Make us your home page
Instagram
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: Hyundai's Elantra is a standout in a sea of vanilla

How much of a roll is Hyundai on? We held this review in favor of another stylish small car — the brand new Hyundai Veloster. That wasn't meant as a slight to the Elantra, which we had been eager to drive. Hyundai's compact sedan was totally redesigned for 2011 in the image of the hot-selling Sonata and its "Fluidic Sculpture" look.

Appearance: At first glance, the elegant Elantra is easily mistaken for its big brother, the Sonata; both share sculpted lines that make them appear to be in motion even when standing still. Peter thinks the design works even better on the smaller Elantra. In a field of mostly bland compact sedans, the curvy Elantra stands out with its sporty, coupelike profile, prominent upswept headlights and silver-accented hexagonal grille.

Performance: Despite its looks, the Elantra is not sporty, but it is fuel efficient, getting an estimated 29 mpg in the city and 40 in highway driving. The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder is more than adequate for comfortable acceleration and interstate merging. We thought the 6-speed automatic, which comes standard on the Limited trim and optional in the GLS, shifted precisely and smoothly, even under hard accelerations. Our Limited tester rode on 17-inch wheels and had a planted feel for a small car, with handling response that, if not overly nimble, gives enough feedback for a pleasant driving experience.

Interior: The expansive cabin feels more like a midsize sedan. Peter and one of our taller colleagues, who is 6 feet 5, had enough head- and legroom, and we felt that without a sunroof, the fit would be even better. Another thing that made Peter wish for a better fit was the driver's seating position. He couldn't quite find a good angle in the otherwise comfortable leather seats on a trip to Tallahassee. Elsewhere in the cabin, the materials — even the plastic — were a nice combination of textures and trim that made for a more expensive look. The fit and finish were excellent. The buttons on the sloped center console are simple and easy to use, with the silver accent trim giving it a slightly futuristic vibe. The large gauges in the instrument panel — tach, speedometer and the digital info readout — are sharp and easy to read. The cabin, as with most cars in this class, allows some road noise to intrude, but not enough to be annoying. Navigation and rearview camera weren't on our tester, but they're available as an option.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Trunk: Lots of space. I moved all of my daughter's belongings to college in it and only needed half the backseat for overflow.

Design: I agree with Lyra. It's best in class.

Headroom: Great for a compact sedan.

Lyra Solochek

Fluidic sculpture design: Modern and attractive. A standout in a class of vanilla.

Console: Sleek and simple. Built narrow to allow for more legroom.

Price: $20k for this Limited trim. Not bad at all.

The bottom line: What's not to like? Roomy, stylish, good gas mileage and lots of features for the money — even in the base model. If it lacks anything, it's the sportiness of some of its competitors, but that's a quibble.









2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Price: $16,445 base GLS start, $20,830 as tested

Powertrain:

1.8-liter 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic, FWD

Horsepower: 148 at 6,500 rpm

Torque: 131 pound-feet at

4,700 rpm

Curb weight: 2,701-2,877 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 106.3

Length, 178.3

Width, 69.9

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

29 miles per gallon city, 40 mpg highway

Safety features: Electronic stability control with traction control, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, airbags (front, side impact and side curtains), side mirrors with turn indicators

Website:

hyundaiusa.com/elantra

The Daily Drivers: Hyundai's Elantra is a standout in a sea of vanilla 11/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.
  5. Kimmins Protégé-Mentor Program a crash course on business know-how

    Business

    TAMPA

    Williams Landscape Management Company was founded 30 years ago with one employee.

    Marisela Linares and Jorge Castro listen to speakers during a workshop at the Kimmins Contracting Corporation on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.   Kimmins Contracting Corporation is handling road construction projects Jeff Vinik's company as he remakes the Channel District. To do some outreach, the company is partnering with three minority contractors, but it's a unique partnership with Kimmins not only giving them the opportunity, but taking them through a series of workshops. It's essentially providing training to the subcontractors so they will be in position to get other contracts.