2012 Hyundai Elantra Photo
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On Styling
On Styling
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra looks and feels responsible, yet it grabs our attention and won't let go—all good things in a field of small-car sameness.
9.0 out of 10
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STYLING | 9 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

cohesive and well balanced while clearly standing out from the rest of the segment

this is definitely not a toylike small car
Edmunds' Inside Line

the one car in this reinvigorated class that actually looks like anything at all
Car and Driver

while some features, like the headlights that stretch nearly to the A-pillars, can look odd by themselves, they all work together to create an attractive whole
Motor Trend

not a single bad angle
Automobile Magazine

The Elantra may have the best iteration of Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" styling theme. The Elantra is an even smoother take on the larger Sonata sedan, and from the back you might actually mistake it for its mid-size sibling. Hyundai intended to take the Elantra in a "sporty and modern" design direction this time, and we think it succeeded—this new compact sedan looks, from some side angles, like it's about to leap forward.

The level of detailing for the Elantra's exterior is particularly noteworthy. Up close, the front marker lights extend to a point almost directly over the front wheel center—and to the front of the cowl—and the windshield that looks like it might possibly be the steepest of any small car. Take another step back and there's an entirely new dimension—as the deep crease from beside the headlamps softens as it continues all the way to the C-pillar and that prominent, rising shoulder line emerges from smooth sheetmetal just inches behind the lipped wheelwells.

The interior could be even a little more successful, as it tames some of the swoopy lines that could look overdone (and perhaps soon dated) in the Sonata. The cabin look combines some of that curvaceousness with some interesting new cues—specifically, the pinch point where the center console meets the rest of the dash. That hourglass shape is fresh and distinctive, a purely Hyundai design cue from a brand that's had few visuals all to itself in the past. And it's a look that brims with confidence.



The 2012 Hyundai Elantra looks and feels responsible, yet it grabs our attention and won't let go—all good things in a field of small-car sameness.

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