March 13, 2007 > Hyundai Elantra
The all-new, 2007 Hyundai Elantra does exactly what it is designed to be, a good, solid, smaller car. It is a great small car that does everything well with an interior so spacious it is actually classified as a midsize car, not a compact as I had guessed.
The Elantra shares an impressive warranty with the other Hyundai models. It starts with a 5-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty protection. Then they add a 10-year/100,000 mile power train protection and finish up with a 5-year (unlimited miles) roadside assistance program at no extra cost.
I like the Elantra's Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT). It allows the 2-liter, dual overhead cam, 4-cylinder engine to pull smoothly at almost any engine speed. From even as low as 1300 or 1400 rpm in the higher gears, the Elantra accelerates smoothly and powerfully. This makes the car very easy to drive in traffic or on the highway. The California cars are rated at 132 HP and 133 foot pounds of torque. For states with lower emission standards, the ratings increase slightly to 138 and 136.
Our Elantra SE had the 5-speed manual transmission. This engine and transmission is a great combination, perfect for the Elantra. My only complaint is that the engine is a little buzzy (noisy) at higher rpm levels (over 4500).
I also liked the way the Elantra rode and handled. The ride was smooth and well controlled. Its handling was neutral and very predictable. The Elantra never surprised me no matter how hard I pushed it. It may not handle like a sports car, but it was not designed to do that.
The Elantra is really focused on driver and passenger safety. Although many other cars in this class have drum brakes in the rear, all Elantra models have 4-wheel disk, ABS brakes. Active head restraints are used on the front seats. In a rear end collision, the head restraint moves forward to help reduce whiplash injuries.
Hyundai adds six airbags to all the Elantras, more than competitors in its class. Two are in the front and two more are in the front corners for side impacts. Each side of the car gets a full-length side curtain airbag that protects front and rear passenger's heads during side impacts.
The new Elantra body is 49% more rigid than the old models. This qualifies the 2007 model for the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety's highest rating for frontal offset crash tests.
Due to the engine's 10.1 compression ratio, the Elantra requires premium gas. The car delivered 28/36 miles per gallon in the EPA testing cycles.
The base Elantra GLS starts at $13,395, but this model does not have air conditioning (a $900 option). Moving up to the SE adds air conditioning, larger wheels (16") and tires, cruise control, a better sound system, and a few more features for $15,845. The top of the line Limited, at $16,845, adds a few trim items.
If you are looking for a good, solid, small car make sure you look at the new Hyundai Elantra.
By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists