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Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Hyundai ElantraAnother episode of "Revenge of the four-bangers"
Cars like the Elantra are supposed to be like a care package, not real tasty but the key to going. So who snuck in the box of truffles? Let's drive the 2011 Elantra GLS. It's all new in Check The Tech. This is the 2011 Elantra, a clean chic design and miles from that little dough ball you were imagining, the last one. In the category, crowded with Corolla, Civic, Mazda 3, Focus, Cruze, Sentra and others, you gotta do something to standout. Hyundai's trump card has always been value. Let's see how they play it. Now the first thing they want you to notice this time in Elantra and you should is the exceptionally high level of materials and style for a car in this price class. For that matter, for a car in the next price class, it's really nicely done inside compared to the other Econo-boxes; you got nice finishes here and there, soft multi-layer interiors. Now the technology in this car is what's interesting. It can go from really bare to really quite nice. Really bare would be according to the build side on Hyundai, air-conditioning is optional. What? I've seen a car with AC optional in years but maybe it is, we do have the airconditioning system but there's no automatic temperature control for example. Here is the optional head unit, because we have navigation, now don't get excited about the LCD being based, it's not that well-equipped but this is a pretty well-priced package. Here's your map screen, good not audacious but the important stuff is done right, clear and crisp. You have live traffic and more, you can get a list or see it on the map. That's part of the navigation package because we get a screen and they coupled that with a rear view camera, which is pretty good image quality, fairly basic otherwise, voice control on this car is for other than navigation by pushing this button here or for the Bluetooth hands-free, you can use that button or as you also noticed, for the media system as well. Speaking of the media system, even the base rig on this car is a 172 watts, kinda nice, 6 speakers, it sound fun, AM/FM and XM Satellite Radio, then you've got the dual connector here with aux and USB using a special cable for iPod, iPhone, what have you. That by the way is stuck on the base car even without the upgrade to Nav or be upgrade to better fidelity which is like 360 watts on an external amp. You see my iPod shows that really nicely, this is one of the better, clearer systems. I mean that's just clean design and the menu when you go in to various things like sorting by songs or playlist or genre, moves really quickly. There's my A2DP Stereo streaming on my Bluetooth hookup, it also brings in media. I don't have any metadata; it just shows me basically if the phone is playing and the fact that I'm playing music. I'm not getting artist, track, title, what have you but I've got my transport controls right here and of course we have a single optical slot here for CD or MP3 CDs, right above the display. By the way that stereo Bluetooth streaming is optional, As is Bluetooth, one of the concessions in this car, along with no base airconditioning, like I believed that is it doesn't come with Bluetooth standard, you do have to option that and is part of the preferred equipment package. Now on the GLS, the more basic of the 2 Elantra is you have a choice of gearboxes, a 6 Speed Manual or 6 Speed Automatic, which is kinda pricey as we'll talk about it later but it's got a shiftable gate here, no paddles on the wheel or anything and you'll see an ECO Light on the dash-room time to time. As I understand it as of our shoot today, the 2011 Hyundai Elantras will have an ECO Light that just tells you when you're kinda basically off the throttle, driving very efficiently, other cars, 2012 Model year and going forward will have a button called ECO Mode that is going to change the behavior of throttle response trans-axles and shift points, things like that. So make sure you check that difference out, if you're going to buy one of these. Another way that they're saving gas in this car is the electric powersteering, there's no pump being driven off the engine with parasitic loses to power a hydraulic ram instead of an electric motor move the wheels, basic gauges on this car, tach and speedo and then you've got your temperature and your fuel, redone this in electro-fluorescent. Straight-forward stuff, but everything is very clean in this vehicle and again it looks a lot richer than it is. The new Elantra has an in-line 4 without much clever going on but it's just modern, 1.8 liter, 148 horsepower, 131 foot-pounds of torque, very average. That gets this light 2700 pound car up to 60 in a perfectly adequate 8.4 seconds while delivering 29/40 MPG. And I average closer to the top end of that. Now one thing you can accuse the Elantra of is looking like everything else, they've ram a lot of stuff in to the sheet metal here, all this whooping kind of sculptured stuff that Hyundai is doing these days. I'd say it's more style than taste, capiche? Part of that is because they've rammed all this in to a much shorter frame, this kinda of look is carried off much better on the Sonata, because it got a little more length but the cardinal sin in this category is to look like an Econo-box. They avoid that, whether you think it's pretty or not. On the road, the Elantra is just a little gutless, I have at least test drive the 6 Speed Manual but it is smooth and of a piece, not the rattle-box that was a Hyundai of your. Shifting around in the transmission gate, added a little snap but the car wasn't missing enough in the first place to warrant that hassle. Just get in and get where you're going. Now note, the Elantra gets 40 Highway MPG in every configuration, while the Cruze can do 42 and the Focus can get to 40 also but they have to be ordered in special trimmed levels that are not base configurations. Okay let's place this little guy starts of for a GLS, the base trim at just under 18,000 but that's with the manual gearbox, if you want the automatic which is also a 6 Speed with that ECO Mode, whatever that means on your model year, that's gonna add a rather on constable 2250, very pricey for an automatic in this day and age specially on a car of this caliber. Other options would include airconditioning, I don't really believed thatâ?¦ 550 bucks for the preferred package, that's gonna get you Bluetooth hands-free, Bluetooth streaming, steering wheel audio controls, 16 inch alloy wheels, these are nice upgrades for 550. The big tech payload is the Nav Package, upgrade audio, that nice touch screens, 7 inch color LCD Nav with traffic, stocks and weather and you get the rear-view camera, for 1850, even though I'm not a huge fan of built-in navigation, that's a pretty good value for that package.