2013 Hyundai Elantra Comfort & Quality

8.0
Comfort & Quality

It's a mid-sizer, if you're going strictly by the spec sheet, but the Hyundai Elantra's pitched as a compact, against other compacts. Still, it's exceptionally roomy in front, whether it's a coupe or a sedan.

The generous proportions are put to good use, though. In the front seats, leg and head room are fine for even large adults. The sedan's seats are ready for a round of improvements: we'd like more bolstering and more bottom-cushion support, and some more length on the bottom cushion for long-distance touring comfort. Some versions have seat sculpting that suggests support, but it's not firm enough to provide. The Coupe's seats have those unique bolsters and decent support across the bottom cushion, and good comfort on the backrest.

The leaner head room in the sedan's back seat gives it away as more Focus than Fusion, more Civic than Accord. The Elantra's no worse than most in the class in this respect--Volkswagen's Jetta is the standout here, with its outsized rear accommodations. But the coupe actually has more space than the Accord and Altima coupes. Leg room's good in the back seat of either version, and it's simple to slide into the four-door's back bench; clambering into the rear of the coupe requires a manual fold of the seatback and a separate slide of the seat itself, two motions that could be combined with one lever. The Elantra gets kudos for offering rear-seat heaters in the sedan, a first in the segment, but it lacks air vents for warm air from the car's climate control system--again, like most vehicles in the class, and some larger vehicles, like the VW Passat.

Impressive interior and trunk space complements the Elantra's above-average interior materials.
The rear seats fold forward easily on either version, and that allows longer objects to be loaded into the relatively large, wide trunk. We like how the two easy-release pulls are within easy reach; the seats don't quite fold flat, but there's enough of an opening for fitting gear or tools for a trip across town.

Throughout the interior, you'll find plastics that are about par for the class--a mix of hard, scuff-resistant and soft-touch surfaces--and there are lots of useful cubbies and storage bins, including a covered one that sits ahead of the shift lever: it also contains the aux jack, a power point, and the USB port in an easy to reach module, perfect for connecting smartphones. The leather that's available on sedans is perforated in a wave pattern and won't be mistaken for luxury hide, but it feels supple enough.

The Elantra soaks up road noise better than most small cars (in part because of its soft suspension calibration), and at 70 mph it's not much different than in a four-cylinder mid-size sedan.

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