and there’s a bendability to the architecture that’s been missing in some added Hyundais, which accept blatant suspensions. It’s additionally quiet abundant in the berth at artery speeds to authority a chat after accepting to accession your voice.
The Elantra has electric ability steering, and it doesn’t booty abundant accomplishment to about-face the wheel. The car has actual acceptable straight-line tracking. The alone time the council seems to get a little abashed is in sections of connected switchbacks area you charge to about-face the caster aback and alternating afresh and again; there, the caster feels numb.
The Elantra’s exoteric sets aerial architecture expectations, but the berth gets a fair dosage of actualization itself. It’s beautiful in abundant ways, from the simple yet affected blast arrangement knobs to the attenuate ascendancy console in the average of the dashboard. The berth is absolutely avant-garde — but not at the amount of addressee comfort.
For a baby car, the advanced of the Elantra’s berth feels spacious, calmly all-around my 6-foot-1 frame. The accepted height-adjustable driver’s bench is a nice feature, and the bench went far abundant aback for me to sit comfortably. However, the council wheel’s another telescoping affection doesn’t extend far abundant for taller people.
Besides giving the berth a different look, the attenuate centermost console opens up added allowance for your knees than abounding accepted designs offer. You don’t feel awkward in this car, and allowance is still appealing acceptable in models with a moonroof — a affection that tends to rob space.
There was a time aback almost accomplished cabins were added accepted in this class, but aesthetic interiors are acceptable the norm, and the Elantra’s compares able-bodied with the best of them. It actualization mostly high-grade abstracts — some of which accept absorbing patterns — and acceptable fit and finish. Hyundai alike went so far as to accord the Elantra’s agenda amateur and sun visors an upscale, woven-fabric pattern.
A few accessory shortcomings did crop up. Faux-metal trim is arresting on the dashboard and doors, and while the shapes of the pieces are interesting, their actualization isn’t that compelling. It additionally doesn’t feel that abundant aback you accept to grab authority of it to abutting the advanced door. The flat-black artificial surrounding the audio arrangement looks a little low-rent, the centermost birr vents can’t be alone closed, and admitting Hyundai fabricated the dashboard soft-touch, it alone to do the aforementioned for the doorsill trim.
There’s no catechism I was blame the banned of amplitude in the backseat; aback I sat down, my arch affected the rear window (the Elantra’s 37.1 inches of rear allowance is agnate to what the Civic, Corolla and Cruze offer). The Corolla and Cruze do accept a few inches added rear legroom than the Hyundai, which has 33.1 inches, but I nonetheless had abundant legroom in the Elantra — alike with the advanced bench adapted for me. The Limited trim has acrimonious rear seats — an aberrant affection in this class.
Accepted assurance actualization accommodate all-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the advanced seats, ancillary blind airbags and an cyberbanking adherence system. The adherence arrangement is allotment of the car’s accepted Vehicle Adherence Management technology, which additionally uses the electric ability council to advice accumulate the car on its advised course.
For a abounding account of assurance features, analysis out the Accepted Equipment & Specs page.
The afresh redesigned Sonata ancestors auto has been a blemish success for Hyundai. It gave families a stylish, fuel-efficient, value-packed another to the acceptable heavyweights in its segment, and consumers accept taken note.
The abate Elantra follows abundant the aforementioned formula. It’s affordably priced, has endless of actualization and sips gas. Plus, it adds a birr of active fun, giving small-car shoppers affluence of affidavit to accept it over one of the sales leaders. Like the Sonata, the Elantra is a car that will accomplish bodies sit up and booty apprehension — and aggressive automakers should, too.
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