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2012 Hyundai Elantra Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

2012 Hyundai Elantra (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Specs, Comparisons and Prices – Hyundai Buyers Guide


SPECIFICATIONS: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS

Model: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS
Engine: 1.8-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 148 hp @ 6,500 rpm/131 lb.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 178.3 x 69.9 x 56.5 in.
Tires: P205/55R16
Cargo volume: 14.8 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway/35.1 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 12.8 gal.
Curb weight: 2,661 lbs.
Sticker: $18,480 (includes $720 inland freight and handling charge. $680 in options)

Top5Reasons to buy this car

1. Sonata styling in a smaller package
2. Very good economy
3. Comfortable on long rides
4. Large for a compact car
5. Nice package at a decent price

The Bottom Line: Someone once told me that the reason she bought a Hyundai Elantra was because it had all the controls in the right places, and you could get at them easily. There's no change with this fifth generation model, except it has the added benefit of Sonata-like styling and very good fuel economy.

The Hyundai Elantra has become popular because it's doing something right. An owner once told me that she thought the interior design was thoughtfully laid out and all the controls were in the right place and easy to reach. Nothing has changed with this fifth-generation model. It is still an easy car to drive because of these features.

Watch TACH's video promo for the 2012 Elantra

Not to say it isn't easy because of other features. For example, the 1.8-liter four delivers very good fuel economy - 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway and 35.1 mpg test. Everyone is looking to save a few bucks these days, and with good fuel economy and a sticker price under $19,000, the Elantra looks pretty good.

It also looks good sitting in your driveway. Obviously drawn from the same pen that created the Sonata, the Elantra has all the visual appeal of the larger car.

Another neat feature is the amount of interior space in the Elantra. The EPA agrees, because it is now classified as a mid-size, rather than a compact car. Granted, it's a small mid-size, but still the move up to a larger label doesn't hurt.

The four-cylinder engine is slightly buzzy on hard acceleration, but it's normal in cruising mode. The 6-speed automatic is the kind you can put into "D" and forget. You can also shift if you choose, but there's enough power and torque from the engine to obviate any need for shifting.

One way to keep the price low is to eliminate frills. For example, we had manual seats in the Elantra. Sure, power seats are nice, but in truth, you don't change them that much. Usually one driver drives the car all the time (or very near it), so there isn't that much changing of seat positions.

The audio system is good with clear controls. There's a USB/iPod connection in the cubby ahead of the shifter if you don't like the radio or CD choices.

We drove the Elantra in some pretty stifling weather and the AC did its job well. It's also a simple system to understand; there are two concentric knobs for fan and temperature and pushbuttons to control air flow.

We also had a smart wheel in the Elantra that had 12 switches. I felt like an F1 driver for a while.

I loved the instrument panel. Let's face it, we look at the IP a lot and if it's ugly or non-informative, we won't check our speed (or fuel level) that often. The instruments were white-on-black with red pointers and minimal detail.

There's also a lot of useful storage in the Elantra. There are small door pockets, but there are bottoms on the door pulls, which are useful for mobile phones. In addition, there is a cubby by the driver's knee and a huge tray ahead of the shifter.

The rear seats are comfortable with a flat floor, making it possible to have a third passenger ride in the middle. The rear seats fold to increase cargo carrying capacity, and the releases are in the trunk. The trunk itself is useful because of its boxy shape.

A feature I like is the extensions on the sun visors. Unfortunately, they can only be used on the side windows because they bump into the overhead console and mirror

The fifth generation Hyundai Elantra not only looks nice, it's also a nice-driving car. It has a few flaws, but none of them are serious.

2011 The Auto Page