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TheCarConnection.com's experts have driven the Elantra and bring their firsthand driving impressions to this Bottom Line. But that’s not all; it’s coordinated with a full review of the 2010 Hyundai Elantra, with expert-gathered information from other sources.
- Backseat legroom of a mid-size sedan
- Ride quality
- Cargo space
- Smooth, responsive powertrains
- Improved fuel economy
- Exterior design is still a snooze
- Engine too vocal when accelerating
- Sedan lacks driving excitement
- Mediocre Bluetooth speakerphone option
The 2010 Hyundai Elantra includes both sedan models and the sportier Touring wagon; size-wise, they slot between the bargain-basement Rio and the mid-level Sonata. For 2007, the Elantra was redesigned and became significantly larger all around; as it is, the Elantra qualifies as a mid-size car by some numbers.
Last year, the five-door Elantra Touring wagon joined the lineup. With a sportier appearance inside and out and a more premium European-influenced look and feel, the Touring almost comes across like a different vehicle from the sum of its details, even though its powertrain and basic platform are the same. Matching Hyundai's other vehicles, the interior follows a soft—not edgy—design, with rounded borders and flowing curves.
Across the model line, a 138-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is quite gutsy whether you choose the automatic transmission or the five-speed manual. Although the engine is smooth and quiet for most driving, it’s a bit loud and boomy—and not in a sporty way—when accelerating hard. Overall, the Elantra is quite softly sprung, which allows it to soak up bumps very well, with the ride quality of a larger sedan; Elantra Touring models get a different calibration, along with bigger stabilizer bars, with a much sportier feel overall. On either model, the electric power steering system in the Elantra works very well, light at low speed and firm yet responsive at high speed. Through some relatively simple engineering enhancements—such as a smart alternator, lower-friction components, and revised/taller gear ratios, along with revised engine calibration—Hyundai has improved fuel efficiency on the Elantra Blue base model by up to 8 percent versus last year. EPA ratings now stand at 26 mpg city, 35 highway with the standard five-speed manual transmission—up from 24 mpg city, 33 highway on last year’s model. On other Elantra GLS and SE models, fuel economy ratings have gone up about 1 mpg in both city and highway ratings, to 26/34 mpg.