2011 Hyundai Elantra: First Drive Page 3

December 6, 2010
2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

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The suspension, as we've already hinted, isn't exactly tuned for high-performance situations; that said, it loads and unloads predictably, and soaks up road noise better than most small cars. The Elantra's cabin is remarkably well isolated from wind noise, too. Here's where, at 70 mph, you really could think you were in a mid-size sedan.

Hyundai has left no safety equipment on the table with the 2011 Elantra. It's all included: stability control and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, as is a new Steering Effort Assist system that helps steer you back toward stability and control in a skid. Front seat-mounted side airbags are also standard, as are front and rear side-curtain bags. We found nothing to complain about with respect to visibility, though there is a rearview camera system available.

For many years now, Hyundai has sweetened the package with a few more features than you'll find standard elsewhere in the class. And it continues to do the same here; the base GLS comes with power windows, locks, power mirrors, keyless entry, and (on automatic models) air conditioning, cruise control, and telescopic steering adjustment. Oddly, Hyundai makes the telescopic adjustment optional on manual-transmission cars, available as part of a Popular Equipment Package. The Limited model adds a sunroof, leather seats and trim, heated front and rear seats, fog lamps, mirror-mounted turn signals, and 17-inch alloy wheels with Continental tires. Top options on the Elantra Limited, all part of a Premium Package, bring the nav system, premium audio, and proximity key entry and push-button start. Even on the GLS, you can get a Navigation Package.

Lots of features, seven build combinations

To help make the whole ordeal of supply and demand a little easier for all involved, the new Elantra is being offered in just seven build combinations. The down side of this strategy is that there are still holes; you can't, for instance, get the navigation system if you want a manual transmission.

Hyundai boasts that the nav system has the largest screen size in this class. For the price, its beautiful. And it really is a great system, incorporating voice recognition for phone, audio, and nav control, plus XM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports and Stocks integration, Bluetooth audio streaming, 16GB of onboard flash memory, Satellite Radio capability, and the capability to play JPEG or BMP slideshows from thumb drives.

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited Premium that we spent the most time with cost $22,700, while the base 2011 Elantra GLS starts at $15,550 (both prices including destination).

The Elantra isn't perfect. And it isn't quite the game-changer that the Sonata is. But 40 mpg; a sleek, sophisticated look; and even more value for the money confirm that this little sedan has officially left the Corolla in the dust.

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