The 2011 Hyundai Elantra is the next generation in the line, with new body, interior, features engine and transmissions. The all-new 2011 Elantra is offered only in four-door sedan configuration with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. (Note: the 2011 Elantra Touring model is a hatchback wagon based on the previous-generation.)
New bodywork highlights the 2011 Elantra sedan and makes the old one resemble a deformed jellybean with lights and door handles. Taking influence from the larger, recent Sonata, this Elantra is crisp, clean, downright sporty looking for an economy car. It is lighter, larger in many respects, with gains inside that appear larger than those outside.
The cabin has added enough volume to be classed by EPA a mid-size car and by key dimensions like head and legroom, and real-world space and comfort we would consider it a roomy compact. The fastback roof doesn't offer the rear-seat headroom of a hatchback.
The 2011 Elantra leads the class in power output and promises decent performance and good fuel economy aided by light weight. Only a diesel Golf or hybrid is likely to do notably better. Fuel economy is 29/40 miles per gallon City/Highway, according to the federal government.
We found the new 2011 Elantra a nice car to drive and a nice one to ride in, with some driver involvement and good control of noise and bumps.
Value has long been a Hyundai staple and this Elantra shouldn't disappoint, although air conditioning is not standard. The least-expensive model includes XM radio and iPod/auxiliary inputs, heated outside mirrors, and a trip computer. The loaded Elantra Limited model features leather seats, heated front and rear, Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation with traffic, moonroof, and proximity key, a great value for less than $23,000.
By sales volume the Elantra competes in one of the largest classes in the world. If you have a Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Fiesta or Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda 2, Mazda 3, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla or Volkswagen Golf on your shopping list, we think the Elantra should be on it too.
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra four-door sedan is built in two trim levels. All are powered by 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. (The 2011 Elantra Touring hatchback is a version of the previous-generation model and not to be confused with the 2011 Elantra.)
Elantra GLS ($14,830) comes with cloth upholstery, six-way manual driver's seat, 172-watt 6-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD with MP3, iPod, and USB compatibility, 60/40-split fold rear seat, power windows, locks and heated mirrors, tilt steering wheel, keyless entry, anti-theft system, trip computer, and 195/65TR15 tires on steel wheels.
The GLS Popular Equipment package includes air conditioning, cruise control, telescopic steering wheel, solar glass, windshield sunshade band, 16-inch steel wheels with 205/55HR16 tires, and is available with the manual transmission ($16,080) or automatic ($17,080). The GLS Preferred ($17,630) includes all that and the automatic transmission and upgrades with alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, cloth insert door trim, sliding center armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors with driver extension and illuminated ignition. The GLS Navigation ($19,380) package builds on the Preferred, adding navigation with XM NavTraffic, rear-view camera, upgraded 360-watt audio system and automatic headlights.
Elantra Limited ($19,980) comes only with the automatic transmission and includes leather upholstery with heated front and rear seats, air conditioning, moonroof, 215/45HR17 tires and alloy wheels, fog lights, leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob, mirror-imbedded turn signals, black chrome grille, solar glass, minor cabin upgrades, and most of the GLS Preferred content. A Limited model with navigation ($21,980) includes everything in the GLS navigation pack plus proximity key for key-in-pocket operation.
Safety features include front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, and electronic stability control incorporating antilock brakes, brake assist, and traction control.
The 2011 Elantra Touring is a hatchback wagon based on the previous-generation Elantra. For impressions of the Touring model, see our review of the 2010 Hyundai Elantra.