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Review of the new 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

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.

Review of the new 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
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.

Hyundai has really nailed how to make a first impression. While the engine can be loud and strained under acceleration, the 1.8-liter four-cylinder doesn’t sound unrefined. And although it’s small, the engine has plenty of pep both around town and on the highway, and I found it fairly well sorted as a highway cruiser.

The transmission bordered on Lexus-smooth, once you got past the 1-2 shift. Granted, the chassis isn’t nearly as planted as the new Jetta’s, but I find that the style, price, ergonomics, and materials outshine the German competitor.

That said, there is a certain solid teutonicness of the VW that Hyundai just can’t replicate. With a fully loaded price tag of less than $23,000, though, the Elantra’s value is hard to beat. It even has a backup camera(!), which the $117,000 Cayenne Turbo we recently tested did not.

I see little reason for anyone shopping in this class to buy a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic over this Hyundai, given its equipment levels, refinement, style, and price.

The Elantra’s simple 1.8-liter and six-speed automatic may sound like an unexceptional combination, but Hyundai has eked out an excellent 29/40 mpg city/highway fuel economy EPA rating, and 148 hp makes easy work of this light car. I’m also delighted by the improvements Hyundai has made where the Sonata has come up short.

The Elantra’s steering effort is much more natural and confidence inspiring than the springy feel of the Sonata. The seats, while still a touch too firm, at least aren’t as flat as a park bench. And the front end isn’t nearly as fussy as that of the Sonata, while the stylish fluidic body is even more shapely.

The Elantra’s chief flaw is a stiff-legged ride. Over Metro Detroit’s most lumpy, Mars-like surfaces, the Elantra often jostles occupants from side-to-side. Occasionally, the Elantra produces the sensation that it’s ever so slightly rotating, yet there’s no corresponding feedback through the steering wheel, thanks to either the suspension geometry or the damping of the electric power steering.

The new Volkswagen Jetta may ride better, but it certainly doesn’t steer as well as the Elantra, and highway fuel economy is 7 mpg lower with the VW’s 2.5-liter engine. The Hyundai also boasts a far, far, far nicer interior. (Are you listening, Volkswagen of America cost-cutters?).


2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Base price (with destination): $19,980
Price as tested: $22,110

Standard Equipment:
1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine
6-speed automatic transmission
17-inch alloy wheels
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Tire pressure monitoring system
Electronic stability control
Traction control
Fog lights
Power sunroof with tilt/slide
Air conditioning
AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers
iPod/USB/auxiliary audio inputs
Power windows and locks
Remote keyless entry system
Bluetooth connectivity
Steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise control
Tilt/telescoping steering column
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
60/40 split rear seats

Options on this vehicle:
Premium package -- $2000
Navigation system with 7-inch display
Rearview camera
Premium audio system
Automatic headlamps
Proximity entry with push-button start
Carpeted floor mats -- $95
iPod cable -- $35


Key options not on vehicle:
Wheel locks -- $50

Competitors: Volkswagen Jetta, Honda Civic, Ford Focus

Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
29/40/33 mpg

Engine:
Size: 1.8L 16-valve I-4
Horsepower: 148 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 131 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

Drive:
Front-wheel
Transmission:
6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 2877 lb

Wheels/tires: 17-inch alloy wheels
215/45R17 Continental ContiProContact all-season tires


Author: AL
Source: Autolatest & Automobile


SEARCH IN TESTDRIVE

TESTDRIVE PHOTO GALLERY

Test efectuat la: 14.03.2011 | 05:27 EET

SPECIFICATII TEHNICE TEST DRIVE

Test efectuat la: 14.03.2011 | 05:27 EET

  Sonatapct
MOTOR/ENGINE ENGINEL4 Benzina
DISPLACEMENT (cmc)1800
MAX POWER(hp/rpm)148/6500
Torque(Nm/rpm)148/4700
DIMENSIUNI LENGHT(mm)-
WIDTH C(mm)-
HEIGHT(mm)-
MASS EMPTY (kg)-
PERFORMANTE V Max (km/h)200
0-100 km/h (secunde)9.8
Average Fuel Consumption (liters)8.5
PRET Without taxes (euro)-
With taxes (euro)19.980
CAROSERIE Inside Space9
Quality of materials8
Standard Equipement10
Trunk Space8
CONFORT Confort8
Seats front/rear10/8
Air Conditioning Quality9
Sounds8
DINAMICA Engine Rafinement8
80-120 km/h6
Fuel Consumption8
Traction8
Braking8

Other tests

Ultimul test efectuat la: 27.03.2016 | 12:00 EET


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