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Hyundai Elantra: Reviews & News from the Pros (Edmunds, C/D, CR, MT etc.)

backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
edited March 19 in Hyundai
What do professional car reviewers and the press think of the Elantra? Let's post these "pro" opinions and discuss them here!
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Comments

  • http://www.caranddriver.com/previews/11922/2007-hyundai-elantra-se-driving-impre- - ssion-page2.html

    "Passengers in all seats will be comfortable and content, but drivers will likely not find the same level of satisfaction in the Elantra experience. The car we tested came with the base transmission, a light and direct five-speed manual, but 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder is a bit off the class leaders, meaning straight-line performance is merely average. But it also feels stressed on the highway; above 70 mph, the thrashing from the engine bay can get maddening. And although many of us liked the silky five-speed and delicate clutch pedal, a few of the less-dainty on our staff thought both clutch and shifter were a bit too light.

    The suspension, too, we thought was a little too light, too much like a floaty compact Buick. For 2007 the Elantra gets a four-wheel independent setup, with McPherson struts up front, a multilink rear, and stabilizer bars fore and aft. Hyundai claims a 49-percent increase in body stiffness over the previous model and a thicker rear stabilizer, but it just doesn’t feel like enough."

    I'm thinking a mid to low pack finish behind Mazda3, Civic, Jetta VE, Sentra in the next C&D comparo. Thoughts?
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    If the reviews all run about like this one, it won't displace the Mazda3 or Civic but could finish ahead of the Jetta and Sentra.

    The Sentra does not appear to be very quick from the early reviews even though the engine is smoother. Its appearance seems unpopular also. The Jetta engine is more powerful but as CD says provides "tepid performance". It has also has been reviewed as noisy like the Elantra.

    I still hope to give the Elantra SE with manual transmission a test drive. The only concern for me from this review is the thrashy engine above 70mph. That could knock it off my list if true.
  • Given that the 2007 Elantra has the same powerplant and tranny as the prior generation, I wouldn't expect it to be any better in the NVH category. Above 70 MPH in my 5-speed, I can barely hear a conversation. Let's hope it's a little better in the new one. A nice interior and decent interior dimensions mean little when paired to a circa 1998 designed powerplant.

    Also, add to the mix the redesigned 2008 corolla and 2008 Saturn Ion (New Opel Astra), and Hyundai has some steep competition in this price range.
  • "The Jetta engine is more powerful but as CD says provides "tepid performance". It has also has been reviewed as noisy like the Elantra."

    Not sure what you mean by tepid performance, but the Jetta is actually one of the quietest sedans in the price range.

    JETTA C&D 70 MPH cruise: 66 DBA
    2006 Sonata LX: 67 DBA
    2006 Azera: 66 DBA
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    Car and Driver called it tepid, and about all the reviews of the 5 cylinder have called it a disappointing engine. Fuel economy is embarrassing when compared to even the larger engines in larger cars such as the Accord, Camry, and Sonata.
  • Many (all) of those reviews reporting that the 2.5 was "disappointing" were done back in late 2005 with a maxed out Jetta 2.5 reaching nearly 26K. Sure, it was disappointing when compared with V6 engines at the same price. However, things have since changed. Now for that same price or a bit lower, one can have a very nicely equipped 2.0T (a fantastic engine by all accounts). In addition, with VW's new pricing schema, I can now purchase a nicely equipped 2007 Jetta VE for under $17K delivered. At that price, it competes with the likes of the Mazda3, Civic, Sentra, Elantra, Cobalt LT, etc. When compared to those autos, I don't think many would characterize it as "disappointing."

    The Jetta's EPA rating is not great, but many will find it to be far closer to real world driving (due to large amount of torque on hand at low revs) than say, my 5-speed Elantra, EPA rated at 26/34, but rarely seeing above 25 MPG in 50/50 driving.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    germancarcheerleader: Get back on topic; this is an Elantra thread.

    I saw the HD Elantra in the flesh for the first time at my dealer. They look fine, but don't inspire me. For someone who doesn't own and XD Elantra, the styling is probably favorable, but for people who like their XD styling, the new model just doesn't build on it, in my opinion. It seems like it will fill a different niche than the outgoing generation, which for me isn't great because the niche I see it filling is not the reason I bought an Elantra. I guess the way I viewed the outgoing model was a blend between style/sportiness and utilitarian. It was at home as both a modded, lowered, sporty car and a modest, slightly upscale small family car. The new model moves on that scale towards the latter and away from the sporty aspect.

    In a sense, it would have been better to change the name of the car line because I just don't see this car as the natural follow-on to the outgoing model; there's a discontinuity there.

    Most of the things that I find objectionable will probably attract new buyers though- the styling, the "look" of being a bigger car than it is, the upscale, roomier interior. These are all good things, but It's not too much to my personal taste.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    I haven't driven a 2007 Elantra 5-speed, but I do own a 2006 Elantra GLS automatic, and I can assure you I can easily carry on a normal decibel level conversation at 70MPH, or at 80MPH in the Elantra. The engine noise is minimal. So, what gives? Higher revs with the stick??? BTW . . . except for the larger diameter rear sway bar, the suspension systems between the 2006 and 2007 are essentially the same, as the previous generation Elantra also had a multi-link IRS.
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    If true, it's a change from the current model. I cruise over 70mph on a regular basis and have no problems.

    Of course, my prior car had a lot of road noise, so maybe I'm still working on that comparison.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    I recall reading in one of the Hyundai press releases re the 2007 Elantra that because of the car's stiffer structure compared to the '06 model, they changed the suspension tuning. I wonder if that means anything other than the larger rear sway bar?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Note that C/D's mini-review had many positive things to say about the new Elantra, including their closing:

    Of course, cars in this segment are seldom asked to be sporty. More often they are asked to be above all affordable and reliable transport. For a price that’s a couple grand less than the VW Rabbit and Honda Civic, the Elantra offers both, and adds comfort and space in spades.

    In this and other comments in the review, C/D's editors seemed to remember that the Elantra is an economy car and competes in that class, not in the sports-car class. In that class, average power plus above-average comfort, space, and standard safety features at a low price make for an attractive package.

    I haven't driven the new Elantra yet so I can't comment on the ride and handling. But something seemed odd about C/D's comments on the stick shift. Then I remembered why. Here's what C/D said about the stick on the 2006 Civic Si:

    Shift efforts are light, and the clutch engages smoothly and predictably. Our only gripe with the close-ratio gearbox is that the shift from fourth to fifth requires you to move the lever quite far to the right to find the fifth and sixth gear plane.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/10836/2006-honda-civic-si.html

    OK. Now here is a note re the Si's shifter in from Town Hall:

    I test drove a 06 Civic Coupe (5 speed) and a Civic Si with a 6-speed stick. They feel different in terms of smoothness. The 5-speed on the Coupe is smooth and light.

    In comparison, the 6-speed shifter on the Si is very smooth and light too. I call it 'effortless' to the extent that I didn't have much positive feedback (don't know if I shift it in the next gear or not)when I up or down shift.


    bf109ace, "Honda Civic Si 6-Speed Shifter - Very Smooth but No positive feedback?" #1, 25 Oct 2006 12:38 pm

    So C/D complained about the last Hyundai stick shift they drove, in an Accent, saying it was too "rubbery". Then they drive the new Elantra, and now it's "light", "direct", and "silky" but maybe it's too silky for some of them. But the Si's stick was fine in that regard, according to C/D. Very interesting. Maybe they'd rather have a shifter that "clunks" with every shift like on the Versa, or a notchy shifter like on the Fit--C/D didn't mention either of those issues. I'll take "light", "direct", and "silky" any day. :)
  • I think what is most striking about the C&D preview is the shear amount of negative comments about three (3) main drivability issues in such a short review. As an avid C & D subscriber, it is not common (in fact quite rare), to see any car faulted in this way. Describing the sound and feel from the engine bay as stressed above 70 MPH and sounding "thrashing...that can get maddening" is not something i've seen noted in recent years about any car, save for a Suzuki.

    While the clutch issue is probably one of personal taste, the suspension problem is of far more interest to me. Anytime a suspension in a car is compared to that of a "floaty Buick," you know you're not in praise land. Concerns over the responsiveness and stiffness of the frame and suspension are not issues to be quickly discarded for anyone concerned with safety.

    The Elantra may have moved up market in terms of space, "features," and price, but if the underpowered carry over powerplant/tranny and sloppy designed suspension are what is holding the car together, it doesn't appear to be a great overall value. This is especially true, given the fact that far more responsive and solid cars are available for not much more money (if at all).
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Underpowered? C/D said its power was "average" for the class. C/D loves powerful cars. They admit as much all the time. I'm sure they'd love it if the Elantra had 200 hp, like a GTI or Civic Si.

    They also love crisp handling cars, so it's not surprising to me that C/D complained about the ride and handling. Their idea of an ideal ride/handling is that the car feels as if it's on rails. It doesn't matter to them if they can feel every pebble in the road. It matters to me, however. I guess they don't drive on frost-heaved, pot-holed roads too often in California. Consider that most people who buy economy sedans don't use them for canyon-carving, but for commuting and errand-hopping (see their closing statement again).

    I don't recall where they said the car's frame and suspension are unsafe, or the suspension is sloppy--can you find those quotes for me?

    It will be interesting to see the results of their full report, or comparo (if they do one), and also reports from other mags, Edmunds.com, CR etc. And our own test drives, which are the most important in the decision process, wouldn't you agree?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    07 Elantra Review

    Bottom Line - This is another exercise in exceeding expectations from Hyundai. Their philosophy of "over-delivering" continues by building vehicles that look and behave as if they cost more.

    The 2007 Hyundai Elantra belongs on your list when shopping for a vehicle in this class.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    It seems this reviewer was looking at the Elantra for its intended purpose, as competition for cars like the Civic and Corolla. Quotes on the driving experience (see link in preceding post):

    The trim levels don't tell the full story, though, as the Elantra is an exceedingly nice car to drive. It's quiet, smooth and solid, and its engine was more than adequate in the driving conditions we encountered on the country roads and highways around Quebec City. Fuel economy is excellent, at 8.4/8.3 l/100 km city, 6.0/6.0 highway, (figures for manual/automatic), and the build quality throughout is of a very high standard. More than that, the car is extremely pleasant to sit in, with useful storage containers located in all the right places, tasteful interior fabrics and materials, tidy control layout, and unexpected touches like chrome accents for switches and instruments. Compared with luxury brands from Europe and Japan, the Elantra may have humble origins, but it has definitely been to finishing school.

    And while the five-speed manual transmission endows the Elantra with a sporty driving feel, it's the automatic that best suits the character of the car. At 120 km/h with the manual, for instance, the engine is turning at about 3,300 rpm, and is definitely audible in the passenger compartment (even with the Elantra's extra insulation and triple door seals). In comparison, at the same speed an Elantra with the automatic transmission runs at a low 2,500 rpm, and is notably quieter and smoother.

    Over potholes and abrupt changes in road surface, the Elantra is unflappable, refusing to pitch or lurch where other cars may react unpredictably. The seats are comfortable, the cabin is spacious, the car feels substantial, and owners are likely to feel well pleased with their purchase when behind the wheel.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    He pointed out that the "S" or "character" line down the side of the car is a particularly Korean design element, inspired by the flowing hills and mountain ranges that typify the Korean landscape. Mr. Kim demonstrated how the dashboard and front of the Elantra follow lines found in Korean architecture, and identified the numerous areas throughout the car where special attention was placed on the fine details of operation and practicality: another Korean trait, he said (mind you, the rear looks decidedly like a Volkswagen Jetta or Toyota Corolla).

    Did you notice the author also agreed with many of us that rear looks like a Jetta or Corolla.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    What I've learned is that if two cars have tail lamps that are in the same general shape (e.g. a trapezoidal shape with the horizontal axis bigger than the vertical axis) and in roughly the same position on the rear end, many people will say that the two cars look alike, at least in the rear. Even if the lamps are a different size, or shape (e.g. pointy extensions wrapping around the fenders vs. a more rectangular shape), or if the rest of the back end has different styling details. So that's just the way it is. But notice it usually happens in comparing a car like a Hyundai to another make. If someone tries to say that, for example, a Lexus rear end looks decidedly like the rear of a Sonata, that's heresy! :surprise:

    As long as the car looks good to the buyer, that is the important thing. For instance, the CanadianDriver reviewer wasn't all that crazy about the side character line on the Elantra. I happen to like it.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    I like the styling of the new Elantra, though I was a bit disappointed when I first saw it in person as it is one of those vehicles that looks better in photos than in person.
    Now, where is the hatch or wagon?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Did you notice that CanadianDriver review mentioned a wagon? If there's one coming soon, I expect we'll see its debut at one of the auto shows in late 2006 or early 2007.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Also, the headlights and grill area is very similiar to the current gen Toyota Corolla. Though I don't like the character line of the 07 Elantra since is is not even in distance between the lower window molding it is at least pretty unique. Whereas the front and rear are very much influenced by other cars in its competitive class.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Also, the headlights and grill area is very similiar to the current gen Toyota Corolla.

    Well, everyone is entitled to his opinion. :)

    Note that the CanadianDriver reviewer doesn't agree with you there.

    If Hyundai is going to be hit for going in a unique direction with the new Elantra, and also hit for making parts of it look like other cars (in the eyes of some people anyway), then they might as well make the thing look like a copy of a good-looking car like the 3 Series and be done with it. They could save a lot of money in design costs that way too.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    I don't care if he agrees with me or not. Like you said its my opinion but I know that a lot of people share this. You should go to some of the Elantra specific forums such as Elantra XD and Elantra Club. A lot of people think the front and rear are very common to Toyota Corolla
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Like you, I don't care if others agree with me or not on what car looks like another car. Styling is all subjective anyway. As I said earler, the important question is, is the styling acceptable to the buyer?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The Elantra is very unoriginal in it's styling. It looks just like a Model T Ford in the front and rear. It even has four wheels just like the Model T. :P

    If the only complaint with the new Elantra is the styling, then Hyundai truly has a success on it's hands.

    Hyundai Elantra is going to have no problem at all selling all of the Elantra's Hyundai can supply during the next year. There is a shortage of 4 cyl. engines and production capacity also for the Elantra.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    To me the only issue I really have concerning the styling is the front end. It could have been less derivative and more inspiring. The rear end I like even though its very similiar to Corolla/Jetta. The side profile is fine with the exception of parts of the character line (not symmetrical). But the overall exterior styling is something I personally can live with.

    Hyundai did a fantastic job on the interior but they seemed not to follow completely thru on the exterior in my opinion.

    I believe that styling plays a big role in peoples decision of which brand of car they will buy - especially when comparing between similiar models with similiar features, content, safety and economy. Elantra is playing in a tough field especially compared with rivals such a Civic and Mazda 3 which to many have great exterior styling. I am thinking this may be somewhat detrimental to pushing out the 07s since they are similiarly priced to Civic and Mazda (not a big disparity like in the 06s) and if people see this then the ice breaker may be the styling. Only time will tell if Hyundai needs to start offering rebates.

    I think most of the engine and car production shortage was due to 2 reasons: CEO in jail and 2/3 week union strike. I think Hyundai will catch up.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    C/D trashed the styling of the Sentra ("troubled") and was mixed on the Civic: some hated it, others liked it. They didn't say one word about the exterior styling of the Elantra. (They liked the interior.) So that tells me they thought the exterior was inoffensive. I know they would have said something if they didn't like the exterior. ;) The Mazda3 is almost universally well-regarded for its styling; C/D puts it at the top of the class.

    Hyundai will offer rebates on the new Elantra. It is only a matter of time. They haven't reached the point yet where they can compete with the likes of Honda and Mazda with pricing that is only $1000-1500 different. They learned that lesson with the Sonata.
  • spmrebelspmrebel Posts: 130
    Like I said before who gives a hoot what others think about the styling of the car. Especially car mags such as C/D. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All I know is that quite a few people, whom are current Elantra owners, from other forums (ElantraXD and Elantra Club, Hyundai Exchange) have just blantly hated the new Elantra looks. Some have gone as far as saying they will not buy this current gen model and move on to something else. Maybe over time their moods will change.

    When the 06 Civic came out, the percentage of people whom hated the new looks was not as high as what I have seen on the 07 Elantra. I for one was very impressed with the bold styling of the Civic. So I personally had very high hopes that the styling of Elantra would be as bold as Civic or Mazda 3. I was a little disappointed of the styling but that won't put me off from actually considering the 07 Elantra as my next car.
  • "hey haven't reached the point yet where they can compete with the likes of Honda and Mazda with pricing that is only $1000-1500 different. They learned that lesson with the Sonata."

    Pretty much sums up what i've been stating here for a while. So will the Elantra become the resale value bottom feeder once again when rebates start? Thoughts?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Some have gone as far as saying they will not buy this current gen model and move on to something else. Maybe over time their moods will change.

    It's funny... that's exactly how I felt about the Gen 3 Elantra vs. the Gen 2 when I first saw the 2001 Elantra. But the more I saw it, the more I liked the looks, especially the rear. Then they came out with that nifty hatch, and improved the front end for 2004. I think a reaction like that is natural when there's a drastic styling change on a car. Look what happened to the Civic... from a boring design to space capsule. Lots of people hate the new design. But Civics are selling great regardless.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    I think public perception of Hyundais lags reality, so it is asking too much for Hyundai to price the new Elantra close to competitors with established track records, e.g. Honda and Mazda, right now. The list price has come up quite a bit since Gen 3. People need time to absorb that and understand that the new car is bigger and better. So rebates and discounting will be needed for a time I think.

    But a lot depends on how many Elantras Hyundai can ship to the U.S. One reason for the big rebates on the 2006 Sonata was that Hyundai wanted to greatly increase the sales volume of the car from historical levels, since it has more production capacity for the Sonata than before. (Note that those rebates have been ratcheted down for 2007.) But for the Elantra, that could be a different story--there's no new plant in the U.S. churning out 200,000 Elantras.
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