To all those who've complained that manufacturers are afraid to offer U.S. buyers anything other than boring sedans, rather than the more versatile hatchbacks they sell in Europe, check out the Hyundai Elantra Touring.
This four-door hatchback/wagon/whatever will join the Elantra sedan here late this year. The car is already sold in Europe as the i30 CW, and Hyundai claims that it not only will offer the greater functionality of a hatchback bodystyle (65 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, 24 with them up) but also European-style ride and handling, with firmer springs and larger anti-roll bars than in the Elantra sedan.
The 2.0-liter four musters 141 hp, which is pretty good for this class. It's mated to a five-speed manual (with a standard B&M shift kit!) or an automatic with only four speeds. Noteworthy standard equipment includes stability control and an audio system with an iPod input. The Elantra Touring will compete with the Mazda3, the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, and the Kia Rondo for hatchback-admirers' affections.
Click the link below for high-resolution Elantra Touring images.