Compact car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,600 – $17,500*


2011 Hyundai Elantra Front


2011 Hyundai Elantra Rear


2011 Hyundai Elantra Interior


2011 Hyundai Elantra Front-2


2011 Hyundai Elantra Front-3


2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring Front


2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring Rear


2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring Profile


2007 Hyundai Elantra Touring Interior

Pros:
  • Fuel economy
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Quietness
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room

Hyundai’s latest Elantra Sedan followed the lead of the larger Sonata with attractive styling and good fuel economy. While it might not stand out in any one area, this compact car does most everything well. That makes for a compelling package in this highly competitive class, which earns the Elantra sedan our Recommended (2012) nod. When new, a loaded Limited sedan tops out near $23,000, approaching the cost of a modestly-equipped, larger Sonata. On the used-car market, the difference between such Elantra and Sonata models isn’t likely to be great, either.

Overview

In addition to freshened styling, the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Elantra sedan adopted a new engine and fresh features. Production of the Elantra sedan now took place in both the United States and South Korea. Hyundai continued to offer the Elantra Touring four-door hatchback, which carried over in its previous form; please see the 2007-10 Hyundai Elantra report for a description and evaluation of the Elantra Touring, which didn’t change through its demise after the 2012 model year.

The redesigned Elantra sedan came in base GLS and top-line Limited trim levels. For 2013 the Elantra line expanded with the addition of a 2-door coupe. Also in 2013, the Elantra Touring 4-door hatchback was replaced by a new Elantra GT 4-door hatchback.

Sole engine for all sedans was a new 148-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which replaced a 138-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. A six-speed manual transmission was standard on the GLS. Optional on that model and standard on the Limited was a six-speed automatic. For 2014, a 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine was available on the sedan and standard on the coupe and GT.

Standard safety features included all-disc antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. Air conditioning, cruise control, a telescopic steering wheel, and wireless cell-phone link were standard on the Limited and included in an optional Preferred Package for the GLS. A navigation system with real-time traffic updates and a rearview camera were new features, optional on all models. Leather upholstery with heated front and rear seats was standard on the Limited. Keyless access/engine start was optional on the Limited. Hyundai’s Elantra competed against such compact sedans as the new-for-2011 Chevrolet Cruze, as well as the Honda Civic and Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Sentra.

Yearly Updates

2012 Elantra
Apart from minor trim changes, little was new for the 2012 Hyundai Elantra. The navigation system and rearview camera were no longer available for the GLS model. Hyundai continued to offer its Elantra Touring hatchback model, maintaining the prior-generation’s design, with a different powertrain from the sedan (see separate report).
2013 Elantra
For 2013 the Elantra line expanded with the addition of a 2-door coupe. The Elantra Touring 4-door hatchback (which was based on the 2007-10 platform) was replaced by a new Elantra GT 4-door hatchback. The Elantra sedan got more standard equipment for 2013, but carried on mostly unchanged since its 2011 model-year redesign.
2014 Elantra
The Elantra sedan got revised front and rear styling for 2014 and a new Sport model powered by a 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. That 2.0-liter engine also powered the 2014 Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Only one engine was intially offered in the Elantra sedan: a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that developed 148 horsepower, driving either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. For 2014, a 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine was available on the sedan and standard on the coupe and GT.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 148
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 131
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
29/40
29/40
32.2
31.4
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 173
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 154
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
24/34
24/33

Road Test

An Elantra isn’t lively from a stop, regardless of transmission, but power is adequate in any situation. The manual transmission has easy shifter and clutch action. The automatic transmission is smooth, but summoning more power for passing and merging maneuvers takes a deep stab at the gas pedal.

Fuel economy rose sharply with the 2011 redesign, with an EPA estimate of 40 mpg in highway driving (with either transmission). In Consumer Guide testing, a manual-transmission model averaged 32.2 mpg. An automatic version averaged 31.4 mpg. Elantras use regular-grade gas.

Elantra rides well for a compact car. In fact, it upstages some of Hyundai’s larger, more expensive vehicles. Sharp ruts and pavement cracks are felt and heard in the cabin, but the suspension does a good job of absorbing smaller bumps without any undue motions.

Steering is accurate with good feel, but it seems a bit heavy just off-center. Overall the Elantra Sedan handling never quite manages to feel sporty, but Elantras are well-behaved, with stable and predictable manners. The Elantra Coupe and GT are mildly sporty. Brakes are strong with good pedal feel.

As for noise, Elantra falls a bit short of the high standard set by the Chevrolet Cruze for compact-car cabin quietness–but not by much. At highway speeds, trace amounts of tire roar and wind rush may be heard, but not at objectionable levels. The engine sounds rough at idle and vocal under acceleration, but it recedes nicely during steady-state cruising. The GT has a bit more ambient noise than the sedan.

Gauges are easy to read, and the displays remain clear if the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses. Audio controls are handy. Climate controls operate as concentric knobs for temperature and fan speed. It’s an unconventional layout that takes a bit of adjustment. Cabin appointments are stylish. Materials quality is generally good, but comes up a bit shy of class-leading. Limited versions added leather upholstery, but few other interior upgrades. Some surfaces look nicer than they feel, but nothing seems inappropriate for the class.

Elantras are roomy and comfortable up front, with good headroom and generous seat travel. If installed, the tilt/telescopic steering wheel helps dial in a good driving position. Front buckets are comfortable, but lack adjustable lumbar support. Only the driver’s seat can be set for height. The available sliding center armrest is a thoughtful touch. One annoyance: the center vent on the dashboard directs air onto the driver’s right hand and cannot be fully closed. Thick roof pillars restrict the forward view somewhat, but rear visibility is very good.

Even though the Elantra Sedan has more legroom than most compact sedans, it doesn’t match the cavernous Volkswagen Jetta. Six-footers will find just enough legroom behind someone of similar size. Headroom gets tight for occupants taller than 5’9″ or so. The Coupe’s overall space is better than expected. However, entry and exit require some awkward crouching and contorting, as is typical for compact coupes.

Elantra sedans and coupes have a roomy trunk, but the small opening may make for tricky loading of bigger objects. Sickle-style hinges steal a bit of cargo room, but there is additional usable space under the floor. Elantra GT’s rear seat folds in a 60/40 split, though the rear headrests will need to be removed if the front seats are adjusted more than halfway back. The rear seat bottoms flip forward so the seatbacks can nestle down and create a flat load floor. Nice in-cabin small-items storage includes a big console box.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS with automatic

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.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 9
90%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 59

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.3 178.7 69.9 56.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.8 12.8 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 37.1 43.6 33.3
4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 169.3 70.1 57.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
51.0 14.0 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.1 37.9 42.0 34.6
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.3 178.3 69.9 56.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.8 12.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40 37.1 43.6 33.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT 4-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

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

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

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: The transmission may stay in third gear (limp-in mode) and the check engine light may come on due to failure of one or more solenoids inside the transmission. (2010-12)
Dashboard lights
Description: A warning light may come on due to malfunction of the automatic transmission fluid temperature sensor. (2011)

Recall History

2011 Elantra
Description: The front springs could corrode from road salt and fracture. The broken spring could puncture a tire.
2011-2013 Elantra
Description: During a crash, side-curtain airbag deployment could dislodge a support bracket from the headliner. The loose bracket could potentially injure the passenger.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

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.