Compact car; Built in South Korea
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,100 – $6,600*

2001 Hyundai Elantra 4-door sedan

2002 Hyundai Elantra 4-door sedan

2002 Hyundai Elantra GLS interior

2002 Hyundai Elantra GT 2-door hatchback

2003 Hyundai Elantra GT 2-door hatchback

  • Fuel economy
  • Maneuverability
  • Acceleration (w/automatic transmission)
  • Cargo room (sedan)

In features, comfort, and even road manners, an Elantra is a budget alternative to the class-leading (but costlier) Honda Civic and Ford Focus. Cars from this South Korean automaker haven’t earned a reputation for long-term reliability, but their resale values have been low. That can actually be good news for used-car shoppers.


Redesigned for 2001, the larger of Hyundai’s two front-drive subcompact cars grew slightly and gained a fresh look, but retained its previous powertrains. Front side airbags became standard.

No more wagons were produced, and the base sedan disappeared, leaving only a GLS sedan. The Elantra’s wheelbase grew by 2.3 inches, overall length by 3.1 inches, and height by 1.2 inches. Curb weight and interior dimensions changed little, though head and leg room shrunk slightly in the rear and increased a bit up front.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine remained the only possibility, though it got new engine mounts. A revised exhaust system promised reductions in noise, vibration, and harshness.

Elantras could have a manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission. Wheel diameters grew an inch, to 15. Shock absorbers were upgraded from hydraulic to gas-filled. Antilocking all-disc brakes were now a standalone option, but the regular non-ABS system stuck with rear drum brakes.

Standard features included air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, a cassette stereo, tachometer, tilt steering wheel, manual six-way driver’s seat, front-seat lumbar adjustment, intermittent wipers, and a split-folding rear seat. Child-seat anchors were installed, and front seatbelt pretensioners had force limiters. Options included cruise control, a 100-watt CD stereo, and a sunroof.

Competitors included the Dodge/Plymouth Neon, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda Protege, and Nissan Sentra. A GT four-door hatchback joined the sedan during the 2001 model year.

Hyundai’s warranty was one of the industry’s longest: 5 years/60,000 mile basic, 10/100,000 powertrain.

Yearly Updates

2002 Elantra
Elantras came in two forms for 2002: the GLS four-door sedan and GT four-door hatchback. Both had a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and manual or optional automatic transmission. GT models featured a sport suspension, alloy wheels, and leather upholstery.
Front side airbags were standard. Antilock braking with traction control was optional; four-wheel disc brakes were standard on the GT and included with ABS on the GLS.
2003 Elantra
For 2003, Hyundai expanded its lineup, adding a GT four-door sedan to complement the GT hatchback. All Elantra models continued to use the same powertrain.
2004 Elantra
Elantra gets a new grille, taillights, interior console, and interior controls for 2004.
2005 Elantra
Hyundai adds a base-model hatchback for 2005. For ’05, GLS and sportier GT trim are offered for both body styles. The new base GLS hatchback gets the GT’s sport suspension.
2006 Elantra
Hyundai’s best-selling car gets an uplevel Limited version and adds more available features for 2006. A Limited model sedan joins the GLS version for ’06; the sporty GT sedan is discontinued. Hatchbacks return as GLS or GT versions.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Hyundai’s dual-overhead-cam, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produced 140 horsepower and worked with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The engine’s horsepower rating dropped by five in 2003.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 135-140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 133
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

In performance, maneuverability, and ride comfort, the Elantra scores reasonably well for a car of its caliber. Manual-shift models have accelerated to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is brisk for a subcompact. Automatic-transmission versions have only adequate pickup, though the transmission is reasonably smooth and responsive. Fuel economy with manual shift averaged 25.2 to 25.9 mpg.

Ride quality in any model is surprisingly composed for a low-end subcompact, and suspensions absorb most rough stuff with ease. Some jiggle occurs on freeways, but not severely. The GT’s sport suspension makes little difference in ride comfort.

Steering/handling in the GLS is dull but competent. An Elantra corners with noticeable body lean but good stability.

