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First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Elantra


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Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Hyundai, First Drive

Korean compact is a no-gimmicks eco-warrior

2011 Hyundai Elantra
2011 Hyundai Elantra - Click above for high-res image gallery

Were we the betting type, we'd put money on looming CAFE standards as the single biggest issue to keep auto execs awake at night. Organizations from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to the California Air Resource Board and the Environmental Protection Agency have all made noise about increasing corporate average fuel economy standards to lofty figures that reside anywhere between 47 and 62 mpg in around 14 years - a blink of an eye in terms of product development. If you've been wondering why manufacturers continue to roll out a bevy of fuel-efficient, economical vehicles despite relatively stable fuel prices and luke-warm demand, wonder no more.

Hyundai, with its small-engined fleet of fuel-savvy bruisers, seems downright giddy at the news. The Korean manufacturer has announced that by the time 2025 rolls around, the company will have a corporate average fuel economy of 50 mpg. The groundwork for that dramatic increase is being laid right now with vehicles like the Sonata Hybrid and the most recent addition to the Hyundai stable, the 2011 Elantra.

The first-generation Elantra debuted four short years ago, but in meantime competition in the American small-car market has increased by leaps and bounds. Additions like the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus have proven that domestic manufacturers are just as serious about producing compact, high-quality vehicles with excellent fuel economy as the long-reigning titans of the segment from Honda and Toyota. With its 40 mpg highway, stylish exterior and excellent drivetrain, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra is set to put the rest of the segment on notice.

Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL

Continue reading First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Elantra

First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Elantra originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 06 Dec 2010 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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i like the short hood and short deck with comparatively large greenhouse styling on this. what's nice is though even though the two cars are obviously the same brand, they have enough of a difference in character to make them each interesting.

interior still looks a bit rental esque and cliche. But overall its got more than typical styling for the class.

what will be interesting here.....the focus will likely weigh more, and offset a good deal of its power advantage over this car.

Hyundai is sitting pretty well in this class now if the car is a good drive.

I like this way more than a Mazda3 or Jetta. Cruze and this I like each of them. Focus will be good. Not many others in the segment now will match up to this for awhile. It's fun to see the Civic and Corolla take a couple gut shots.

Edited by regfootball
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The test didn't really mention the steering feel, which has been an issue on recent Kias. I don't love the styling--I prefer Kia's direction, but it's better looking than most in the segment. I think this car can make almost as much an impact in the compact class and the Sonata makes for family sedans. Toyota has a lot to fear.

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i checked out some 011 Elantras on the dealer lot today. They were parked next to Sonatas.

Didn't get to sit in one, but essentially just examined their curb appeal.

Sharp car, but it certainly isn't a life changing thing. The car is very cab forward, and in terms of design, the front half of the car is more interesting and dynamic than the back half. Even though the car is slightly futuristic in some ways, it sort of left me the impression that it will become passe' rather quickly too. Still, its as of right now a bit fresh and dynamic but it still has that slight faux quality all the Korean cars do.

Don't get wrong its way more stylish than the Corollas and Civics of the world. In fact, the Elantra almost seems more cab forward than the Civic with its forward thrusting design.

But it does not ooze luxury or anything. It still has that slight rental aura to it. Maybe in colors other than gray it might be more 'striking'.

I think it may run its course quick, and by no means does a Cruze look that much more dull. Put a Cruze side by side with the Elantra and it can compete for equal attention I think despite the blandness it has.

Parked next to a Sonata I can tell you I definitely like the elantra's beak much better. Just more original, and more of a piece.

Peeking in the window it looks like a genuinely spacious and airy cabin....perhaps even 'bubble like'. It seems there is way to much curviness and waviness going on inside you might need some dramanine. But it does appear space and comfort may be ok. Can't wait to size it up.

The interior plastics though look like they might be chintzy. All around. I don't think the leather looked scrumptious either. But once i get in one it will be a much more fair situation to determine that. The dash as a whole actually looks sorta hokey. It was weird i have an old programmable remote i never used i was gonna list for sale so i took a picture of it, after i looked at the picture i saw where Hyundai was getting the center stack design inspiration from.....



personally i think hyundai would have done themselves a favor by spending a little more dough on the interior materials.....the Jetta might have nicer plastics......cruze would win this easily i think.

I'll try to drive one, but the one thing the Elantra seems to have the Cruze don't is that extra bit of interior space....especially in the back seat. for me, it would be a big factor in terms of picking between the two if everything else were equal.

It's just also that the Cruze looks like a normal car. The newest Hyundais sometimes make one slightly nauseous looking at them.....

Edited by regfootball
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