2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring

The family in the apartment above mine squabbles quite frequently, but as I arrived home with the Elantra Touring, it turns out they were arguing as to who manufactured this slick wagon. Kudos to mother dearest, who didn't think something so shapely could be a Hyundai but threw the possibility out anyway.

I've been impressed with a number of Hyundai's offerings of late, but perhaps none so much as this Elantra Touring. Unlike the Elantra sedan, which shares a nameplate but little else with this European-designed five-door, the Touring comes off as a well-sorted, mature vehicle. Hyundai seems intent on comparing it to the likes of the similarly-priced Ford Focus, but there's no comparison when it comes to the space inside. I'm reminded more of the departed Mazda 6 wagon than I am of most compacts.

The downside? You've really got to work the B&M shifter to keep the 2.0-liter I-4 in its power band, and the suspension is softer than what you'd find in a Mazda 3. Still, this isn't sold as a sport wagon--the largest nameplate on the car does read "Touring," after all, and it excels in this regard. The Elantra is smooth over some of Michigan's worst road surfaces and, apart from the buzzy I-4 occasionally voicing itself through the firewall, is generally quiet.

On a Bluetooth note: the system Hyundai offers works well (and possibly built by the same folks who developed Chrysler's uConnect), but it isn't integrated into the radio controls. This isn't a problem, as long as you remember to shut off the stereo before trying to place a call...

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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