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regfootball

2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

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2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited automatic 6 speed EPA 29/40, MSRP 20,830 (I think) silver w/ gray interior.

HIGHS

snappy, smooth engine

responsive and well spaced automatic trans. no shift delays, it bangs them out. No Cruze thing here.

very usable and effective manumatic

large interior with great space front and rear in all dimensions

center stack shaped to allow a bit extra drivers knee room

attractive, well laid out, and convenient gauges, radio, center stack, and other switches and controls

gauge and center stack illumination is fantastic

superb steering wheel, with nicely lightly weighted and responsive quick steering to go with

handy and organized armrest and console / cupholder / brake area.

decent size glove box and nice door pockets, neat side pockets aside of the center stack

really nice interior design theme, good solid execution of textures, materials, shapes and colors

knockout exterior, futuristic and sleek

solid build quality

large trunk

solid, low slung, and sporty driving feel, a massive upgrade over the 010 version. Car feels heavier (i.e. more solid) than its curb weight suggests

pretty decent visibility out the front and sides, rear is not terrible either.

trunk is trimmed out ok I think

PRICE and FEATURES (leather, 6 speed auto, heated seats front and rear, nice alloys, good space and driving behavior,....and sunroof for not much over 20??????)

car has a wide track and feels like a long stable wheelbase yet the car has some reflexes and is not undertired

decent brakes

corners reasonably flat

warranty

interesting details like the way the headlights light up

ZIPPY ATTITUDE!

LOWS

sensation of wanting a bit higher roof inside

I'd like it if the rear seat seatback was angled a bit more back

I wouldn't mind a little higher driving position, just a little

front seats were ok for the most part but the bottom of the backrest I would reshape some

rear quarter view cut a bit by the back door windows

the leather could be a little better

some may think Hyundai could ante up a bit nicer plastic since the design is so nice

stack controls might be tough to organize for some

Hyundai wants you to mistake stiff and harsh (read: cheap) suspension for 'sporty'

Suspension lacks the initial suppleness

N

V

H

ok, let me qualify that.....there is just a lot more road noise then you want, just as with the Sonata. Same deal.

A little residual buzz when you get on the throttle, too, that insulation could mitigate.

The impression because of the road noise that the powertrain could use some refinement (which is not the case actually)

Some folks may not like Hyundai's design direction

Still just a tiny hint of that Korean car 'faux' quality

Another 20-30hp would make this a sweet getabout instead of just a good one

HVAC vents around center stack area are probably too low, they should be up higher to be more effective.

SUMMARY

Well, small cars have gotten scary good! The Cruze was a nice drive a few issues aside....Now Hyundai knocks it out of the park with the new Elantra. As yuck as the 2010 Elantra was to me, the 2011 is wow good. Really this car is nice enough that you don't need to move up to a midsize really, and it also is another example of how Hyundai wants to take over the auto market. This does not yet qualify as an enthusiasts car, but I can't really think of any other cars in this class that feel this sporty (and is not a special edition). Hyundai has basically addressed nearly every facet of the design and content of this class of car and has turned it into something you WANT to drive as your daily driver. It has some of the better performance in the class, it excels in function and utility and it has grade A design inside and out. There is value and perceived quality. To top it off, the sticker says users may achieve as high as 47 mpg on the highway in the right conditions.

As for some of its competition, the Cruze has the edge on the quiet cabin. The Elantra's road noise allows you to hear more of the buzz from the engine so it give the perception of being a little less refined than the Cruze in the powertrain department. But I don't think that is true. The Elantra revs, is smooth, and the transmission is very responsive...it doesn't have the delay that Cruze is saddled with. Really as a whole, the slightly harsh and unsophicated suspension and the road noise are the only real vices with this car. You seriously at this price and class of car cannot find much out there that is more desirable. The Cruze is probably an overall equal match, but IMO is a bit more conservative although its quieter and may feel more refined.....but the Cruze lacks some space and has the annoying delayed shift problem. Now I am very curious to see how the new Focus turns out.

Last Jetta I drove was a 2010 so I have no idea how the 2011 would compare but to be blunt, this Elantra is more fun, stylish, and a better drive than the VW. I am not sure why anyone would take interest in a drab VW after taking a spin in this.

This is another one of those cars I could drive and be happy with in nearly every way. It's a very nice car. I'd give it an A, but will knock it down a bit until they fix the road noise and add some suppleness to the suspension.

A-

This is a car that is worth more than the sticker and you would likely feel glad you purchased. Top of class (probably shared with the Cruze for now).

If you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose which to buy right now, it would be hard, but I might just pick the Hyundai.......and buy some Dynamat to line the floor and doors with......

Edited by regfootball

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Might be a good, even a great car but it is just "hide the children ugly" (IMO of course, but I wouldn't want to be seen in one). The Cruze, Focus, Mazda3, Jetta, etc... all are more attractive looking sedans. This thing just looks wonky to me.

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I'm confused as to how it could feel roomy in all dimensions (a veiled jab at the new Chevy compact), yet give the impression the roof is closing in on you and the seating position is too low.

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Cruze has the same lack of headspace so they are equal in that deficiency. However, this elantra had a sunroof. The backseat accounts for the major deficiency in space for the cruze.

I haven't driven a post 2009 mazda3 so I am unsure how that compares. to me, the Elantra has far more appeal inside and out.

Cruze and elantra overall are equal. It just comes down to which deficiencies you can or cannot live with. I want to drive them as manuals when the come out. The elantra is a

really good small car.

The cruze really needs to lose that shifter lag. That is annoying as hell.

One thing cruze has in it's back pocket, the seats are a bit nicer and can be power seats.

Cruzes seating position is a bit low also.

Edited by regfootball

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Having finally explored a new Elantra, I'm not a fan. It's aesthetically challenged in my opinion. It's aggressive, but I can't help but feel its smiling at me. Everything is exaggerated and stretched. I'm sure it will find its own niche in the market, but I don't see it resonating as well with customers as the Sonata seems to (despite some of C&G's opinions).

Leaving design on the table, it seems to be fairly competent as far as price and features go. It was equally roomy up front as the Cruze, maybe a hair moreso in the back (though the Jetta wins the rear leg room contest). Quality was better in some respects, though the Cruze has better visual presence inside. I thoroughly enjoyed the climate controls, however. Very ergonomic design and easily my favorite feature the new Elantra offers.

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it is a little hard to swallow the elantra's curvaliciousness. It's almost too much. The Cruze design inside and out has more legs to it. the cruze is more well finished and to a higher level of detail. but the elantra is decent nonetheless.

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The Elantra's trump card on the Cruze is the price. I agree the Cruze is more refined and a bit nicer, but it's like $4k more than the Elantra if you get them both loaded up.

When we were comparing the Cruze and Elantra, we would have picked the Elantra if not for the $3500 in GM card credits to make the prices comparable. Most buyers aren't going to have that.

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