Are you shopping for a new vehicle and having trouble finding one, or have you been waiting a long time for a factory order? A reporter would like to speak with you; please reach out to [email protected] by Tues. 5/11 for more details.

2007 Elantra First Impressions

backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
edited April 2014 in Hyundai
I got to see the 2007 Elantra close up for the first time today at my local dealer. As mentioned above, they got two in this week, a grey SE AT with mats and a black GLS AT with Preferred Package and mats. I sat in the SE and looked it over closely, and also looked around the GLS but didn't sit in it since the seating is nearly identical (except no telescopic wheel as on the SE).

My first impression was that this is a very sharp and distinctive looking car, especially the SE in grey with the 16" five-spoke alloys. It doesn't look anything like a Corolla--it's much sleeker, even sexier. The 15" steel wheels on the GLS were too small for the car IMO, and made the car look cheap. The 16-inchers filled the wheel wells and really make the car I think. I would get the SE just for the alloys, but also there are several other nice features in the SE vs. the GLS such as the telescopic wheel with audio controls, trip computer, and leather wheel and shift knob. BTW, to the earlier question re tires, they are Hankook Optimas on both models--no more Michelins!

The fit and finish on the car was excellent. The paint, especially on the grey SE, was glossy and smooth (the black GLS looked a little dull, maybe because it was in the shade and dirty). Panel gaps were narrow and even. The doors close with a solid "thunk." No obvious gaffes inside. The dash is mostly a nice-looking black padded vinyl. The side panels are hard plastic, but with pleasing textures (e.g. a dot pattern on the light grey panels above the armrests). Also, there are thick pads on the armrests for elbows. The light grey fabric was pretty boring I thought, but that might be intentional based on the flak Hyundai got for its more adventurous texturing in the Sonata.

The best news for me was that I was able to find a comfortable position in the driver's seat even with the single-lever height adjuster. I was worried about that because the Sonata has a similar height adjuster, and it tilts the seat forward as it raises. The Elantra did not have this problem; the seat stayed much more level as it went up. Not as adjustable as the old dual-knob setup, but acceptable, and easier to use. There's a HUGE dead pedal, and with the telescopic wheel on the SE the driving position seemed quite comfy. The black leather 3-spoke wheel felt good also. And there is a mode control on the wheel for the audio system--Hyundai learned from its mistake on the 2006 Sonata.

I really like the appearance and layout of the center stack. The controls are clear and fall easily at hand. There's a covered bin on top of the center stack (the sales rep it's a placeholder for a future nav system option!) and also a covered bin at the bottom of the stack. The HVAC controls are three big silver knobs, used increasingly by Hyundai and other automakers. They are smooth and intuitive. Metallic trim around the HVAC knobs and the gated shifter lend an upscale appearance. The shifter itself is small, with leather and a metallic insert. Cruise controls are on the wheel now, instead of a stalk. The glove box is rather small but easily accessible. The center console has a thickly-padded armrest with a two-tier storage compartment. Cupholders are right in front of the center console, as on the old Elantra, but now have spring-loaded grippers. There's a bin for phones etc. in front of the shifter, right below the dual 12v outlets and the aux input jack. With the door bins with integrated bottle holders and the netted pockets on the front seatbacks, there's lots of storage in the cabin. Like the old Elantra, the new one has a damped sunglasses holder and maplights in the overhead console, and it now has dual lighted vanity mirrors with sliding doors. There are silver-painted plastic door handles and lock buttons. They look OK but feel cheap (c'mon Hyundai, spend a few extra bucks for metal door handles!). Layout of the power window/locks/mirror switches is similar to that on the old Elantra, on a canted panel on the driver's armrest.

The rear seat did not seem a lot roomier than on the old Elantra, with one exception: there was a LOT more room for feet under the driver's seat. There might be a little more knee room also. I was very comfortable sitting "behind myself"; I expect adults up to at least 6' will fit pretty well in back. The seat bottom and back provided good support. There's a center armrest with cupholders now. Three adults would probably be tight back there, and the middle person has to straddle the hump and sit against the folded armrest. At least they have their own adjustable headrest.

