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2007 Elantra First Impressions

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  • tmporttmport Posts: 19
    I test drove a manual transmission Elantra SE today, after having tested a Sonata and Versa recently.

    I was really impressed with the interior of the Elantra: more attractive than the Sonata, with lots of useful storage. The A/C seemed reasonably efficient (temperature was in the mid-80s, and the car had been sitting in the sun). The interior space is excellent, including the back seat, but the trunk is disappointingly small. I guess that's the tradeoff for a larger back seat. I also really liked the manual adjustments on the seat and the wheel (tilt/telescope on the SE). It should be easy for pretty much anyone to find a comfortable driving position.

    As for the transmission itself, it was hard to get a good feel on such a short test drive and with several other people in the car. The clutch seemed smooth and light, not grabby as a few online reviewers have complained. The shifter itself was pretty good, though a little notchy, and not as satisfying as the shifter on my old 1994 Nissan Sentra. But again, it's hard to get a good feel on a short test drive. I definitely need to drive it a few more times.

    For those who own Elantras with manual transmissions, what do you think of them? Is it easy to drive in traffic? And is the highway noise as offensive as a lot of reviewers have suggested? I really like manual transmissions, but I'll be living in the DC area, which has a ton of traffic. Am I crazy not to get an automatic?
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    I prefer manuals in traffic. Also it depends on your commute. Some are not that bad - if you have to go over a bridge at the wrong time it could be bad though.
  • I have a 2007 Elantra SE Manual with over 2500 miles and love it.
    It is very easy to drive in traffic due to the power of the engine and the shift ranges. I can go as slow as 20 mph in 3rd gear and still have adequate power to accelerate. 5th gear is good down to between 30-35 and still able to accelerate. I don't know why anyone would complain about road noise with this car, it is the most quiet in the class. Everyone that rides in this car notes just how quiet it is.
    I believe that the only reason people feel the Mazda 3 is more sporty is because it is quite a bit louder. ;) There are times when driving over 70 that it would be nice to have another gear, but that is just perception. (~3000 rpm @ 70 mph.) I previously owned a 2002 Honda civic that seems like a piece of junk compared to this Elantra. If it were not for the mid 30's mpg average of the Civic, I could not have tolerated driving it. Alas, an errant driver totaled that car. We looked at most cars in the class and did not like the 2 step dash of the Civic, or that we needed to go to an EX to get a split folding rear seat. The Civic is almost as quiet as the Elantra, but feature to feature would cost about $2000 more.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    pricewise you are correct, the civic costs more similarly equipped, and the elantra has features not available on the civic.

    tests have shown that the elantra, as quiet as it is, is only marginally quieter than the civic, so nothing to write home about there.

    the reason people KNOW the mazda 3 is sportier is because it IS. it has nothing to do with being louder; just look at the more aggresively bolstered seats, sporty interior, and aggresively tuned suspension.
  • Perhaps the Mazda 3 has more of a sporty feel, but it comes down to what a person feels is more important, comfort or something else. My brother has a 2006 Mazda 3 and if we go golfing together we cannot take his car because you can't get 2 golf bags with pull carts in the trunk, his bag and cart hardly fits. It is a fine vehicle, the Elantra just fits my likes and needs better.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    Must not have the hatch. That will easily fit the golf gear with the seats folded.
  • For those who own Elantras with manual transmissions, what do you think of them? Is it easy to drive in traffic? And is the highway noise as offensive as a lot of reviewers have suggested?

    I have a 2007 Elantra Limited with a 5 speed. The first comment we made driving away from the dealer's lot was 'smooth'. My wife and I absolutely love this car. It is easy and fun to drive, has plenty of power (I'm not talking about numbers here, but practical use), and it is extremely comfortable. We have driven from CT to VT and back in one day (roughly 500 miles) and we were ready to go out again at night just to drive the car somewhere.

    Shifting is smooth, controls work very well. I should mention we have had the car for just over 4 months and it now has 8000 miles on the odometer. It runs very well.

