Hyundai Elantra’s New Trend: Heated Rear Seats

January 28, 2011

As another massive snowstorm hits the Northeast, I’m reading the specifications sheet for the newly redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited model. Imagine my surprise when I see that this stylish, economical compact boasts front and rear heated seats. Will this be the making of a new trend?

As far as I know, there is not another price-conscious sedan that offers front and rear heated seats as standard equipment. This cold weather feature has been available on high-end vehicles for some time. However, even exclusive luxury cars don’t always offer heated rear seats as standard equipment.

$111,350--and no heated rear seats?

Out of curiosity, I went to Lexus.com to find out if their elite "LS 600h L" hybrid luxury sedan offers heated rear seats as standard equipment. This is a beautiful motor car with an incredible interior cabin. It also has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $111,350. Guess what? Discriminating Lexus "LS 600h L" buyers who want heated rear seats will need to purchase “Package C” for an additional $10,835, because this feature is not offered as standard equipment.

It’s ironic that an up-and-coming carmaker like Hyundai can offer heated rear seats in a moderately priced compact sedan with an MSRP of $19,980, while Lexus wants more than half the cost of that car to add heated rear seats and other features to a model that’s priced well over a hundred thousand dollars to begin with. It’s a strange world we live in.

Winter wonderland

Here’s the question that arises for me: is Hyundai starting a trend by offering heated front and rear seats as standard equipment in their Elantra Limited model? Why do I ask? I have friends who are battling snow drifts in New York and Connecticut as I write this article. In fact, I just got off the phone with one in the Boston area who was on her way to pick up her young daughter at school. This busy mom would pay extra to be able to have her daughter begin the warming process--after coming out of frigid temperatures--by simply sitting down in the second row, heated seat of their family sedan.

Will moms and dads in cold weather areas begin rushing to Hyundai dealerships to scoop up available Elantra Limited models, all because of this new standard feature? If that happens, it won’t be long before other carmakers jump on board and offer heated rear seats in their economically-minded models, too.

Find the latest photos, specs, articles, and reviews of 2011 Hyundai Elantra at The Car Connection’s special Elantra overview page.

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