Without ABS, one sedan showed moderate dive and good modulation in hard stops, but also suffered early left-front-wheel lockup. The GT’s sport suspension again makes little difference. The Elantra’s engine makes unpleasant high-rpm snarl, and tire noise is noticeable on coarse pavement. Instruments and controls are ordinary but well laid out. The steering wheel may not tilt high enough for some drivers. A few cheap-looking plastic bits spoil the basically nice cabin decor.

Although an Elantra is not midsize-car spacious, six-footers will have no complaints, though tall drivers might like more rearward seat travel. A height-adjustable seat is standard.

Visibility is fine in the sedan, and a bit better in the sloped-tail hatchback. Another pleasant surprise is rear room/comfort. Though too narrow for three adults, head and leg room are good for two, along with adequate foot space. Narrowish rear-door thresholds don’t severely impede entry/exit.

The sedan trunk isn’t of class-leading size, but is adequately roomy. The GT combines hatchback versatility with four-door convenience.


Model Tested: 2002 Hyundai Elantra GLS w/automatic transmission

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 5

Total: 44


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.7 177.1 67.7 56.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
NA 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.0 43..2 35.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.7 177.1 67.7 56.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.0 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.0 43.2 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: A squeak or squawk when the clutch pedal is pressed or released requires revised bushings for the release shaft. (2001-02)
Engine noise
Description: Although not a failure, the valves can get noisy on the 2.0-liter engine and should be checked and adjusted as necessary every 60,000 miles.
Poor transmission shift
Description: The shift from park to reverse or drive is harsh in many models, but if it is extremely harsh, a revised transmission control module may be required. Likewise, harsh shifts in other gears may also require a new module. (2001-02)
Poor transmission shift
Description: A shift flare (engine racing between shifts) may be corrected by reprogramming the transmission control module. (2001-02)
Electrical problem
Description: The electrical connector in the door(s) may corrode, especially where salt is used on the roads, causing failure of the speakers, power windows, power locks, etc. (2001)

Recall History

Description: If a liquid is spilled in the area of the cupholder on the center console, it may seep through the console opening for the parking brake lever and then drip onto the air bag control module electrical connector. This may contaminate the air bag control module and its electrical wiring harness, possibly causing the supplemental restraint system (SRS) warning light to illuminate. Dealers will install a protective cover over the vehicle’s air bag control module connector.
Description: Movement of the side impact air bag wiring harness mounted under each front seat, possibly caused by contact from materials placed under the seat, may result in an electrical resistance that would cause supplemental restraint system (SRS) warning light illumination. Dealers will install new side impact air bag wiring harness connector clips and revised side impact air bag wiring harness attachments under the driver’s and front passenger’s seats.
Description: Rear brake tubes could contact steering box. Contact could cause wear and corrosion that could result in brake failure. Dealers will reposition brake tubes and apply anticorrosion material to tubes in areas where contact might have occurred.
Description: (vehicles originally sold in or currently registered in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.) Road salt used during the winter months may result in internal corrosion and thinning of the steel in the front lower control arms. The corrosion may progress to the point where the lower control arm’s upper and lower panels become perforated. A perforated front lower control arm may fracture between its ball joint attachment and the forward and rearward pivot attachments to the chassis. The fracturing of the control arm could an owners control over their vehicle that may increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect the front lower control arms for corrosion damage.
Description: Valve on fuel tank assembly may not close properly; if vehicle rolls over and valve is not closed, fuel spillage may occur.
Description: The fuel vapor hose clamp may be facing the wrong position and could result in spillage in the event of a crash. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
Description: During offset frontal barrier impact test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fuel spillage occurred as a result of fuel tank damage, which stemmed from a mispositioned vapor tube hose clamp ear.
Description: Occupant classification system in right front seat may mistakenly classify a child restraint seat as an adult passenger, allowing the front or side airbag to deploy in a crash.
Description: Threaded portions of steering gearbox inner ball joint assemblies may contain internal cracks; breakage would lead to loss of steering control of one wheel, whose tie rod assembly would no longer be attached.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.