    Noise - those reviewers are being overly picky about this issue. Consider this: they drive all types of cars in the most strenuous conditions for a living. The Elantra is not as quiet as a Cadillac Sedan DeVille, but it doesn't compete with that car, either. The 2007 Elantra is not any louder at highway speeds than my 1996 Corolla, and is MUCH quieter than the 1999 Civic it replaced. It is also more quiet than my mom's CR-V. Seriously, if the reviewers were bothered by road noise, they should have turned up the very nice stock radio system - oh wait, the car does that for you! (speed sensitive volume)

    The only truly negative aspect of this car is the gas mileage - my car averages 28-30 mpg, a far cry from the 38 claimed by Hyundai. (I've heard many say that mileage improves with engine wear, but it's not going to improve by 10mpg). Just for the record, driving the way I do, I still achieve 40 mpg in my Corolla with 179K miles on it.

    Anyway, I love the Elantra. Even with the negative features, this car still has the best value for the money. For $16.5K, I got a car with heated leather seats, ABS, 6 airbags, 6 speaker stereo, 16" alloy wheels, steering wheel mounted controls, comfortable smooth ride, large interior volume, large truck with large opening (major drawback of the Mazda 3), long warranty, etc. BTW, that price was during a time when there were no rebates, so I'm sure you could get a much better deal now.
  • tmporttmport Posts: 19
    FYI: Hyundai doesn't claim anything about gas mileage--that's the EPA's job. And they don't claim 38 mpg: estimates for 2007 are 28/36, and that drops to 24/33 (25/33 for the automatic) with the new 2008 ratings, which are supposed to be more accurate.
  • 2rotor2rotor Posts: 3
    Exactly. Not only does Hyundai not make the claim of 38mpg, they don't (and wouldn't) claim a 36mpg "average", as that's the highway rating only. The owner that crows about a 40mpg average with their Corolla clearly doesn't "get it"... And comparing a 179,000mi Corolla to a new, larger and heavier (than ANY Corolla) Elantra is making comparisons that don't make much sense.

    Speaking of not making sense, what's with the owner that is disappointed with the trunk space? Which competing car is it that whallops the Elantra's 14+ cuft? Not to mention complaining about this AFTER purchasing the car, as if the trunk shrank after it rolled off the lot...

    -2Rotor
  • tmporttmport Posts: 19
    Well, I was the person who mentioned that the trunk was "disappointingly small," though I'm not an owner...yet. ;)

    At any rate, I was wrong. I did another test drive, and the trunk is plenty big--I think the sun was in my eyes the first time I checked it out. This time I drove an automatic, and it was great, providing plenty of acceleration as I merged onto a highway on an upslope.

    My problem now is choosing between the Elantra, Sonata, and Spectra5. I was quoted $13,400 for a new 2006 automatic Spectra5 w/sunroof and ABS, and I'm pretty sure I can negotiate the price down to $13,000. At Fitzmall in Maryland, near where I live, I can get an Elantra GLS w/preferred package and automatic for a no-haggle $14,850, and a Sonata GLS w/ automatic and Premium Package for $15,850. All of these prices are before tax and tags.

    Setting aside the Sonata, I'm having a hard time figuring out why I would pay an extra $1500 for the Elantra, especially considering that the Spectra5 is better equipped and has five doors. It gets worse gas mileage, but it's significantly cheaper to insure than the Elantra.

    Sigh...choices, choices.
  • percussionistpercussionist Posts: 204
    Not only does Hyundai not make the claim of 38mpg, they don't (and wouldn't) claim a 36mpg "average", as that's the highway rating only

    I realize I made a mistake - the EPA estimate for highway driving is 36mpg, not 38. Although I will point out that for 2007, Hyundai did claim mpg was a significant improvement over the previous model.

    The owner that crows about a 40mpg average with their Corolla clearly doesn't "get it"... And comparing a 179,000mi Corolla to a new, larger and heavier (than ANY Corolla) Elantra is making comparisons that don't make much sense

    Here is what I do "get". The '96 Corolla I used for comparison was EPA estimated at 29mpg city, 34mpg highway. With combined driving, I have and still average 38-40mpg. I use that example to show that for my driving habits, I routinely exceed the EPA estimate. I was merely expressing my disappointment at the lower than (my) expected fuel economy.