There's now a power trunk release on the driver's door. The trunk is quite roomy and tall. The seatback releases have been moved to pulls in the trunk, more convenient and secure. Gas struts would have been nice, but they are unusual in this class of car.

Just based on appearance and "sit", I think the new Elantra is a big improvement over the old model and now fully competitive with the best in its class--and even a lower-priced alternative for 4-cylinder midsized sedans given its mid-sized interior. I'll have to see how it drives and how the crash tests pan out before confirming it on my "consider" list for my next car (in SE MT trim most likely). Also there's that upcoming hatchback to check out...


  • sonatabeansonatabean Member Posts: 201
    Did you happen to notice the price on these models???
  • herotakesafallherotakesafall Member Posts: 103
    Nice review, backy. I've read a few different places that there's a hatch on the way, so I really hope that's the case. I'm sold on the new Elantra otherwise.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Yes, I noticed the pricing, but since prices are readily available here at, I decided not to post them.

    The price I am most interested in is the SE MT, which with mats would be $16,380 MSRP ($15,338 invoice) including destination. I think that is a reasonable price for a car with its room and content, but what I am expecting is that there will be some rebates available by the time I am ready to buy.
  • herotakesafallherotakesafall Member Posts: 103
    Nearly all of the cars at my local Hyundai dealer are $249 more than the list price because of "security window etching." Isn't that kind of a scam for them to automatically do it without asking?
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Member Posts: 17,416
    Yes it is since you can get that for practically free (plus its pretty much useless). I would negotiate a price then tell them to drop the $249 for the "useless crap" (don't let them fool you that it has value it really doesn't) or they lose the deal.

    Or pretty much determine what you would pay for the car without the useless stuff on it and if they don't go that low walk.

    But yes its a scam. Just like putting on $2 worth of pin striping and charging $495 for it on every car they sell.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • w9cww9cw Member Posts: 888
    backy wrote: There's now a power trunk release on the driver's door. The trunk is quite roomy and tall. The seatback releases have been moved to pulls in the trunk, more convenient and secure. Gas struts would have been nice, but they are unusual in this class of car.

    The seatback releases are in the trunk as well in the Kia Spectra.

    Backy - were you able to confirm that the key fob had a remote trunk release?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    No, but Hyundai makes prominent mention of that feature in their announcements. I mentioned the power release on the door because that's what I used to open the trunk, and it was a mechanical lever on the floor in the old Elantra.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    I like the way the XD hatch was rigged: The trunk latch was just like any other door latch- when the doors were unlocked, so was the trunk. When the doors were locked, so was the trunk.

    One feature I'd love to see is a gas cap lock. When I was in England last year, I found that if the doors of the Vauxhall I rented were locked you couldn't open the fuel door, but if they were unlocked you could. I would prefer that to the handle inside the car, because half the time I forget to pull the handle.
  • prosource1prosource1 Member Posts: 234
    I was disappointed to see the 07 Elantra designers employ the traditional space-intruding hinges rather than the top-mounted hinges that are out of the way.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Yes, but what other cars in the Elantra's class have the strut hinges for the trunk? I can't think of any, unless the new Sentra has them. Frankly I'd rather see the traditional Hyundai dual-knob seat adjuster and side moldings on the car than the strut hinges. Those features are becoming rare in new models too. But at least I can add the moldings after-market.
  • nodulenodule Member Posts: 118
    Backy, what brand tires were on the 2007 Elantra you
    looked at? Wil al three models get the same tires??
  • beantownbeantown Member Posts: 228
    According to his review, he said the GLS and SE got Hankook Optimas. No limited was available for him to view.
  • prosource1prosource1 Member Posts: 234
    The '07 Elantra will be marketed in the compact segment with class-higher (mid-size) dimensions. There are in essence a number of cars with this feature. I am not exactly even sure it is a 'feature' much more a better design that Hyundai should employ to seperate itself from the very tough competition. This Elantra, though much improved, will still be considered below a Civic in both perception and sales. We can wax eloquent about this car but this generation of Elantra will not be considered the benchmark like the Civic and therefore needs to employ cutting edge design, technology and 'features' to maintain its place in this very competitive segment. Let's consider the competition and the various features of each:

    Honda Civic: PROS: cutting edge design, industry leading fuel efficiency, available hybrid, available Civic Si, industry leading resale, perceived quality, reliability and durability. Cons: reduced interior space, that two-tier dash design, price and you have to deal with arrogant sales people and dealers.

    Toyota Corolla: new design yet to be released but Corollas will sell on the Toyota name alone. Cons: vanilla ice cream, 'roady', price.

    Nissan Sentra: CVT (like it or not noone else has it)Cons: high price, Renault is screwing up their quality...just ask service depts at Nissan about Altima, Maxima. I expect the Versa and Sentra to have major recalls, too!

    Hyundai Elantra: IMO best interior ergonomics and design, class leading space, price, standard XM? Cons: 'borrowed' styling, perception of manufacturer is improving but many still don't know Hyundai is now a quality-leader, no innovative technology.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Yes, but what other cars in the Elantra's class have the strut hinges for the trunk? I can't think of any, unless the new Sentra has them.

    Yes it does. I noticed it the other day when I said it looked like Altima Jr.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Here's another take:

    Civic: PROS: high fuel economy, excellent crash safety ratings, excellent standard safety features, class-leading 5AT, available hybrid and Si, high resale, historically strong quality and reliability, good power, nav available. CONS: small interior (smaller than an Accent!), odd dash layout, derivative exterior design (from an old Saturn), numerous quality issues in current model, high prices with no rebates and few discounts, low feature content for the price, options like leather, Bluetooth, and stability control not available, no hatchback available.

    Corolla: PROS: high fuel economy, high resale, high quality and reliability, stability control available (at least theoretically), hatchback available. CONS: terrible driving position for many drivers, dated and boring styling, small inside compared to Elantra and Sentra, poor standard safety features (side bags and ABS optional, active head restraints not available), low power, high price, options like leather, nav, and Bluetooth not available.

    Sentra: PROS: 6MT and CVT transmissions (unique to the class except for Nissan's own Versa), high-end features like Bluetooth, leather, and intelligent key available, very roomy for the class, good power. CONS: ABS standard only on top-end trim and available on others only with other costly options, derivative exterior styling, fuel economy not as high as class leaders, so-so quality and reliability record from its factory, stability control not available, low feature content on base model, nav not available, no hatchback available, high priced when well-equipped.

    Elantra: PROS: class-leading fuel economy (for a non-hybrid Family Sedan), excellent standard safety features (incl. side bags, ABS with 4-wheel discs, active head restraints), class-leading interior room, smooth and quiet ride (from reviews, needs to be confirmed), best-in-class interior design (from reviews e.g. MT), lot of convenience and comfort features (e.g. heated seats), low price, good power, best-in-class warranty, XM and nav available (soon), hatchback coming (early 2007?). CONS: Resale value and public perception on quality haven't caught up with current reality, Bluetooth and stability control not available (in US anyway), XM and nav not currently available.

    So I think the Elantra has a lot going for it in this class, especially with rumors of the new Corolla being delayed until 2008 and the high prices being charged for Civics.

    I think the Mazda3 is actually the strongest competitor for the Elantra: great handling, class-leading power, sporty styling, lots of equipment available, decent fuel economy with the 2.0L engine, good reliability and resale value, and reasonable pricing. The only major disadvantage it has vs. the Elantra is interior room, and maybe crash protection depending on how well the Elantra does. And the Elantra will have a price advantage when the inevitable rebates come.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    The Elantra may have class leading fuel economy compared to the Accord and Camry, but compared to the cars listed the Corolla and Civic both get better gas mileage.

    Also, there is no Corolla hatch, unless one considers the Matrix - which is quite a different vehicle performance wise. 5 fewer mpg on the highway.

    Wish they made a wagon in this class still - not some crossover that uses much more fuel.

    I would be very interested in an Elantra wagon, and maybe in the hatch. When is it due to arrive?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    As I posted, the Elantra is the top-rated non-hybrid car in the Family Sedans class (on following page, select Family Sedans class):

    The Yaris gets better overall fuel economy than the Civic (non-hybrid) and Corolla also, but they are in a different EPA size class than the Elantra.

    Toyota considers the Matrix to be the hatch version of the Corolla, and even counts Matrix sales along with the Corolla. They share the platform and engines. The Matrix' fuel economy is lower because it's heavier than the sedan.

    There are wagons in this class, e.g. Focus and Forenza.

    Last weekend a sales rep at a local dealer told me the 2007 Elantra hatch would be available in January. I won't hold my breath though because they were wrong about when the sedan would show up.
  • z9z9z9z9z9z9z9z9 Member Posts: 101
    The one I looked at had Kumhos.
  • z9z9z9z9z9z9z9z9 Member Posts: 101
    Very good overview backy. Almost exactly what I thought.

    One thing I would like to add about the interior, it has really nice Volkswagen-style red and blue intrument cluster backlighting. It's similar to the outgoing Elantra GT, but not so overdone. In fact, the entire interior design is very tasteful -- it's as good or better than anything from Toyota or Honda. If the current Sonota had an interior this good, they would be selling a lot more of them.

    I'm a bit concerned about the initial softness of the front seats. I don't know how comfotable they would be on a long trip. And a driver's seat lumbar adjuster would be nice.

    The only bad things (besides the plastic door openers) are the hard plastic door panels. They are well done for plastic, but replacing the gray dimpled section with vinyl or cloth would really be an improvement.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    That's good to know that some Elantras will get Kumhos. Did you notice the model of tire, and the trim level of the car (GLS, SE, Limited)?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    I think it was MT that said the interior of the new Elantra would "embarrass the Japanese" competition. I agree it's sharper than the Sonata's interior.

    It is too bad the lumbar adjuster was lost in the new design, although frankly I didn't look for one. The seat seemed comfy enough.

    I wonder if there is leather trim on the door panels on the Limited, as there was on the GT and Limited on the old Elantra? Since I don't really touch the door panels (except to see if they are hard plastic!), that's not a major issue for me. What's more important to me is whether there's a padded surface where elbows land, and the new Elantra does very well there.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    I think the Mazda3 is actually the strongest competitor for the Elantra: great handling, class-leading power, sporty styling, lots of equipment available, decent fuel economy with the 2.0L engine, good reliability and resale value, and reasonable pricing. The only major disadvantage it has vs. the Elantra is interior room, and maybe crash protection depending on how well the Elantra does. And the Elantra will have a price advantage when the inevitable rebates come.

    Based on the handling of the Mazda3, I would rate it clearly MUCH better than the outgoing Elantra and I haven't heard that the new Elantra is a major improvement. However, I bought the Elantra because the Mazda3 was about 20% higher cost (actual purchase price, not sticker) than the Elantra. It's better, but not for the money I was willing to spend last year.

    Also, the roomy cabin of the Elantra is much better than the cramped quarters of the 3.
  • herotakesafallherotakesafall Member Posts: 103
    I really am surprised to see fuel numbers this good for the Elantra. The engine/tranny are basically unchanged -- is this what the car was always rated at? Because every review I've read of the previous model, professional or otherwise, always complained about low fuel economy.
  • splx81splx81 Member Posts: 23
    I think the improvement on fuel economy of 07 elantra is due to lighter weight than the previous version, and also hyundai engineers did good job of optimizing beta engine.
  • z9z9z9z9z9z9z9z9 Member Posts: 101
    > Did you notice the model of tire, and the trim level of the car [snip]

    Sorry, I didn't check the tire model. It said KUMHO on the sidewalls in absolutely huge letters, and the tires had a 4-rib design. The car was a GLS with 15" tires, so I wasn't that interested.

