Price: Starting at $16,715)
Mileage: 23 city/31 highway
This economical wagon from Hyundai may be inexpensive to buy but by no means is it cheaply engineered, built or equipped. For 2010 the base price for the Elantra Touring has dropped by $1800 making it an even better bargain. While you can still get an Elantra equipped like the 2009 version the base model skimps a little by having plastic wheel covers, less chrome in the interior, no steering wheel audio controls and unpainted side mirrors and door handles. Thankfully the utilitarian and fun to drive nature of these sprightly Hyundais remains intact.
So why aren't these wagons flying out of Hyundai dealers faster than Bernie Madoff lost his fortune? Well, it appears that Hyundai dealers have no idea how to market a product that stands on merit and not a low MSRP mixed with that killer 10 year warranty. So what else makes the Elantra Touring so special?
Well, for one thing it isn't based on the rather boring to drive U.S. Elantra but rather is a rebadged European Hyundai i30. Hyundai left the taught suspension tuning of the European model alone and also made sure to equip it with a sweet shifting standard B&M manual transmission. The result is one of the most fun to drive Hyundais ever made. (Not that this is saying much).
The interior is a high quality piece made from tough fabrics and soft touch plastics. The controls are chunky and move with solid precision. There is more cargo room than in a Nissan Murano which begs the question, why are you looking at an SUV? Don't wait until Hyundai gets wise to this bargain and jacks up the price again accordingly.
The Elantra Touring handles, steers and accelerates much like a German car, meaning no SUV-like rolling in corners. So if you are the type who likes to keep their cars for a very long time, needs something that can handle pretty much any use and is fun to drive, look no further than the Hyundai Elantra Touring.