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2013 Hyundai Elantra Safety

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The Hyundai Elantra sedan received some running improvements in calendar-year 2011--at the time of its last major redesign--that improved its crash-test safety in the Feds' eyes.

In the 2011-2012 model year, the Elantra received four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It managed just three stars in the frontal-impact tests, with five-star scores in side-impact and rear-impact tests.

Its crash-test scores improved this year, the Elantra earns top scores in both federal and insurance-industry tests.

Hyundai says running changes to the design of its airbags, made in late May and June of 2011, give the side-curtain airbags and the passenger-side frontal airbag better inflation characteristics. That in turn leads to more head protection in accidents--and in crash tests. As a result, some 2012 models and all 2013 Elantra sedans now are rated by the NHTSA at five stars overall, with a four-star score for frontal impacts.

In testing over at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Elantra sedan earned the Top Safety Pick accolade, including top "good" ratings in all categories of testing--including the new roof-strength test. Although an 'acceptable' result in the new small overlap test gave the Elantra room for improvement in the IIHS battery of tests, too.

The Elantra Coupe has not yet been tested.

Among budget-priced compact cars, not all safety equipment is always standard (stability control, for instance is sometimes optional in this class). But it's all here and standard across the model line, coupes and sedans alike: stability control; anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist; a new Steering Effort Assist system that helps steer you back toward stability and control in a skid; front seat-mounted side airbags; and front and rear side-curtain bags. A rearview camera system is also available, although outward visibility is quite good in the sedan, slightly impaired in the two-door as a result of its sloping roofline.

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