2007 Hyundai Elantra – All New – Continues Raising the Bar
- October 28, 2006
- Hyundai, New Model Introductions, On The Road: Driving Impressions
- Posted by George Peterson
- 2 Comments
The Hyundai Elantra is one of a string of all new Compact Cars introduced recently (September 2006): 2007 Nissan Sentra, 2006 Honda Civic, Kia Spectra… and smaller entries: 2007 Hyundai Accent, 2007 Nissan Versa, 2007 Toyota Yaris, 2007 Honda Fit. So, the competitive set for Elantra is very busy with better and better cars. AutoPacific was on hand for the media launch of the Elantra that included a drive from Santa Monica to Ojai.
The Elantra meets its competition head on. Wider (+2.0-inches) and taller (+2.2-inches), Elantra is much larger than before with its interior volume rating now in the Mid-Size Class. Among its facing competitors, only Sentra also is rated as a Mid-Size Car in interior volume. Hyundai brags that Elantra has a larger interior than the Acura TL.
More Expressive Styling
While Elantra’s size may be its major distinguishing attribute, its style is more expressive than before, but Elantra is still not a head-turner. Side surfacing is more distinctive using rising contours reminiscent of the first generation Santa Fe crossover SUV, but not so contrived. The hood has a slight power bulge flowing into an evolutionary Elantra grille. While its stance is more purposeful than before, the standard P195/65TR15 tires are too anemic looking. The P205/55HR16s on the SE and Limited models look better, but still don’t give the car the beefier appearance we prefer.
Interior is an Elantra Forte
Our requirements for any car are that it be easy to get into and out of, have good visibiltiy and be easy to use. The all new Elantra does a very good job achieving these objectives. The cockpit and passenger side front seating are spacious.
The instrument panel is easy to understand. In fact, the instrument panel upper is similar to that found on recent Audis. Ergonomics are excellent. Displays, with Hyundai’s new signature blue lighting, are easy to read (except in bright sunlight). Material selection is excellent with Elantra’s soft-feel interior components superior to many in its class.
Airbags and Safety Equipment – Most Boxes Checked
Hyundai has equipped the all new Elantra with side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic braking distribution, 4-wheel disc brakes and active front head restraints. In the compact class it is rare to have cars with standard 4-wheel discs and ABS.
Competitive Powertrain Specifications
Elantra uses an upgraded 2.0L 4-cylinder DOHC engine with continuously variable valve timing. The 4-cylinder puts out 138-horsepower – competitive in this class. With engine refinements and other engineering fine tuning, Elantra achieves a 4.0 MPG improvement in city fuel economy over its predecessor. Use of electric power steering results in .68 MPG. Elantra has a standard 5-speed manual transmission with a 4-speed gated automatic optional.
Driving the Elantra – Pleasant
With Elantra’s size and powertrain, driving the Elantra is a pleasant experience. It meets the requirements of most of the people who will consider buying it. Elantra does not beg to be driven hard. It rides comfortably. The seats are good for this class of car. It is quiet. It is quick when asked to be. But it doesn’t have the sporty ambiance of a Honda Civic or Volkswagen Jetta.