'That horrid blue thing'

We'll admit that we had low expectations for the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring. After spending time with the little blue wagon, we were still disappointed by the lack of tech, but surprised by its performance. Read editors' take
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2-liter engine

Powering the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring is a peppy, but not powerful, 2-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine. Making 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque, the Elantra's performance won't blow your socks off, but it never feels out of breath. Read editors' take
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Four-speed automatic transmission

Shouldering part of the blame for the Elantra's relaxed performance is the archaic four-speed automatic transmission, which also hurts fuel economy. Save your $800 and get the five-speed manual, which should wake that engine up. Read editors' take
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Handling

The Elantra Touring makes no high performance pretenses, but within its limits, the handling is quite responsive. Pushing beyond the Elantra's limits will be met with progressive and easily correctable understeer. Read editors' take
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Firm suspension

The Elantra's firmly damped suspension keeps the body flat in the corners, but also transmits large bumps into the cabin. Expect lots of bouncing around over expansion joints and uneven pavement. Read editors' take
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A lack of options

Choosing the options on your Hyundai Elantra is simple because there almost aren't any. The interior can be trimmed in tan or black cloth. The dashboard's plastics are soft, high quality, and generally on par with the competition from Honda. Read editors' take
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Simple instrumentation

The simple instrument panel features a monochromatic LCD displaying fuel economy, current gear, and a trip computer. Read editors' take
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Single option stereo

The single option stereo features six speakers, AM/FM/XM Satellite radio, and a single-disc CD player with MP3 compatibility. Read editors' take
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Aux. inputs

Also standard is an 1/8-inch auxiliary input and a USB port for connecting external devices. Read editors' take
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iPod connection

To use an iPod with the stock system, a $30 cable that occupies both the digital and analog connections is required. Read editors' take
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Bluetooth handsfree

There's no GPS option on the Elantra, but Bluetooth hands-free can be added via this $325 dealer-installed roof-mounted voice controlled system. Functionality is on par with a $100 Bluetooth speakerphone. We'd skip this option and get a GPS device with built-in Bluetooth. Read editors' take
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Optional premium package

Though not equipped here, an optional premium package is available, which upgrades the wheels to 17-inchers and adds a power sunroof. Read editors' take
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Projector style headlamps

Standard projector-style headlamps do a good job of illuminating the road ahead and feature a neat blue surround. Read editors' take
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Compact footprint

The most obvious reason to choose the Touring model over the standard Elantra is the increased storage space behind the passenger compartment. Read editors' take
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Excellent visibility

The Elantra Touring features excellent all-around visibility. Read editors' take
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