All photos by Hyundai
The 2011 Elantra Limited offers yet another impressive offering from Hyundai. This compact sedan will fool you into thinking you’re driving something larger and more expensive, even though you’re in a very affordable vehicle that gets best-in-class 29 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. With the Limited version you’re also getting leather seats with front- and rear-seat heaters, a sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels.
We’re seeing bold styling coming out of Hyundai, and the Elantra is no exception. Hyundai calls its design language Fluidic Sculpture which aptly describes the overall impression one gets when looking at the exterior of their vehicles. With the Elantra Hyundai has created a truly distinctive look for this segment that gives the impression of a vehicle from a larger segment. Also, the Elantra looks great from every angle. The front end offers an edgy and muscular feel, but it doesn’t seem forced, and the back end matches that look and feel. My test vehicle came in Desert Bronze which added to the elegance of the car. The feedback I received from other was universally positive.
The interior of the Elantra was very impressive and comfortable. I took it on a two-hour trip on freeway and it had the comfort level you would expect from a mid-sized sedan. The interior has the bold design we’ve seen in other Hyundai models with cool curves in place of square edges, but the styling is a little more understated and elegant than what we found in the Sonata, particularly on the center-dash, which for me was more appealing.
The controls we also very easy to use and were rather intuitive. The model I tested had the premium package, so for an extra $2,000 it included a navigation system with a high-resolution 7” touch screen display, a rearview camera, a premium audio system with an external amp, automatic headlights, and proximity key entry with push-button start. It also included carpeted floor mats and an iPod cable, bringing the total price to $22,110, and incredible value for the overall package.
The overall design is telling you this car will be fun to drive, and the performance measures up once you’re behind the wheel. I had the Elantra for a week and was able to test it extensively in both city driving and highway driving. As I said above, you don’t feel like you’re in a compact sedan. It zips around in city driving with ease, and then is surprisingly robust on the freeway. The 1.8L 4-cylander engine provides competitive power for this segment, with dual continuous variable valve timing and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Take this for a test drive and you’ll see what I mean.
Hyundai has built a loyal and growing following with a compelling value proposition. Its vehicles come with extended warranties and offer many features like advanced safety technology as standard items. Now it’s pushing the envelope with beautiful styling as well. The result is a compelling package for consumers who want to be practical yet also love their cars.
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