The Elantra sedan is the bread-and-butter four-door offering in Hyundai's compact vehicle lineup, which also includes the two-door Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT hatchback. The Elantra blends eye-grabbing styling with the high level of standard features for which Hyundai has become known.
The Elantra's exterior is characterized by Hyundai's now-familiar fluidic sculpture design language, which is intended to evoke the interplay of wind with rigid surfaces to create the illusion of constant motion. Distinct character lines that run from the front doors through the door handles before terminating in the taillights lend a bit of an edge to the car's organic look. Inside, the Elantra features a stylized dash with flowing lines along with a midsize sedan-rivaling 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space.
As with all Elantra models, the sedan is motivated by a 2.0-liter inline-four with 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, although the stick is not available on the Limited trim level. Fuel economy checks in at 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with either transmission.
Underpinning the compact sedan is a fully independent suspension comprised of MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam setup at the rear. Overall, the Elantra is tuned with a greater focus on ride comfort than razor-shape handling, though it certainly isn't unresponsive.
Trim Level Breakdown
Hyundai offers the Elantra in GLS and Limited trim levels, both of which can be configured with a number of optional packages and features. For the latest model year, Hyundai has raised the price of the GLS but made standard a number of previously optional features that the vast majority of buyers were springing for.
The GLS comes standard with air-conditioning, power windows and locks, 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, cruise control, a telescopic steering wheel and a six-speaker, 172-watt AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD stereo with iPod/USB/AUX input jacks.
For those looking to add a little extra, Hyundai has a pair of packages to choose from for the GLS: the Preferred Equipment Package and Navigation package.
The Popular Equipment Package adds air conditioning, cruise control, telescopic wheel, solar glass, windshield band and 16-inch steel wheels.
The Preferred Equipment Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, cloth inserts for the doors, a sliding center armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors and an illuminated ignition.
The Navigation Package, which requires the Preferred Package, adds a seven-inch screen and navigation system, a rearview camera, a 360-watt stereo with external amplifier and automatic headlamps.
Standard content on the Limited trim level includes leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, fog lamps, one-touch driver's window up, sliding center armrest, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted radio controls, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and an illuminated ignition.
The only available package for the Limited is the Limited Premium Package, which adds everything found in the GLS Navigation Package, plus proximity key entry with electronic push-button start and an immobilizer.
All Elantra models come standard with dual front, front side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
Car shoppers looking at the Elantra should also check out the sporty Ford Focus sedan, the dated but indestructible Toyota Corolla and the Americanized Volkswagen Jetta.