2011 Hyundai Elantra: More than ready for a rumble

26 Nov 2010 | 2,962 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds If you've been paying attention to the auto industry these days, you know that the compact and subcompact segments are by far, the most hotly contested segments of the market. There are so many wonderful entries that it will soon be hard for consumers to pick a favorite. Ford's all new Focus is striking and an exciting product. Chevy's Cruze is simply knocking everyone out with its styling and quality. Honda's Civic and Toyota's Corolla are still great products, too. And the Mazda3? A superb performer and class act all around. Into the fray now comes the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, and we feel a real donnybrook coming on.  It easily matches or beats all of these products, and all we can say is, let the best car win. We expect it to do precisely what the Sonata did: Totally transform the market and the upend who the leaders are and who they aren't. We also expect the Elantra to put tremendous pressure on Both Toyota and Honda to replace their Corolla and Civic models pronto because they are rapidly falling behind in comparisons. If you really want to know the intentions that Hyundai has in mind for the new Elantra, you'll be interested in the questions that Hyundai posed in its press release. " Why can’t a compact car have modern, sleek, sophisticated style?  Why pay luxury car prices to get advanced safety features?  Why buy a mid-size sedan when you can get exceptional room in a compact car? Why can’t a compact car get subcompact car fuel economy?"     In answer to these questions, Elantra first features dramatic, "fluidic sculpture" styling that will knock your socks off--and remind you of the ground-breaking design that is featured on the Sonata.          A Hyundai spokesperson said, "Successful sedans in the U.S. market all have a distinct silhouette and Day Light Opening (DLO – a designer's term for the side glass) and Elantra is no different. Along Elantra’s sides are Sonata’s flowing lines, with the addition of a strong undercut feature line starting at the front door. These lines, along with muscular wheel arches and a sleek roofline, create a memorable and spacious package. Flowing lines also lead to an aerodynamic body. The drag coefficient for the Elantra is an exceptionally low 0.28 that compares favorably to the Chevrolet Volt (0.29)." The spokesperson added, "Hyundai’s signature hexagonal front grille and detailed swept-back headlights give Elantra a compact athletic face. The assertive stance is complimented by 15-, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels and athletic proportions. Available fog lights and side repeater mirrors complete the distinct design."  Elantra was designed at Hyundai's North American Design Center in Irvine, Calif. where the highlty successful Sonata was penned.     Along with that, there is an all new  1.8-liter, 148 horsepower  “Nu” four cylinder  engine and  six-speed automatic transmission desiogned by Hyundai, and 40 miles per gallon can be achieved on all models whether they have automatic or manual transmissions. Actually, the rating is 29/40 highway, and that makes for a range of about 500 miles--almost from Pittsburgh to St. Louis --my home town--on one tank--only about 100 miles per short of the 600 mile distance.  We can recall when  40 miles per gallon with a hybrid was considered sensational, and Hyundai now has it on a regular production model--regardless of transmission used. Hyundai now says Elantra will have best of class fuel economy, though we wonder about that since Chevy's Cruze gets just about the same mileage, and we've heard claims of that or more with the new Ford Focus coming out.       Other highlights of the 2011 Elantra include standard VSM, electronic stability control, TCS, ABS with brake assist and electronic brake distribution, mnid-sized car interior volume, touch-screen navigation with rearview camera and iPod®/USB inputs,  Bluetooth® hands-free phone system with voice recognition, and segment first heated rear seats. Prices will certainly be competitive from $15,550 for othe GLS standard model with manual transmission--about a thousand less than the cheapest Chevy Cruze, $17,800 for the GLS  Popular model with an automatic, $20,100 for a GLS with navigation, and $22,700 for the top of the line Limited premium model. There are a number of other Elantra models and pricfes that we hae not mentioned in that list.      We look forward to spending time behind the wheel of what we believe will be a strong competitor in the compact field.

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