    I hope 16" Kumhos are available on the SE. If I were to buy an SE with Hankooks, I would try to work out a buyback on the tires with the dealer. About the only charitable thing that I can say about Hankook Optimos is that they hold the car up off the ground.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    There were tweaks to the engine and transmission (automatic at least). The weight of the 2007 model is about the same as the 2006. Also consider the Gen 3 Elantra was the first Hyundai in the U.S. to get VVT. Maybe Hyundai has made some improvements there over the years, now that all their U.S. models have that technology.
  • zaxxon41zaxxon41 Member Posts: 6
    That's the emissions volume, not the weight.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    You're right--it IS a big difference! ;) The '07 must pollute a lot less than the '06. More good news. I just wish the SULEV version were available outside of the CAFE states.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    hyundai engineers did good job of optimizing beta engine.

    There's something to be said for optimization versus clean sheet design. If the basic engine is sound, it makes a lot of sense ot tweak it to improve its performance. It'll be nice to get a better engine down the road, but it would be higher risk to release both a new platform and a new drivetrain concurrently. This way, Hyundai doesn't take as big of a quality hit (as a result of a completely new design).
  • z9z9z9z9z9z9z9z9 Member Posts: 101
    Elantra with 16" Kumho KH16 tires: - oshowyear=2006&vehicle=production_hyundai_elantra&aff=msnbc

    (click on wheel picture)

    This is an (old) auto show pic, so there's no guarantee that this has anything to do with production.
  • z9z9z9z9z9z9z9z9 Member Posts: 101
    UPDATE: I just got back from a test drive, and the SE I drove had Kumho Solus KH16 tires. Looks like a good tire:

    BTW, the 16" flangeless alloy wheels are really nice!

    The electic power steering is not nice. It's light at all speeds, overly sensitive at highway speed, and has almost no road feel. Other than the steering, the car handles nice -- it's not "floaty" like Hyundais used to be. The car is very solid and quiet, but the engine is rough when you push it.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Tell us more! Especially how it compares to the Gen 3 Elantra (if you have driven it) and other cars in this class.
  • herotakesafallherotakesafall Member Posts: 103
    That's what I was thinking, too -- bring out the new car now, then change the powertrain a few years down the road to curb any major reliability issues. But maybe Hyundai's not thinking that way -- look at the Sonata. Two new engines, new car, new assembly plant. Now that's risky!
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Kind of, but think about it: Keeping the Beta longer for the Elantra make sense because it is already tooled, the factory is familiar with it, yada yada yada.

    In the case of the new factory, why tool up for an old engine when the workers there are no more familiar with it than they are with any other one?
  • bambad7bambad7 Member Posts: 1
    I had the privilege of getting to drive one of the two Elantras that made it into the nearest Hyundai dealership in Austin, TX. I was very impressed with the vehicle in the test drive. The one I got to drive was the GLS with the preferred options package and automatic. I have been researching this vehicle for a month online, even went to the Korean website to get details of things that won't make it to the USA version.

    The vehicle is "rock solid" quiet, and a pleasure to drive. Pictures don't do the vehicle justice. One of our vehicles is a 2005 Camry LE V6, and not only is the new Elantra equal in cabin space, it is just as quiet when being driven. The engine seemed to have plenty of pep to me. I inadvertently got it up to 75 in a 60 zone and didn't realize it. The steering feedback seemed fine to me. We plan on purchasing an Elantra Limited in a few months, when it will be possible to get one WITHOUT a Sun roof! You need a sun roof in Texas about like Minnesnowda needs another snow flake in winter.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Not sure why you wouldn't want a sunroof in Texas. I'd think it would be pretty useful 7-8 months out of the year, and also cracking it in the summer to let heat out when parked. But then I'm a fresh-air guy. I had the windows open on my rental last week in Austin even though temps were close to 90.

    How was the handling of the Elantra vs. the '05 Camry? I hope it was crisper, and the ride not as floaty as the Camry's.
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    The deal with sunroofs in Texas: There is a shade that keeps the sun from coming directly into the cabin, sure, but there is a small air space between the shade and sunroof itself which gets hotter than he||. That little pocket of hot air bleeds through the shade (which isn't very well insulated) and into the cabin. A sunroof heats up a car quite a bit.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    After the interior hits 150 degrees from the sun pouring in the car's eight other windows, what's the difference? ;)
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    That's what window tint is for. Seriously.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Except on the windshield, and (in many states) the front side windows.

    I suppose you could put heavy window tint on the sunroof glass too, right? :)
  • doohickiedoohickie Member Posts: 949
    Look, I'm just telling you the way it is. In Texas, in the heat of the summer, a sunroof results in a net heat gain in the car, both when parked and when driven.
  • lightfootfllightfootfl Member Posts: 442
    This old guy is thoroughly confused by this mess in the Hyundai Elantra section. What on earth happened ???? Why ??? This has to be one of the biggest messes I have ever seen. What happened to the normal comments, etc that have been here? What happened to: MPG,hatchbacks,etc and the other "regular" questions? If someone has to look through multiple pages of lists to find anything, the whole thing will fall apart.
    Just my opinion. van ?????????????????????????????????
  • prosource1prosource1 Member Posts: 234
    Two Elantras (black and gray) were at a local dealer this morning as I did my drive-thrus of various lots. I was VERY impressed with this vehicle. It looks nothing like the Corolla and the interior was very upscale. Frankly, I like the interior far better than the Civics as the Civics emerg. brake looks intrusive and silly when engaged and the two-tier dash is awkward. The Elantra also looked very spacious with high quality materials. I loved the black dash with faux aluminum trim. The buttons were very large and it just looked more expensive than the $16k on the window. The interior IMO is executed much better than big-brother, Sonata. The exterior is very Lexus IS like. A huge upscale improvement for this car and this is going to reestablish the Elantra as the top seller for Hyundai.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Those discussions are still there. Everything is on one page at this link: Hyundai Elantra. If you go read my post at this link pat, "2007 Hyundai Elantra" #1248, 17 Oct 2006 9:14 am you'll see the best way to keep up with new posts now.

    If you have questions, drop me an email or post them in the Forums Software discussion. We don't want to disrupt the conversation here.

    Everything's going to be fine. I promise! ;)
  • prosource1prosource1 Member Posts: 234
    Are the models arriving now equipped with the standard XM. Ihave a Pilot with XM and want it in my daughters car too. I am getting an Elantra Limited or and SE with sun and sound package. Fully equipped the car isn't much over $18k. This is a steal.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    The two Elantras I saw on the dealer's lot the other day didn't have XM and the sales rep said it would be "soon". Also has the XM and MP3 features flagged for "late availability"--whatever that means. But I expect it means cars arriving at dealers right now don't have XM.
  • bamacarbamacar Member Posts: 749
    Has anyone seen a SE model or any 2007 Elantra with a manual transmission?
  • prosource1prosource1 Member Posts: 234
    Both of the ones I saw in NEPA were automatic.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    If it helps, there's a closeup of the shift console at Looks like a classy shift ball, but I see a reverse pull-up ring has been added for 2007.

    The web site was recently changed and now you can "build your own" there--a lot more info than what was there pre-release.

    This is the config I'd be most interested in also--SE with stick--assuming the shift action is at least as good as it was on my '01 Elantra. Did you notice that 5th gear is quite tall--taller even than 4th gear on the automatic. I am hoping that translates into relaxed highway cruising and good highway fuel economy for the stick.
  • nj2pa2ncnj2pa2nc Member Posts: 811
    We got to test drive a beige se with manual transmission. The reverse pull up ring was very easy to use. Reverse is now near first gear. Shifting seemed to be alot smoother than on our 05. the dealer had 2 other 07's both gls with automatic.a red and black one. Overall were quite impressed with it. We asked about getting one with a sunroof. They told us that with that package it came with heated seats.
This discussion has been closed.