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1994 Hyundai Elantra GLS Review (1994)

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SEE ALSO:Hyundai Buyer's Guide

There is an old saying that timing is everything! One of the best examples of this truism is the successful entry of Hyundai into the American automotive market in the mid-eighties. At a time of an energy crisis Hyundai brought its barebones subcompact Excel into the lower 48 after an earlier successful launch in Canada. The attractive combination of low price and high mileage made the Excel an instant hit. Many sales records were set by this then relatively unknown Korean automotive manufacturer and Hyundai was on its way.

After its initial success Hyundai determined to maintain its market position by broadening its product line. In 1992, to provide Excel and other sub-compact car owners with a larger, more powerful and deluxe model to move up to, Hyundai launched the Elantra. Demonstrating its intention to remain a strong contender in the world wide automotive market Hyundai constructed new modern state-of-the- art plants and facilities in Korea, as well as parts and supply depots in the US. Hyundai has also developed intensive quality control and safety programs to insure that all of its cars meet or exceed the quality and safety standards that are both desirable and necessary to establish and maintain a strong position in the important American automotive market.

APPEARANCE: For 1994 the Elantra has been given a major facelift with an all-new front and rear end treatment. The grille prominently displays the Hyundai logo, along with new oval headlights and a large below-the bumper air-intake. In back the short trunk lid now provides low liftover access. The rounded sides of its large cabin are protected by bodycolor moldings. Cast alloy wheels and Michelin all-season XGT tires dress up the GLS, as does the bright side window trim.

COMFORT: Hyundai has endeavored to develop a reputation as the producer of a value automobile. When equipped with the Package 11 options the GLS becomes a very well-appointed car that offers almost every comfort and convenience items normally found in luxury model automobiles The heater/air conditioner is both efficient and quiet and is fitted with rear seat ducting. The upgrade AM/FM/cassette sound system performs well in metropolitan areas. Door locks, side mirrors and windows are powered. Cruise control and a tilt steering column are part of the package. All four doors open wide for easy access, and seating is supportive. The trunk is of good size and flat, and if more cargo space is required. the rear seats can be folded down 60/40. The drivers seat is six way adjustable .

SAFETY: The 1994 Elantra GLS is equipped with a drivers air bag, three-point outboard seat belts, and a collapsible steering column. Other safety items include four-wheel disc brakes and anti lock brakes.

ROADABILITY: The Elantra provides a well-balanced all-purpose ride over a variety of roads and highways. It is surprisingly agile, and its power assisted rack-and pinion steering provide good road feel whether on the city streets, county back road or on the interstate. Hyundai's four-channel anti-lock braking is of the latest design, and when combined with four-wheel disc brakes assures safe stopping. All-around vision is excellent, and the Elantra is reasonably quiet when touring down the road. Some engine noise is experienced, especially when accelerating, but wind noise is minimal.

PERFORMANCE: Other than the design changes, the most important improvement for 1994 in the Elantra GLS is the new 1.8 liter, four- cylinder-valve, double overhead cam, counter-rotating balanced, multi- port fuel injected engine. This refined powerplant develops 124 horsepower and gives this Hyundai the extra power it needed to become a class leader. When mated to the four speed electronically controlled automatic transmission this powertrain combination delivers a spirited amount of power to the front wheels. The transmission has a "power" and "normal" setting as well as an overdrive lockout switch. In normal setting the GLS delivers excellent pickup for fast starts or safe merging and passing.

CONCLUSION: This year the Elantra has been significantly improved in appearance and performance. It has grown in size from sub-compact to compact, and with its new styling, new engine, anti-lock brakes and four wheel disc brakes the GLS now has the potential to become a quality and value leader.


           Base Price              $  11,684
           Price As Tested         $  13,385
           Engine Type             I-4, dohc-16v, mpfi
           Engine Size             1.8 liter/110 cid   
           Horsepower              124 @ 6000
           Torque (ft/lbs)         116 @ 4500
           Wheelbase/Length        98"/173"
           Transmission            four speed automatic w/od
           Curb Weight             2640
           Pounds per Horsepower   21
           Fuel Capacity           13
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded regular (87 oct)
           Tire                    Michelin XGT P185/60R14 M+S
           Brake                   anti-lock optional    disc/disc    
           Drive Train             front engine/front drive
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,        
             city/highway/observed      23/28/26.5
           0 to 60 mph                  9.6 sec  
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                16.6 sec  
           Coefficient of drag (cd)     .32