The Elantra lineup gets a midcycle update for 2014...
The Hyundai Elantra plays in the über-competitive compact-car segment, dominated by cars like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Mazda 3. The Elantra sedan was new for 2011, and a coupe and a hatchback joined it for 2013. For 2014, the whole lineup gets a midcycle refresh. Changes will mostly be cosmetic, including new headlights, taillights, and front and rear fascias. There will also be minor interior upgrades. Every Elantra earns good fuel-economy ratings, although no version reaches the magic 40-mpg-highway mark after a recent audit by the EPA. If its competition hadn't upped the ante in the last few years, building good handling cars with superefficient engines, Hyundai would have a solid choice in the compact segment. But, alas, Hyundai will have to rely on its lengthy warranty to help seal the deal in the fight for thrifty buyers' cash.
Here's the deal: the Hyundai Elantra isn't exciting. If it weren't for its somewhat sexy sheetmetal, we'd call it boring. And in a few years, its design could look as dated as a Motorola Razr. Furthermore, in an August 2012 comparison test, we discovered that the Elantra couldn't best the Dodge Dart or Ford Focus or Honda Civic or Mazda 3. But that doesn't mean the Hyundai Elantra shouldn't be on your list when you go out to buy a compact car.
Sure, the Elantra has a wallowy ride on the highway and can't go over broken road surfaces without shaking everyone in the car, but it's not so far behind its competition that it is nixed from the list before a test drive. The compact-car market is stupidly aggressive. All of the cars in this class aim to take on the top spot, and they're all separated by such diminutive differences that no car stands clearly above the rest. And every car, the Elantra included, has its strong points.
One strong point is the fact that the Elantra offers three body styles: four-door sedan, two-door coupe, and hatchback GT. Some competitors, like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3, sell hatchback versions alongside sedans, and other competitors, like the Honda Civic, offer two- and four-door models, but Hyundai gives you the Elantra three ways. Another point for the Elantra? It's backed by Hyundai's lengthy ten-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. This applies only to the original owner of the car, though, so you'll have to buy new if you want it. Otherwise it's a five-year, 60,000-mile limited warranty.
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic
- Mazda 3
- Toyota Corolla