2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

 Car Tested  2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
 Body Style  Four-door sedan
 Engine  1.8L-4 (148 horsepower) 
 Transmission  Six-speed automatic
 Base price  $22,699
 Price as tested  $22,699


 Market Fact
The third-generation Elantra is a sister car to the Kia Forte that debuted in the spring of 2009

Key Competitors
Chevrolet Cruze, 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Jetta


Dramatic coupe-like side profile

Mated to a smooth-shifting, responsive six-speed automatic transmission, the Elantra’s 1.8L four accelerates with verve and is a relaxed cruiser. The engine is generally just distant hum, becoming vocal, in an enthusiastic way, only when pushed hard. While not a tactile delight, the Elantra’s steering is nicely weighted and geared. Shod with 45 series low-profile tires, the Elantra Limited handles enthusiastically, with very little body lean in corners, but the ride can be a bit abrupt. The 45 series tires look good on a brochure spec. sheet, but aren’t that well suited to a mainstream family car. The GLS trim level, with more conventional 55 series tires, loses little in handling precision to the Limited and rides more smoothly. Fuss-free braking. With a low dashboard cowl and low window sills in relation to the driver, the driver enjoys a panoramic view to the front. The tapered rear door windows and very horizontal rear window restrict vision somewhat for lane changes.

Elegant Elantra dashboard

The cabin is fronted by a dashboard housing large, clear main gauges separated by an electronic display panel housing readouts of impressive clarity. Minor controls such as the lighting and wiper stalks, wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, as well as those for the climate and audio systems, all work with precision. All controls bear excellent graphics and are beautifully back-lit at night. The upper dash is padded, and while the upper doors aren’t, they feature a matte finish that looks good to the eye. Attractive materials, including copious faux alloy accents, along with rigorous assembly, make for a pleasing interior. Unlike the bigger Sonata, which disappoints in terms of cabin design and materials quality, the Elantra’s cabin is impressive at this price point. The front seats feel oddly shaped at first, but prove comfortable enough. There is plenty of legroom for those up front, but headroom is just adequate on sunroof-equipped cars. The rear seat is supportive and has good space for legs, but foot space under the front seats is very tight, and headroom suffers a bit due to the coupe-like roofline. The dual zone automatic air conditioning (Limited only), a fancy piece of kit for this class of car, works well. The centre dash vents, placed in such a way as to blast air at the inboard knees of front seat occupants, would be more useful if placed higher up. Excellent audio system. Very big trunk. The Bluetooth phone device in the Elantra failed to maintain its connection with the cell phone used during the test.

Spacious trunk

Predicted reliability is above average, like the previous-generation Elantra. Five year/100,000 km bumper to bumper warranty. 

All trim upgrades represent very good value if you want the features included in the packages. If you can live without leather upholstery, skip the Limited model to avoid the harsh riding 45 series tires. Lease monthly payments (48 months) are a bit high in relation to the monthly (60 months) finance payments.

Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard on all models. The Elantra was a Top Safety Pick, and rated Good in the frontal, side, rear and roof strength tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard ABS and ESC.



The third iteration of Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture styling theme