2011 Hyundai Elantra Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra has an interior that's almost mid-size caliber—almost if it weren't for the tight headroom in back that's so often the mark of a compact cabin.

Otherwise, the Elantra's interior is generously sized. This 6'-6" editor had no problem getting comfortable in the Elantra; though as is typical for this class, the lower cushions were on the short side. Front occupants get plenty of headroom with or without the sunroof, thankfully. The front seats of our test Limited and GLS cars looked like they would have some lateral support, but the slightly risen seat edges (a nod, at least in appearance, to lateral support) do nothing for sharp corners. The leather that's available is perforated in a wave pattern and won't be mistaken for luxury hide, but it feels supple enough.

Backseat space is a little bit better than what we're accustomed to in this size of vehicle—in terms of legroom—but the shortage of headroom (just like the Cruze and Civic) keeps it from being a true mid-size offering. Only the Jetta has noticeably more headroom in back. While rear-seat heaters are on the options list—kudos for being first ever in this class—there are no true backseat heater vents (also like most vehicles in this class). Pop the trunk and up high there are two easy-release pulls to fold down the 60/40-split rear seatbacks. They don't quite fold flat, but there's enough of an opening to easily fit skis, or a lamp.

A smooth, quiet ride, plus very pleasant interior appointments, make the Elantra’s cabin a step up from most small-car accommodations.

There are a few very nice, thoughtful touches in the Elantra. Flip up the big center-console lid, and you'll find a power plug and USB input, so you can hide away your iPod or the like; but over on the passenger side, there's another side compartment and power plug for the passenger, or for another device.

The 2011 Elantra has a very smooth, quiet ride, thanks to a suspension that isn't exactly tuned for high-performance situations. It soaks up road noise better than most small cars, and wind noise is well-muted at 70 mph—at the level you'd expect in a mid-size sedan.

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