Unlike Phil, I thing that the Elantra Blue did feel significantly cheaper than many of its competitors, particularly because of its flat, uncomfortable front seats and extra-hard interior materials, most notably on the inner door panels. The insulation-free trunk lid also was light to the point of feeling very cheap.
Still, I agree wholeheartedly that this is a very good, inexpensive, thrifty, appliancelike new car. I might add that the Elantra offers an exceptional amount of overall interior space, especially in the back seats, for the price. And although the Blue's revised gear ratios take a bit of getting used to, the gearbox itself had a pretty decent feel -- it's not Honda-like, but it's not terrible. The steering felt pretty tight as well.
One more thing: I'm not sure if it's a Blue-edition special feature or not, but I haven't seen a fuel gauge this large since I drove a 1980s four-cylinder Chrysler minivan. I don't know why Hyundai chose to provide only a tachometer, speedometer, and fuel gauge, but I suppose it helps emphasize the vehicle's fuel level more than usual.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor