Hyundai Elantra Test Drive Reports
Who's driven the all-new Elantra? Tell us all the details! Please mention trim level and options.
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Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with the styling, both inside and out, of my 05. I wouldn't buy a new Elantra sedan since I prefer hatchbacks, but there is word that a wagon version of the Elantra will be offered soon (similar to the wagon version of the i30 in Europe and a little bigger than the i30 coupe). It's a little like the Toyota Matrix from the looks of it. If it handles like the Matrix, though, I wouldn't like it; it seemed too SUV-like for me.
I thought the 2007 Elantra's clutch was quite good, contrary to some reviews I've read. It was smooth to engage, and it was easy to move from a standstill and change gears at higher speeds without revving the engine. I thought the shifter was a tad notchy (compared to my old 1994 Nissan Sentra), but still fairly precise and fun.
By comparison, I thought the Sonata manual transmission was more difficult. The shifter had the same feel, but it was difficult to find the right engagement point on the clutch and I kept revving the engine a bit. Nothing that couldn't be handled with a little practice though, and it was still plenty fun to drive.
The Spectra5, finally, had the most difficult manual transmission, though it may have only been the particular car I drove. It wasn't BAD to drive, but you almost had to release the clutch all the way in order to start hitting the gas without revving the engine. Again, though, I think that's a quirk that one could easily get used to after driving the car for a few hours.
Problem is, I live in DC, and most of my driving will be in heavy traffic. So in the end, I'll most likely buy an automatic, no matter which car I choose. I'll be making the final decision in about 2 weeks...the finalists (heh) are the Elantra, Sonata, Spectra5, and (as a dark horse) the Focus ZX5. My sneaking suspicion is that the Elantra will win out.