Cheap Cars With Big Value: 2011 Hyundai Elantra

November 21, 2010

Just unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and making its world debut as well, the all-new 2011 Hyundai Elantra also makes the list in FamilyCarGuide’s continuing series of cheap cars with big value. As a reminder, the qualifications are that the base price of cars to be considered for this list has to be under $20,000. In addition, the car must deliver more than expected for the price.

So, how does the Hyundai Elantra do according to these criteria? Let’s take a look.

Right off the bat, the price is right. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the base Hyundai Elantra GLS is $14,830. The all-new compact, according to automaker Hyundai, is “the new standard for compact sedans.”

All-New for 2011 – The 2011 Hyundai Elantra marks the latest version of the popular compact sedan, now in its fifth generation. Hyundai says Elantra is yet another iteration of its “Fluidic Sculpture” design concept spreading across all new models introduced. In addition, the 2011 Elantra boasts advanced safety features and is very fuel efficient.

Available in GLS, Limited and Premium trims and various packages, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra has so much interior room that the EPA classifies it as a mid-size car (although it competes in the marketplace in compact car segment). Elantra also offers heated rear seats, a segment-first.

As a side note, Elantra is Hyundai’s fourth vehicle of a total of seven to be introduced in the next 24 months. The Elantra follows the introduction of the all-new Tucson, Sonata and Equus.

Power and Performance – It’s not just the exterior and interior of the car that’s new. The 2011 Hyundai Elantra also features an all-new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque (145 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque in Elantra PZEV). The 1.8-liter engine replaces the 2.0-liter engine from the previous-generation model. The engine is 74 pounds lighter and contributes to an 18-percent highway fuel economy improvement, says Hyundai.

The Elantra comes with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission developed in-house. The Elantra, says Hyundai, is the first small car in its lineup to receive the six-speed automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy for both manual and automatic transmission-equipped 2011 Hyundai Elantra models is 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway. That’s near-hybrid fuel economy and a strong selling point.

Safety – One of the first compact sedans with electronic stability control (ESC) when it launched in 2007, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra now takes ESC to the next level with the introduction of vehicle stability management (VSM). This system, similar to that on the Hyundai Equus, optimally manages ESC and motor-driven electric power steering.

Other standard safety technology on the 2011 Elantra includes six airbags (dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags), four-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist, and electronic brakeforce distribution. The Elantra has a strong unibody construction, with front and rear crumple zones, and the rear doors have internal dual beams.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have tested the 2011 Hyundai Elantra.

Gadgets & High Tech – Two audio systems are available on the 2011 Hyundai Elantra. Standard is a six-speaker 172-watt AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system, with iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks. A 360-watt audio system with an external amplifier is optional.

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