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Where to start... Larry, you can get some good pix on the Elantra GT at the Hyundai USA site, http://www.hyundaiusa.com. There's also an entire Edmunds.com forum devoted to the GT, if you want to get some impressions from owners. I've been following this board since its inception and most owners seem pleased with the car. Hyundai doesn't break out GT sales from GLS sales, so it's hard to know how well they're selling, but I'm beginning to see more of them on the road around my town.
Major, you've been very busy today. First, if you're going to pick apart my choice of the word "bemoan" and quote from Webster's to explain how you posted a few months ago that you would like a tach and temp gauge on your ECHO, then denied you said it, that's fine with me. I will try to use simpler language in the future in my posts to you so there is no misunderstanding, and so you won't need to refer to the dictionary. ;-)
Second, regarding quality of the ECHO vs. the Elantra, and Toyota vs. Hyundai in general, I don't believe I've ever said that the Elantra is a better quality car than the ECHO--because I don't believe that. I believe that Toyota is the industry leader in quality, and the target for Hyundai to shoot for. But all signs indicate that Hyundai is making great strides in quality, if not yet up to Toyota's level. For example, as you noted earlier, the '01 Elantra, a new design that year, has had one recall, 8 TSBs, and 15 customer complaints reported by NHTSA. If we compare that to another new-for-'01 design, the '01 Civic, we see that it has had 3 recalls, 22 TSBs, and 91 customer complaints to date. Of course, since about 3 times as many Civics are sold than Elantras, that explains in part the high number of customer complaints vs. Elantra--but 91?? Since I know you like to be fair, we should compare how the new-for-'01 Elantra compares to the new-for-'00 ECHO. (The '01 ECHO had a full year to get the "kinks" out.) According to NHTSA, the '00 ECHO has had 2 recalls, 10 TSBs, and 36 customer complaints. This is for a car that sells in much lower numbers than the Elantra. So going by the NHTSA data, it looks to me that Hyundai is not doing that bad a job with its new designs, compared to new designs of top-tier Japanese automakers.
Third, you asked for two things that make us proud to own our cars. I agree that "happy" may be a better word, or maybe "satisfied". Anyway, if I had to name just two I'd say owning/driving a good-looking car, and one that is very well equipped considering its bargain-basement price.
Finally, I found your post about "guilt" rather odd. You state that owners of lower-quality cars (and who may those owners be??) are ashamed to admit that they have problems with their cars. Let's see... I own a car that you consider low quality, but I have been very honest about its shortcomings--even posted a list of about a dozen of them awhile back--and its problems (of which there have been very few, but I've noted every single one for all to see). Meanwhile, the owner of a high-quality car--that would be you, Major--can't even admit that he might like a tach and a temperature gauge in his car, and writes several posts explaining why his earlier posts, in which he said he would like to have those features, were misunderstood. You also started an Edmunds.com forum dedicated to explaining to all comers why ECHO is the best low-end car. Now, if that is not being ardent in support of one's car, I don't know what is.
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