Compact car; Built in South Korea
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,600 – $14,000*

2008 Hyundai Elantra

2008 Hyundai Elantra

2008 Hyundai Elantra

2008 Hyundai Elantra

  • Fuel economy
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Cargo room
  • Handling/roadholding (floatiness on bumps and dips)

Elantras match any class rival for refinement, space, and comfort. Hyundai’s compact sedan also beats most of them for safety with standard front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and ABS. A robust feel and Hyundai’s strong warranty also make Elantra well worth considering. New-car prices have been reasonable, and resale value falls well short of major rivals, so Elantras may be attractively priced on the used-car market.


Hyundai redesigned its best-selling car for 2007, giving it fresh looks, added size, and more standard safety features. Elantra now came only as a four-door sedan; the former hatchback was dropped. Compared to the 2001-06 generation, the still-compact 2007 version was about 2 inches wider and taller, on a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase. Interior dimensions were little changed, as was vehicle weight.

Models ascended from base GLS, to midrange SE and upscale Limited. Each used a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Antilock braking was standard rather than optional, as before. On the other hand, traction control was no longer offered. Curtain side airbags, previously unavailable, joined front side airbags as another new standard feature.

All Elantras had a height-adjustable driver’s seat, power windows, remote keyless entry, satellite radio, and MP3 player connection. Air conditioning, cruise control, and a CD player were optional for the lower-priced GLS, but included on other models. Standard leather upholstery and heated front seats were Limited exclusives. Competitors to the front-wheel-drive Elantra included the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, and Toyota Corolla.

Yearly Updates

2008 Elantra
Hyundai gave the Elantra a simplified model lineup for 2008, reduced to GLS and SE models. The Limited was gone. SE models gained electronic stability control and brake assist, and all Elantras added a tire-pressure monitor. Leather upholstery and heated front seats were optional for SE sedans, compensating for the loss of the Limited.
2009 Elantra
The Elantra lineup gained a new 4-door hatchback Touring model.
2010 Elantra
New for 2010 was the entry-level Elantra Blue sedan.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Elantras used a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 138 horsepower, working with a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 138
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 136
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

1. EPA mpg figures shown are for 2010 models. Elantra Blue, which came only w/manual transmission, was rated 26/35.

Road Test

Acceleration is adequate with either transmission, but far from snappy. Hyundai claimed 0-60 mph acceleration time of 8.8 seconds with the manual gearbox, which uses a slick, precise shifter. Automatic is smooth and responsive.

Fuel economy is more appealing. An SE sedan with manual shift averaged 26.8 mpg. Hyundai recommends regular-grade gasoline.

Elantra scores well in ride comfort compared to class rivals, abetted by a stout structural feel. Although the suspension absorbs most small bumps easily, an Elantra floats somewhat over large bumps and dips at highway speed.

The suspension allows some cornering lean, but tires furnish good dry-road grip. New electric power steering is quick, but feels a tad light. Elantras deliver fine stopping control and brake-pedal feel.

An Elantra’s engine is a bit noisy at high rpm, but never unpleasant. Some wind rush occurs around exterior mirrors, but road/tire noise is impressively low for this class.

Gauges are large and clear. Climate and audio controls are simple and handy. Plush cloth upholstery, attractive plastics, and many soft-touch surfaces belie the Elantra’s modest new-car pricing. So does its classy blue dashboard lighting.

Front seats offer adequate headroom and legroom, though taller folks may want more of both. Wide-ranging seat/steering-wheel adjustments enhance driver comfort; SE and 2007 Limited models included a telescopic steering wheel. Visibility is slightly hampered aft and to the right-rear.

Rear occupants get adult-size headroom and legroom, though entry/exit is slightly tight for larger adults. Height-adjustable head restraints and a fold-down center armrest are comfort bonuses.

An Elantra promises more trunk space than the class norm, but the slim opening and sickle-type trunklid hinges compromise its utility. A 60/40 split folding rear seat has been standard, but backrests don’t lay flat and they leave only a small pass-through for long items. Generous small-item storage includes numerous bins, slots, and cubbies.


Model Tested: 2008 Elantra SE w/manual or auto.

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 - 5
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 8

Total: 55


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.3 176.2 69.5 59.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
65.3 14.0 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 39.4 43.5 36.4
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 177.4 69.9 58.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.2 14.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 37.6 43.5 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2007 Elantra 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - 4


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

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

Trouble Spots

Alarm system
Description: The alarm system may randomly activate unless a revised hood switch pad is installed. (2007-09)
Description: The rear seats may not fold down properly because the release handle pops back in when pulled. (2007)
Steering noise
Description: Whining power steering is frequently caused by a restricted filter screen in the bottom of the fluid reservoir. (2007-09)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the vehicle from the upper left area of the windshield due to lack of sealer at the factory and through a campaign, dealers were to fix the problem whenever subject vehicles were in the shop for service. (2007)
Transmission problems
Description: The shifter interlock module may fail making it impossible to shift out of park. (2007)
Transmission problems
Description: The engine may not start due to transmission inhibitor switch failure. (2006)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on and trouble codes for lean air/fuel may be set unless the fuel pump was replaced under a campaign. (2008-09)
Check-engine light
Description: Faulty transmission fluid temperature sensor (or wiring) causes check engine light to illuminate. (2007)

Recall History

2007 Elantra
Description: The stop lamp switch in the affected vehicles may malfunction and cause the brake lights to not illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed or may cause the brake lights to remain illuminated when the brake pedal is released. A stop lamp switch malfunction may also affect the operation of the brake-transmission shift interlock feature so the transmission shifter would not be able to be shifted out of the park position.
2007-2008 Elantra
Description: The air bag control module may receive an unstable electrical signal from the seat track position sensor such that, in a crash that requires driver frontal airbag deployment, the driver’s airbag may deploy at the higher pressure than intended if the seat was positioned in one of the forward positions in which a lower pressure deployment is intended.
2007-2009 Elantra
Description: The front passenger seats in the vehicles contain a weight sensor designed to deactivate the right frontal airbag when occupants of certain weights occupy the seat. The electrical connector for the weight sensor is located under the center console, between the front seats. Under certain circumstances the connector could become contaminated and malfunction such that the front passenger airbag will deploy regardless of the weight of the occupant, increasing the risk of injury to the seat occupant.
2007-2010 Elantra
Description: Stop-lamp switch may malfunction, preventing brake lights from functioning and potentially interfering with cruise control and the push-button starter.
2008 Elantra with 2.0L beta engine
Description: The fuel pump may produce less pumping pressure than required to supply the fuel injection system. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire.

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.