2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Matt Tierney

With the new Elantra, it’s as if Hyundai has shrunk the Sonata in a dryer, resulting in a car that’s slightly tighter fitting but otherwise identical. Look around the nicely appointed cabin, and you’ll find a similar arrangement of controls, the same navigation system, and best of all, the same impressive mix of materials.

The Elantra also drives much like its big brother. That means confident, if not quite athletic responses to driver inputs, accurate steering, and smooth-as-glass shifts from the six-speed automatic. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder sounds a bit wheezy but is in fact nothing of the sort, as the Elantra feels much faster than the spec sheet’s 145-hp figure would lead you to expect. Credit another number on the spec sheet: 2877. That’s the Elantra’s curb weight with an automatic transmission and all the trimmings (a manual-equipped base model weighs in at a truly impressive 2661 pounds). In case you haven’t been paying attention to curb weights recently, note that it’s now a real achievement for a compact car to tip the scales at less than 3000 pounds. The only area where the Elantra -– and all Hyundais -– can really improve is in ride tuning. Large ruts and potholes jar the Elantra more than they do most competitors, especially those from Europe and America.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

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I want to thank ALL of you. This was very well done, especially for a first look. I appreciate that all of you seem to understand the market segment this vehicle is trying to address. People who are used to bigger icer cars who are looking for a gas saving addition to their garage. You nailed it. Many of us new to this segment have two or three other cars and are doing exactly what Joe outlined. My only request is that Automobile mag do a 400 mile test loop of the Elantra and its competitors to provide us with a realistic expectation of what real world gas mileage really is in these cars. Car and Driver seems to think that including mileage generated during 0-60mph times and skid pad testing while a bunch of children drive like they stole mom's car is relevant. Those new to the market just want to know if you really can get 40mpg on the freeway and average 33mpg with some attention to driving style. Thanks again. Well done.
So you're telling me that the top of the line 'Limited', with a 'Premium' package, and I still have to pay 95 dead presidents for floor mats? As my Ole Pappy use to say, 'What's wrong with that picture?' And while I find the car reasonably attractive, are those belt sander flat wheel well arches intended to juxtapose the total fluidity of the rest of the body? They look silly, if you ask me.
I drove all the mid sized cars while looking for a new car. I found the Sonata's achilles heel is noise. It looks great and has multiple features however the road noise/engine noise was a deal killer. After recently driving a Chevy Cruze LTZ with Ecotec engine I was impressed by ride and drive as well as refinement. I suspect the Elantra will suffer from the typical Hyundai syndrome of more icing and less cake given how you guys raved about all the less than essential features (rather have improved ride and drive than a back up camera).
Please correct me if I am wrong but I am assuming the crew is averaging 33mpg in this car?That is good enough for me to take the econobox plunge. My new job is 42 miles, one way!My only other purchase concern is that the manual transmission is not available on the upper trim level cars. Can you clarify?

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