Sacramento, California – Hyundai’s evolvement from a maker of cheap cars to a producer of highly-sought, quality vehicles remains one of the remarkable auto stories of the past generation, in my view.
Hyundai keeps grinding out affordable rides, packed with perks and performance for which others pay many thousands more at other lots.
The 2011 Elantra GLS sedan only enhanced my feel-good vibe about the South Korean automaker.
Reworked for the 2011 model year, the Elantra impresses right away with a pleasing, yet understated aerodynamic look. And while the back end of the car is bobbed to a certain degree, opening the trunk reveals a deeply recessed space capable of holding a generous amount of cargo.
The starting price on my tester was an easy-to-take $17,080, swelled up to near $20,000, mostly with the addition of a navigation package.
More good news on the sticker: 29 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. There are some numbers to feel good about at the present time.
The happy tour of the sticker is enhanced even more with the lengthy list of safety features and the super-generous lineup of warranties.
The Korean import offers a mixed bag of impressions on the fly.
The 1.8-liter in-line 4 with 148 horsepower has enough to get you out of harm’s way coming down the highway merge ramp, but man, smashing the gas produces a serious scream from the engine. That scream seems somewhat futile on steep hill climbs, during which time the Elantra sedan is unquestionably straining to get it done.
Yet it is an agile urban dweller. An easy feel on the steering wheel allows the car to slalom through traffic, bikes and sleepwalking crosswalk invaders. It stops on a dime.
Simply put: I liked the car better in the city than I did on the open road, although it appears that it will run flawlessly – with few gas station visits in between – on a long, flat highway.
I never quite figured out the Elantra’s “eco” mode, and frankly, I’m not sure it made any difference.
Internal amenities were nicely arranged, comfortable and easy to use, although I’m not sure I’d force a full-size adult to ride in the middle of the backseat area.
All in all, a solid effort yet again from Hyundai. This Elantra is affordable, well-backed transportation that will likely keep its owners happy for many years.