The Elantra is another really good vehicle from Hyundai. The cabin is neat and straightforward while still being stylish and, dare I say, elegant. Every control is clearly labeled, within easy reach, and nicely sized and weighted. The overall feeling of quality and attention to detail is truly impressive. This top-spec Limited Elantra is loaded and trimmed in leather so I'm interested to see how the base GLS model will compare, especially considering it starts at about $15,700, more than five grand less than this version.
The exterior design is just as well done as the interior. It looks enough like the Sonata to establish a clear family resemblance but it's also unique enough so it doesn't look like a mini-me of its larger sibling. The new Elantra also manages to be modern -- instead of garish, too futuristic, or just plain boring like some of its competitors -- without looking trendy or like it will start to show its age quickly.
Driving the Elantra is less of a revelation, but it's still quite good. The engine is responsive and, while it doesn't exactly purr under hard acceleration, it's not terribly loud or harsh either. The thick steering wheel provides decent feedback and is nicely weighted. Like the Sonata before it, the Elantra is a markedly better than its predecessor and will likely be a game-changer for Hyundai, this time in the compact car segment. I look forward to driving the new Ford Focus and Honda Civic to see how they compare.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms