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Which Hatchback?



  • A month and 2000 miles on, here is the report on my Elantra:

    - Roomy. Back seat is definitely secondary seating space but works fine for shorter trips (or longer trips with shorter people!) Out of all the cars I looked at, I think the Elantra was about the roomiest, except for maybe the Scion xB(utt-Ugly).
    - Driver's Seat. Dual height adjusters & lumbar support along with a basically firm seat makes it comfy for long rides.
    - Headlights. Strange thing to cite, I know, but I love the way Hyundai has mechanized the headlights. I like DRLs, but only if they light up the marker lights as well. With the Elantra, you can leave the headlight switch on all the time and the car automatically shuts them off when you get out. I like that.
    - Online support. There is an active group of Elantra owners on, plus I've found several other forums that cater to Elantras. Also, Hyundai allows everyone access to their technical information online for free, with a free registration. You get not only shop manuals, wiring diagrams and troubleshooting guides, but can also view Hyundai dealer sales and shop training presentations. Hyundai, as far as I've seen, is the only company that does this.

    - I had to upgrade the stereo almost immediately, but I knew that when I bought a car with AM-FM cassette. I put in a Pioneer head unit (and a Pioneer 6-disc changer in the luggage area) and it's fine now.
    - Body roll. All that headroom comes at a cost and in the case of the Elantra, it's body roll. The car feels great for most handling situations but rolled more than I like in sharp turns. This I remedied by changing out the 13 mm standard sway bar and putting in a 19 mm Hyundai OEM sway bar from the 03 Tiburon, which provides twice the stiffness of the original one. It's no sports car, but it's adequate now.
    - Mileage. I've heard that mileage improves after a few thousand miles. On my first tank of gas I got a surprising 29 mpg in mixed driving. Since then, I've been averaging more like mid-20s and on a recent freeway trip got 29 again. I hope to bust into the 30+ mpg range eventually, but so far I'm a little disappointed. With gas prices going down, though, that doesn't hurt so much.

    All in all, very satisfied with the car. Would buy again. For the 2007 model year, I've heard the Elantra hatch goes away, which is a shame. It's a great hatchback.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Where did you hear the Elantra hatch goes away for '07? There were some spy photos of the '07 Elantra hatch on the '07 Elantra discussion here.
  • The "spy photos" of the Elantra 5-door have filenames that say Spectra or Kia or something, and don't resemble more recent pics I've seen. I could be wrong; Hyundai is being pretty tight-lipped. I hope I'm wrong, but even if it looks like the Spectra5, now that I have the current body style, I think it would be a pity to move away from it and toward a wagon-like design.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I agree, I'd like to see the fastback style retained. It's been a good seller for Hyundai so I hope they have a 5-door in '07--even though I'm quite sure I won't be able to buy one, or want to buy one, when I buy my next car before fall '06.
  • fastback. 7/100K warranty. 3yr/36K roadside assistance. The warranty is a transferable one, meaning if you sell the car, the next owner gets the remaining left over warranty, if there's any left, that is(and more $$$ back for trade-in).
    MotorWeek had a 1 year Long Term tester and give it above avg. But, just like edmunds, MPG is not so great( 31hwy, supposedly) and the car is a little slow with an automatic, 10-11 seconds to 60.

    I have test driven one, and if they fix this slow 0-60(I do a lot of hwy merging, and would be nervous, to be honest) and MPG... I'd buy one yesterday.

    if you do 50/50 or more city driving.... great car, leather, loaded like a Hyundai, or even more so, for less cash than an Elantra GT even.

    As for reliability: In-laws have had(still have one) Trackers.. manual and automatic(Suzuki's) 92 and a 97.
    95 was traded in in 2001 and had 213,000 Trouble Free miles.
    the 97 has 80,000, still going. no major defects.
    Just these things are very unsophisticated compared to today's Grand Vitara, etc...
    Reliability? Excellent.

    If you already made your purchase, hope it works out well for you in the long run.
  • If you scroll back through the thread, you'll see I *did* try the Reno. Drive-wise, room-wise, and feature-wise, I absolutely loved it. The Suzuki longevity you cite, though, does not apply. The Reno is NOT made by Suzuki, it is made by the formerly-bankrupt-and-brought-back-from-the-dead-by-GM Daewoo of South Korea. The Reno is sold in Canada as a Chevy Optra and in China as a Buick Excelle.

    Korean cars in an of themselves are not an issue for me (I ended up with one), but the Daewoos have dragged Suzuki's reliability ratings down. Suzuki could have softened the news by saying something about developing new relationships and stuff, but they squarely pointed the finger at Daewoo and blamed them for the problems. This is not a good foundation for a long-term relationship. Daewoo went belly-up once, and if Suzuki dropped their cars they would be orphans again.

    Also, the transferrable warranty is not as important to me as the 5-year, 60,000 mile full warranty on the Hyundai (as opposed to 3-year, 36,000 mile full warranty on Suzukis), since I plan on keeping the car for a long time. In my life I've only sold one car with less than 100k on the odometer, and that was a 90,000 mile Plymouth Sundance with a cracked head that I bought used. I plan on keeping this car a while.

    And one last knock against the Reno: I climbed under both the Reno and the Elantra before buying, and the Elantra is just better built, plain & simple.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    I agree with you there. I drove a Reno recently (actually wanted to drive an Aerio) and I thought the Reno was behind the Elantra in ride quality, NVH, and responsiveness. It wasn't a bad car and for commuting use I'm sure it would be fine, but for about the same money as an Elantra GLS 5-door I'd take the Elantra. That car would cost me a little over $13k + TTL (with all the discounts/rebates I qualify for) fully loaded with automatic, ABS/traction control, and moonroof. I don't think I could touch a comparable Reno for that price.

    The Aerio SX is more compelling to me than the Reno, because at least it has more interior room than the Elantra, it's made by Suzuki in Japan, and its interior has an upscale look. But to me it's not worth the extra money it would cost over the Elantra.
  • The neatest thing about the Aerio SX was the storage it had below the rear floor:

    So when I bought my Elantra, I looked into doing something similar, and came up with this storage tray for under the floor, with two removeable plastic bins:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Very nice! Have you thought about painting the wood black or dark grey for a more integrated look?
  • Yeah, that's my plan. I'm trying to find one of those gallons of paint that nobody wants at a home improvement store that's an appropriate color; ideally dark gray. I found one just as I was starting the project but didn't pick it up at the time and now I'm shooting myself over it. But I'll get some paint eventually. A couple more shots: there are three pieces- the central tray which you can see in the last pic, and a section on either side of that. They have to be separate pieces to fit through the hatch opening. So here is what the corners look like:


  • I've looked and drove all three of these cars a few weeks ago. Its been very tough deciding on what kind of ecomical compact car to purchase as there is so much on the market. I looked at pretty much all brands but I've always came back to these three.

    Outside looks I like the Matrix hands down. It's a bit bigger then the other two but the inside of the Suzuki seems to be just as good. The focus doesn't have as much rear hatch room though.

    Driving the Focus seems to shift and drive the best. The Matrix has lots of cabin noise compared to the the other two.

    My hang up on the Matrix/Vibe is price for what you get. If I was to price out a Matrix with all the options the Aerio SX has it would be $4-5K more! The Suzuki comes standard with ABS and side air bags along with much more.

    The focus my wife doesn't care for too much plus she say's there is so many of them on the street!

    So I guess we're down to the Matrix or Aerio unless something changes.

    I have read several reviews on the Matrix most loved them but a common complaint was road noise, rattles, squeaks, and general "cheap" interior. I drove a couple used Matrix/Vibes and I was not impressed with the rattles & noise. Did they improve on these things in 2006?? Or will a 2006 sound and feel the same in a couple years too??

    As for the Suzuki well they are not as popular but the reviews I have read have been positive for the most part.
    I like the interior and dash layout on the Suzuki. Plus it seems to have a better heater then Matrix. At least on the cold night we test drove the 3 cars. I live in a climate with cold winters where it can get down to 30 below!

    Fuel mileage is important and the Matrix is on top. But then it does have the smallest hp under the hood. Also I think alot has to do with the driver.

    So I'm "wanting" the Toyota Matrix but can't help but thinking the Suzuki is the better car and better buy.

    Anyone else been down this road before looking for a hatchback??
  • Another advantage of the Aerio if you live in a northern climate is that you can get all-wheel drive as an option. It is probably the least expensive awd car you can get.

    I'm not crazy about the exterier styling of the Aerio SX: the back end looks a little odd and the profile a little out of proportion, but the interior is great, with a top-notch stereo that includes 6-disc changer and a subwoofer! The rear seating area looks a little awkward with a very upgright seat, but it seems comfortable enough.
  • carthellcarthell Posts: 128
    "The rear seating area looks a little awkward with a very upgright seat, but it seems comfortable enough."

    The rear of the seats can recline. There are latches on the extreme top right and -left side of the seat backs that can be pulled up to adjust the seat backs.
  • Please comment on the Elantra or use another forum. Thanks!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Wrong--this is a discussion to talk about all kinds of hatchbacks, including the Elantra. :) See the list at the top of your screen.
  • Really? The seats can recline? Hmmmm.... it looked like they were latched to hard points at the top and didn't look reclinable. I've seen reviews on the Aerio SX that commented on the upright position of the seats also. Like I said, they look at little odd, but when you sit in them, they feel fine... even upright.
  • Has any one saw the new larger wheels you can get on the New Aveo and what to they think of the changes they did to the interior,,,,fabric changes and new satin metal looking accents on the dash.
  • carthellcarthell Posts: 128
    "Really? The seats can recline? Hmmmm.... it looked like they were latched to hard points at the top and didn't look reclinable."

    The amount of play is maybe 1"-3" (approx.), just enough (for me) to feel comfortable back there.
  • haymanhayman Posts: 3
    I passed on the Aerio and ordered a Vibe.

    Test drove the Aerio and Vibe back to back on the same route this time and found the Aerio's ride no better then the Vibe other than a bit more power.

    Took along a friend also and he noticed a few things I missed.

    Suzuki has thrown a bunch of options into this car to make it an attractive little car to buy.

    I still think its a "good value" if you like the looks of it and it suits your needs.

    Another issue was they are bringing out an all new SX in the summer so this one might be discontinued.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    I wanted to like the looks of the Aerio, but I just couldn't make myself do it.
  • So how much did the Vibe cost?
    My Aerio was $14K.
    In Hawaii a Vibe with ABS, side airbags, fog lites, mag wheels and a cd changer is avaiable Only on a fully loaded version for about $22K.
    I did not think that the Vibe was worth paying Over 50% more for it.
  • Hello, all --

    I'll be graduating college in a couple months, and have always wanted to buy a new vehicle within 12-24 mos. after graduation that is all of the following: (a) under $14K OTD, (b) a hatchback [loved my '88 Accord], (c) a manual, (d) produced by a Japanese or Korean manufacturer, (e) something I'll keep as my primary car for at least 7-10 years, and (f) noticably peppier [esp. on freeway] than my 102-HP '92 Civic. Needless to say, I've been dreaming of the Elantra for some time now -- the GLS hatch, with that warantee, engine, and price, are *exactly* what I want. That said, I had to catch myself this morning as I got to the end of Edmunds' 3/09 American Fit preview and was stunned by the $13K MSRP figure. I can't believe Honda, with the market weight they have, would price it that low, but they just might. If that's the case, should I consider it on the same level that I'm heart-stuck on the Elantra? The article insinuates that the Fit's 109 HP rating actually feels beefier behind the wheel -- if that's the case, and if the standard features come close to Hyundai's, I might have to start paying more attention to Fit articles. (FYI: I've already written off the Spec5 for $$ reasons.) Thoughts?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,905
    Well, I own two Elantras, including a '04 GT 5-door, and I am going to look very closely at the Fit for my next long-term car (i.e., drive it for about 6 years and turn it over to my daughter for another 5-6 years). I haven't driven it yet, and we don't know yet how it will fare in crash tests (Honda has been doing well there lately though, and the Elantra is not stellar there on the side impacts). But I really like its versatility. There are some IFs, though:

    * The Fit driver's seat doesn't have a seat-height adjustment. I have sat in a couple of Fits and found the driver's seat to be tolerable, but not really comfortable for me. Not like the Elantra, with its 8-way driver's seat and lumbar adjustment.

    * No cruise control on the base Fit. This is not a deal-breaker for me, as I don't use cruise that often, but it really comes in handy, especially since my right leg is not comfortable when on the gas pedal.

    * Ride. I have read some reports that the Fit has a firm ride, which is typical for Honda. I really like how the Elantra rides on the pot-holed streets of my town. So I'll have to see if the ride is acceptable.

    * Features. The Elantra has traction control and moonroof available, the Fit does not. I can live w/o a moonroof but I've found traction control useful in Minnesnowta. OTOH, the Fit has side curtain airbags standard.

    I am not concerned about power on the Fit. IMO 109 hp is more than enough power on a 2400 pound car, especially with a stick shift. And Honda makes great stick shifts.

    Reliability on the Fit should be outstanding, since the car has been in production for several years and is made in Japan. However, the reliability of my two Elantras has been very good, and the car has been in production for over five years, so that is not a concern either way.

    Price-wise, I am figuring that when I go to buy a car later this year (at the earliest), I will find some close-out deals on the '06 Elantras, with the all-new '07 Elantra on the way. So I am guessing I would be able to pick up a fully-loaded Elantra GLS 5-door with automatic, ABS, and moonroof (list just under $16.7k) for around $12k, assuming around $3000 in rebates (and I have a $250 coupon for my next car at a Hyundai dealer). A base Fit stick shift would probably cost about $13.5-14k. I don't expect any discounts on the Fit, as volume will be low and demand will be high (at least I think it will). But if I really like how the Fit drives, and if it gets better crash test scores than the Elantra, I would pay the extra for the Fit.

    FWIW, I would get a stick on the Fit vs. automatic because of the small engine and because Honda makes such great sticks. Since the auto tranny is covered for 10 years on the Elantra, I would go that route there.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    If you're comparing to a Fit, the Hyundai equivalent would be the Accent, all-new for 2006. The hatchback should be available later this year. I'm not advocating the Accent, though... my point is that at the price point you're talking about, the Elantra is a much larger car for the money than the Fit, I'm pretty sure. The Elantra is nearly a midsize.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    2007 Accent 3dr is actually coming this spring (should be in showroom within the next few weeks, around the same time as Fit, Versa, Yaris, I believe).

    I am digging the 3 door Accent. Just a little over $10K, and a looker too :)

    SE trim looks even more attractive, and possibly sportiest of all other hatchbacks mentioned (Versa, Fit, Yaris) - sport-tuned, 16" wheels, light weight (lighest I believe, around 2,300 lbs).

    Yep, and the Elantra is a midsize, per EPA :)
  • hangaralf1hangaralf1 Posts: 107
    something else you might want to consider is how much aftermarket is available for these cars? elantra's been around a while so there might be more available, however SEMA looked pretty interested in the Fit.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    Yep, and the Elantra is a midsize, per EPA

    I realize that, but in terms of sales, it is generally considered a compact (and the Accent and Fit are subcompacts).
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    The deals on the Elantra GLS just aren't coming here (and I haven't yet worn-down the one dealer I found who has an '05 loaded GT), so the Fit is a very tempting choice.

    Basically, I can't find much more willingness to go lower than just the base rebate (and I don't qualify for the big loyalty rebate), while the Fit will probably be as familiar as my current '96 Civic.

    I tell the dealer that all I really want is an automatic, but the reality is that I also want 5 doors. "As God as my witness, I'm never having a trunk again."
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    A couple thoughts on a new hatchback:

    1. If you're looking for an Elantra GLS hatch, you might have to have a dealer do a search for one. The hatch is not nearly as popular as the sedan, and hatches, especially for 06, are mostly GTs. You might be able to find a steal on an 05 hatch if you can find it. The 05 and 06 are pretty much identical, except they stopped the GT sedan and added the Limited Sedan, which doesn't affect a hatch buyer.

    2. Think about ways to get a "fleet sales" in. If you work for a large-ish employer, see if the dealer will give you a fleet sales deal. If you don't work for a big company, ask if they can give you a fleet deal based on your church, your credit union, your spelunking club, anything. Generally, a fleet sales deal is going to be something like invoice + $200 or something like that. You can see invoices here on Edmunds I think. Also, look up the Edmunds True Market Value for the car. That's another bargaining chip to use. Those tips apply for any model, not just the Elantra.
  • tsgeiseltsgeisel Posts: 352
    I've found a dealership that claims to have GLS hatches in - the only problem is that they're an hour away. Which wouldn't be too much of a problem, but I'm not trading in my current car. But that's a minor detail.

    The other issue is that I *did* find a place with an '05 GT, but I'm having a lot of trouble stealing it at my price. How much under invoice should an '05 car go for, anyway?
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