    Since the Elantra outweighs my Corolla by 342 lbs. and has a larger engine, I do not expect its mileage to be better. However, since it is newer (as you pointed out), it stands to reason that technology and aerodynamics have improved significantly over the past 11 years. I was just hoping to average 35-37 mpg in the new car, not 28-30. Mentioning the mileage of the old car is important because cars with that high mileage tend to become less efficient over time.

    So that's my story - the benefit of forums like these is that we do not have to agree all the time. In this case, apparently we don't.

    Again - I love my Elantra, and always look forward to driving it! It is absolutely the best car for the money.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    I realize I made a mistake - the EPA estimate for highway driving is 36mpg, not 38. Although I will point out that for 2007, Hyundai did claim mpg was a significant improvement over the previous model.

    The outgoing model (2006) achieved an estimated highway fuel economy of 32 mpg from the government.
  • What does the Spectra5 have (besides alloys) that the Elantra GLS doesn't have? The Elantra adds an aux jack and the satellite radio, if those matter to you. Plus the Spectra didn't do so hot in crash tests, so that's a downer. The Elantra's retuned engine cuts off at least a second from 0-60, too. But I adore the Spectra5 -- I think it's a terrific car and it looks great. And that $13,600 you were quoted is at a $5000 discount, and I'd have a hard time passing that up. But is it really significantly cheaper to insure? That surprises me.
  • tmporttmport Posts: 19
    The two main attractions of the Spectra5 are the five doors (I like hatchbacks) and price. Compared to an Elantra GLS automatic w/ Preferred Package, the Spectra5 at $13,400 would be about $1500 cheaper. And according to Geico insurance quotes, it would be $400 cheaper per year. Apparently the Elantra is an expensive car to insure--more expensive than any other car I've considered. I don't know why, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. Even the Sonata is $150 cheaper per year than the Elantra, which pretty much negates the savings on fuel economy.

    The Elantra has the best interior, however, and that's a big draw for me.

    I'm also considering the Ford Focus ZX5, if I can get a price under $13,500 w/ all power options, cruise, fog lights, etc. It's a shame, though, that Ford has seriously degraded with blatant cost-cutting what used to be a great car. It is the most fun small car I've driven (I haven't tried the Mazda3), but oh, that interior. The "overhead storage compartment" is the cheapest piece of junk you've ever seen. Thank goodness it's only available on the top trim level! And of course the Focus' reliability scares me, though my mother has never had problems with her 2003. (Blessedly, it has the "old" interior, which is far superior to the "new" interior.)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    FWIW, the 2007 Spectra has been updated, and its NHTSA crash test results are improved from prior years. No word yet on the IIHS tests for the 2007 Spectra. The interior has been tweaked also--I think it may have an aux input now but not sure.
  • nthenthe Posts: 414
    "I realize I made a mistake - the EPA estimate for highway driving is 36mpg, not 38. Although I will point out that for 2007, Hyundai did claim mpg was a significant improvement over the previous model. "

    which, according to the epa tests, it is. 06 elantra was 24/32
  • prosource1prosource1 Posts: 234
    If I can get anywhere near 25 mpg in town and 35 on the highway for a mid-size class car with over 130hp, I'll take that all day long! The Elantra is not a small car.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    I get that now on my '04 Elantra automatic with its 24/32 EPA rating, so I'd think it would be pretty easy to get 25/35 in the real world with the '07.
  • harlqnharlqn Posts: 18
    Those pictures are pretty accurate. I own one (blk int/silver ext) and not all of the pieces are black. The carpets (including rear deck), larger part of the dash, the leather on the wheel and shifter, the perforated-looking parts of the door panels along with smaller areas of the door panels, and the majority of the interior controls are pure black. Picture 9 of 21 from your links makes things look a bit lighter than they really are.

    The majority of the seat fabric is very dark gray, but not pure black. The other door surfaces, pillar covers, lower dash covers, and overhead are a medium/dark gray. The middle console cover (where the radio, clock, etc are) is darker than the lower dash gray, but not black. The lighter gray pieces you see (the shifter surround, the climate control panel) are actually a gray/honeycomb surface that looks really good.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a big difference in the texture of these surfaces (radio surround vs. door armrest vs. door inset vs. dash).

    I'll post some pictures (for comparison's sake) when I get home.
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